52
The Fall of Jerusalem
1#sn This final chapter does not mention Jeremiah, but its description of the downfall of Jerusalem and exile of the people validates the prophet’s ministry. Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he ruled in Jerusalem#map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4. for eleven years. His mother’s name was Hamutal#tn Some textual witnesses support the Kethib (consonantal text) in reading “Hamital.” daughter of Jeremiah, from Libnah. 2 He did what displeased the Lord#tn Heb “what was evil in the eyes of the Lord.” just as Jehoiakim had done.
3 What follows is a record of what happened to Jerusalem and Judah because of the Lord’s anger when he drove them out of his sight.#tn Heb “Surely (or “for”) because of the anger of the Lord this happened in Jerusalem and Judah until he drove them out from upon his face.” For the phrase “drive out of his sight,” see 7:15. Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. 4 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came against Jerusalem with his whole army and set up camp outside it.#tn Or “against.” They built siege ramps all around it. He arrived on the tenth day of the tenth month in the ninth year that Zedekiah ruled over Judah.#sn This would have been January 15, 588 b.c. The reckoning is based on the calendar that begins the year in the spring (Nisan = March/April). 5 The city remained under siege until Zedekiah’s eleventh year. 6 By the ninth day of the fourth month#sn According to modern reckoning that would have been July 18, 586 b.c. The siege thus lasted almost a full eighteen months. the famine in the city was so severe the residents#tn Heb “the people of the land.” had no food. 7 They broke through the city walls, and all the soldiers tried to escape. They left the city during the night. They went through the gate between the two walls that is near the king’s garden.#sn The king’s garden is mentioned again in Neh 3:15 in conjunction with the pool of Siloam and the stairs that go down from the city of David. This would have been in the southern part of the city near the Tyropean Valley which agrees with the reference to the “two walls” which were probably the walls on the eastern and western hills. (The Babylonians had the city surrounded.) Then they headed for the Jordan Valley.#sn Heb “toward the Arabah.” The Arabah was the rift valley north and south of the Dead Sea. Here the intention was undoubtedly to escape across the Jordan to Moab or Ammon. It appears from 40:14; 41:15 that the Ammonites were known to harbor fugitives from the Babylonians. 8 But the Babylonian army chased after the king. They caught up with Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho,#map For location see Map5-B2; Map6-E1; Map7-E1; Map8-E3; Map10-A2; Map11-A1. and his entire army deserted him. 9 They captured him and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah#sn Riblah was a strategic town on the Orontes River in Syria. It was at a crossing of the major roads between Egypt and Mesopotamia. Pharaoh Necho had earlier received Jehoahaz there and put him in chains (2 Kgs 23:33) prior to taking him captive to Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar had set up his base camp for conducting his campaigns against the Palestinian states there and was now sitting in judgment on prisoners brought to him. in the territory of Hamath and he passed sentence on him there. 10 The king of Babylon had Zedekiah’s sons put to death while Zedekiah was forced to watch. He also had all the nobles of Judah put to death there at Riblah. 11 He had Zedekiah’s eyes put out and had him bound in chains.#tn Heb “fetters of bronze.” The more generic “chains” is used in the translation because “fetters” is a word unfamiliar to most modern readers. Then the king of Babylon had him led off to Babylon and he was imprisoned there until the day he died.
12 On the tenth#tn The parallel account in 2 Kgs 25:8 has “seventh.” day of the fifth month,#sn The tenth day of the month would have been August 17, 586 b.c. in modern reckoning. in the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard#tn For the meaning of this phrase see BDB 371 s.v. טַבָּח 2 and compare the usage in Gen 39:1. who served#tn Heb “stood before.” the king of Babylon, arrived in Jerusalem. 13 He burned down the Lord’s temple, the royal palace, and all the houses in Jerusalem, including every large house. 14 The whole Babylonian army that came with the captain of the royal guard tore down the walls that surrounded Jerusalem. 15 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard, took into exile some of the poor,#tn Heb “poor of the people.” the rest of the people who remained in the city, those who had deserted to him, and the rest of the craftsmen. 16 But he#tn Heb “Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard.” However, the subject is clear from the preceding and modern English style would normally avoid repeating the proper name and title. left behind some of the poor#tn Heb “poor of the land.” and gave them fields and vineyards.
