Babylon Invades the Region and Besieges Jerusalem!
Take note, my reader, Jerusalem was besieged by Babylon at the 3rd year of Jehoiakim (Dan. 1:1, approx.). This besiegement, which was more of a detainment of Judah until Egypt was defeated, lasted for the space of about 1 year until Jehoiakim surrendered to Babylon (2 Kings 24:1). In all likelihood, Jehoiakim chose to surrender at the defeat of the Egyptian Army encamped at the river Euphrates in the 4th year of Jehoiakim’s reign (Jer. 46:2).
– At the 4th year of the reign of Jehoiakim before the 1st Captivity (Jer. 46:2), Jeremiah foretold the crushing defeat that was soon-to-be suffered by the Egyptian Army, only further confirming and reinforcing the pathetic appeals made to the Jews so far (DON’T TRUST EGYPT!). Moreover, this serves as a stunning example of how the omnipotent arm of God has indeed raised up Babylon for the accomplishment divine purposes – here called, “the Day of the Lord GOD of Hosts, a Day of Vengeance” (Jer. 46:10) – whereby the Lord would exact the outstanding causes of justice that He has with the nations of the earth, and much more with the Jews of the Kingdom of Judah!
The Egyptian Army was the primary opponent of Babylon. At the 4th year of Jehoiakim and the 1st of Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon defeated the Egyptian Army and thus liberated Judah from the Egyptian tribute (Jer. 46:2). Albeit, let us take note of the peculiar situation of Jehoiakim during this time. Jehoiakim was made to reckon with the soon-to-be Ruler of the region when Jerusalem was besieged in the 3rd year of his reign (Dan. 1:1), at least around 1 year before his surrender to Babylon. Jehoiakim could have been refusing to surrender until he saw the conclusion of the battle between the Egyptians and the Babylonians which was taking place right then (Jer. 46:2). What magnitude of force was put into the besiegement of Jerusalem is historically unclear. Given the many battles Babylon was fighting in the region at the time, the force and progress of the besiegement could have been minor and preliminary to any major attack (time must be spent building war instruments and wooden forts for the besiegement – e.g. 2 Kings 25:1, Isa. 29:3; or perhaps they were simply surrounding Jerusalem so that they did not send aid to the Egyptian Army which was encamped at the river Euphrates – Jer. 46:2; or, in the case that they were not worried about Judah sending aid to Egypt, perhaps they were simply surrounding them so as to detain them until the battle with the Egyptians was finished and the victor declared, in hopes that Judah would behold the overthrow of their master and willingly submit to Babylon). It is clear that Jehoiakim peacefully surrendered and thus kept his installment as King of Judah as a tributary to Babylon (2 Kings 24:1), therefore the only reasonable conclusion to make is that the besiegement was minor and for the space of about a year until sometime in the 4th year of Jehoiakim’s reign, Jehoiakim surrendered. At this time the people of Judah became tributaries to Babylon for the next three years until Jehoiakim rebelled (2 Kings 24:1). Note: there are contrary opinions about what exactly happened historically, but this position appears indisputably sound.