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Sabbath School Lessons on Jeremiah
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 3: The Last Five Kings of Judah *
Introduction: We learned that Jeremiah spent forty years warning
Judah of impending destruction. During that forty years, five kings
ruled Judah. Were they all bad? Why would they ignore God's warnings?
What lessons can we learn from them? Let's jump into our study of the
Bible and find out!
- Read 2 Chronicles 34:1-2. The "David" referred to here is
King David. Is he Josiah's father? (Read 2 Kings 21:25-26.
Josiah's actual father was King Amon.)
- Read 2 Kings 21:19-24. How bad a king was Amon? (So
bad that his own officials killed him.)
- Did Josiah have a godly grandfather? (No. These
verses say that Manasseh, his grandfather, also
- So why are we told that King David is Josiah's
father? ("Father" means ancestor. Josiah "walked in
the ways" of his ancestor King David. It means he was
a good guy.)
- Read 2 Chronicles 34:3-5. This week I read that ISIS
destroyed the Temple Bel, which is thousands of years old.
Is that a good thing? (Josiah is destroying idols which
are currently worshiped. This is not the destruction of
- What could we do today that would be similar to the
work of Josiah? (We are not kings, so destroying the
property of others presents a moral problem. But, in
our own family we should work to limit the influence
- Read 2 Chronicles 34:8. What can we do that is like the
repair work of Josiah? (We can make sure our church is in
good repair. More importantly, we can encourage our family
to worship God.)
- Read 2 Chronicles 34:14-15. While working to repair the
temple, the High Priest Hilkiah found "the Book of the
Law" that "had been given through Moses." What has this
new fact have to do with idol worship? (Not reading the
Bible, forgetting God's word, leads us away from
dependence on God.)
- Imagine how this discovery could change the life of
- Can you think of any parallel event in your life?
(Reading a Bible that you cannot understand is a
"hidden Bible" problem. Find a Bible version that you
can easily read and understand. You will discover
- Read 2 Chronicles 34:29-32. What is the outcome of
Josiah's work? (God's word is now known to everyone in the
kingdom. Under his leadership, the people pledge to follow
- Read 2 Chronicles 35:20-21. What do you think of Pharaoh
Neco's claim to have God on his side?
- Read 2 Chronicles 35:22. What does this suggest about the
validity of what Pharaoh Neco said?
- Read 2 Chronicles 35:23-24. What a tragic and untimely end
to the reign of a great man of God. What lesson do you
find in this? (We need to be sure that we follow God's
will. Some commentators think that Josiah was doing the
right thing. I'm not sure we have enough evidence to
- Read 2 Chronicles 35:25-26. Whatever the merit of Josiah's
last deadly decision, we see that he is lamented as a man
devoted to God. Recall that when we started looking at
Josiah, we learned he walked in the way of King David.
What have we learned now that helps us understand that
truth? (David did not always make the right decisions. Yet
God celebrated his devotion to God.)
- Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim.
- Read 2 Chronicles 36:1-3. Jehoahaz reigned as king for
three months. How did the actions of his father, Josiah,
who was a great man, affect his life? (Josiah's last
decision causes his popularly selected son to lose his
- Read 2 Chronicles 36:4. Why did Neco change Eliakim's name
to Jehoiakim? (To show his authority over this new King of
- Why do you think Neco put Jehoiakim on the throne?
(He apparently thought him to be more compliant than
Jehoahaz, the choice of the people.)
- Read 2 Chronicles 36:5-6. What kind of king is Jehoiakim?
- What happens to him? (He is captured by
- Who do you think Jehoiakim relied upon to save his
kingdom? (Read 2 Kings 24:7. It appears to be Egypt!
Relying on humans instead of God, is a foolish idea.
See also 2 Kings 24:1.)
- Read 2 Kings 24:6 and 2 Kings 24:8-9. How long did this
king reign? (Three months!)
- What kind of king was Jehoiachin? (He was another bad
guy - in his three months!)
- Is this really a fair test for an 18 year-old?
- Read 2 Kings 24:10-12. What ended Jehoiachin's reign?
(Judah was invaded by Babylon.)
- Read 2 Kings 24:13-17. How big a disaster is this for
- Recall that I asked you to consider whether three
months was sufficient to say Jehoiachin was a bad
guy? Who was taken to Babylon at this time? (The
first chapter of the book of Daniel reveals that
Daniel and his friends were taken. Daniel and his
friends immediately took a stand for God.)
- Read Jeremiah 22:1-5. What is it that these evil kings
could have done to turn things around for Judah?
- Let's focus on Jeremiah 22:3. What is the general
nature of the failure of the justice system in Judah?
(That those who are weak, the one robbed, the alien,
the orphan, and the widow are victims of violence and
injustice. When the law breaks down, the most
- What other problem do we find in Jeremiah 22:3?
(Innocent people are being killed.)
- Let's contemplate this. How does God punish this
kind of failure to be just? (God brings in stronger
nations to plunder Judah. The leaders of Judah
experience the very same kind of thing they inflicted
on those who were weak.)
- One of the questions I asked in the introduction is
why these kings did not change? What reason would the
evil kings have to allow a corrupt judicial system?
(No doubt they benefitted or thought they would
benefit from it.)
- Read Jeremiah 22:8-9. How is this related to harming those
who are powerless? (It is contrary to God's covenant.
Contrary to the Mosaic law. When you worship a god you
have made, your sense of values gets skewed.)
- Re-read 2 Kings 24:16-17 and read 2 Chronicles 36:11-12.
What kind of king is Zedekiah? (Again, an evil king.)
- Read 2 Chronicles 36:13. If you had to characterize
Zedekiah with one word, what would it be? (Rebel. He did
not accept God's word through Jeremiah and he rebelled
- Put yourself in Zedekiah's place. Can you explain
this? (I suspect he thought that God was not helping,
Jeremiah was unbalanced, and Nebuchadnezzer was the
enemy. He and the people would do what they wanted
because things could not get much worse.)
- In addition to being a rebel, what else characterizes
this kind of thinking? (He is arrogant and
impractical. Ignoring God's word through Jeremiah
created all sorts of grief. Nebuchadnezzer squashed
him like a bug.)
- Read 2 Chronicles 36:15-19. What is the outcome of all of
this rebellion against God? (Utter destruction.)
- Read 2 Chronicles 36:21. From what was the land resting?
- Friend, consider your attitude. Are you a rebel or are you
one who wants to listen to God and do His will? Why not
decide, right now, to seek and follow God's will?
- Next week: Rebuke and Retribution.
* Copr. 2015, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.