The Sad Fate Of A Guilty Nation
Jerusalem was taken in the eleventh year of the rule of Zedekiah, on the
ninth day of the fourth month. An opening was made through the walls,
and all the princes of the king of Babylon came and sat in the middle
gate. When Zedekiah, the ruler of Judah, and all the warriors saw them,
they fled and left the city by night by the way of the royal garden,
through the gate between the two walls, and went out toward the Arabah.
But the army of the Chaldeans followed them and captured Zedekiah on
the plains of Jericho. Then they brought him up to Nebuchadrezzar, king
of Babylon, who was then at Riblah in the land of Hamath. And the king
of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. And the king of
Babylon put to death all the nobles of Judah. Moreover, he put out
Zedekiah's eyes and bound him in chains to carry him to Babylon.
In the nineteenth year of the reign of Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon,
Nebuzaradan, the commander of the body-guard, an officer of the king of
Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He burned the temple of Jehovah and the
royal palace and all the houses in Jerusalem. All the soldiers of the
Chaldeans, who were with the commander of the body-guard, broke down the
walls around Jerusalem. The rest of the people who were left in the city
and the deserters who had gone over to the king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan
carried away captive. But he left some of the poorest of the people to
take care of the vineyards and farms.
The pillars of brass that were in the temple of Jehovah, and the stands
and the bronze sea that were in the temple of Jehovah the Chaldeans
broke in pieces and carried the brass from them to Babylon. Also the
pots, the shovels, the snuffers, the bowls, and all the vessels of
brass, with which sacrifices were offered in the temple, they took away.
The fire-pans and the basins of silver and of gold, the commander of the
body-guard also melted and took away.
The commander of the body-guard carried away Seraiah, the chief priest
and Zephaniah, the second priest, and the three doorkeepers and brought
them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. And the king of Babylon put them
to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So the people of Judah were
carried away captive from their own homeland.
Nebuchadrezzar made Gedaliah, the grandson of Shaphan, governor over the
people he had left in the land of Judah.
Now Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, had given this command about
Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan, the commander of the body-guard, "Take good
care of him, and do him no harm; but do to him as he shall tell you." So
Nebuzaradan, the commander of the body-guard, said to him, "See, I
release you this day from the chains which are upon your hand. If it
seems best to you to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will look out
for you. But if you do not wish to come with me to Babylon, do not come;
go back to Gedaliah, whom the king of Babylon has made governor over the
cities of Judah, and live with him among the people, or go wherever it
seems right for you to go." So the commander of the body-guard gave
Jeremiah food and a present, and sent him away. Then Jeremiah went to
Gedaliah, who was at Mizpah, and lived with him among the people who
were left in the land.