This chapter records the 11-year reign of Zedekiah, his rebellion against Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and deportation of its people. It also discusses the Gedaliah governorship and the amazing favors conferred upon Jehoiachin by the king of Babylon.
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At the beginning of this chapter, we see how Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. This rebellion was against the prophecies and warnings of God’s prophets -Jeremiah and Ezekiel. On the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, and his army encamped outside Jerusalem and built siege all around it.
Zedekiah is Captured
By the ninth day of the fourth month, famine in the city became so severe that people were left without any food. The city was broken through and the entire army fled at night. However, the Babylonian army pursued the king and took him to Jericho. He was later taken to Babylon at Riblah where a sentence was pronounced on him. His two sons were killed before his eyes and then they put out his eyes and then tied him with bronze shackles.
Destroying Jerusalem and the Temple
During the 9th year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan, an official of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem and set fire to the Lord’s temple, the royal palace, and all the other houses in Jerusalem. The walls of Jerusalem were broken and Nebuzaradan carried into exile the people in the city but left some poor people to work on the vineyards and fields.
The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars and the movable stands that were in the Lord’s temple. They also took away shovels, pots, wick trimmers, dishes and all the bronze articles used in the temple service.
Gedaliah Left in Charge
Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah to be in charge of the people he had left behind in Judah. However, in the seventh month, Ishmaels, who was of royal blood, assassinated Gedaliah. During this time, all people together with the army officers fled to Egypt for fear of Babylonians.
In the 37th year of the exile of the Jehoiachin (king of Judah), the king of Babylon, Awel-Mardul, released Jehoiachin from prison. He spoke kindly of him and even gave him a seat higher than other kings in Babylon.
2 Kings 25 (King James Version)
1 And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about.
2 And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.
3 And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land.
4 And the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king’s garden: (now the Chaldees were against the city round about:) and the king went the way toward the plain.
5 And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him.
6 So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him.
7 And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon.
8 And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem:
9 And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man’s house burnt he with fire.
10 And all the army of the Chaldees, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about.
11 Now the rest of the people that were left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude, did Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carry away.
12 But the captain of the guard left of the poor of the land to be vinedressers and husbandmen.
13 And the pillars of brass that were in the house of the LORD, and the bases, and the brasen sea that was in the house of the LORD, did the Chaldees break in pieces, and carried the brass of them to Babylon.
14 And the pots, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away.
15 And the firepans, and the bowls, and such things as were of gold, in gold, and of silver, in silver, the captain of the guard took away.
16 The two pillars, one sea, and the bases which Solomon had made for the house of the LORD; the brass of all these vessels was without weight.
17 The height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits, and the chapiter upon it was brass: and the height of the chapiter three cubits; and the wreathen work, and pomegranates upon the chapiter round about, all of brass: and like unto these had the second pillar with wreathen work.
18 And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door:
19 And out of the city he took an officer that was set over the men of war, and five men of them that were in the king’s presence, which were found in the city, and the principal scribe of the host, which mustered the people of the land, and threescore men of the people of the land that were found in the city:
20 And Nebuzaradan captain of the guard took these, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah:
21 And the king of Babylon smote them, and slew them at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was carried away out of their land.
22 And as for the people that remained in the land of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left, even over them he made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, ruler.
23 And when all the captains of the armies, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah governor, there came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan the son of Careah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah the son of a Maachathite, they and their men.
24 And Gedaliah sware to them, and to their men, and said unto them, Fear not to be the servants of the Chaldees: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon; and it shall be well with you.
25 But it came to pass in the seventh month, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the seed royal, came, and ten men with him, and smote Gedaliah, that he died, and the Jews and the Chaldees that were with him at Mizpah.
26 And all the people, both small and great, and the captains of the armies, arose, and came to Egypt: for they were afraid of the Chaldees.
27 And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign did lift up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison;
28 And he spake kindly to him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon;
29 And changed his prison garments: and he did eat bread continually before him all the days of his life.
30 And his allowance was a continual allowance given him of the king, a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life.