The Siege of Jerusalem. 1 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned for eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. 2 He did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as Jehoiakim had done. 3 Indeed Jerusalem and Judah so aroused the anger of the Lord that he cast them away from his presence.
Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. 4 Therefore, in the ninth year of his reign, on the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, advanced against Jerusalem with his entire army. They encamped around the city and constructed siege-works against it on every side. 5 The city remained under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.
6 On the ninth day of the fourth month there was such a severe famine in the city that there was no food available for the people to eat. 7 Then a breach was made in the city wall, and all of the soldiers fled, departing from the city under the cover of darkness by the gate between the two walls near the king’s garden, and they set off in the direction of the Arabah, even though the Chaldeans were surrounding the city. 8 The army of the Chaldeans set off in pursuit of the king, and they overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho, while his army deserted him and scattered in all directions.
9 After Zedekiah was captured, he was taken to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where the king of Babylon passed sentence on him. 10 He had the sons of Zedekiah slaughtered before their father’s eyes, and he also put to death the princes of Judah at Riblah. 11 Then the king of Babylon put out the eyes of Zedekiah, bound him in fetters, and took him to Babylon, confining him in prison until the day of his death.
12 The Fall of Jerusalem. On the tenth day of the fifth month—this was in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon—Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, arrived at Jerusalem as the representative of the king of Babylon. 13 He burned to the ground the house of the Lord, the royal palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every large house he ordered to be set afire. 14 Meanwhile, all the Chaldean troops who had accompanied the captain of the guard demolished the walls that surrounded Jerusalem.
15 Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, led into exile some of the poorest people and those who remained in the city, those deserters who had defected to the king of Babylon, and the remaining artisans. 16 However, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, left behind some of the poorest people of the land to serve as vinedressers and farmers.
17 The Chaldeans broke up into pieces the pillars of bronze that were in the house of the Lord, and the wheeled stand and the bronze sea that were in the house of the Lord, and they carried away all the bronze to Babylon. 18 They removed the pots, the shovels, the snuffers, the basins, the ladles, and all the bronze vessels used in worship. 19 The captain of the guard also took away the small bowls, the censers, the sprinkling bowls, the ash containers, the lampstands, the goblets, and the saucers—everything that was made of gold or of silver.
20 The bronze of the two pillars, of the one sea, and of the twelve oxen under the sea, and the wheeled stands that King Solomon had ordered to be made for the house of the Lord, encompassed more than could be weighed. 21 Each of the pillars was eighteen cubits high, and the circumference of each was twelve cubits; although it was hollow inside, its thickness was four fingers. 22 Upon it was a capital of bronze. The height of each capital was five cubits, encircled at the top of the capital with latticework and bronze pomegranates. 23 There were ninety-six pomegranates on the sides, with one hundred pomegranates encircling the latticework.
24 The captain of the guard took as prisoners the chief priest Seraiah, Zephaniah, who was the next highest in rank, and the three guardians of the threshold. 25 He also took from the city an officer who had been in command of the soldiers, seven members of the king’s council who were discovered in the city, the secretary of the army commander who mustered the people of the land, and sixty of the common people who had not departed from the city.
26 Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, arrested these men and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 27 There at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king of Babylon ordered them to be executed. Thus Judah went into captivity after being deported from its own land.
28 [b]This is the number of people whom Nebuchadnezzar led away into exile: in the seventh year, three thousand and twenty-three Judeans; 29 in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, eight hundred and thirty-two people were deported from Jerusalem; 30 in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took into exile seven hundred and forty-five Judeans. Thus there was a total of four thousand six hundred persons.
31 Honor Bestowed on Jehoiachin. In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin, the king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth day of the month, Evil-merodach, the king of Babylon, in the year he ascended the throne, pardoned Jehoia-chin, the king of Judah and ordered him to be released from prison. 32 He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor above the seats of the other kings who were with him in Babylon.
33 Jehoiachin laid aside his prison clothes, and for the rest of his life, he always dined at the king’s table. 34 In addition, the king of Babylon granted him a regular daily allowance for as long as he lived, up to the day of his death.
- Jeremiah 52:1 This final chapter, which is found almost identically in Jer 39:1-7; 2 Ki 24:18-20; 25:1-21, 27-30, is not from Jeremiah. It seems that toward the end of the Exile, the editor introduced it as a conclusion in which to render homage and justice to a prophet who had been so assailed and questioned during his lifetime.
- Jeremiah 52:28 This piece of information, which is dated according to the Babylonian calendar, shows that a third deportation was added to those of 599 and 587 B.C. The figures, which are doubtless incomplete, do not correspond to those in 2 Ki 24:14-16 and do not agree given the total number of deportees.