So in the ninth year of Zedekiah's rule, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem with his entire army. He camped beside the city and built a siege wall all around it.
The city was under attack until King Zedekiah's eleventh year.
On the ninth day of the month, the famine in the city got so bad that no food remained for the common people.
Then the enemy broke into the city. All the soldiers fled by night using the gate between the two walls near the King's Garden. The Chaldeans were surrounding the city, so the soldiers ran toward the desert plain.
But the Chaldean army chased King Zedekiah and caught up with him in the Jericho plains. His entire army deserted him.
So the Chaldeans captured the king and brought him back to the Babylonian king, who was at Riblah. There his punishment was determined.
Zedekiah's sons were slaughtered right before his eyes. Then he was blinded, put in bronze chains, and taken off to Babylon.
On the seventh day of the fifth month in the nineteenth year of Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan arrived at Jerusalem. He was the commander of the guard and an official of the Babylonian king.
He burned down the LORD's temple, the royal palace, and all of Jerusalem's houses. He burned down every important building.
The whole Chaldean army under the commander of the guard tore down the walls surrounding Jerusalem.
Then Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard exiled the people who were left in the city, those who had already surrendered to Babylon's king, and the rest of the population.
The commander of the guard left some of the land's poor people behind to work the vineyards and be farmers.
The Chaldeans shattered the bronze columns, the stands, and the bronze Sea that were in the LORD's temple. They carried the bronze off to Babylon.
They also took the pots, the shovels, the wick trimmers, the dishes, and all the bronze items that had been used in the temple.
The commander of the guard took the fire pans and the sprinkling bowls, which were made of pure gold and pure silver.
The bronze in all these objects—the two pillars, the Sea, and the stands that Solomon had made for the LORD's temple—was too heavy to weigh.
Each pillar was twenty-seven feet high. The bronze capital on top of the first pillar was four and a half feet high. Decorative lattices and pomegranates, all made from bronze, were around the capital. And the second pillar was decorated with lattices just like the first.
The commander of the guard also took away Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank, and the three doorkeepers.
Of those still left in the city, Nebuzaradan took away an officer who was in charge of the army and five royal advisors who were discovered in the city. He also took away the secretary of the officer responsible for drafting the land's people to fight, as well as sixty people who were discovered in the city.
Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard took all of these people and brought them to the Babylonian king at Riblah.
The king of Babylon struck them down, killing them in Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was exiled from its land.
Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar put Gedaliah, Ahikam's son and Shaphan's grandson, in charge of the people he had left behind in the land of Judah.
All the army officers and their soldiers heard that the Babylonian king had appointed Gedaliah as governor, so they came with their men to Gedaliah at Mizpah. The officers were Ishmael, Nethaniah's son; Johanan, Kareah's son; Seraiah, Tanhumeth's son who was a Netophathite; and Jaazaniah, Maacathite's son.
Gedaliah made a solemn pledge to them and their soldiers, telling them, "Don't be afraid of the Chaldean officials. Stay in the land and serve the Babylonian king, and things will go well for you."
But in the seventh month, Ishmael, Nethaniah's son and Elishama's grandson, who was from the royal family, came with ten soldiers, and they struck Gedaliah, and he died. They also killed the Judeans and the Chaldeans who were with him at Mizpah.
Then all the people, young and old, along with the army officers, departed for Egypt because they were afraid of the Chaldeans.
In the year that Awil-merodach became king of Babylon, he released Judah's King Jehoiachin from prison. This happened in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin, on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month.
Awil-merodach spoke kindly to Jehoiachin and seated him above the other kings who were with him in Babylon.
So Jehoiachin took off his prisoner clothes and ate regularly in the king's presence for the rest of his life.
At the king's command, a regular food allowance was given to him every day for the rest of his life.