Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother's name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah.
He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, just as Jehoiakim had done.
It was because of the LORD's anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence. Now Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
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 whole army. They camped outside the city and built siege works all around it.
The city was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.
By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine in the city had become so severe that there was no food for the people to eat.
Then the city wall was broken through, and the whole army fled. They left the city at night through the gate between the two walls near the king's garden, though the Babylonians were surrounding the city. They fled toward the Arabah,
but the Babylonian army pursued King Zedekiah and overtook him in the plains of Jericho. All his soldiers were separated from him and scattered,
and he was captured. He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he pronounced sentence on him.
There at Riblah the king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes; he also killed all the officials of Judah.
Then he put out Zedekiah's eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon, where he put him in prison till the day of his death.
On the tenth day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, who served the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem.
He set fire to the temple of the LORD, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down.
The whole Babylonian army under the commander of the imperial guard broke down all the walls around Jerusalem.
Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard carried into exile some of the poorest people and those who remained in the city, along with the rest of the craftsmen and those who had gone over to the king of Babylon.
But Nebuzaradan left behind the rest of the poorest people of the land to work the vineyards and fields.
The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars, the movable stands and the bronze Sea that were at the temple of the LORD and they carried all the bronze to Babylon.
They also took away the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, dishes and all the bronze articles used in the temple service.
The commander of the imperial guard took away the basins, censers, sprinkling bowls, pots, lampstands, dishes and bowls used for drink offerings--all that were made of pure gold or silver.
The bronze from the two pillars, the Sea and the twelve bronze bulls under it, and the movable stands, which King Solomon had made for the temple of the LORD, was more than could be weighed.
Each of the pillars was eighteen cubits high and twelve cubits in circumference; each was four fingers thick, and hollow.
The bronze capital on top of the one pillar was five cubits high and was decorated with a network and pomegranates of bronze all around. The other pillar, with its pomegranates, was similar.
There were ninety-six pomegranates on the sides; the total number of pomegranates above the surrounding network was a hundred.
The commander of the guard took as prisoners Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank and the three doorkeepers.
Of those still in the city, he took the officer in charge of the fighting men, and seven royal advisers. He also took the secretary who was chief officer in charge of conscripting the people of the land and sixty of his men who were found in the city.
Nebuzaradan the commander took them all and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah.
There at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king had them executed. So Judah went into captivity, away from her land.
This is the number of the people Nebuchadnezzar carried into exile: in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews;
in Nebuchadnezzar's eighteenth year, 832 people from Jerusalem;
in his twenty-third year, 745 Jews taken into exile by Nebuzaradan the commander of the imperial guard. There were 4,600 people in all.
In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Evil-Merodach became king of Babylon, he released Jehoiachin king of Judah and freed him from prison on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month.
He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon.
So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king's table.
Day by day the king of Babylon gave Jehoiachin a regular allowance as long as he lived, till the day of his death.
Why have you rejected us forever, O God? Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?
Remember the people you purchased of old, the tribe of your inheritance, whom you redeemed-- Mount Zion, where you dwelt.
Turn your steps toward these everlasting ruins, all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary.
Your foes roared in the place where you met with us; they set up their standards as signs.
They behaved like men wielding axes to cut through a thicket of trees.
They smashed all the carved paneling with their axes and hatchets.
They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name.
They said in their hearts, "We will crush them completely!" They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land.
We are given no miraculous signs; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be.
How long will the enemy mock you, O God? Will the foe revile your name forever?
Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them!
But you, O God, are my king from of old; you bring salvation upon the earth.
It was you who split open the sea by your power; you broke the heads of the monster in the waters.
It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave him as food to the creatures of the desert.
It was you who opened up springs and streams; you dried up the ever flowing rivers.
The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon.
It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.
Remember how the enemy has mocked you, O LORD, how foolish people have reviled your name.
Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts; do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever.
Have regard for your covenant, because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land.
Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name.
Rise up, O God, and defend your cause; remember how fools mock you all day long.
Do not ignore the clamor of your adversaries, the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually.
How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave.
Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are upon her cheeks. Among all her lovers there is none to comfort her. All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies.
After affliction and harsh labor, Judah has gone into exile. She dwells among the nations; she finds no resting place. All who pursue her have overtaken her in the midst of her distress.
The roads to Zion mourn, for no one comes to her appointed feasts. All her gateways are desolate, her priests groan, her maidens grieve, and she is in bitter anguish.
Her foes have become her masters; her enemies are at ease. The LORD has brought her grief because of her many sins. Her children have gone into exile, captive before the foe.
All the splendor has departed from the Daughter of Zion. Her princes are like deer that find no pasture; in weakness they have fled before the pursuer.
In the days of her affliction and wandering Jerusalem remembers all the treasures that were hers in days of old. When her people fell into enemy hands, there was no one to help her. Her enemies looked at her and laughed at her destruction.
Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean. All who honored her despise her, for they have seen her nakedness; she herself groans and turns away.
Her filthiness clung to her skirts; she did not consider her future. Her fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her. "Look, O LORD, on my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed."
The enemy laid hands on all her treasures; she saw pagan nations enter her sanctuary-- those you had forbidden to enter your assembly.
All her people groan as they search for bread; they barter their treasures for food to keep themselves alive. "Look, O LORD, and consider, for I am despised."
"Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see. Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me, that the LORD brought on me in the day of his fierce anger?
"From on high he sent fire, sent it down into my bones. He spread a net for my feet and turned me back. He made me desolate, faint all the day long.
"My sins have been bound into a yoke; by his hands they were woven together. They have come upon my neck and the Lord has sapped my strength. He has handed me over to those I cannot withstand.
"The Lord has rejected all the warriors in my midst; he has summoned an army against me to crush my young men. In his winepress the Lord has trampled the Virgin Daughter of Judah.
"This is why I weep and my eyes overflow with tears. No one is near to comfort me, no one to restore my spirit. My children are destitute because the enemy has prevailed."
Zion stretches out her hands, but there is no one to comfort her. The LORD has decreed for Jacob that his neighbors become his foes; Jerusalem has become an unclean thing among them.
"The LORD is righteous, yet I rebelled against his command. Listen, all you peoples; look upon my suffering. My young men and maidens have gone into exile.
"I called to my allies but they betrayed me. My priests and my elders perished in the city while they searched for food to keep themselves alive.
"See, O LORD, how distressed I am! I am in torment within, and in my heart I am disturbed, for I have been most rebellious. Outside, the sword bereaves; inside, there is only death.
"People have heard my groaning, but there is no one to comfort me. All my enemies have heard of my distress; they rejoice at what you have done. May you bring the day you have announced so they may become like me.
"Let all their wickedness come before you; deal with them as you have dealt with me because of all my sins. My groans are many and my heart is faint."