39 1 Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, marched out against Jerusalem. He came with all his armies and attacked it. It was in the ninth year that Zedekiah was king of Judah. It was in the tenth month. 2 The city wall was broken through. It happened on the ninth day of the fourth month. It was in the 11th year of Zedekiah’s rule. 3 All the officials of the king of Babylon came. They took seats near the Middle Gate. Nergal-Sharezer from Samgar was there. Nebo-Sarsekim, a chief officer, was also there. So was Nergal-Sharezer, a high official. And all the other officials of the king of Babylon were there too. 4 King Zedekiah and all the soldiers saw them. Then they ran away. They left the city at night. They went by way of the king’s garden. They went out through the gate between the two walls. And they headed toward the Arabah Valley.
5 But the armies of Babylon chased them. They caught up with Zedekiah in the plains near Jericho. They captured him there. And they took him to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. He was at Riblah in the land of Hamath. That’s where Nebuchadnezzar decided how Zedekiah would be punished. 6 The king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah at Riblah. He forced Zedekiah to watch it with his own eyes. He also killed all the nobles of Judah. 7 Then he poked out Zedekiah’s eyes. He put him in bronze chains. And he took him to Babylon.
8 The Babylonians set the royal palace on fire. They also set fire to the houses of the people. And they broke down the walls of Jerusalem. 9 Nebuzaradan was commander of the royal guard. Some people still remained in the city. But he took them away to Babylon as prisoners. He also took along those who had gone over to his side. And he took the rest of the people. 10 Nebuzaradan, the commander of the guard, left some of the poor people of Judah behind. They didn’t own anything. So at that time he gave them vineyards and fields.
11 Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, had given orders about Jeremiah. He had given them to Nebuzaradan, the commander of the royal guard. Nebuchadnezzar had said, 12 “Take him. Look after him. Don’t harm him. Do for him anything he asks.” 13 So that’s what Nebuzaradan, the commander of the guard, did. Nebushazban and Nergal-Sharezer were with him. So were all the other officers of the king of Babylon. Nebushazban was a chief officer. Nergal-Sharezer was a high official. All these men 14 sent for Jeremiah. They had him taken out of the courtyard of the guard. They turned him over to Gedaliah. Gedaliah was the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan. They told Gedaliah to take Jeremiah back to his home. So Jeremiah remained among his own people.
15 A message from the Lord came to Jeremiah. It came while he was being kept in the courtyard of the guard. The Lord said, 16 “Go. Speak to Ebed-Melek the Cushite. Tell him, ‘The Lord who rules over all is the God of Israel. He says, “I am about to make the words I spoke against this city come true. I will not give success to it. Instead, I will bring horrible trouble on it. At that time my words will come true. You will see it with your own eyes. 17 But I will save you on that day,” announces the Lord. “You will not be handed over to those you are afraid of. 18 I will save you. You will not be killed by a sword. Instead, you will escape with your life. That’s because you trust in me,” announces the Lord.’ ”