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Jerusalem Is Captured
(2 Kings 24.18—25.30; 2 Chronicles 36.11-21)
1Zedekiah was 21 years old when he was appointed king of Judah,#52.1 appointed king of Judah: By Nebuchadnezzar (see 37.1). and he ruled from Jerusalem for eleven years.#52.1 he ruled … years: Ruled 598–586 b.c. His mother Hamutal was the daughter of Jeremiah from the town of Libnah.#52.1 Jeremiah from the town of Libnah: Not the same Jeremiah as the author of this book (see 1.1). 2Zedekiah disobeyed the Lord, just as Jehoiakim had done, 3and it was Zedekiah who finally rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar.#52.3 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
The people of Judah and Jerusalem had made the Lord so angry that he finally turned his back on them. That's why horrible things were happening there.
4 # Ez 24.2. In Zedekiah's ninth year as king, on the tenth day of the tenth month,#52.4 tenth month: See the note at 39.1-3. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia led his entire army to attack Jerusalem. The troops set up camp outside the city and built ramps up to the city walls.
5-6After a year and a half,#52.5,6 After a year and a half: Jerusalem was captured in 586 b.c. all the food in Jerusalem was gone. Then on the ninth day of the fourth month,#52.5,6 fourth month: See the note at 39.1-3. 7#Ez 33.21. the Babylonian troops broke through the city wall. That same night, Zedekiah and his soldiers tried to escape through the gate near the royal garden, even though they knew the enemy had the city surrounded. They headed toward the Jordan River valley, 8but the Babylonian troops caught up with them near Jericho. The Babylonians arrested Zedekiah, but his soldiers scattered in every direction. 9Zedekiah was taken to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where Nebuchadnezzar put him on trial and found him guilty. 10Zedekiah's sons and the officials of Judah were killed while he watched, 11#Ez 12.13. then his eyes were poked out. He was put in chains, then dragged off to Babylon and kept in prison until he died.
12Jerusalem was captured during Nebuchadnezzar's nineteenth year as king of Babylonia.
About a month later,#52.12 About a month later: Hebrew “On the seventh day of the fifth month.” Nebuchadnezzar's officer in charge of the guards arrived in Jerusalem. His name was Nebuzaradan, 13#1 K 9.8. and he burned down the Lord's temple, the king's palace, and every important building in the city, as well as all the houses. 14Then he ordered the Babylonian soldiers to break down the walls around Jerusalem. 15He led away the people left in the city, including everyone who had become loyal to Nebuchadnezzar, the rest of the skilled workers,#52.15 the rest of the skilled workers: Nebuchadnezzar had taken away some of the skilled workers eleven years before (see 2 Kings 24.14-16). and even some of the poor people of Judah. 16Only the very poorest were left behind to work the vineyards and the fields.
17-20 # 1 K 7.15-47. Nebuzaradan ordered his soldiers to go to the temple and take everything made of gold or silver, including bowls, fire pans, sprinkling bowls, pans, lampstands, dishes for incense, and the cups for wine offerings. The Babylonian soldiers took all the bronze things used for worship at the temple, including the pans for hot ashes, and the shovels, lamp snuffers, sprinkling bowls, and dishes for incense. The soldiers also took everything else made of bronze, including the two columns that stood in front of the temple, the large bowl called the Sea, the twelve bulls that held it up, and the movable stands.#52.17-20 the large bowl called the Sea, the twelve bulls that held it up, and the movable stands: One ancient translation; Hebrew “the large bowl called the Sea, and the twelve bulls under the movable stands.” The soldiers broke these things into pieces so they could take them to Babylonia. There was so much bronze that it could not be weighed. 21For example, the columns were about 8 meters high and 5.5 meters around. They were hollow, but the bronze was about 75 millimeters thick. 22Each column had a bronze cap over 2 meters high that was decorated with bronze designs. Some of these designs were like chains and others were like pomegranates.#52.22 pomegranates: A small red fruit that looks like an apple. 23There were 96 pomegranates evenly spaced#52.23 evenly spaced: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. around each column, and a total of 100 pomegranates were located above the chains.
24Next, Nebuzaradan arrested Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah his assistant, and three temple officials. 25Then he arrested one of the army commanders, seven of King Zedekiah's personal advisors, and the officer in charge of gathering the troops for battle. He also found 60 more soldiers who were still in Jerusalem. 26-27Nebuzaradan led them to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where Nebuchadnezzar had them killed.
The people of Judah no longer lived in their own country.
People of Judah Taken Prisoner
28-30Here is a list of the number of the people of Judah that Nebuchadnezzar#52.28-30 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2. took to Babylonia as prisoners:
In his seventh year as king, he took 3,023 people.
In his eighteenth year as king, he took 832 from Jerusalem.
In his twenty-third year as king, his officer Nebuzaradan took 745 people.
So, Nebuchadnezzar took a total of 4,600 people from Judah to Babylonia.
