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Jerusalem Is Captured by the Babylonians

39 1-3 In the tenth month[a] of the ninth year that Zedekiah[b] was king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar[c] and the Babylonian army began their attack on Jerusalem. They kept the city surrounded for a year and a half. Then, on the ninth day of the fourth month[d] of the eleventh year that Zedekiah was king, they broke through the city walls.

After Jerusalem was captured,[e] Nebuchadnezzar’s highest officials,[f] including Nebo Sarsechim[g] and Nergal Sharezer from Simmagir,[h] took their places at Middle Gate to show they were in control of the city.[i]

When King Zedekiah and his troops saw that Jerusalem had been captured, they tried to escape from the city that same night. They went to the king’s garden, where they slipped through the gate between the two city walls[j] and headed toward the Jordan River valley. But the Babylonian troops caught up with them near Jericho. They arrested Zedekiah and took him to the town of Riblah in the land of Hamath, where Nebuchadnezzar put him on trial, then found him guilty and gave orders for him to be punished. Zedekiah’s sons were killed there in front of him, and so were the leaders of Judah’s ruling families. His eyes were poked out, and he was put in chains, so he could be dragged off to Babylonia.

Meanwhile, the Babylonian army had burned the houses in Jerusalem, including[k] the royal palace, and they had broken down the city walls. Nebuzaradan, the Babylonian officer in charge of the guards, led away everyone from the city as prisoners, even those who had deserted to Nebuchadnezzar. 10 Only the poorest people who owned no land were left behind in Judah, and Nebuzaradan gave them fields and vineyards.

11 Nebuchadnezzar had given the following orders to Nebuzaradan: 12 “Find Jeremiah and keep him safe. Take good care of him and do whatever he asks.”

13 Nebuzaradan, Nebushazban, Nergal Sharezer, and the other officers of King Nebuchadnezzar 14 sent some of their troops to bring me from the courtyard of the royal palace guards. They put me in the care of Gedaliah son of Ahikam[l] and told him to take me to my home. And so I was allowed to stay with the people who remained in Judah.

The Lord Promises To Protect Ebedmelech

15 While I was a prisoner in the courtyard of the palace guard, the Lord told me to say 16 to Ebedmelech from Ethiopia:[m]

I am the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel. I warned everyone that I would bring disaster, not prosperity, to this city. Now very soon I will do what I said, and you will see it happen. 17-18 But because you trusted me,[n] I will protect you from the officials of Judah, and when Judah is struck by disaster, I will rescue you and keep you alive. I, the Lord, have spoken.


  1. 39.1-3 the tenth month: Tebeth, the tenth month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-December to mid-January.
  2. 39.1-3 Zedekiah: See the note at 1.3.
  3. 39.1-3 Nebuchadnezzar: See the note at 21.2.
  4. 39.1-3 fourth month: Tammuz, the fourth month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-June to mid-July.
  5. 39.1-3 After Jerusalem was captured: This phrase is from 38.28.
  6. 39.1-3 highest officials: The Hebrew text gives Nergal Sharezer’s title as “the Rabmag,” and Nebo Sarsechim’s title as “the Rabsaris,” but the exact meaning of the titles and the duties of these offices are not known.
  7. 39.1-3 Nebo Sarsechim: Probably another form of the name Nebushazban (see verse 13).
  8. 39.1-3 Nergal Sharezer from Simmagir: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. Probably Nebuchadnezzar’s son-in-law, who was king of Babylonia 560-556 B.C. It is also possible that the Hebrew text mentions a second official named Nergal Sharezer.
  9. 39.1-3 took their places. . . control of the city: The rulers and leaders often sat in the broad open area at the gate of a city to take care of official business and hold trials.
  10. 39.4 the gate between the two city walls: The construction of the city walls at this point is not known.
  11. 39.8 the houses in Jerusalem, including: Or “the temple and.”
  12. 39.14 son of Ahikam: Hebrew “son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan.”
  13. 39.16 Ethiopia: See the note at 38.7,8.
  14. 39.17,18 you trusted me: See 38.7-13, where Ebedmelech helped Jeremiah.

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