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52 (Events told about in chapter 39.)

Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal (daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah). But he was a wicked king, just as Jehoiakim had been. Things became so bad at last that the Lord, in his anger, saw to it that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon until he and the people of Israel were ejected from the Lord’s presence in Jerusalem and Judah, and were taken away as captives to Babylon.

In the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came with all his army against Jerusalem and built forts around it, and laid siege to the city for two years. Then finally, on the ninth day of the fourth month, when the famine in the city was very serious, with the last of the food entirely gone, the people in the city tore a hole in the city wall and all the soldiers fled from the city during the night, going out by the gate between the two walls near the king’s gardens (for the city was surrounded by the Chaldeans), and made a dash for it across the fields, toward Arabah.

But the Chaldean soldiers chased them and caught King Zedekiah in some fields near Jericho—for all his army was scattered from him. They brought him to the king of Babylon who was staying in the city of Riblah in the kingdom of Hamath, and there judgment was passed upon him. 10 He made Zedekiah watch while his sons and all the princes of Judah were killed before his eyes. 11 Then his eyes were gouged out, and he was taken in chains to Babylon and put in prison for the rest of his life.

12 On the tenth day of the fifth month during the nineteenth year[a] of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, arrived in Jerusalem, 13 and burned the Temple and the palace and all the larger homes, 14 and set the Chaldean army to work tearing down the walls of the city. 15 Then he took to Babylon, as captives, some of the poorest of the people—along with those who survived the city’s destruction, and those who had deserted Zedekiah and had come over to the Babylonian army, and the tradesmen who were left. 16 But he left some of the poorest people to care for the crops as vinedressers and plowmen.

17 The Babylonians dismantled the two large bronze pillars that stood at the entrance of the Temple, and the bronze laver and bronze bulls on which it stood, and carted them off to Babylon. 18 And he took along all the bronze pots and kettles, the ash shovels used at the altar, the snuffers, spoons, bowls, and all the other items used in the Temple. 19 He also took the firepans, the solid gold and silver candlesticks, and the cups and bowls.

20 The weight of the two enormous pillars, the laver, and twelve bulls was tremendous. They had no way of estimating it. (They had been made in the days of King Solomon.) 21 For the pillars were each 27 feet high and 18 feet in circumference, hollow, with 3-inch walls. 22 The top 7½ feet of each column had bronze carvings, a network of bronze pomegranates. 23 There were 96 pomegranates on the sides, and on the network round about there were a hundred more.

24-25 The captain of the guard took along with him as his prisoners: Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah his assistant, the three chief Temple guards, one of the commanding officers of the army, seven of the king’s special counselors discovered in the city, the secretary of the general-in-chief of the Jewish army (who was in charge of recruitment), and sixty other men of importance found hiding. 26 He took them to the king of Babylon at Riblah, 27 where the king killed them all.

So it was that Judah’s exile was accomplished.

28 The number of captives taken to Babylon in the seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign was 3,023. 29 Then, eleven years later, he took 832 more; 30 five years after that he sent Nebuzaradan, his captain of the guard, and took 745—a total of 4,600 captives in all.

31 On February 25 of the thirty-seventh year of the imprisonment in Babylon of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, Evil-merodach, who became king of Babylon that year, was kind to King Jehoiachin and brought him out of prison. 32 He spoke pleasantly to him and gave him preference over all the other kings in Babylon; 33 he gave him new clothes and fed him from the king’s kitchen as long as he lived. 34 And he was given a regular allowance to cover his daily needs until the day of his death.


  1. Jeremiah 52:12 On the tenth day of the fifth month during the nineteenth year, late in July, 587 b.c.

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