● On what basis is the prophecy at Ezekiel 21:25-27 applied to Judean King Zedekiah?—A. S., U.S.A.
The prophecy in question reads: “As for you, O deadly wounded, wicked chieftain of Israel, whose day has come in the time of the error of the end, this is what the Lord Jehovah has said, ‘Remove the turban, and lift off the crown. This will not be the same. Put on high even what is low, and bring low even the high one. A ruin, a ruin, a ruin I shall make it. As for this also, it will certainly become no one’s until he comes who has the legal right, and I must give it to him.’”
The general agreement among Bible scholars, Jewish, Catholic and Protestant, is that this prophecy does indeed apply to the last king of Judah, Zedekiah, and not without good reason. Ezekiel tells that he began to prophesy in the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin, which began in 617 B.C.E. (Ezek. 1:2) King Nebuchadnezzar replaced King Jehoiachin with King Zedekiah, Jehoiachin’s uncle. (2 Ki. 24:12-17) King Zedekiah was therefore ruling when Ezekiel began to prophesy. He certainly proved to be a “wicked chieftain.”—2 Ki. 24:18-20.
Chapter 21 of the book of Ezekiel begins with a prophecy directed against Jerusalem and “against the soil of Israel,” and Eze 21 verses 20 and 21 tell that the king of Babylon would come against Judah and Jerusalem. Since King Zedekiah was the only, as well as the last, king of Israel that was ruling during the time that Ezekiel prophesied, it follows that Ezekiel 21:25-27 must apply to him.
And this prophecy did indeed have fulfillment upon him and in his time. It said, “Remove the turban, and lift off the crown.” This King Nebuchadnezzar did for him, taking off Zedekiah’s royal turban and removing his crown by taking him into captivity in Babylon. The prophecy pronounced a threefold, that is, a thorough-going ruination, and that also took place with the utter desolation of Jerusalem and Judah. As a result of this the “low” pagan Gentile ruler Nebuchadnezzar was “put on high” and “the high one,” King Zedekiah, sitting on David’s throne, was brought “low.”
Further, since King Zedekiah was the last of the line of King David to sit upon an earthly throne in Jerusalem, it was indeed true that after him “it will certainly become no one’s until he comes who has the legal right, and I must give it to him.” That one, as the virgin Mary was told by the angel Gabriel, was none other than the Son of God, Jesus Christ.—Luke 1:32, 33; 22:28-30.