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The Fall of Jerusalem

52 [a] Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he ruled in Jerusalem for eleven years. His mother’s name was Hamutal[b] daughter of Jeremiah, from Libnah. He did what displeased the Lord[c] just as Jehoiakim had done.

What follows is a record of what happened to Jerusalem and Judah because of the Lord’s anger when he drove them out of his sight.[d] Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came against Jerusalem with his whole army and set up camp outside it.[e] They built siege ramps all around it. He arrived on the tenth day of the tenth month in the ninth year that Zedekiah ruled over Judah.[f] The city remained under siege until Zedekiah’s eleventh year. By the ninth day of the fourth month[g] the famine in the city was so severe the residents[h] had no food. They broke through the city walls, and all the soldiers tried to escape. They left the city during the night. They went through the gate between the two walls that is near the king’s garden.[i] (The Babylonians had the city surrounded.) Then they headed for the rift valley.[j] But the Babylonian army chased after the king. They caught up with Zedekiah in the plains[k] of Jericho, and his entire army deserted him. They captured him and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah[l] in the territory of Hamath and he passed sentence on him there. 10 The king of Babylon had Zedekiah’s sons put to death while Zedekiah was forced to watch. He also had all the nobles of Judah put to death there at Riblah. 11 He had Zedekiah’s eyes put out and had him bound in chains.[m] Then the king of Babylon had him led off to Babylon and he was imprisoned there until the day he died.

12 On the tenth[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[q] the king of Babylon, arrived in Jerusalem. 13 He burned down the Lord’s temple, the royal palace, and all the houses in Jerusalem, including every large house. 14 The whole Babylonian army that came with the captain of the royal guard tore down the walls that surrounded Jerusalem. 15 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard, took into exile some of the poor,[r] the rest of the people who remained in the city, those who had deserted to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the craftsmen. 16 But he[s] left behind some of the poor[t] and gave them fields and vineyards.

17 The Babylonians broke the two bronze pillars in the temple of the Lord, as well as the movable stands and the large bronze basin called “The Sea.”[u] They took all the bronze to Babylon. 18 They also took the pots, shovels,[v] trimming shears,[w] basins, pans, and all the bronze utensils used by the priests.[x] 19 The captain of the royal guard took the gold and silver bowls, censers,[y] basins, pots, lampstands, pans, and vessels.[z] 20 The bronze of the items that King Solomon made for the Lord’s temple (including the two pillars, the large bronze basin called “The Sea,” the twelve bronze bulls under “The Sea,” and the movable stands[aa]) was too heavy to be weighed. 21 Each of the pillars was about 27 feet[ab] high, about 18 feet[ac] in circumference, three inches[ad] thick, and hollow. 22 The bronze top of one pillar was about 7½ feet[ae] high and had bronze latticework and pomegranate-shaped ornaments all around it. The second pillar with its pomegranate-shaped ornaments was like it. 23 There were 96 pomegranate-shaped ornaments on the sides; in all there were 100 pomegranate-shaped ornaments over the latticework that went around it.

24 The captain of the royal guard took Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest who was second in rank, and the three doorkeepers.[af] 25 From the city he took an official who was in charge of the soldiers, seven of the king’s advisers who were discovered in the city, an official army secretary who drafted citizens[ag] for military service, and sixty citizens who were discovered in the middle of the city. 26 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard, took them and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 27 The king of Babylon ordered them to be executed[ah] at Riblah in the territory of Hamath.

So Judah was taken into exile away from its land. 28 Here is the official record of the number of people[ai] Nebuchadnezzar carried into exile: In the seventh year,[aj] 3,023 Jews; 29 in Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth year,[ak] 832 people from Jerusalem; 30 in Nebuchadnezzar’s twenty-third year,[al] Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard, carried into exile 745 Judeans. In all, 4,600 people went into exile.

Jehoiachin in Exile

31 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin of Judah, on the twenty-fifth[am] day of the twelfth month,[an] King Evil Merodach of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, pardoned[ao] King Jehoiachin of Judah and released him from prison. 32 He spoke kindly to him and gave him a more prestigious position than[ap] the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 33 Jehoiachin[aq] took off his prison clothes and ate daily in the king’s presence for the rest of his life. 34 He was given daily provisions by the king of Babylon for the rest of his life until the day he died.

