Rule of Zedekiah and the fall of Jerusalem

Zedekiah was 21 years old when he became king, and he ruled for eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal; she was a daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah. He did evil in the Lord’s eyes just as Jehoiachin had done. It was because the Lord was angry against Jerusalem and Judah that he thrust them out of his presence. Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

In the ninth year, the tenth month, and the tenth day of the month, Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem with all of his army. He camped beside the city and built a siege wall around it. The city was under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. On the ninth day of the fourth month, the famine in the city reached a point that no food remained for the people. The enemy entered the city, and all the soldiers fled by night along the gate between the two walls by the royal gardens. So the Babylonians surrounded the city while the soldiers fled toward the desert plain. However, the Babylonian army chased down Zedekiah and caught him in the plains of Jericho. (His entire army had fled from him.) They arrested the king and brought him before the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath. And he pronounced sentence on him. 10 The king of Babylon slaughtered Zedekiah’s children before his very own eyes, and he slaughtered all Judah’s officers at Riblah. 11 Then he gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes and bound him in chains. The king of Babylon dragged him off to Babylon and put him in prison, where he remained until he died.

12 In the tenth day of the fifth month, which was the nineteenth year of Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan commander of the guard came to Jerusalem on behalf of his king. 13 He burned down the Lord’s temple, the royal palace, all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the important buildings. 14 The entire Babylonian army and the commander of the guard destroyed the walls surrounding Jerusalem. 15 Nebuzaradan commander of the guard deported some of the poorest people, the rest of the people left in the city, a few skilled workers, and those who had joined the king of Babylon. 16 But Nebuzaradan commander of the guard left some of the poor to tend the vineyards and till the land.

17 The Babylonians broke apart the bronze columns, the stands, and the bronze Sea in the Lord’s temple. They carried the bronze to Babylon. 18 They took the pots, the shovels, the wick trimmers, the sprinkling bowls, the incense dishes, and all the bronze equipment used for the temple services. 19 The commander of the guard took whatever gold or silver he could find as well: the small bowls, the fire pans, the sprinkling bowls, the pots, the lampstands, the basins, and the offering bowls. 20 There was too much bronze to be weighed: two columns, the bronze Sea and the twelve bronze bulls that held it up, and the stands, all of which Solomon had made for the Lord’s temple. 21 Each column was about twenty-seven feet high and eighteen feet around. They were hollow, but the bronze was about three inches thick. 22 Each had a capital of bronze above it that towered seven and a half feet high, and each had an ornate design of bronze pomegranates around it. The second column was the same, also with pomegranates. 23 There were ninety-six pomegranates on the sides, a total of one hundred pomegranates around the ornate design.

24 The commander of the guard also took Seraiah the high priest, Zephaniah the deputy priest, and the three doorkeepers. 25 From the city, he took a eunuch who was appointed over the army and the seven royal advisors who remained in the city. He also took the scribe of the commander of the army in charge of military conscription and sixty military personnel[a] who were found in the city. 26 Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard took them and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 27 The king of Babylon struck them and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. And Judah went away from its land into exile.

28 This is the number of people whom Nebuchadnezzar deported: In the seventh year, 3,023 Judeans. 29 In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, he took 832 people from Jerusalem. 30 In the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar, he dispatched Nebuzaradan commander of the guard, who deported 745 Judeans. Altogether, 4,600 were taken captive.

31 Judah’s King Jehoiachin had been in exile for thirty-seven years when Awil-merodach[b] became king in Babylon. He took note of Jehoiachin’s plight and released him from prison on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month[c] of that very year. 32 Awil-merodach treated Jehoiachin kindly and gave him a throne higher than those of the other kings with him in Babylon. 33 So Jehoiachin discarded his prison clothes and ate his meals at the king’s table for the rest of his life. 34 The Babylonian king provided him daily provisions for the rest of his life, right up until he died.


  1. Jeremiah 52:25 Or from the people of the land
  2. Jeremiah 52:31 Or Evil-merodach
  3. Jeremiah 52:31 February–March, Adar