2 Kings 25
New English Translation
25 1 So King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came against Jerusalem with his whole army and set up camp outside[a] it. They built siege ramps all around it. He arrived on the tenth day of the tenth month in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign.[b] 2 The city remained under siege until King Zedekiah’s eleventh year. 3 By the ninth day of the fourth month[c] the famine in the city was so severe the residents[d] had no food. 4 The enemy broke through the city walls,[e] and all the soldiers tried to escape. They left the city during the night.[f] They went through the gate between the two walls, which is near the king’s garden.[g] (The Babylonians were all around the city.) Then they headed for the rift valley.[h] 5 But the Babylonian army chased after the king. They caught up with him in the rift valley plains of Jericho,[i] and his entire army deserted him. 6 They captured the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah,[j] where he[k] passed sentence on him. 7 Zedekiah’s sons were executed while Zedekiah was forced to watch.[l] The king of Babylon[m] then had Zedekiah’s eyes put out, bound him in bronze chains, and carried him off to Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzar Destroys Jerusalem
8 On the seventh[n] day of the fifth month,[o] in the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard,[p] who served the king of Babylon, arrived in Jerusalem. 9 He burned down the Lord’s temple, the royal palace, and all the houses in Jerusalem, including every large house.[q] 10 The whole Babylonian army that came with the captain of the royal guard tore down the walls that surrounded Jerusalem. 11 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard, deported the rest of the people who were left in the city, those who had deserted to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the craftsmen.[r] 12 But he[s] left behind some of the poor of the land and gave them fields and vineyards.
13 The Babylonians broke the two bronze pillars in the Lord’s temple, as well as the movable stands and the big bronze basin called “The Sea.”[t] They took the bronze to Babylon. 14 They also took the pots, shovels,[u] trimming shears,[v] pans, and all the bronze utensils used by the priests.[w] 15 The captain of the royal guard took the golden and silver censers[x] and basins. 16 The bronze of the items that King Solomon made for the Lord’s temple—including the two pillars, the big bronze basin called “The Sea,” the twelve bronze bulls under “The Sea,”[y] and the movable stands—was too heavy to be weighed. 17 Each of the pillars was about twenty-seven feet[z] high. The bronze top of one pillar was about 4½ feet[aa] high and had bronze latticework and pomegranate-shaped ornaments all around it. The second pillar with its latticework was like it.
18 The captain of the royal guard took Seraiah, the chief priest, and Zephaniah, the priest who was second in rank, and the three doorkeepers. 19 From the city he took a eunuch who was in charge of the soldiers, five[ab] of the king’s advisers[ac] who were discovered in the city, an official army secretary who drafted citizens[ad] for military service, and sixty citizens from the people of the land who were discovered in the city. 20 Nebuzaradan, captain of the royal guard, took them and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 21 The king of Babylon ordered them to be executed[ae] at Riblah in the territory[af] of Hamath. So Judah was deported from its land.
Gedaliah Appointed Governor
22 Now King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, as governor over the people whom he allowed to remain in the land of Judah.[ag] 23 All the officers of the Judahite army[ah] and their troops heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah to govern. So they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. The officers who came were Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah son of the Maacathite. 24 Gedaliah took an oath so as to give them and their troops some assurance of safety.[ai] He said, “You don’t need to be afraid to submit to the Babylonian officials. Settle down in the land and submit to the king of Babylon. Then things will go well for you.” 25 But in the seventh month[aj] Ishmael son of Nethaniah, son of Elishama, who was a member of the royal family,[ak] came with ten of his men and murdered Gedaliah,[al] as well as the Judeans and Babylonians who were with him at Mizpah. 26 Then all the people, from the youngest to the oldest, as well as the army officers, left for[am] Egypt, because they were afraid of what the Babylonians might do.
Jehoiachin in Babylon
27 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin of Judah, on the twenty-seventh[an] day of the twelfth month,[ao] King Evil Merodach of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, pardoned[ap] King Jehoiachin of Judah and released him[aq] from prison. 28 He spoke kindly to him and gave him a more prestigious position than[ar] the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 29 Jehoiachin[as] took off his prison clothes and ate daily in the king’s presence for the rest of his life. 30 He was given daily provisions by the king for the rest of his life until the day he died.[at]
- 2 Kings 25:1 tn Or “against.”
- 2 Kings 25:1 sn This would have been Jan 15, 588 b.c. The reckoning is based on the calendar that begins the year in the spring (Nisan = March/April).
- 2 Kings 25:3 tn The MT has simply “of the month,” but the parallel passage in Jer 52:6 has “fourth month,” and this is followed by almost all English translations. The word “fourth,” however, is not actually present in the MT of 2 Kgs 25:3.sn According to modern reckoning that would have been July 18, 586 b.c. The siege thus lasted almost a full eighteen months.
- 2 Kings 25:3 tn Heb “the people of the land.”
- 2 Kings 25:4 tn Heb “the city was breached.”
- 2 Kings 25:4 tn The Hebrew text is abrupt here: “And all the men of war by the night.” The translation attempts to capture the sense.
- 2 Kings 25:4 sn The king’s garden is mentioned again in Neh 3:15 in conjunction with the pool of Siloam and the stairs that go down from the City of David. This would have been in the southern part of the city near the Tyropean Valley which agrees with the reference to the “two walls” which were probably the walls on the eastern and western hills.
- 2 Kings 25:4 sn The rift valley (עֲרָבָה, ʿarabah) extends northward of the Dead Sea past Galilee and southward to the Gulf of Aqaba. Here the southern part of the Jordan Valley is in view with the intention to escape across the Jordan river to Moab or Ammon. It appears from Jer 40:14; 41:15 that the Ammonites were known to harbor fugitives from the Babylonians.
