1Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon. He marched out against Jerusalem. His whole army went with him. It was in the ninth year of the rule of Zedekiah. It was on the tenth day of the tenth month. Nebuchadnezzar set up camp outside the city. He brought in war machines all around it. 2 It was surrounded until the 11th year of King Zedekiah’s rule.
3 By the ninth day of the fourth month, there wasn’t any food left in the city. So the people didn’t have anything to eat. 4 Then the Babylonians broke through the city wall. Judah’s whole army ran away at night. They went out through the gate between the two walls near the king’s garden. They escaped even though the Babylonians surrounded the city. Judah’s army ran toward the Arabah Valley. 5 But the Babylonian army chased King Zedekiah. They caught up with him in the plains near Jericho. All his soldiers were separated from him. They had scattered in every direction. 6 The king was captured.
He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah. That’s where Nebuchadnezzar decided how he would be punished. 7 Nebuchadnezzar’s men killed the sons of Zedekiah. They forced him to watch it with his own eyes. Then they poked out his eyes. They put him in bronze chains. And they took him to Babylon.
8 Nebuzaradan was an official of the king of Babylon. In fact, he was commander of the royal guard. He came to Jerusalem. It was in the 19th year that Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon. It was on the seventh day of the fifth month. 9 Nebuzaradan set the Lord’s temple on fire. He also set fire to the royal palace and all the houses in Jerusalem. He burned down every important building. 10 The whole Babylonian army broke down the walls around Jerusalem. That’s what the commander told them to do. 11 Some people still remained in the city. But Nebuzaradan the commander took them away as prisoners. He also took the rest of the people of the land. That included those who had joined the king of Babylon. 12 But the commander left behind some of the poorest people of the land. He told them to work in the vineyards and fields.
13 The Babylonian army destroyed the Lord’s temple. They broke the bronze pillars into pieces. They broke up the bronze stands that could be moved around. And they broke up the huge bronze bowl. Then they carried the bronze away to Babylon. 14 They also took away the pots, shovels, wick cutters and dishes. They took away all the bronze objects used for any purpose in the temple. 15 The commander of the royal guard took away the shallow cups for burning incense. He took away the sprinkling bowls. So he took away everything made out of pure gold or silver.
16 The bronze was more than anyone could weigh. It included the bronze from the two pillars, the huge bowl and the stands. Solomon had made all those things for the Lord’s temple. 17 Each pillar was 27 feet high. The bronze top of one pillar was four and a half feet high. It was decorated with a set of bronze chains and pomegranates all around it. The other pillar was just like it. It also had a set of chains.
18 The commander of the guard took some prisoners. They included Seraiah the chief priest and Zephaniah the priest who was next in rank. They also included the three men who guarded the temple doors. 19 Some people were still left in the city. The commander took as a prisoner the officer who was in charge of the fighting men. He took the five men who gave advice to the king. He also took the secretary. He was the chief officer in charge of getting the people of the land to serve in the army. And he took 60 of those people serving in the army who were still in the city. 20 Nebuzaradan the commander took all of them away. He brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 21 There the king had them put to death. Riblah was in the land of Hamath.
So the people of Judah were taken as prisoners. They were taken far away from their own land.
22 Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, had left some people behind in Judah. He appointed Gedaliah to govern them. Gedaliah was the son of Ahikam. Ahikam was the son of Shaphan. 23 All of Judah’s army officers and their men heard about what had happened. They heard that the king had appointed Gedaliah as governor. So they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah, came. So did Johanan, the son of Kareah. Seraiah, the son of Tanhumeth, also came. And so did Jaazaniah, the son of the Maakathite. All their men came too. Seraiah was from Netophah. 24 Gedaliah promised to help them and their men. He spoke in a kind way to them. He said, “Don’t be afraid of the Babylonian officials. Make your homes in the land of Judah. Serve the king of Babylon. Then things will go well with you.”
25 But in the seventh month Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah, came with ten men. He killed Gedaliah. He also killed the people of Judah and the Babylonians who were with Gedaliah at Mizpah. Nethaniah was the son of Elishama. Ishmael was a member of the royal family. 26 After he had killed Gedaliah, all the people ran away to Egypt. Everyone from the least important of them to the most important ran away. The army officers went with them. All of them went to Egypt because they were afraid of the Babylonians.
Jehoiachin Is Set Free
27 Awel-Marduk set Jehoiachin, the king of Judah, free from prison. It was in the 37th year after Jehoiachin had been taken away to Babylon. It was also the year Awel-Marduk became king of Babylon. It was on the 27th day of the 12th month. 28 Awel-Marduk spoke kindly to Jehoiachin. He gave him a place of honor. Other kings were with Jehoiachin in Babylon. But his place was more important than theirs. 29 So Jehoiachin put his prison clothes away. For the rest of Jehoiachin’s life the king provided what he needed. 30 The king did that for Jehoiachin day by day as long as he lived.