The Fall of Jerusalem
39 This is how Jerusalem was captured: During the tenth month of the ninth year that Zedekiah was king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. He surrounded the city to defeat it. 2 And on the ninth day of the fourth month in Zedekiah’s eleventh year, the wall of Jerusalem was broken through. 3 Then all the royal officials of the king of Babylon came into the city of Jerusalem. They came in and sat down at the Middle Gate. These are the names of the officials: Nergal-Sharezer, the governor of the district of Samgar, a very high official; Nebo Sarsekim, another very high official; and various other important officials were there also.
4 King Zedekiah of Judah saw the officials from Babylon, so he and the soldiers with him ran away. They left Jerusalem at night. They went out through the king’s garden and out through the gate that was between the two walls. Then they went toward the desert. 5 The Babylonian army chased Zedekiah and the soldiers with him. They caught up with Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. They captured Zedekiah and took him to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar was at the town of Riblah in the land of Hamath. At that place Nebuchadnezzar decided what to do to Zedekiah. 6 There at the town of Riblah, the king of Babylon killed Zedekiah’s sons and he killed all the royal officials of Judah while Zedekiah watched. 7 Then Nebuchadnezzar tore out Zedekiah’s eyes. He put bronze chains on Zedekiah and took him to Babylon.
8 The army of Babylon set fire to the king’s palace and the houses of the people of Jerusalem. And they broke down the walls of Jerusalem. 9 Nebuzaradan was the commander of the king of Babylon’s special guards. He took all the people who had surrendered to him and all the people still in Jerusalem and made them captives. He carried them away to Babylon. 10 But commander Nebuzaradan left behind some of the poor people of Judah who owned nothing. Nebuzaradan gave them vineyards and farmland in Judah.
11 Nebuchadnezzar also gave an order about Jeremiah to commander Nebuzaradan: 12 “Find Jeremiah and take care of him. Don’t hurt him. Give him whatever he asks for.”
13 So Nebuzaradan, the commander of the king’s special guards, Nebushazban, a chief officer in the army of Babylon, Nergal-Sharezer, a high official, and all the other officers of the army of Babylon sent for Jeremiah. 14 They had Jeremiah taken out of the Temple yard where he had been under the guard of the king of Judah. They turned Jeremiah over to Gedaliah[a] son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan. Gedaliah had orders to take Jeremiah back home. So Jeremiah was taken home, and he stayed among his own people.
The Lord’s Message to Ebed Melech
15 While the guards were watching Jeremiah in the Temple yard, a message from the Lord came to him. This was the message: 16 “Jeremiah, go and tell Ebed Melech[b] the Ethiopian this message: ‘This is what the Lord All-Powerful, the God of the people of Israel, says: Very soon I will make my messages about this city of Jerusalem come true. My messages will come true through disaster, not through something good. You will see everything come true with your own eyes. 17 But I will save you on that day, Ebed Melech.’ This is the message from the Lord. ‘You will not be given to the people you are afraid of. 18 I will save you, Ebed Melech. You will not die from a sword, but you will escape and live. That will happen because you have trusted in me.’” This message is from the Lord.