But they wouldn't listen; they poked fun at God's messengers, despised the message itself, and in general treated the prophets like idiots. God became more and more angry until there was no turning back -
God called in Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who came and killed indiscriminately - and right in The Temple itself; it was a ruthless massacre: young men and virgins, the elderly and weak - they were all the same to him.
And then he plundered The Temple of everything valuable, cleaned it out completely; he emptied the treasuries of The Temple of God, the treasuries of the king and his officials, and hauled it all, people and possessions, off to Babylon.
He burned The Temple of God to the ground, knocked down the wall of Jerusalem, and set fire to all the buildings - everything valuable was burned up.
Any survivor was taken prisoner into exile in Babylon and made a slave to Nebuchadnezzar and his family. The exile and slavery lasted until the kingdom of Persia took over.
This is exactly the message of God that Jeremiah had preached: the desolate land put to an extended sabbath rest, a seventy-year Sabbath rest making up for all the unkept Sabbaths.
In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia - this fulfilled the message of God preached by Jeremiah - God moved Cyrus king of Persia to make an official announcement throughout his kingdom; he wrote it out as follows:
"From Cyrus king of Persia a proclamation: God, the God of the heavens, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has also assigned me to build him a Temple of worship at Jerusalem in Judah. All who belong to God's people are urged to return - and may your God be with you! Move forward!"
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)