Nebuchadnezzar Besieges Jerusalem
(2 Chronicles 36:15–21; Jeremiah 39:1–10)
1 So in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his entire army. They encamped outside the city and built a a siege wall all around it. 2 And the city was kept under siege until King Zedekiah’s eleventh year.
3 By the ninth day of the fourth month, b the famine in the city was so severe that the people of the land had no food. 4 Then the city was breached; and though the Chaldeans c had surrounded the city, all the men of war fled by night by way of the gate between the two walls near the king’s garden.
They headed toward the Arabah, d 5 but the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king and overtook him in the plains of Jericho, and all his army was separated from him. 6 The Chaldeans seized the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where they pronounced judgment on him. 7 And they slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. Then they put out his eyes, bound him with bronze shackles, and took him to Babylon.
The Temple Destroyed
8 On the seventh day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign over Babylon, Nebuzaradan captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem. 9 He burned down the house of the LORD, the royal palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem—every significant building. 10 And the whole army of the Chaldeans under the captain of the guard broke down the walls around Jerusalem.
11 Then Nebuzaradan captain of the guard carried into exile the people who remained in the city, along with the deserters who had defected to the king of Babylon and the rest of the population. 12 But the captain of the guard left behind some of the poorest of the land to tend the vineyards and fields.
13 Moreover, the Chaldeans broke up the bronze pillars and stands and the bronze Sea in the house of the LORD, and they carried the bronze to Babylon. 14 They also took away the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, dishes, and all the articles of bronze used in the temple service. 15 The captain of the guard also took away the censers and sprinkling bowls—anything made of pure gold or fine silver.
16 As for the two pillars, the Sea, and the movable stands that Solomon had made for the house of the LORD, the weight of the bronze from all these articles was beyond measure. 17 Each pillar was eighteen cubits tall. e The bronze capital atop one pillar was three cubits high, f with a network of bronze pomegranates all around. The second pillar, with its network, was similar.
Captives Carried to Babylon
18 The captain of the guard also took away Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest of second rank, and the three doorkeepers. 19 Of those still in the city, he took a court official who had been appointed over the men of war, as well as five royal advisors. He also took the scribe of the captain of the army, who had enlisted the people of the land, and sixty men who were found in the city.
20 Nebuzaradan captain of the guard took them and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 21 There at Riblah in the land of Hamath, the king of Babylon struck them down and put them to death. So Judah was taken into exile, away from its own land.
Gedaliah Governs in Judah
22 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, over the people he had left behind in the land of Judah.
23 When all the commanders of the armies and their men heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah as governor, they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah—Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah g son of the Maacathite, as well as their men. 24 And Gedaliah took an oath before them and their men, assuring them, “Do not be afraid of the servants of the Chaldeans. Live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will be well with you.”
The Murder of Gedaliah
25 In the seventh month, however, Ishmael son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, who was a member of the royal family, came with ten men and struck down and killed Gedaliah, along with the Judeans and Chaldeans who were with him at Mizpah. 26 Then all the people small and great, together with the commanders of the army, arose and fled to Egypt for fear of the Chaldeans.
Jehoiachin Released from Prison
27 On the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month of the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Judah’s King Jehoiachin, in the year Evil-merodach became king of Babylon, he released h King Jehoiachin of Judah from prison. 28 And he spoke kindly to Jehoiachin and set his throne above the thrones of the other kings who were with him in Babylon.
1 a Literally He encamped outside it and they built
3 b Probable reading (see Jeremiah 52:6); MT does not include fourth .
4 c That is, the Babylonians; also in verses 5, 6, 10, 13, 24, 25, and 26
4 d Or the Jordan Valley
17 e 18 cubits is approximately 27 feet or 8.2 meters.
17 f 3 cubits is approximately 4.5 feet or 1.4 meters.
23 g Jaazaniah is a variant of Jezaniah ; see Jeremiah 40:8.
27 h Literally lifted up the head of