2 Kings 24-25 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
24 During Jehoiakim’s rule, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia[a] invaded and took control of Judah. Jehoiakim obeyed Nebuchadnezzar for three years, but then he rebelled.
2 At that time, the Lord started sending troops to rob and destroy towns in Judah. Some of these troops were from Babylonia, and others were from Syria, Moab, and Ammon. The Lord had sent his servants the prophets to warn Judah about this, 3 and now he was making it happen. The country of Judah was going to be wiped out, because Manasseh had sinned 4 and caused many innocent people to die. The Lord would not forgive this.
5 Everything else Jehoiakim did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah. 6 Jehoiakim died, and his son Jehoiachin became king.
7 King Nebuchadnezzar defeated King Neco of Egypt and took control of his land from the Egyptian Gorge all the way north to the Euphrates River. So Neco never invaded Judah again.[b]
King Jehoiachin of Judah Is Taken to Babylon
8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled only three months from Jerusalem. His mother Nehushta was the daughter of Elnathan from Jerusalem. 9 Jehoiachin disobeyed the Lord, just as his father Jehoiakim had done.
10 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia sent troops to attack Jerusalem soon after Jehoiachin became king. 11 During the attack, Nebuchadnezzar himself arrived at the city. 12 Jehoiachin immediately surrendered, together with his mother and his servants, as well as his army officers and officials. Then Nebuchadnezzar had Jehoiachin arrested. These things took place in the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar’s rule in Babylonia.[c]
13 The Lord had warned[d] that someday the treasures would be taken from the royal palace and from the temple, including the gold objects that Solomon had made for the temple. And that’s exactly what Nebuchadnezzar ordered his soldiers to do. 14 He also led away as prisoners the Jerusalem officials, the military leaders, and the skilled workers—ten thousand in all. Only the very poorest people were left in Judah.
15 Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin to Babylon, along with his mother, his wives, his officials, and the most important leaders of Judah. 16 He also led away seven thousand soldiers, one thousand skilled workers, and anyone who would be useful in battle.
17 Then Nebuchadnezzar appointed Jehoiachin’s uncle Mattaniah king of Judah and changed his name to Zedekiah.
King Zedekiah of Judah
18 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he was appointed king of Judah, and he ruled from Jerusalem for eleven years. His mother Hamutal was the daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah. 19 Zedekiah disobeyed the Lord, just as Jehoiakim had done. 20 It was Zedekiah who finally rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar.
The people of Judah and Jerusalem had made the Lord so angry that he finally turned his back on them. That’s why these horrible things were happening.
Jerusalem Is Captured and Destroyed
25 In Zedekiah’s ninth year as king, on the tenth day of the tenth month,[e] King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia led his entire army to attack Jerusalem. The troops set up camp outside the city and built ramps up to the city walls.
2-3 After a year and a half, all the food in Jerusalem was gone. Then on the ninth day of the fourth[f] month, 4 the Babylonian troops broke through the city wall.[g] That same night, Zedekiah and his soldiers tried to escape through the gate near the royal garden, even though they knew the enemy had the city surrounded. They headed toward the desert, 5 but the Babylonian troops caught up with them near Jericho. They arrested Zedekiah, but his soldiers scattered in every direction.
6 Zedekiah was taken to Riblah, where Nebuchadnezzar put him on trial and found him guilty. 7 Zedekiah’s sons were killed right in front of him. His eyes were then poked out, and he was put in chains and dragged off to Babylon.
8 About a month later,[h] in Nebuchadnezzar’s nineteenth year as king, Nebuzaradan, who was his official in charge of the guards, arrived in Jerusalem. 9 Nebuzaradan burned down the Lord’s temple, the king’s palace, and every important building in the city, as well as all the houses. 10 Then he ordered the Babylonian soldiers to break down the walls around Jerusalem. 11 He led away as prisoners the people left in the city, including those who had become loyal to Nebuchadnezzar. 12 Only some of the poorest people were left behind to work the vineyards and the fields.
13 The Babylonian soldiers took the two bronze columns that stood in front of the temple, the ten movable bronze stands, and the large bronze bowl called the Sea. They broke them into pieces so they could take the bronze to Babylonia. 14 They carried off the bronze things used for worship at the temple, including the pans for hot ashes, and the shovels, snuffers, and also the dishes for incense, 15 as well as the fire pans and the sprinkling bowls. Nebuzaradan ordered his soldiers to take everything made of gold or silver.
16 The pile of bronze from the columns, the stands, and the large bowl that Solomon had made for the temple was too large to be weighed. 17 Each column had been twenty-seven feet tall with a bronze cap four and a half feet high. These caps were decorated with bronze designs—some of them like chains and others like pomegranates.[i]
18 Next, Nebuzaradan arrested Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah his assistant, and three temple officials. 19 Then he arrested one of the army commanders, the king’s five personal advisors, and the officer in charge of gathering the troops for battle. He also found sixty more soldiers who were still in Jerusalem. 20 Nebuzaradan led them all to Riblah 21 near Hamath, where Nebuchadnezzar had them killed.
