Three kings of powerful, non-Jewish nations brought about events in ancient times, at God’s prompting, that set in motion the promised latter day restoration of Israel.
Over a period of exactly 70 years Pharaoh Necho II of Egypt, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and Emperor Koresh (Cyrus) the Great of Persia acted as God’s agents to both end Judah’s ancient sovereignty and begin the Jewish people’s modern return to the promised land. From 609 BCE and the death of Judah’s King Josiah, to 539 BCE and the Persian invasion of Babylon, God directed the decision-making of Necho, Nebuchadnezzar and Koresh the Great.
In this, part two of a two-part study, Defending Nebuchadnezzar, I had promised in a previous blog entry to examine “the geopolitical havoc that drove Nebuchadnezzar to madness, [his] obsessing over Egypt and … his decision to put a savage end to the sovereignty of ancient Israel.” (See Part One.) But according to the Second Book of Kings, it was not wholly Nebuchadnezzar’s choice to destroy Israel but, “the commandment of the Lord to remove them [Judah] out of his sight.”
While researching the Book of Daniel (for the development of my novel, For The Sake of His Name), it became clear that Nebuchadnezzar was only one of at least three, powerful, non-Jewish rulers who were divinely inspired to facilitate the central drama of biblical history, the end of the ancient Jewish state (and the beginning of its latter day restoration).
I’ve reduced the scope of this post to discuss only the “ordained” roles in Israel’s history of these three kings for two reasons…
1. It’s a fascinating study. For example, the time interval from the action of the first inspired king, Pharaoh Necho II, to the intervention of the last, Koresh the Great, is exactly seventy years and Jeremiah’s well-known prophecy of the duration of the Babylonian Captivity was also 70 years.
This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.” Jer 29:10
So we find two distinctly different, but parallel, 70-year manifestations of divine will.
2. It’s my blog and I can change the rules as I please without suffering serious consequences.