Jehoiachin Is Set Free
(2 Kings 25.27-30)
31Jehoiachin was a prisoner in Babylon for 37 years. Then Evil Merodach#52.31 Evil Merodach: The son of Nebuchadnezzar who ruled Babylonia from 562–560 b.c. became king of Babylonia, and in the first year of his rule, on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month,#52.31 twelfth month: Adar, the twelfth month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-February to mid-March. he let Jehoiachin out of prison. 32Evil Merodach was kind to Jehoiachin and honored him more than any of the other kings held prisoner there. 33Jehoiachin was allowed to wear regular clothes instead of a prison uniform, and he even ate at the king's table every day. 34As long as Jehoiachin lived, he was paid a daily allowance to buy whatever he needed.
1 Zedekiah was a son of twenty-one years when he first began to reign. And he reigned for eleven years in Jerusalem. And the name of his mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah.
2 And he did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord, in accord with all that Jehoiakim had done.
3 And so the fury of the Lord was toward Jerusalem, and toward Judah, even until he cast them away from his face. And Zedekiah drew away from the king of Babylon.
4 And it happened that, in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth of the month, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, he and his entire army, came against Jerusalem. And they besieged it, and they built fortifications against it, on every side.
5 And the city was besieged, until the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.
6 Then, in the fourth month, on the ninth of the month, a famine gripped the city. And there was no nourishment for the people of the land.
7 And the city was broken, and all the men of war fled, and they departed from the city at night by way of the gate which is between the two walls, and which leads to the king's garden, while the Chaldeans were besieging the city all around, and they went away by the road that leads to the wilderness.
8 But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king. And they overtook Zedekiah in the desert which is near Jericho. And all of his companions fled away from him.
9 And when they had captured the king, they led him away to the king of Babylon at Riblah, which is in the land of Hamath. And he spoke a judgment against him.
10 And the king of Babylon cut the throats of the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and he also killed all the leaders of Judah at Riblah.
11 And he plucked out the eyes of Zedekiah, and he bound him with shackles, and the king of Babylon led him away to Babylon, and he placed him in the prison house, even until the day of his death.
12 Then, in the fifth month, on the tenth of the month, which is the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan, the leader of the military, arrived. And he was standing before the king of Babylon at Jerusalem.
13 And he set fire to the house of the Lord, and to the house of the king, and to all the houses of Jerusalem. And every great house he burned with fire.
14 And the entire army of the Chaldeans, who were with the chief of the military, destroyed the entire wall all around Jerusalem.
15 Then Nebuzaradan, the leader of the military, took away some of the poor people, and some of the rest of the common people, who had remained in the city, and some of the fugitives, who had fled over to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the multitude.
16 Yet truly, some of the poor of the land, Nebuzaradan, the leader of the military, left behind as vinedressers and farmers.
17 The Chaldeans also broke apart the bronze pillars that were in the house of the Lord, and the bases, and the sea of brass that was in the house of the Lord. And they took all the brass of these things to Babylon.
18 And they took the cooking pots, and the hooks, and the psalteries, and the bowls, and the little mortars, and all the bronze vessels that had been used in the ministry.
19 And the chief of the military took the water pots, and the censers, and the pitchers, and the basins, and the lampstands, and the mortars, and the little cups, whatever was gold, for the gold, and whatever was silver, for the silver,
20 as well as the two pillars, and the one brass sea, and the twelve oxen of brass that were under the bases, which king Solomon had made in the house of the Lord. There was no weight of brass left behind out of all these vessels.
21 Now concerning the pillars, one pillar was eighteen cubits high, and a cord of twelve cubits encircled it. Moreover, its thickness was four fingers, and the interior was hollow.
22 And heads of brass were upon both. And the height of one head was five cubits. And little nets with pomegranates were upon the heads all around, all of brass. The second pillar was similar, and the pomegranates.
23 And there were ninety-six pomegranates hanging down; and there were one hundred pomegranates in all, surrounded by the little nets.
24 And the chief of the military took Seraiah, the first priest, and Zephaniah, the second priest, and the three keepers of the vestibule.
25 He also took from the city one eunuch who was in charge of the men of war, and seven men among those who served before the face of the king, who were found in the city, and a scribe, a leader of the military, who tested the new recruits, and sixty men from the people of the land, who were found in the midst of the city.
26 Then Nebuzaradan, the chief of the military, took them, and he led them to the king of Babylon at Riblah.
27 And the king of Babylon struck them and put them to death at Riblah, in the land of Hamath. And Judah was carried away from his land.
28 This is the people whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away: in the seventh year, three thousand and twenty-three Jews;
29 in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, eight hundred thirty-two souls from Jerusalem;
30 in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan, the chief of the military, carried away of the Jews seven hundred forty-five souls. Therefore, all the souls were four thousand six hundred.
31 And it happened that, in the thirty-seventh year of the transmigration of Jehoiachin, the king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth of the month, Evilmerodach, the king of Babylon, in the very first year of his reign, lifted up the head of Jehoiachin, the king of Judah, and he brought him out of the prison house.
32 And he spoke with him for good, and he set his throne above the thrones of the kings who were after him in Babylon.
33 And he changed his prison garments, and he ate bread in his sight always, all the days of his life.
34 And for his meals, a continual provision was allotted to him by the king of Babylon, a measure for every single day, until the day of his death, all the days of his life.