Zedekiah was the last king of Judah before it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. According to 2 Kings 24:19-20 and Jeremiah 52:2-3, Zedekiah did not listen to the Godly advice of the prophet Jeremiah and he did “evil in the sight of the Lord.” His evil not only caused problems for him. It caused problems for his entire family. None of his sons survived the fall of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar killed them while Zedekiah stood by and watched, unable to save them. Then his own eyes were put out, he was bound in chains, and carried off to Babylon. His royal house was burned. His daughters were taken as captives. Jeremiah 41:10 reads:
Then Ishmael took captive all the rest of the people who were in Mizpah, the king’s daughters and all the people who were left at Mizpah, whom Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, had committed to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam. Ishmael the son of Nethaniah took them captive and set out to cross over to the Ammonites.
This is the only mention of King Zedekiah’s daughters in the Bible. We don’t know their names or anything else about them, however some historians believe that one of Zedekiah’s daughters was newly married to an Irish prince who was probably an ambassador to her father. I’m not sure how true this is, but you can read more about it here. The unfortunate fate of the daughters of King Zedekiah show how much the evil of sin and war affects us all.
1. The daughters of King Zedekiah were victims of war. The siege and subsequent taking of Judah and Jerusalem by Babylon tore apart Zedekiah’s family and disrupted their royal life. If it is true that one of the daughters was married to an Irish prince then she was taken away from him, and it is likely that they never saw one another again. They never had the chance to have children, cross things off their bucket list, or grow old together. No matter how we may justify it, war is ugly. It is something that was never meant to be.
I enjoy reading history, especially the war parts – the Roman wars, Alexander’s conquests, the Holy Land Crusades, Napoleon’s seeming invincibility until Old Man Winter whip-lashed him out of Russia, the Civil War, the Revolutionary War, WWI and WWII. It’s fascinating stuff, but it’s also sad stuff. Millions upon millions of people lost their lives, and when you really look at it, most of those lives were lost over trivial matters – lust for land, one man’s quest for power, secretive alliances, religious differences.
War does not only have negative repercussions on those who died, but also on those who are left behind. Fathers and mothers left without their sons or daughters, sons and daughters left without their fathers or mothers, brothers and sisters left without their siblings. War scars our land. It also scars our souls. War slaughters, shatters, displaces, and embitters. It is unforgiving, ripping open spiritual, physical and emotional wounds that are hard to recover from. Where can we find peace? Where can we find healing? To whom can we turn to comfort?
Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” God understands the pain and brutality of war. He alone has the power to heal hurts and mend broken hearts that seem beyond repair. He alone has the power to end all war, and one day He will. “Come,” Christ says. “If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest. Take the yoke I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from me. I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest.”