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25 Then King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon mobilized his entire army and laid siege to Jerusalem, arriving on March 25 of the ninth year of the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah. The siege continued into the eleventh year of his reign.

The last food in the city was eaten on July 24, 4-5 and that night the king and his troops made a hole in the inner wall and fled out toward the Arabah through a gate that lay between the double walls near the king’s garden. The Babylonian troops surrounding the city took out after him and captured him in the plains of Jericho, and all his men scattered. He was taken to Riblah, where he was tried and sentenced before the king of Babylon. He was forced to watch as his sons were killed before his eyes; then his eyes were put out, and he was bound with chains and taken away to Babylon.

General Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal bodyguard, arrived at Jerusalem from Babylon on July 22 of the nineteenth year of the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar. He burned down the Temple, the palace, and all the other houses of any worth. 10 He then supervised the Babylonian army in tearing down the walls of Jerusalem. 11 The remainder of the people in the city and the Jewish deserters who had declared their allegiance to the king of Babylon were all taken as exiles to Babylon. 12 But the poorest of the people were left to farm the land.

13 The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars of the Temple and the bronze tank and its bases and carried all the bronze to Babylon. 14-15 They also took all the pots, shovels, firepans, snuffers, spoons, and other bronze instruments used for the sacrifices. The gold and silver bowls, with all the rest of the gold and silver, were melted down to bullion. 16 It was impossible to estimate the weight of the two pillars and the great tank and its bases—all made for the Temple by King Solomon—because they were so heavy. 17 Each pillar was 27 feet high, with an intricate bronze network of pomegranates decorating the 4½-foot capitals at the tops of the pillars.

18 The general took Seraiah, the chief priest, his assistant Zephaniah, and the three Temple guards to Babylon as captives. 19 A commander of the army of Judah, the chief recruiting officer, five of the king’s counselors, and sixty farmers, all of whom were discovered hiding in the city, 20 were taken by General Nebuzaradan to the king of Babylon at Riblah, 21 where they were put to the sword and died.

So Judah was exiled from its land.

22 Then King Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah (the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan) as governor over the people left in Judah. 23 When the Israeli guerrilla forces learned that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah as governor, some of these underground leaders and their men joined him at Mizpah. These included Ishmael, the son of Nethaniah; Johanan, the son of Kareah; Seraiah, the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite; and Jaazaniah, son of Maachathite, and their men.

24 Gedaliah vowed that if they would give themselves up and submit to the Babylonians, they would be allowed to live in the land and would not be exiled. 25 But seven months later, Ishmael, who was a member of the royal line, went to Mizpah with ten men and killed Gedaliah and his court—both the Jews and the Babylonians.

26 Then all the men of Judah and the guerrilla leaders fled in panic to Egypt, for they were afraid of what the Babylonians would do to them.

27 King Jehoiachin was released from prison on the twenty-seventh day of the last month of the thirty-seventh year of his captivity.

This occurred during the first year of the reign of King Evil-merodach of Babylon. 28 He treated Jehoiachin kindly and gave him preferential treatment over all the other kings who were being held as prisoners in Babylon. 29 Jehoiachin was given civilian clothing to replace his prison garb, and for as long as he lived, he ate regularly at the king’s table. 30 The king also gave him a daily cash allowance for the rest of his life.

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