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Chapter LIII.

Joachas, his son, having then obtained the kingdom, held it for three months, being doomed to captivity on account of his impiety. For Nechao, king of Egypt, bound him and led him away captive, and not long after, while still a prisoner, he ended his days. An annual tribute was demanded of the Jews, and a king was given them at the will of the victor. His name was Eliakim, but he afterwards changed it to Joachim. He was the brother of Joacha, and the son of Josia, but liker his brother than his father, displeasing God by his impiety. Accordingly, while he was in subjection to the king of Egypt, and in token thereof paid him tribute, Nabuchodonosor, the king of Babylon, seized the land of Judæa, and as victor held it by the right of war for three years. For the king of Egypt now giving way, and the boundaries of their empire being fixed between them, it had been agreed that the Jews should belong to Babylon. Thus after Joachim, having finished his reign of eleven years, had given place to his son of the same name, and he had excited against himself the wrath of the king of Babylon (God undoubtedly overruling everything, having resolved to give the nation of the Jews up to captivity and destruction), Nabuchodonosor entered Jerusalem with an army, and leveled the walls and the temple to the ground. He also carried off an immense amount of gold, with sacred ornaments either public or private, and all of mature age both of the male and female sex, those only being left behind whose weakness or age caused trouble to the conquerors. This useless crowd had the task assigned them of working and cultivating the fields in slavery, in order that the soil might not be neglected. Over them a king called Sedechias was appointed; but while the empty shadow of the name of king was allowed him, all real power was taken away. Joachim, for his part, possessed the sovereignty only for three months. He was carried away, along with the people, to Babylon, and was there thrown into prison; but being, after a period of thirty years released, while he was admitted by the king to his friendship, and made a partaker with him at his table and in his counsels, he died at last, not without some consolation in that his misfortunes had been removed.

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