Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah.
But Zedekiah did what was evil in the LORD's sight, just as Jehoiakim had done.
So the LORD, in his anger, finally banished the people of Jerusalem and Judah from his presence and sent them into exile. Then Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
So on January 15, a during the ninth year of Zedekiah's reign, King Nebuchadnezzar b 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, c 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, d 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. e8
But the Babylonians chased after them and caught King Zedekiah on the plains of Jericho, for by then his men had all abandoned him.
They brought him to the king of Babylon at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, where sentence was passed against him.
There at Riblah, the king of Babylon made Zedekiah watch as all his sons were killed; they also killed all the other leaders of Judah.
Then they gouged out Zedekiah's eyes, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon. Zedekiah remained there in prison for the rest of his life.
On August 17 of that year, f 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 g army as they tore down the walls of Jerusalem.
Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, then took as exiles some of the poorest of the people and those who remained in the city, along with the rest of the craftsmen and the troops who had declared their allegiance to the king of Babylon.
But Nebuzaradan 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, basins, dishes, and all the other bronze utensils used for making sacrifices at the Temple.
Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, also took the small bowls, firepans, basins, pots, lampstands, dishes, bowls used for drink offerings, and all the other utensils made of pure gold or silver.
The bronze from the two pillars, the water carts, and the Sea with the twelve bulls beneath it was too great to be measured. These things had been made for the LORD's Temple in the days of King Solomon.
Each of the pillars was 27 feet tall and 18 feet in circumference. h They were hollow, with walls 3 inches thick. i22
The bronze capital on top of each pillar was 7 1/2 feet j high and was decorated with a network of bronze pomegranates all the way around.
There were ninety-six pomegranates on the sides, and a total of one hundred on the network around the top.
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, seven 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.
The number of captives taken to Babylon in the seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign k was 3,023.
Then in Nebuchadnezzar's eighteenth year l he took 832 more.
In his twenty-third year m he sent Nebuzaradan, his captain of the guard, who took 745 more -- a total of 4,600 captives in all.
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 March 31 of that year. n32
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)