2 Kings 25 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Jerusalem Is Captured and Destroyed
25 In Zedekiah’s ninth year as king, on the tenth day of the tenth month,[a] King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia led his entire army to attack Jerusalem. The troops set up camp outside the city and built ramps up to the city walls.
2-3 After a year and a half, all the food in Jerusalem was gone. Then on the ninth day of the fourth[b] month, 4 the Babylonian troops broke through the city wall.[c] That same night, Zedekiah and his soldiers tried to escape through the gate near the royal garden, even though they knew the enemy had the city surrounded. They headed toward the desert, 5 but the Babylonian troops caught up with them near Jericho. They arrested Zedekiah, but his soldiers scattered in every direction.
6 Zedekiah was taken to Riblah, where Nebuchadnezzar put him on trial and found him guilty. 7 Zedekiah’s sons were killed right in front of him. His eyes were then poked out, and he was put in chains and dragged off to Babylon.
8 About a month later,[d] in Nebuchadnezzar’s nineteenth year as king, Nebuzaradan, who was his official in charge of the guards, arrived in Jerusalem. 9 Nebuzaradan burned down the Lord’s temple, the king’s palace, and every important building in the city, as well as all the houses. 10 Then he ordered the Babylonian soldiers to break down the walls around Jerusalem. 11 He led away as prisoners the people left in the city, including those who had become loyal to Nebuchadnezzar. 12 Only some of the poorest people were left behind to work the vineyards and the fields.
13 The Babylonian soldiers took the two bronze columns that stood in front of the temple, the ten movable bronze stands, and the large bronze bowl called the Sea. They broke them into pieces so they could take the bronze to Babylonia. 14 They carried off the bronze things used for worship at the temple, including the pans for hot ashes, and the shovels, snuffers, and also the dishes for incense, 15 as well as the fire pans and the sprinkling bowls. Nebuzaradan ordered his soldiers to take everything made of gold or silver.
16 The pile of bronze from the columns, the stands, and the large bowl that Solomon had made for the temple was too large to be weighed. 17 Each column had been twenty-seven feet tall with a bronze cap four and a half feet high. These caps were decorated with bronze designs—some of them like chains and others like pomegranates.[e]
18 Next, Nebuzaradan arrested Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah his assistant, and three temple officials. 19 Then he arrested one of the army commanders, the king’s five personal advisors, and the officer in charge of gathering the troops for battle. He also found sixty more soldiers who were still in Jerusalem. 20 Nebuzaradan led them all to Riblah 21 near Hamath, where Nebuchadnezzar had them killed.
The people of Judah no longer lived in their own country.
Gedaliah Is Made Ruler of the People Left in Judah
22 King Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam[f] to rule the few people still living in Judah. 23 When the army officers and troops heard that Gedaliah was their ruler, the officers met with him at Mizpah. These men were Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth from Netophah, and Jaazaniah from Maacah.
24 Gedaliah said to them, “Everything will be fine, I promise. We don’t need to be afraid of the Babylonian rulers, if we live here peacefully and do what Nebuchadnezzar says.”
25 Ishmael[g] was from the royal family. And about two months after Gedaliah began his rule,[h] Ishmael and ten other men went to Mizpah. They killed Gedaliah and his officials, including those from Judah and those from Babylonia. 26 After that, the army officers and all the people in Mizpah, whether important or not, were afraid of what the Babylonians might do. So they left Judah and went to Egypt.
Jehoiachin Is Set Free
27 Jehoiachin was a prisoner in Babylon for thirty-seven years. Then Evil-Merodach became king of Babylonia,[i] and in the first year of his rule, on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month,[j] he let Jehoiachin out of prison. 28 Evil-Merodach was kind to Jehoiachin and honored him more than any of the other kings held prisoner there. 29 Jehoiachin was even allowed to wear regular clothes, and he ate at the king’s table every day. 30 As long as Jehoiachin lived, he was paid a daily allowance to buy whatever he needed.
2 Kings 25 New International Version (NIV)
25 So in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. He encamped outside the city and built siege works all around it. 2 The city was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.
3 By the ninth day of the fourth[a] month the famine in the city had become so severe that there was no food for the people to eat. 4 Then the city wall was broken through, and the whole army fled at night through the gate between the two walls near the king’s garden, though the Babylonians[b] were surrounding the city. They fled toward the Arabah,[c] 5 but the Babylonian[d] army pursued the king and overtook him in the plains of Jericho. All his soldiers were separated from him and scattered, 6 and he was captured.
He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where sentence was pronounced on him. 7 They killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. Then they put out his eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon.
8 On the seventh day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, an official of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 9 He set fire to the temple of the Lord, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down. 10 The whole Babylonian army under the commander of the imperial guard broke down the walls around Jerusalem. 11 Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard carried into exile the people who remained in the city, along with the rest of the populace and those who had deserted to the king of Babylon. 12 But the commander left behind some of the poorest people of the land to work the vineyards and fields.
13 The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars, the movable stands and the bronze Sea that were at the temple of the Lord and they carried the bronze to Babylon. 14 They also took away the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, dishes and all the bronze articles used in the temple service. 15 The commander of the imperial guard took away the censers and sprinkling bowls—all that were made of pure gold or silver.
16 The bronze from the two pillars, the Sea and the movable stands, which Solomon had made for the temple of the Lord, was more than could be weighed. 17 Each pillar was eighteen cubits[e] high. The bronze capital on top of one pillar was three cubits[f] high and was decorated with a network and pomegranates of bronze all around. The other pillar, with its network, was similar.
18 The commander of the guard took as prisoners Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank and the three doorkeepers. 19 Of those still in the city, he took the officer in charge of the fighting men, and five royal advisers. He also took the secretary who was chief officer in charge of conscripting the people of the land and sixty of the conscripts who were found in the city. 20 Nebuzaradan the commander took them all and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 21 There at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king had them executed.
So Judah went into captivity, away from her land.
22 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, to be over the people he had left behind in Judah. 23 When all the army officers and their men heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah as governor, they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah—Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, Jaazaniah the son of the Maakathite, and their men. 24 Gedaliah took an oath to reassure them and their men. “Do not be afraid of the Babylonian officials,” he said. “Settle down in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well with you.”
25 In the seventh month, however, Ishmael son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, who was of royal blood, came with ten men and assassinated Gedaliah and also the men of Judah and the Babylonians who were with him at Mizpah. 26 At this, all the people from the least to the greatest, together with the army officers, fled to Egypt for fear of the Babylonians.
27 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Awel-Marduk became king of Babylon, he released Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison. He did this on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month. 28 He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 29 So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king’s table. 30 Day by day the king gave Jehoiachin a regular allowance as long as he lived.