Babylon's army takes power over Jerusalem
1 This is how the army of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon got power over Jerusalem. In the tenth month of the ninth year that Zedekiah had ruled Judah as king, Nebuchadnezzar's army marched to attack Jerusalem. The whole army made their camp around the city. 2 They stayed there until the ninth day of the fourth month of the 11th year that Zedekiah had been king. On that day, Babylon's soldiers broke through the walls of the city. 3 The king of Babylon's officers came into Jerusalem. They sat at the Middle Gate of the city. The officers were Nergal-Sharezer from Samgar, an important officer called Nebo-Sarsekim, and another important officer, also called Nergal-Sharezer. All the other officers of the king of Babylon met with them there. 4 King Zedekiah of Judah and all his soldiers tried to escape when they saw them. They left the city at night. They took a path through the king's garden and went through the gate between the two walls of the city. Then they ran towards the Jordan Valley.
5 But the soldiers of Babylon's army chased after them. They caught Zedekiah on the flat land near Jericho. They took him to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon at Riblah, in the region called Hamath. King Nebuchadnezzar decided that Zedekiah was guilty. 6 He decided how he would punish Zedekiah. He told his soldiers to kill all Zedekiah's sons, while Zedekiah watched. Nebuchadnezzar also punished all the important men of Judah with death. 7 Then they cut out Zedekiah's eyes to make him blind. They tied him with chains to take him to Babylon as their prisoner.
8 Babylon's soldiers destroyed the king's palace with fire. They also destroyed the temple and the people's houses in Jerusalem. They knocked down the walls around the city. 9 Nebuzaradan, the captain of King Nebuchadnezzar's guards, took hold of all the people who remained in Jerusalem. He sent them away as prisoners to Babylon. He also sent away the people of Judah who had joined Babylon's army. 10 But Captain Nebuzaradan let some of the very poor people remain in Judah. He gave them some fields and vineyards to take care of.
11 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had commanded Captain Nebuzaradan what to do with Jeremiah. 12 He said, ‘Find Jeremiah and take care of him. Do not hurt him. Help him in any way that he asks you.’ 13 So Captain Nebuzaradan, an important officer called Nebushazban, Nergal-Sharezer, the king's advisor, and all King Nebuchadnezzar's other officers did that. 14 They sent some men to bring Jeremiah from the palace yard. They told Gedaliah to take care of Jeremiah. Gedaliah was Ahikam's son and Shaphan's grandson. He took Jeremiah to his home. So Jeremiah continued to live among his own people.
The Lord's promise to Ebed-Melech
15 The Lord had spoken to Jeremiah while he was still a prisoner in the palace yard. 16 The Lord said, ‘Tell the Ethiopian man, Ebed-Melech, this: The Lord Almighty, Israel's God, says, “I will punish this city as I promised to do. I will send terrible trouble instead of help. You will see this when it happens. 17 But I will rescue you at that time. I promise you that. The people that you are afraid of will not take hold of you. 18 I will certainly save you. You will not die in battle. You trusted me, so I will keep your life safe. I, the Lord, say that to you.” ’