The people of Judah no longer lived in their own country.
Gedaliah Is Made Ruler of the People Left in Judah
22 King Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam[j] to rule the few people still living in Judah. 23 When the army officers and troops heard that Gedaliah was their ruler, the officers met with him at Mizpah. These men were Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth from Netophah, and Jaazaniah from Maacah.
24 Gedaliah said to them, “Everything will be fine, I promise. We don’t need to be afraid of the Babylonian rulers, if we live here peacefully and do what Nebuchadnezzar says.”
25 Ishmael[k] was from the royal family. And about two months after Gedaliah began his rule,[l] Ishmael and ten other men went to Mizpah. They killed Gedaliah and his officials, including those from Judah and those from Babylonia. 26 After that, the army officers and all the people in Mizpah, whether important or not, were afraid of what the Babylonians might do. So they left Judah and went to Egypt.
Jehoiachin Is Set Free
27 Jehoiachin was a prisoner in Babylon for thirty-seven years. Then Evil-Merodach became king of Babylonia,[m] and in the first year of his rule, on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month,[n] he let Jehoiachin out of prison. 28 Evil-Merodach was kind to Jehoiachin and honored him more than any of the other kings held prisoner there. 29 Jehoiachin was even allowed to wear regular clothes, and he ate at the king’s table every day. 30 As long as Jehoiachin lived, he was paid a daily allowance to buy whatever he needed.
2 Chronicles 36 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
King Jehoahaz of Judah
36 After the death of Josiah, the people of Judah crowned his son Jehoahaz their new king. 2 He was twenty-three years old at the time, and he ruled only three months from Jerusalem. 3 King Neco of Egypt captured Jehoahaz and forced Judah to pay almost four tons of silver and seventy-five pounds of gold as taxes. 4 Then Neco appointed Jehoahaz’s brother Eliakim king of Judah and changed his name to Jehoiakim. He led Jehoahaz away to Egypt as his prisoner.
King Jehoiakim of Judah
5 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he was appointed king, and he ruled eleven years from Jerusalem. Jehoiakim disobeyed the Lord his God by doing evil.
6 During Jehoiakim’s rule, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia invaded Judah. He arrested Jehoiakim and put him in chains, and he sent him to the capital city of Babylon. 7 Nebuchadnezzar also carried off many of the valuable things in the Lord’s temple, and he put them in his palace in Babylon.
8 Everything else Jehoiakim did while he was king, including all the disgusting and evil things, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel and Judah. His son Jehoiachin then became king.
King Jehoiachin of Judah
9 Jehoiachin was eighteen[a] years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled only three months and ten days from Jerusalem. Jehoiachin also disobeyed the Lord by doing evil. 10 In the spring of the year, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia had Jehoiachin arrested and taken to Babylon, along with more of the valuable items in the temple. Then Nebuchadnezzar appointed Zedekiah king of Judah.
King Zedekiah of Judah
11 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he was appointed king of Judah, and he ruled from Jerusalem for eleven years. 12 He disobeyed the Lord his God and refused to change his ways, even after a warning from Jeremiah, the Lord’s prophet.
13 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia had forced Zedekiah to promise in God’s name that he would be loyal. Zedekiah was stubborn and refused to turn back to the Lord God of Israel, so he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. 14 The people of Judah and even the priests who were their leaders became more unfaithful. They followed the disgusting example of the nations around them and made the Lord’s holy temple unfit for worship. 15 But the Lord God felt sorry for his people, and instead of destroying the temple, he sent prophets who warned the people over and over about their sins. 16 But the people only laughed and insulted these prophets. They ignored what the Lord God was trying to tell them, until he finally became so angry that nothing could stop him from punishing Judah and Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Is Destroyed
17 The Lord sent King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia to attack Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar killed the young men who were in the temple, and he showed no mercy to anyone, whether man or woman, young or old. God let him kill everyone in the city. 18 Nebuchadnezzar carried off everything that was left in the temple; he robbed the treasury and the personal storerooms of the king and his officials. He took everything back to Babylon.
19 Nebuchadnezzar’s troops burned down the temple and destroyed every important building in the city. Then they broke down the city wall. 20 The survivors were taken to Babylonia as prisoners, where they were slaves of the king and his sons, until Persia became a powerful nation.
21 Judah was an empty desert, and it stayed that way for seventy years, to make up for all the years it was not allowed to rest.[b] These things happened just as Jeremiah the Lord’s prophet had said.[c]
Cyrus Lets the Jews Return Home
22 In the first year that Cyrus was king of Persia,[d] the Lord had Cyrus send a message to all parts of his kingdom. This happened just as Jeremiah the Lord’s prophet had promised. 23 The message said:
I am King Cyrus of Persia.
The Lord God of heaven has made me the ruler of every nation on earth. He has also chosen me to build a temple for him in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. The Lord God will watch over any of his people who want to go back to Judah.
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