The Fall of Jerusalem
1Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he was king in Jerusalem for eleven years. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah, and she was from Libnah. 2Zedekiah did what the Lord said was wrong, just as Jehoiakim had done. 3All this happened in Jerusalem and Judah because the Lord was angry with them. Finally, he threw them out of his presence.
Zedekiah turned against the king of Babylon. 4Then Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. They made a camp around the city and built devices all around the city walls to attack it. This happened on Zedekiah’s ninth year, tenth month, and tenth day as king. 5And the city was under attack until Zedekiah’s eleventh year as king.
6By the ninth day of the fourth month, the hunger was terrible in the city; there was no food for the people to eat. 7Then the city wall was broken through, and the whole army of Judah ran away at night. They left the city through the gate between the two walls by the king’s garden. Even though the Babylonians were surrounding the city, Zedekiah and his men headed toward the Jordan Valley.
8But the Babylonian army chased King Zedekiah and caught him in the plains of Jericho. All of his army was scattered from him. 9So the Babylonians captured Zedekiah and took him to the king of Babylon at the town of Riblah in the land of Hamath. There he passed sentence on Zedekiah. 10At Riblah the king of Babylon killed Zedekiah’s sons as he watched. The king also killed all the officers of Judah. 11Then he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, and put bronze chains on him, and took him to Babylon. And the king kept Zedekiah in prison there until the day he died.
12Nebuzaradan, commander of the king’s special guards and servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem on the tenth day of the fifth month. This was in Nebuchadnezzar’s nineteenth year as king of Babylon. 13Nebuzaradan set fire to the Temple of the Lord, the palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem; every important building was burned. 14The whole Babylonian army, led by the commander of the king’s special guards, broke down all the walls around Jerusalem. 15Nebuzaradan, the commander of the king’s special guards, took captive some of the poorest people, those who were left in Jerusalem, those who had surrendered to the king of Babylon, and the skilled craftsmen who were left in Jerusalem. 16But Nebuzaradan left behind some of the poorest people of the land to take care of the vineyards and fields.
17The Babylonians broke into pieces the bronze pillars, the bronze stands, and the large bronze bowl, called the Sea, which were in the Temple of the Lord. Then they carried all the bronze pieces to Babylon. 18They also took the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, bowls, dishes, and all the bronze objects used to serve in the Temple. 19The commander of the king’s special guards took away bowls, pans for carrying hot coals, large bowls, pots, lampstands, pans, and bowls used for drink offerings. He took everything that was made of pure gold or silver.
20There was so much bronze that it could not be weighed: two pillars, the large bronze bowl called the Sea with the twelve bronze bulls under it, and the movable stands, which King Solomon had made for the Temple of the Lord.
21Each of the pillars was about twenty-seven feet high, eighteen feet around, and hollow inside. The wall of each pillar was three inches thick. 22The bronze capital on top of the one pillar was about seven and one-half feet high. It was decorated with a net design and bronze pomegranates all around it. The other pillar also had pomegranates and was like the first pillar. 23There were ninety-six pomegranates on the sides of the pillars. There was a total of a hundred pomegranates above the net design.
24The commander of the king’s special guards took as prisoners Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank, and the three doorkeepers. 25He also took from the city the officer in charge of the soldiers, seven people who advised the king, the royal secretary who selected people for the army, and sixty other men from Judah who were in the city when it fell. 26Nebuzaradan, the commander, took these people and brought them to the king of Babylon at the town of Riblah. 27There at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king had them killed.
So the people of Judah were led away from their country as captives. 28This is the number of the people Nebuchadnezzar took away as captives: in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews; 29in Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth year, 832 people from Jerusalem; 30in Nebuchadnezzar’s twenty-third year, Nebuzaradan, commander of the king’s special guards, took 745 Jews as captives.
In all 4,600 people were taken captive.
Jehoiachin Is Set Free
31Jehoiachin king of Judah was in prison in Babylon for thirty-seven years. The year Evil-Merodach became king of Babylon he let Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison. He set Jehoiachin free on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month. 32Evil-Merodach spoke kindly to Jehoiachin and gave him a seat of honor above the seats of the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 33So Jehoiachin put away his prison clothes, and for the rest of his life, he ate at the king’s table. 34Every day the king of Babylon gave Jehoiachin an allowance. This lasted as long as he lived, until the day Jehoiachin died.