So on January 15, a during the ninth year of Zedekiah's reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon led his entire army against Jerusalem. They surrounded the city and built siege ramps against its walls.
Jerusalem was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah's reign.
By July 18 of Zedekiah's eleventh year, b the famine in the city had become very severe, with the last of the food entirely gone.
Then a section of the city wall was broken down, and all the soldiers made plans to escape from the city. But since the city was surrounded by the Babylonians, c they waited for nightfall and fled through the gate between the two walls behind the king's gardens. They made a dash across the fields, in the direction of the Jordan Valley. d5
But the Babylonians chased after them and caught the king on the plains of Jericho, for by then his men had all abandoned him.
They brought him to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where sentence was passed against him.
The king of Babylon made Zedekiah watch as all his sons were killed. Then they gouged out Zedekiah's eyes, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon.
On August 14 of that year, e which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, an official of the Babylonian king, arrived in Jerusalem.
He burned down the Temple of the LORD, the royal palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem. He destroyed all the important buildings in the city.
Then the captain of the guard supervised the entire Babylonian f army as they tore down the walls of Jerusalem.
Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, then took as exiles those who remained in the city, along with the rest of the people and the troops who had declared their allegiance to the king of Babylon.
But the captain of the guard allowed some of the poorest people to stay behind in Judah to care for the vineyards and fields.
The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars, the bronze water carts, and the bronze Sea that were at the LORD's Temple, and they carried all the bronze away to Babylon.
They also took all the pots, shovels, lamp snuffers, dishes, and all the other bronze utensils used for making sacrifices at the Temple.
Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, also took the firepans and basins, and all the other utensils made of pure gold or silver.
The bronze from the two pillars, the water carts, and the Sea was too great to be weighed. These things had been made for the LORD's Temple in the days of King Solomon.
Each of the pillars was 27 feet g tall. The bronze capital on top of each pillar was 7 1/2 feet h high and was decorated with a network of bronze pomegranates all the way around.
The captain of the guard took with him as prisoners Seraiah the chief priest, his assistant Zephaniah, and the three chief gatekeepers.
And of the people still hiding in the city, he took an officer of the Judean army, five of the king's personal advisers, the army commander's chief secretary, who was in charge of recruitment, and sixty other citizens.
Nebuzaradan the commander took them all to the king of Babylon at Riblah.
And there at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king of Babylon had them all put to death. So the people of Judah were sent into exile from their land.
Then King Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan as governor over the people left in Judah.
When all the army commanders and their men learned that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah as governor, they joined him at Mizpah. These included Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah son of the Maacathite, and all their men.
Gedaliah vowed to them that the Babylonian officials meant them no harm. "Live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and all will go well for you," he promised.
But in midautumn of that year, i Ishmael son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama, who was of the royal family, went to Mizpah with ten men and assassinated Gedaliah and everyone with him, both Judeans and Babylonians.
Then all the people of Judah, from the least to the greatest, as well as the army commanders, fled in panic to Egypt, for they were afraid of what the Babylonians would do to them.
In the thirty-seventh year of King Jehoiachin's exile in Babylon, Evil-merodach ascended to the Babylonian throne. He was kind to Jehoiachin and released him from prison on April 2 of that year. j28
He spoke pleasantly to Jehoiachin and gave him preferential treatment over all the other exiled kings in Babylon.
He supplied Jehoiachin with new clothes to replace his prison garb and allowed him to dine at the king's table for the rest of his life.
The Babylonian king also gave him a regular allowance to cover his living expenses until the day of his death.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)