2 Kings 25

King Nebuchadnezzar destroys Jerusalem

1 Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, marched with all his army to attack Jerusalem. He arrived on the 10th day of the 10th month, in the 9th year when Zedekiah had ruled Judah. His soldiers made their camp all around the city. They built heaps of earth all around Jerusalem's walls. 2 Babylon's army stayed around the city until the 11th year that Zedekiah had been king. 3 By the 9th day of the 4th month, there was a very bad famine in the city. There was no food for the people to eat. 4 Then Babylon's army broke down Jerusalem's wall so that they could go into the city. Their soldiers were all around the city. So the king of Judah and all his army tried to escape in the night. They went through the gate that was near the king's garden. The path went between the two walls of the city. They ran towards the Jordan Valley. 5 But the soldiers of Babylon's army chased after the king. They caught him on the flat land near Jericho. All King Zedekiah's soldiers ran away from him in many directions.

25:1The new wall made it very difficult for people to escape from the city.

6 Babylon's soldiers took hold of King Zedekiah. They took him to King Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah. Nebuchadnezzar decided how to punish Zedekiah. 7 They killed all Zedekiah's sons as their punishment, while Zedekiah watched. Then they cut out Zedekiah's eyes to make him blind. They tied him with chains and they took him to Babylon.

8 King Nebuchadnezzar had an officer whose name was Nebuzaradan. He was the captain of the king's royal guards. Nebuzaradan came to Jerusalem when Nebuchadnezzar had ruled Babylon for 19 years. It was on the 7th day of the 5th month. 9 Nebuzaradan destroyed the Lord's temple, the king's palace and all the other houses in Jerusalem. He burned them all with fire, so that he destroyed every important building in the city. 10 Then Nebuzaradan commanded his whole army to knock down the walls around Jerusalem. 11 Captain Nebuzaradan sent away as prisoners all the people who remained in Jerusalem. He also sent away those people who had agreed to serve the king of Babylon and the workers who were still there. 12 But Nebuzaradan let some of the poorest people stay there. He gave them vineyards and fields to work in.

13 The soldiers from Babylon broke the two bronze pillars that were in the Lord's temple. They also broke the carts which carried the buckets for water and the large bath called ‘the Sea’. They carried all the bronze pieces away to Babylon. 14 They also took away the pots, the spades, the small tools for the lamps, and the dishes. They took all the bronze tools that the priests used in the temple. 15 Nebuzaradan also took away the baskets that carried hot coals and the bowls for water. He took away everything that was made from gold or silver. 16 The bronze from the things that King Solomon had made for the Lord's temple was very heavy. They included the two bronze pillars, the large bath called ‘the Sea’ and the carts which carried the buckets for water. The bronze from all these things was more than they could weigh. 17 Each pillar was 8 metres high. The bronze piece on the top of one pillar was more than 1 metre high. It had rows of chains with images of pomegranates made from bronze all around it. The other pillar, with its rows of chains and pomegranates, was the same.

25:16The bronze things may also include the bulls that the large bath stood on. See 1 Kings 7:25.

18 Captain Nebuzaradan took hold of these people:

  • Seraiah, the leader of the priests,
  • Zephaniah, the next most important priest,
  • and the three temple guards.
  • 19 He also took hold of these people who remained in Jerusalem:

  • The palace officer with authority over the soldiers,
  • five of the king's advisors,
  • the army secretary who took men to join the army,
  • and 60 other people of Judah who were in the city.
  • 20 Nebuzaradan took hold of all those people. He brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah, in the Hamath region. 21 There, at Riblah, the king of Babylon commanded his soldiers to punish them all with death.

    That was how Judah's people went into exile, away from their own land.

    Gedaliah rules Judah

    22 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon chose Gedaliah, to have authority to rule the people who were still in Judah. Gedaliah was the son of Ahikam and the grandson of Shaphan.

    23 The officers of Judah's army and their men heard news that the king of Babylon had chosen Gedaliah to be the ruler of Judah. So they went to meet Gedaliah at Mizpah. The army officers were:

  • Nethaniah's son Ishmael,
  • Kareah's son Johanan,
  • Seraiah, the son of Tanhumeth, who came from Netophah,
  • and Jaazaniah, whose father came from Maakah.
  • 24 Gedaliah promised that he would not hurt these officers or the men who were with them. He said to them, ‘Do not be afraid to serve the soldiers from Babylon. Make your homes here in our land, but agree to serve the king of Babylon. If you do that, you will be successful.’

    25 But in the seventh month of that year, Ishmael went to Mizpah with ten of his men. Ishmael was the son of Nethaniah and the grandson of Elishama, who belonged to the king's family. They murdered Gedaliah, and the other men who were with him in Mizpah. Some of those men were from Judah and some of them were from Babylon. 26 When that happened, all the people of Judah ran away to Egypt. They included the army officers, as well as ordinary people and important people. They were all afraid that the people of Babylon would come to punish them.

    27 37 years after King Jehoiachin of Judah had gone as a prisoner to Babylon, Evil-Merodach became the king of Babylon. On the 27th day of the 12th month, he took Jehoiachin out from his prison so that he became free. 28 King Evil-Merodach spoke in a kind way to Jehoiachin. He gave him more honour than the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 29 Jehoiachin no longer had to wear the clothes of a prisoner. Every day until he died, he ate a meal at the king's table in Babylon. 30 The king of Babylon gave Jehoiachin everything that he needed each day for the rest of his life.