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 52:1 sn This final chapter does not mention Jeremiah, but its description of the downfall of Jerusalem and exile of the people validates the prophet’s ministry.
  2. Jeremiah 52:1 tn Some textual witnesses support the Kethib (consonantal text) in reading “Hamital.”
  3. Jeremiah 52:2 tn Heb “what was evil in the eyes of the Lord.”
  4. Jeremiah 52:3 tn Heb “Surely (or “for”) because of the anger of the Lord this happened in Jerusalem and Judah until he drove them out from upon his face.” For the phrase “drive out of his sight,” see 7:15.
  5. Jeremiah 52:4 tn Or “against it.”
  6. Jeremiah 52:4 sn This would have been January 15, 588 b.c. The reckoning is based on the calendar that begins the year in the spring (Nisan = March/April).
  7. Jeremiah 52:6 sn According to modern reckoning that would have been July 18, 586 b.c. The siege thus lasted almost a full eighteen months.
  8. Jeremiah 52:6 tn Heb “the people of the land.”
  9. Jeremiah 52:7 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.
  10. Jeremiah 52:7 sn The rift valley (עֲרָבָה, ʿaravah) extends from Galilee to the Gulf of Aqaba. In this context the portion that they head to is the Jordan Valley near Jericho, intending to escape across the river to Moab or Ammon. It appears from 40:14 and 41:15 that the Ammonites were known to harbor fugitives from the Babylonians.
  11. Jeremiah 52:8 tn See the note at Jer 39:5.
  12. Jeremiah 52:9 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.
  13. Jeremiah 52:11 tn Heb “fetters of bronze.” The more generic “chains” is used in the translation because “fetters” is a word unfamiliar to most modern readers.
  14. Jeremiah 52:12 tn The parallel account in 2 Kgs 25:8 has “seventh.”
  15. Jeremiah 52:12 sn The tenth day of the month would have been August 17, 586 b.c. in modern reckoning.
  16. Jeremiah 52:12 tn For the meaning of this phrase see BDB 371 s.v. טַבָּח 2 and compare the usage in Gen 39:1.
  17. Jeremiah 52:12 tn Heb “stood before.”
  18. Jeremiah 52:15 tn Heb “poor of the people.”
  19. Jeremiah 52:16 tn Heb “Nebuzaradan, the captain of the royal guard.” However, the subject is clear from the preceding, and modern English style would normally avoid repeating the proper name and title.
  20. Jeremiah 52:16 tn Heb “poor of the land.”
  21. Jeremiah 52:17 sn For discussion of the items listed here, see the study notes at Jer 27:19.
  22. Jeremiah 52:18 sn These shovels were used to clean the altar.
  23. Jeremiah 52:18 sn These trimming shears were used to trim the wicks of the lamps.
  24. Jeremiah 52:18 tn Heb “with which they served (or “fulfilled their duty”).”
  25. Jeremiah 52:19 sn The censers held the embers used for the incense offerings.
  26. Jeremiah 52:19 sn These vessels were used for drink offerings.
  27. Jeremiah 52:20 tc The translation follows the LXX (Greek version), which reflects the description in 1 Kgs 7:25-26. The Hebrew text reads, “the twelve bronze bulls under the movable stands.” הַיָּם (hayyam, “The Sea”) has been accidentally omitted by homoioarcton; note that the following form, הַמְּכֹנוֹת (hammekhonot, “the movable stands”), also begins with the article.
  28. Jeremiah 52:21 tn Heb “18 cubits.” A “cubit” was a unit of measure, approximately equivalent to a foot and a half.
  29. Jeremiah 52:21 tn Heb “12 cubits.” A “cubit” was a unit of measure, approximately equivalent to a foot and a half.
  30. Jeremiah 52:21 tn Heb “four fingers.”
  31. Jeremiah 52:22 tn Heb “5 cubits.” A “cubit” was a unit of measure, approximately equivalent to a foot and a half.
  32. Jeremiah 52:24 sn See the note at Jer 35:4.
  33. Jeremiah 52:25 tn Heb “men, from the people of the land” (also later in this verse).
  34. Jeremiah 52:27 tn Heb “struck them down and killed them.”
  35. Jeremiah 52:28 tn Heb “these are the people.”
  36. Jeremiah 52:28 sn This would be 597 b.c.
  37. Jeremiah 52:29 sn This would be 586 b.c.
  38. Jeremiah 52:30 sn This would be 581 b.c.
  39. Jeremiah 52:31 sn The parallel account in 2 Kgs 25:28 has “twenty-seventh.”
  40. Jeremiah 52:31 sn The twenty-fifth day would be March 20, 561 b.c. in modern reckoning.
  41. Jeremiah 52:31 tn Heb “lifted up the head of.”
  42. Jeremiah 52:32 tn Heb “made his throne above the throne of.”
  43. Jeremiah 52:33 tn The subject is unstated in the Hebrew text, but Jehoiachin is clearly the subject of the following verb.

