The Fall of Jerusalem
52 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of [a]Jeremiah of Libnah.(A) 2 He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord like all that Jehoiakim had done. 3 For all this came about in Jerusalem and Judah because of the anger of the Lord, and [in the end] He cast them from His presence. And Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. 4 Now it came about in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem; and they camped against it and built moveable towers and siege mounds all around it.(B) 5 So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.(C) 6 In the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, the famine was so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. 7 Then the city was broken into, and all the soldiers fled. They left the city at night [as Ezekiel prophesied] passing through the gate between the two walls by the king’s garden, though the Chaldeans were all around the city. They fled by way of the Arabah (the Jordan Valley).(D) 8 But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and his entire army was scattered from him. 9 Then they seized the king and brought him to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the [Syrian] land of Hamath [on the northern border of Israel], where he pronounced sentence on him. 10 The king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes; he also killed all the princes of Judah at Riblah. 11 Then the king of Babylon blinded Zedekiah, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon and there he put him in prison [b][in a mill] until the day of his death.(E)
12 Now in the fifth month, on the tenth day, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan captain of the guard, who served the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 13 He burned down the house of the Lord and the king’s palace and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house or important structure he set on fire. 14 So all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down all the walls around Jerusalem. 15 Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took away into exile some of the poorest of the people, those who were left in the city [at the time it was captured], along with those who deserted to join the king of Babylon [during the siege] and the rest of the artisans. 16 But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left some of the poorest of the land to be vinedressers and farmers.
17 Now the Chaldeans broke into pieces the pillars of bronze which belonged to the house of the Lord, and the bronze pedestals [which supported the ten basins] and the [enormous] bronze Sea, which were in the house of the Lord, and carried all the bronze to Babylon. 18 They also took away the pots [for carrying away ashes] and the shovels and the snuffers and the bowls and the spoons and all the bronze articles used in the temple service. 19 The captain of the guard also took away the [small] bowls and the firepans and the basins and the pots and the lampstands and the incense cups and the bowls for the drink offerings—whatever was made of fine gold and whatever was made of fine silver. 20 The two pillars, the one [enormous] Sea (basin), and [c]the twelve bronze bulls under the Sea, and the stands, which King Solomon had made for the house of the Lord—the bronze of all these things was beyond weighing. 21 Concerning the pillars, the height of each pillar was eighteen cubits (twenty-seven feet), and a line [an ornamental molding] of twelve cubits (eighteen feet) went around its circumference; it was four fingers thick, and [the pillar was] hollow. 22 A capital of bronze was on [top of] it. The height of each capital was five cubits (seven and one-half feet), with a lattice-work and pomegranates around it, all of bronze. The second pillar also, with its pomegranates, was similar to these. 23 There were ninety-six pomegranates on the sides; and a hundred pomegranates were on the lattice-work all around.
24 Then the captain of the guard took [as prisoners] Seraiah the chief priest and Zephaniah the second priest and the three doorkeepers. 25 He also took out of the city one official who was overseer of the soldiers, and seven of the king’s advisers who were found in the city, and the scribe of the commander of the army who mustered the people of the land, and sixty men who were still in the city. 26 Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 27 Then the king of Babylon struck them down and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was led away into exile from its own land.
28 This is the number of people whom Nebuchadnezzar took captive and exiled: in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews; 29 in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, [he took captive] 832 persons from Jerusalem; 30 in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan the captain of the [Babylonian] guard took captive 745 Jewish people; there were 4,600 persons in all.
31 Now it came about in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin [also called Coniah and Jeconiah] king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth of the month, Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, [d]showed favor to Jehoiachin king of Judah and brought him out of prison.(F) 32 He spoke kindly to him and gave him a throne above the thrones of the kings who were [captives] with him in Babylon. 33 Jehoiachin changed his prison clothes, and he dined regularly at the king’s table all the days of his life. 34 And his allowance, a regular allowance was given to him by the king of Babylon, a daily portion [according to his needs] until the day of his death, [e]all the days of his life.
- Jeremiah 52:1 A different man from the prophet and author of this book.
- Jeremiah 52:11 The Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) translates this word “mill.” This may imply that the Chaldeans treated Zedekiah in his old age to the same fate Samson suffered when he was a Philistine captive (Judg 16:21).
- Jeremiah 52:20 King Ahaz had previously removed the twelve bronze bulls (1 Kin 7:25) from under the big basin and had replaced them with a substructure of stone (2 Kin 16:17), but unfortunately he had not put them beyond the reach of the Chaldeans.
- Jeremiah 52:31 Lit lifted up the head of.
- Jeremiah 52:34 The purpose of these last few words may be to avoid ending the book with the word “death.” The general purpose of the last four verses seems to have been to leave the reader with the comforting thought that even in exile the Lord remembered His people and softened the heart of the conqueror toward David’s descendant. Note also the contrast between Zedekiah, who remained in prison until his death (v 11), and Jehoiachin, who was set free and treated with honor until his death.