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1Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army during Zedekiah’s ninth year as king, on the tenth day of the tenth month. He made a camp around the city and piled dirt against the city walls to attack it. 2The city was under attack until Zedekiah’s eleventh year as king. 3By the ninth day of the fourth month, the hunger was terrible in the city. There was no food for the people to eat. 4Then the city was broken into, and the whole army ran away at night through the gate between the two walls by the king’s garden. While the Babylonians were still surrounding the city, Zedekiah and his men ran away toward the Jordan Valley. 5But the Babylonian army chased King Zedekiah and caught up with him in the plains of Jericho. All of his army was scattered from him, 6so they captured Zedekiah and took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah. There he passed sentence on Zedekiah. 7They killed Zedekiah’s sons as he watched. Then they put out his eyes and put bronze chains on him and took him to Babylon.
8Nebuzaradan was the commander of the king’s special guards. This officer of the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem on the seventh day of the fifth month, in Nebuchadnezzar’s nineteenth year as king of Babylon. 9Nebuzaradan set fire to the Temple of the Lord and the palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building was burned.
10The whole Babylonian army, led by the commander of the king’s special guards, broke down the walls around Jerusalem. 11Nebuzaradan, the commander of the guards, captured the people left in Jerusalem, those who had surrendered to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the people. 12But the commander left behind some of the poorest people of the land to take care of the vineyards and fields.
13The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars, the bronze stands, and the large bronze bowl, which was called the Sea, in the Temple of the Lord. Then they carried the bronze to Babylon. 14They also took the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, dishes, and all the bronze objects used to serve in the Temple. 15The commander of the king’s special guards took away the pans for carrying hot coals, the bowls, and everything made of pure gold or silver. 16There were two pillars and the large bronze bowl and the movable stands which Solomon had made for the Temple of the Lord. There was so much bronze that it could not be weighed. 17Each pillar was about twenty-seven feet high. The bronze capital on top of the pillar was about four and one-half feet high. It was decorated with a net design and bronze pomegranates all around it. The other pillar also had a net design and was like the first pillar.
Judah Is Taken Prisoner
18The commander of the guards took some prisoners—Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank, and the three doorkeepers. 19Of the people who were still in the city, he took the officer in charge of the fighting men, as well as five people who advised the king. He took the royal secretary who selected people for the army and sixty other men who were in the city. 20Nebuzaradan, the commander, took all these people and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 21There 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.
Gedaliah Becomes Governor
22Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon left some people in the land of Judah. He appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, as governor.
23The army captains and their men heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah governor, so they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. They were Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, Jaazaniah son of the Maacathite, and their men. 24Then Gedaliah promised these army captains and their men, “Don’t be afraid of the Babylonian officers. Live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and everything will go well for you.”
25In the seventh month Ishmael son of Nethaniah, son of Elishama from the king’s family, came with ten men and killed Gedaliah. They also killed the men of Judah and Babylon who were with Gedaliah at Mizpah. 26Then all the people, from the least important to the most important, along with the army leaders, ran away to Egypt, because they were afraid of the Babylonians.
Jehoiachin Is Set Free
27Jehoiachin king of Judah was held in Babylon for thirty-seven years. In the thirty-seventh year Evil-Merodach became king of Babylon, and he let Jehoiachin out of prison on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month. 28Evil-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. 29So Jehoiachin put away his prison clothes. For the rest of his life, he ate at the king’s table. 30Every day, for as long as Jehoiachin lived, the king gave him an allowance.
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The Holy Bible, New Century Version, Copyright © 2005 Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.