Zedekiah, Last King of Judah

Ed J. Pinegar, Richard J. Allen

Zedekiah was the last king of Judah. He was “one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 36:11). Nephi informs us that it was during the first year of Zedekiah’s rule that Lehi was called to warn the people of Jerusalem about the impending judgments of God about to befall them (see 2 Nephi 1:4). Zedekiah’s tenure ends with the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 587 b.c. Jeremiah reports: “And the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah. Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death” (Jeremiah 52:10–11; compare 2 Kings 25:7). The implication is that all the sons of Zedekiah perish in this way; however, the Book of Mormon makes clear that Zedekiah’s youngest son, Mulek, survives the ordeal and is guided by the Lord to the promised land, where he establishes a colony and founds a new nation (see Helaman 8:21). Mormon gives the geographical orientation as follows: “Now the land south was called Lehi, and the land north was called Mulek, which was after the son of Zedekiah; for the Lord did bring Mulek into the land north, and Lehi into the land south” (Helaman 6:10). When the Nephite leader Mosiah I is commanded of the Lord to flee from the land south (the land of Lehi, also called the land of Nephi) sometime in the period 279 b.c. to 130 b.c., he and his loyal followers are guided northward to Zarahemla, where the Mulekites eventually settle (see Omni 1:12–16). Thereafter the Mulekites and the Nephites are united as one nation.

Commentaries and Insights on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1