The fall of Jerusalem
1Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem for eleven years. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah. 2He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as Jehoiakim had done. 3It was because of the Lord’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence.
Now Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
4So in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. They encamped outside the city and built siege works all around it. 5The city was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.
6By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine in the city had become so severe that there was no food for the people to eat. 7Then the city wall was broken through, and the whole army fled. They left the city at night through the gate between the two walls near the king’s garden, though the Babylonians#Or Chaldeans; also in verse 17 were surrounding the city. They fled towards the Arabah,#Or the Jordan Valley 8but the Babylonian#Or Chaldean; also in verse 14 army pursued King Zedekiah and overtook him in the plains of Jericho. All his soldiers were separated from him and scattered, 9and he was captured.
He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he pronounced sentence on him. 10There at Riblah the king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes; he also killed all the officials of Judah. 11Then he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon, where he put him in prison till the day of his death.
12On the tenth day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, who served the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 13He set fire to the temple of the Lord, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down. 14The whole Babylonian army, under the commander of the imperial guard, broke down all the walls around Jerusalem. 15Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard carried into exile some of the poorest people and those who remained in the city, along with the rest of the craftsmen#Or the populace and those who had deserted to the king of Babylon. 16But Nebuzaradan left behind the rest of the poorest people of the land to work the vineyards and fields.
17The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars, the movable stands and the bronze Sea that were at the temple of the Lord and they carried all the bronze to Babylon. 18They also took away the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, dishes and all the bronze articles used in the temple service. 19The commander of the imperial guard took away the basins, censers, sprinkling bowls, pots, lampstands, dishes and bowls used for drink offerings – all that were made of pure gold or silver.
20The bronze from the two pillars, the Sea and the twelve bronze bulls under it, and the movable stands, which King Solomon had made for the temple of the Lord, was more than could be weighed. 21Each pillar was eighteen cubits high and twelve cubits in circumference#That is, about 8.1 metres high and 5.4 metres in circumference; each was four fingers thick, and hollow. 22The bronze capital on the top of one pillar was five cubits#That is, about 2.3 metres high and was decorated with a network and pomegranates of bronze all around. The other pillar, with its pomegranates, was similar. 23There were ninety-six pomegranates on the sides; the total number of pomegranates above the surrounding network was a hundred.
24The commander of the guard took as prisoners Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank and the three doorkeepers. 25Of those still in the city, he took the officer in charge of the fighting men, and seven royal advisers. He also took the secretary who was chief officer in charge of conscripting the people of the land, sixty of whom were found in the city. 26Nebuzaradan the commander took them all and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 27There at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king had them executed.
So Judah went into captivity, away from her land. 28This is the number of the people Nebuchadnezzar carried into exile:
in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews;
29in Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth year,
832 people from Jerusalem;
30in his twenty-third year,
745 Jews taken into exile by Nebuzaradan the commander of the imperial guard.
There were 4,600 people in all.
31In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Awel-Marduk became king of Babylon, on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month, he released Jehoiachin king of Judah and freed him from prison. 32He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honour higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 33So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king’s table. 34Day by day the king of Babylon gave Jehoiachin a regular allowance as long as he lived, till the day of his death.