Nebuchadnezzar Destroys Jerusalem 52 1Zedekiah was 21 years old when he became king. He ruled in Jerusalem for 11 years. His mother’s name was Hamutal. She was the daughter of Jeremiah. She was from Libnah. 2Zedekiah did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. He did just as Jehoiakim had done. 3The enemies of Jerusalem and Judah attacked them because the Lord was angry. In the end he threw them out of his land. Zedekiah refused to obey the king of Babylonia. 4Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylonia. He marched out against Jerusalem. All of his armies went with him. It was in the ninth year of the rule of Zedekiah. It was on the tenth day of the tenth month. The armies set up camp outside the city. They set up ladders and built ramps and towers all around it. 5It was surrounded until the 11th year of King Zedekiah’s rule. 6By 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. 7Then the Babylonians broke through the city wall. Judah’s whole army ran away. They left the city at night. They went out through the gate between the two walls that were near the king’s garden. They escaped even though the Babylonians surrounded the city. Judah’s army ran toward the Arabah Valley. 8But the armies of Babylonia chased King Zedekiah. They caught up with him in the flatlands near Jericho. All of his soldiers were separated from him. They had scattered in every direction. 9The king was captured. He was taken to the king of Babylonia at Riblah. Riblah was in the land of Hamath. That’s where Nebuchadnezzar decided how he would be punished. 10At Riblah the king of Babylonia killed the sons of Zedekiah. He forced him to watch it with his own eyes. Nebuchadnezzar also killed all of the officials of Judah. 11Then he poked out Zedekiah’s eyes. He put him in bronze chains. And he took him to Babylon. There he put Zedekiah in prison until the day he died. 12Nebuzaradan served the king of Babylonia. In fact, he was commander of the royal guard. He came to Jerusalem. It was in the 19th year that Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylonia. It was on the tenth day of the fifth month. 13Nebuzaradan set the Lord’s temple on fire. He also set fire to the royal palace and all of the houses in Jerusalem. He burned down every important building. 14The armies of Babylonia broke down all of the walls around Jerusalem. That’s what the commander told them to do. 15Some of the poorest people still remained in the city along with the others. But the commander Nebuzaradan took them away as prisoners. He also took the rest of the skilled workers. That included the people who had joined the king of Babylonia. 16But Nebuzaradan left the rest of the poorest people of the land behind. He told them to work in the vineyards and fields. 17The armies of Babylonia 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 all of the bronze away to Babylon. 18They also took away the pots, shovels, wick cutters, sprinkling bowls and dishes. They took away all of the bronze articles that were used for any purpose in the temple. 19The commander of the royal guard took away the bowls and the shallow cups for burning incense. He took away the sprinkling bowls, the pots, the lampstands and the dishes. He took away the bowls that were used for drink offerings. So he took away everything that was made out of pure gold or silver. 20The bronze was more than anyone could weigh. It included the bronze from the two pillars. It included the bronze from the huge bowl and the 12 bronze bulls that were under it. It also included the stands. King Solomon had made all of those things for the Lord’s temple. 21Each of the pillars was 27 feet high and 18 feet around. The pillars were hollow. The metal in each of them was three inches thick. 22The bronze top of one pillar was seven 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 pomegranates. 23There were 96 pomegranates on the sides of each of the two tops. The total number of pomegranates above the bronze chains around each top was 100. 24The commander of the guard took many prisoners. They included the chief priest Seraiah and the priest Zephaniah who was under him. They also included the three men who guarded the temple doors. 25Some 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 seven men who gave advice to the king. He also took the secretary who was the chief officer in charge of getting the people of the land to serve in the army. And he took 60 of the secretary’s men who were still in the city. 26The commander Nebuzaradan took all of them away. He brought them to the king of Babylonia at Riblah. 27There 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. 28Here is the number of the people Nebuchadnezzar took to Babylon as prisoners.   In the seventh year of his rule, he took 3,023 Jews. 29In his 18th year, he took 832 people from Jerusalem. 30In Nebuchadnezzar’s 23rd year, Nebuzaradan, the commander of the royal guard, took 745 Jews to Babylon. The total number of people who were taken to Babylon was 4,600. Jehoiachin Is Set Free   31Evil-Merodach 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 Evil-Merodach became king of Babylonia. It was on the 25th day of the 12th month. 32Evil-Merodach 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. 33So Jehoiachin put his prison clothes away. For the rest of Jehoiachin’s life the king of Babylonia provided what he needed. 34The king did that for Jehoiachin day by day as long as he lived. He did it until the day Jehoiachin died.
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