- 2 Kings 25:5 sn The rift valley plains of Jericho refer to the parts of the Jordan Valley in the vicinity of Jericho (see HALOT 880 s.v. עֲרָבָה). There the terrain is fairly level and slopes gently down to the Jordan, a descent of about 450 feet over five miles. Many translations render this as “the plains of Jericho” (ESV, NASB, NIV, KJV). See the note at Num 22:1.
- 2 Kings 25:6 sn Riblah was a strategic town on the Orontes River in Syria. It was at a crossing of the major roads between Egypt and Mesopotamia. Pharaoh Necho had earlier received Jehoahaz there and put him in chains (2 Kgs 23:33) prior to taking him captive to Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar had set up his base camp for conducting his campaigns against the Palestinian states there and was now sitting in judgment on prisoners brought to him.
- 2 Kings 25:6 tn The Hebrew text has the plural form of the verb, but the parallel passage in Jer 52:9 has the singular.
- 2 Kings 25:7 tn Heb “were killed before his eyes.”
- 2 Kings 25:7 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the king of Babylon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- 2 Kings 25:8 tn The parallel account in Jer 52:12 has “tenth.”
- 2 Kings 25:8 sn The seventh day of the month would have been August 14, 586 b.c. in modern reckoning.
- 2 Kings 25:8 tn For the meaning of this phrase see BDB 371 s.v. טַבָּח 2, and compare the usage in Gen 39:1.
- 2 Kings 25:9 tn Heb “and every large house he burned down with fire.”
- 2 Kings 25:11 tc The MT has “the multitude.” But הֶהָמוֹן (hehamon) should probably be emended to הֶאָמוֹן (heʾamon). See Jeremiah 52:15.
- 2 Kings 25:12 tn Heb “the captain of the royal guard.” However, the subject is clear from the preceding and contemporary English style would normally avoid repeating the proper name and title.
- 2 Kings 25:13 tn Heb “the bronze pillars that were in the Lord’s house and the stands and the bronze sea that were in the Lord’s house the Babylonians broke.”sn See the note at 1 Kgs 7:23.
- 2 Kings 25:14 sn These shovels were used to clean the altar.
- 2 Kings 25:14 sn These were used to trim the wicks.
- 2 Kings 25:14 tn Heb “with which they served [or, ‘fulfilled their duty’].”
- 2 Kings 25:15 sn These held the embers used for the incense offerings.
- 2 Kings 25:16 tc The MT lacks “the twelve bronze bulls under ‘the Sea,’” but these words have probably been accidentally omitted by homoioarcton. The scribe’s eye may have jumped from the וְהָ (veha) on וְהַבָּקָר (vehabbaqar), “and the bulls,” to the וְהָ on וְהַמְּכֹנוֹת (vehammekhonot), “and the movable stands,” causing him to leave out the intervening words. See the parallel passage in Jer 52:20.
- 2 Kings 25:17 tn Heb “18 cubits.” The standard cubit in the OT is assumed by most authorities to be about 18 inches (45 cm) long.
- 2 Kings 25:17 tn Heb “3 cubits.” The parallel passage in Jer 52:22 has “five.”
- 2 Kings 25:19 tn The parallel passage in Jer 52:25 has “seven.”
- 2 Kings 25:19 tn Heb “five men seeing the king’s face.”
- 2 Kings 25:19 tn Heb “the people of the land.”
- 2 Kings 25:21 tn Heb “struck them down and killed them.”
- 2 Kings 25:21 tn Heb “land.”
- 2 Kings 25:22 tn Heb “And the people who were left in the land of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon left, he appointed over them Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan.”
- 2 Kings 25:23 tn Heb “of the army.” The word “Judahite” has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
- 2 Kings 25:24 tn The words “so as to give them…some assurance of safety” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
- 2 Kings 25:25 sn It is not altogether clear whether this is in the same year that Jerusalem fell or not. The wall was breached in the fourth month (= early July; Jer 39:2) and Nebuzaradan came and burned the palace, the temple, and many of the houses and tore down the wall in the fifth month (= early August; Jer 52:12). That would have left time between the fifth month and the seventh month (October) to gather in the harvest of grapes, dates and figs, and olives (Jer 40:12). However, many commentators feel that too much activity takes place in too short a time for this to have been in the same year and posit that it happened the following year or even five years later when a further deportation took place, possibly in retaliation for the murder of Gedaliah and the Babylonian garrison at Mizpah (Jer 52:30). The assassination of Gedaliah had momentous consequences and was commemorated in one of the post exilic fast days lamenting the fall of Jerusalem (Zech 8:19).
- 2 Kings 25:25 tn Heb “[was] from the seed of the kingdom.”
- 2 Kings 25:25 tn Heb “and they struck down Gedaliah and he died.”
- 2 Kings 25:26 tn Heb “arose and went to.”
- 2 Kings 25:27 sn The parallel account in Jer 52:31 has “twenty-fifth.”
- 2 Kings 25:27 sn The twenty-seventh day would be March 22, 561 b.c. in modern reckoning.
- 2 Kings 25:27 tn Heb “lifted up the head of.”
- 2 Kings 25:27 tn The words “released him” are supplied in the translation on the basis of Jer 52:31.
- 2 Kings 25:28 tn Heb “made his throne above the throne of.”
- 2 Kings 25:29 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Jehoiachin) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- 2 Kings 25:30 tc The words “until the day he died” do not appear in the MT, but they are included in the parallel passage in Jer 52:34. Probably they have been accidentally omitted by homoioteleuton. A scribe’s eye jumped from the final vav (ו) on בְּיוֹמוֹ (beyomo), “in his day,” to the final vav (ו) on מוֹתוֹ (moto), “his death,” leaving out the intervening words.