17 The Babylonians broke the two bronze pillars in the temple of the Lord, as well as the movable stands and the large bronze basin called the “The Sea.”#sn For discussion of the items listed here, see the study notes at Jer 27:19. They took all the bronze to Babylon. 18 They also took the pots, shovels,#sn These shovels were used to clean the altar. trimming shears,#sn These trimming shears were used to trim the wicks of the lamps. basins, pans, and all the bronze utensils used by the priests.#tn Heb “with which they served (or “fulfilled their duty”).” 19 The captain of the royal guard took the gold and silver bowls, censers,#sn The censers held the embers used for the incense offerings. basins, pots, lampstands, pans, and vessels.#sn These vessels were used for drink offerings. 20 The bronze of the items that King Solomon made for the Lord’s temple (including the two pillars, the large bronze basin called “The Sea,” the twelve bronze bulls under “The Sea,” and the movable stands#tc The translation follows the LXX (Greek version), which reflects the description in 1 Kgs 7:25-26. The Hebrew text reads, “the twelve bronze bulls under the movable stands.” הַיָּם (hayyam, “The Sea”) has been accidentally omitted by homoioarcton; note that the following form, הַמְּכֹנוֹת (hammÿkhonot, “the movable stands”), also begins with the article.) was too heavy to be weighed. 21 Each of the pillars was about 27 feet#tn Heb “eighteen cubits.” A “cubit” was a unit of measure, approximately equivalent to a foot and a half. high, about 18 feet#tn Heb “twelve cubits.” A “cubit” was a unit of measure, approximately equivalent to a foot and a half. in circumference, three inches#tn Heb “four fingers.” thick, and hollow. 22 The bronze top of one pillar was about seven and one-half feet#tn Heb “five cubits.” A “cubit” was a unit of measure, approximately equivalent to a foot and a half. high and had bronze latticework and pomegranate-shaped ornaments all around it. The second pillar with its pomegranate-shaped ornaments was like it. 23 There were ninety-six pomegranate-shaped ornaments on the sides; in all there were one hundred pomegranate-shaped ornaments over the latticework that went around it.
24 The captain of the royal guard took Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest who was second in rank, and the three doorkeepers.#sn See the note at Jer 35:4. 25 From the city he took an official who was in charge of the soldiers, seven of the king’s advisers who were discovered in the city, an official army secretary who drafted citizens#tn Heb “men, from the people of the land” (also later in this verse). for military service, and sixty citizens who were discovered in the middle of the city. 26 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard, took them and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 27 The king of Babylon ordered them to be executed#tn Heb “struck them down and killed them.” at Riblah in the territory of Hamath.
So Judah was taken into exile away from its land. 28 Here is the official record of the number of people#tn Heb “these are the people.” Nebuchadnezzar carried into exile: In the seventh year,#sn This would be 597 b.c. 3,023 Jews; 29 in Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth year,#sn This would be 586 b.c. 832 people from Jerusalem; 30 in Nebuchadnezzar’s twenty-third year,#sn This would be 581 b.c. Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard, carried into exile 745 Judeans. In all 4,600 people went into exile.
Jehoiachin in Exile
31 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin of Judah, on the twenty-fifth#sn The parallel account in 2 Kgs 25:28 has “twenty-seventh.” day of the twelfth month,#sn The twenty-fifth day would be March 20, 561 b.c. in modern reckoning. Evil-Merodach, in the first year of his reign, pardoned#tn Heb “lifted up the head of.” King Jehoiachin of Judah and released him from prison. 32 He spoke kindly to him and gave him a more prestigious position than#tn Heb “made his throne above the throne of the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 33 Jehoiachin#tn The subject is unstated in the Hebrew text, but Jehoiachin is clearly the subject of the following verb. took off his prison clothes and ate daily in the king’s presence for the rest of his life. 34 He was given daily provisions by the king of Babylon for the rest of his life until the day he died.
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