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CHAPTER 52

Capture of Jerusalem. 1Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king; he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem.a His mother’s name was Hamutal, daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah. 2He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, just as Jehoiakim had done. 3Indeed, the things done in Jerusalem and in Judah so angered the LORD that he cast them out from his presence. Thus Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. 4b In the tenth month of the ninth year of his reign, on the tenth day of the month,* Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and his entire army advanced against Jerusalem, encamped around it, and built siege walls on every side. 5The siege of the city continued until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.

6On the ninth day of the fourth month, when famine had gripped the city and the people had no more bread, 7the city walls were breached. All the soldiers fled and left the city by night through the gate between the two walls which was near the king’s garden. With the Chaldeans surrounding the city, they went in the direction of the Arabah. 8But the Chaldean army pursued the king and overtook Zedekiah in the wilderness near Jericho; his whole army fled from him.

9The king, therefore, was arrested and brought to Riblah, in the land of Hamath, to the king of Babylon, who pronounced judgment on him. 10As Zedekiah looked on, the king of Babylon slaughtered his sons before his eyes! All the nobles of Judah were slaughtered at Riblah. 11And the eyes of Zedekiah he then blinded, bound him with chains, and the King of Babylon brought him to Babylon and kept him in prison until the day he died.

Destruction of Jerusalem. 12On the tenth day of the fifth month, this was in the nineteenth year* of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan, captain of the bodyguard, came to Jerusalem as the representative of the king of Babylon. 13He burned the house of the LORD, the palace of the king, and all the houses of Jerusalem; every large building he destroyed with fire. 14Then the Chaldean troops with the captain of the guard tore down all the walls that surrounded Jerusalem.

15Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, led into exile the remnant of people left in the city, those who had deserted to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the artisans. 16But Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, left behind some of the country’s poor as vinedressers and farmers.

17The bronze pillars that belonged to the house of the LORD, and the wheeled carts and the bronze sea in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans broke into pieces; they carried away all the bronze to Babylon. 18They also took the pots, shovels, snuffers, bowls, pans, and all the bronze vessels used for service; 19the basins, fire holders, bowls, pots, lampstands, pans, the sacrificial bowls made of gold or silver. Along with these furnishings the captain of the guard carried off 20the two pillars, the one sea and its base of twelve oxen cast in bronze, and the wheeled carts King Solomon had commissioned for the house of the LORD. The bronze from all these furnishings was impossible to weigh.

21As for the pillars, each of them was eighteen cubits high and twelve cubits in diameter; each was four fingers thick and hollow inside. 22A bronze capital five cubits high crowned the one pillar, and a network with pomegranates encircled the capital, all of bronze; and so for the other pillar, with pomegranates. 23There were ninety-six pomegranates on the sides, a hundred pomegranates surrounding the network.

24The captain of the guard also took Seraiah the high priest, Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the entrance. 25From the city he took one courtier, a commander of soldiers, and seven men in the personal service of the king still in the city, the scribe of the army commander who mustered the people of the land, and sixty of the common people remaining in the city. 26The captain of the guard, Nebuzaradan, arrested them and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah, 27who had them struck down and executed in Riblah, in the land of Hamath.

Thus Judah was exiled from the land. 28* This is the number of people Nebuchadnezzar led away captive: in his seventh year, three thousand twenty-three people of Judah; 29in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, eight hundred thirty-two persons from Jerusalem; 30in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, deported seven hundred forty-five Judahites: four thousand six hundred persons in all.

Favor Shown to Jehoiachin.* 31c In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month, Evil-merodach, king of Babylon, in the inaugural year of his reign, raised up Jehoiachin, king of Judah, and released him from prison. 32He spoke kindly to him and gave him a throne higher than the thrones of the other kings* who were with him in Babylon. 33Jehoiachin took off his prison garb and ate at the king’s table as long as he lived. 34The allowance given him by the king of Babylon was a perpetual allowance, in fixed daily amounts, all the days of his life until the day of his death.

* [52:134] One of the editors of the Book of Jeremiah took most of this supplement from 2 Kgs 24:1825:30 and placed it here to show the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecies. The supplement repeats part of the history given in Jeremiah 3941, but omits the history of Gedaliah in 2 Kgs 25:2226.

* [52:4] In the tenth month of the ninth year of his reign, on the tenth day of the month: January 15, 588 B.C. Cf. 39:1.

* [52:12] On the tenth day of the fifth month…nineteenth year: the tenth of Ab—July/August in 587/586 B.C.

* [52:2830] These verses, missing in the Greek text, do not come from 2 Kgs 25 but from a source using a different chronology. Besides the deportations of 598 and 587 B.C., this passage mentions a final deportation in 582/581, possibly a response to the murder of Gedaliah; cf. Jer 41:2.

* [52:3134] In the year 561/560 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar’s successor Awel-Marduk (Evil-merodach), who reigned only two years, released Jehoiachin. Babylonian records confirm that Jehoiachin and his family were supported at public expense.

* [52:32] The other kings: heads of state brought as captives to Babylon.

a. [52:127] 2 Kgs 24:1825:21.

b. [52:416] Jer 39:110.

c. [52:3134] 2 Kgs 25:2730.




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