The Fall of Jerusalem(A)(B)(C)

52 Zedekiah(D) was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah.(E) He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as Jehoiakim(F) had done. It was because of the Lord’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah,(G) and in the end he thrust them from his presence.(H)

Now Zedekiah rebelled(I) against the king of Babylon.

So in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth(J) day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem(K) with his whole army. They encamped outside the city and built siege works(L) all around it.(M) The city was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.

By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine in the city had become so severe that there was no food for the people to eat.(N) Then the city wall was broken through, and the whole army fled.(O) They left the city at night through the gate between the two walls near the king’s garden, though the Babylonians[a] were surrounding the city. They fled toward the Arabah,[b] but the Babylonian[c] army pursued King Zedekiah and overtook him in the plains of Jericho. All his soldiers were separated from him and scattered, and he was captured.(P)

He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah(Q) in the land of Hamath,(R) where he pronounced sentence on him. 10 There at Riblah the king of Babylon killed the sons(S) of Zedekiah before his eyes; he also killed all the officials of Judah. 11 Then he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon, where he put him in prison till the day of his death.(T)

12 On the tenth day of the fifth(U) month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan(V) commander of the imperial guard, who served the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 13 He set fire(W) to the temple(X) of the Lord, the royal palace and all the houses(Y) of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down. 14 The whole Babylonian army, under the commander of the imperial guard, broke down all the walls(Z) around Jerusalem. 15 Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard carried into exile(AA) some of the poorest people and those who remained in the city, along with the rest of the craftsmen[d] and those who had deserted(AB) to the king of Babylon. 16 But Nebuzaradan left behind(AC) the rest of the poorest people of the land to work the vineyards and fields.

17 The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars,(AD) the movable stands(AE) and the bronze Sea(AF) that were at the temple of the Lord and they carried all the bronze to Babylon.(AG) 18 They also took away the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls,(AH) dishes and all the bronze articles used in the temple service.(AI) 19 The commander of the imperial guard took away the basins, censers,(AJ) sprinkling bowls, pots, lampstands,(AK) dishes(AL) and bowls used for drink offerings(AM)—all that were made of pure gold or silver.(AN)

20 The bronze from the two pillars, the Sea and the twelve bronze bulls(AO) under it, and the movable stands, which King Solomon had made for the temple of the Lord, was more than could be weighed.(AP) 21 Each pillar was eighteen cubits high and twelve cubits in circumference[e]; each was four fingers thick, and hollow.(AQ) 22 The bronze capital(AR) on top of one pillar was five cubits[f] high and was decorated with a network and pomegranates(AS) of bronze all around. The other pillar, with its pomegranates, was similar. 23 There were ninety-six pomegranates on the sides; the total number of pomegranates(AT) above the surrounding network was a hundred.(AU)

24 The commander of the guard took as prisoners Seraiah(AV) the chief priest, Zephaniah(AW) the priest next in rank and the three doorkeepers.(AX) 25 Of those still in the city, he took the officer in charge of the fighting men, and seven royal advisers. He also took the secretary(AY) who was chief officer in charge of conscripting the people of the land, sixty of whom were found in the city. 26 Nebuzaradan(AZ) the commander took them all and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 27 There at Riblah,(BA) in the land of Hamath, the king had them executed.

So Judah went into captivity, away(BB) from her land. 28 This is the number of the people Nebuchadnezzar carried into exile:(BC)

in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews;

29 in Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth year,

832 people from Jerusalem;

30 in his twenty-third year,

745 Jews taken into exile(BD) by Nebuzaradan the commander of the imperial guard.

There were 4,600 people in all.(BE)

Jehoiachin Released(BF)

31 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin(BG) king of Judah, in the year Awel-Marduk became king of Babylon, on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month, he released Jehoiachin king of Judah and freed him from prison. 32 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. 33 So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king’s table.(BH) 34 Day by day the king of Babylon gave Jehoiachin a regular allowance(BI) as long as he lived, till the day of his death.

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 52:7 Or Chaldeans; also in verse 17
  2. Jeremiah 52:7 Or the Jordan Valley
  3. Jeremiah 52:8 Or Chaldean; also in verse 14
  4. Jeremiah 52:15 Or the populace
  5. Jeremiah 52:21 That is, about 27 feet high and 18 feet in circumference or about 8.1 meters high and 5.4 meters in circumference
  6. Jeremiah 52:22 That is, about 7 1/2 feet or about 2.3 meters

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