Jehoiakim was King of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian King, marched on Jerusalem and laid siege to the capital of the Southern Kingdom. Jehoiakim died during the siege and Jehoiachin replaced him as king for a brief 3 months before the city is taken over by Babylon. Jehoiachin was exiled along with most of the aristocracy of Judah.
Nebuchadnezzar placed Mattaniah as King of Judah and in the process he changed Mattaniah’s name to Zedekiah.
Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, was a leader who wasn’t given much to work with. He was stripped of his name, of the elite of his country including the craftsman, the social, political, and military leaders….. the country’s morale was low… and on top of all that, a prophet named Jeremiah traveled his kingdom pronouncing that all of this was the result of God’s judgment…… and that they should prepare for Judah to be in exile for 70 years and gladly accept the Babylonian rule over them…..
Zedekiah was a puppet king….. many of the Israelites who remained in the country still looked to the exiled King Jehoiachin as the rightful king…… many who remained in the country had an agenda to try to gain independence for their own personal gain…. He was surrounded by political and spiritual advisors who were self-serving and not very savvy….. he was set up for a recipe of disaster as a leader….. Even with all of these factors considered, he had an opportunity to show true courage and leadership and rise to the occasion…..
Unfortunately he’s an example of a leader who turned a bad situation into something much worse.