The southern kingdom falls
Now Zedekiah rebelled against the Babylonian king. 1So in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s rule, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem with his entire army. He camped beside the city and built a siege wall all around it. 2The city was under attack until King Zedekiah’s eleventh year. 3On the ninth day of the month, the famine in the city got so bad that no food remained for the common people. 4Then the enemy broke into the city. All the soldiers fled#LXX, cf Jer 52:7; MT lacks fled. by night using the gate between the two walls near the King’s Garden. The Chaldeans were surrounding the city, so the soldiers ran toward the desert plain. 5But the Chaldean army chased King Zedekiah and caught up with him in the Jericho plains. His entire army deserted him. 6So the Chaldeans captured the king and brought him back to the Babylonian king, who was at Riblah. There his punishment was determined. 7Zedekiah’s sons were slaughtered right before his eyes. Then he was blinded, put in bronze chains, and taken off to Babylon.
8On the seventh day of the fifth month in the nineteenth year of Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan arrived at Jerusalem. He was the commander of the guard and an official of the Babylonian king. 9He burned down the Lord’s temple, the royal palace, and all of Jerusalem’s houses. He burned down every important building. 10The whole Chaldean army under the commander of the guard tore down the walls surrounding Jerusalem. 11Then Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard exiled the people who were left in the city, those who had already surrendered to Babylon’s king, and the rest of the population. 12The commander of the guard left some of the land’s poor people behind to work the vineyards and be farmers. 13The Chaldeans shattered the bronze columns, the stands, and the bronze Sea that were in the Lord’s temple. They carried the bronze off to Babylon. 14They also took the pots, the shovels, the wick trimmers, the dishes, and all the bronze items that had been used in the temple. 15The commander of the guard took the fire pans and the sprinkling bowls, which were made of pure gold and pure silver. 16The bronze in all these objects—the two pillars, the Sea, and the stands that Solomon had made for the Lord’s temple—was too heavy to weigh. 17Each pillar was twenty-seven feet high. The bronze capital on top of the first pillar was four and a half feet high. Decorative lattices and pomegranates, all made from bronze, were around the capital. And the second pillar was decorated with lattices just like the first.
18The commander of the guard also took away Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank, and the three doorkeepers. 19Of those still left in the city, Nebuzaradan took away an officer who was in charge of the army and five royal advisors who were discovered in the city. He also took away the secretary of the officer responsible for drafting the land’s people to fight, as well as sixty people who were discovered in the city. 20Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard took all of these people and brought them to the Babylonian king at Riblah. 21The king of Babylon struck them down, killing them in Riblah in the land of Hamath.
So Judah was exiled from its land.
Gedaliah governs Judah
22Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar put Gedaliah, Ahikam’s son and Shaphan’s grandson, in charge of the people he had left behind in the land of Judah. 23All the army officers and their soldiers heard that the Babylonian king had appointed Gedaliah as governor, so they came with their men to Gedaliah at Mizpah. The officers were Ishmael, Nethaniah’s son; Johanan, Kareah’s son; Seraiah, Tanhumeth’s son who was a Netophathite; and Jaazaniah, Maacathite’s son. 24Gedaliah made a solemn pledge to them and their soldiers, telling them, "Don’t be afraid of the Chaldean officials. Stay in the land and serve the Babylonian king, and things will go well for you."
25But in the seventh month, Ishmael, Nethaniah’s son and Elishama’s grandson, who was from the royal family, came with ten soldiers, and they struck Gedaliah, and he died. They also killed the Judeans and the Chaldeans who were with him at Mizpah. 26Then all the people, young and old, along with the army officers, departed for Egypt because they were afraid of the Chaldeans.
Jehoiachin in Babylon
27In the year that Awil-merodach#Awil-merodach means Man of Marduk in Akkadian. became king of Babylon, he released Judah’s King Jehoiachin from prison. This happened in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin, on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month. 28Awil-merodach spoke kindly to Jehoiachin and seated him above the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 29So Jehoiachin took off his prisoner clothes and ate regularly in the king’s presence for the rest of his life. 30At the king’s command, a regular food allowance was given to him every day for the rest of his life.