The Fall of Jerusalem
1Zedekiah was 21 years old when he became king. And he was king in Jerusalem for 11 years. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah.# This is not the prophet Jeremiah but a different man with the same name. 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. Then they built devices all around the city walls to attack it. This happened during Zedekiah’s ninth year, tenth month and tenth day as king. 5The 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 ran away at night. They went through the gate between the two walls by the king’s garden. The Babylonians were still surrounding the city. Zedekiah and his men ran toward the Jordan Valley.
8But the Babylonian army chased King Zedekiah. They caught up with him in the plains of Jericho. All of his army was scattered from him. 9So they captured Zedekiah and took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah. Riblah is in the land of Hamath. There he passed sentence on Zedekiah. 10There at 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. He put bronze chains on him and took him to Babylon. And the king kept Zedekiah in prison there until the day he died.
12Nebuzaradan was the commander of the king’s special guards. This servant of the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem. This was 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 and the palace. He also set fire to all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building was burned. 14The whole Babylonian army broke down the walls around Jerusalem. That army was led by the commander of the king’s special guards. 15Nebuzaradan, the commander of the guards, took captive some of the poorest people. And he took those who were left in Jerusalem. He took captive those who had surrendered to the king of Babylon. And he took away the skilled craftsmen who were left in Jerusalem. 16But Nebuzaradan left behind the rest of the poorest people of the land. They were to take care of the vineyards and fields.
17The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars, the bronze stands and the large bronze bowl, which was called the Sea. These were in the Temple of the Lord. Then they carried all the bronze to Babylon. 18They also took the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, bowls, dishes and all the bronze objects. They were used to serve in the Temple. 19The commander of the king’s special guards took these things away: bowls, pans for carrying hot coals and 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. There were two pillars. There was the large bronze bowl with the 12 bronze bulls under it. And there were the movable stands, which King Solomon had made for the Temple of the Lord.
21Each of the pillars was about 27 feet high. Each pillar was 18 feet around and hollow. The wall of each pillar was 3 inches thick. 22The bronze capital on top of the pillar was about 7½ feet high. It was decorated with a net design and bronze pomegranates all around it. The other pillar also had pomegranates. It was like the first pillar. 23There were 96 pomegranates on the sides of the pillars. There was a total of 100 pomegranates above the net design.
24The commander of the guards took some prisoners. He took Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank, and the three doorkeepers. 25The commander also took other people who were still in the city. He took the officer in charge of the fighting men. He also took seven people who advised the king. He also took the royal assistant who selected people for the army. And he took 60 other men who were in the city. 26Nebuzaradan, the commander, took all these people. And he brought them to the king of Babylon at 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 how many 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 took 745 Jews as captives. Nebuzaradan was the commander of the king’s special guards.
In all 4,600 people were taken captive.
Jehoiachin Is Set Free
31Jehoiachin king of Judah was in prison in Babylon for 37 years. That year Evil-Merodach became king of Babylon. He let Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison that year. He set Jehoiachin free on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month. 32Evil-Merodach spoke kindly to Jehoiachin. He gave Jehoiachin a seat of honor. It was above the seats of the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 33So Jehoiachin put away his prison clothes. 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 Jehoiachin died.