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1And in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with all his army against Jerusalem, and laid siege to it; they built siegeworks against it all around. 2So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. 3On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine became so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. 4Then a breach was made in the city wall; the king with all the soldiers fled by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, by the king’s garden, though the Chaldeans were all around the city. They went in the direction of the Arabah. 5But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho; all his army was scattered, deserting him. 6Then they captured the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah, who passed sentence on him. 7They slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, then put out the eyes of Zedekiah; they bound him in fetters and took him to Babylon.

8 In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month—which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon—Nebuzaradan, the captain of the bodyguard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 9He burned the house of the Lord, the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down. 10All the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down the walls around Jerusalem. 11Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried into exile the rest of the people who were left in the city and the deserters who had defected to the king of Babylon—all the rest of the population. 12But the captain of the guard left some of the poorest people of the land to be vinedressers and tillers of the soil.

13 The bronze pillars that were in the house of the Lord, as well as the stands and the bronze sea that were in the house of the Lord, the Chaldeans broke in pieces, and carried the bronze to Babylon. 14They took away the pots, the shovels, the snuffers, the dishes for incense, and all the bronze vessels used in the temple service, 15as well as the firepans and the basins. What was made of gold the captain of the guard took away for the gold, and what was made of silver, for the silver. 16As for the two pillars, the one sea, and the stands, which Solomon had made for the house of the Lord, the bronze of all these vessels was beyond weighing. 17The height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits, and on it was a bronze capital; the height of the capital was three cubits; latticework and pomegranates, all of bronze, were on the capital all around. The second pillar had the same, with the latticework.

18 The captain of the guard took the chief priest Seraiah, the second priest Zephaniah, and the three guardians of the threshold; 19from the city he took an officer who had been in command of the soldiers, and five men of the king’s council who were found in the city; the secretary who was the commander of the army who mustered the people of the land; and sixty men of the people of the land who were found in the city. 20Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them, and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 21The king of Babylon struck them down and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah went into exile out of its land.

Gedaliah Made Governor of Judah

22 He appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam son of Shaphan as governor over the people who remained in the land of Judah, whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had left. 23Now when all the captains of the forces and their men heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah as governor, they came with their men to Gedaliah at Mizpah, namely, Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah son of the Maacathite. 24Gedaliah swore to them and their men, saying, “Do not be afraid because of the Chaldean officials; live in the land, serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you.” 25But in the seventh month, Ishmael son of Nethaniah son of Elishama, of the royal family, came with ten men; they struck down Gedaliah so that he died, along with the Judeans and Chaldeans who were with him at Mizpah. 26Then all the people, high and low, and the captains of the forces set out and went to Egypt; for they were afraid of the Chaldeans.

Jehoiachin Released from Prison

27 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, King Evil-merodach of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, released King Jehoiachin of Judah from prison; 28he spoke kindly to him, and gave him a seat above the other seats of the kings who were with him in Babylon. 29So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes. Every day of his life he dined regularly in the king’s presence. 30For his allowance, a regular allowance was given him by the king, a portion every day, as long as he lived.


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2Ki 25:1-3. Jerusalem Again Besieged.

1. Nebuchadnezzar … came … against Jerusalem—Incensed by the revolt of Zedekiah, the Assyrian despot determined to put an end to the perfidious and inconstant monarchy of Judea. This chapter narrates his third and last invasion, which he conducted in person at the head of an immense army, levied out of all the tributary nations under his sway. Having overrun the northern parts of the country and taken almost all the fenced cities (Jer 34:7), he marched direct to Jerusalem to invest it. The date of the beginning as well as the end of the siege is here carefully marked (compare Eze 24:1; Jer 39:1; 52:4-6); from which it appears, that, with a brief interruption caused by Nebuchadnezzar's marching to oppose the Egyptians who were coming to its relief but who retreated without fighting, the siege lasted a year and a half. So long a resistance was owing, not to the superior skill and valor of the Jewish soldiers, but to the strength of the city fortifications, on which the king too confidently relied (compare Jer 21:1-14; 37:1-38:28).

pitched against it, and … built forts—rather, perhaps, drew lines of circumvallation, with a ditch to prevent any going out of the city. On this rampart were erected his military engines for throwing missiles into the city.

3. on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed—In consequence of the close and protracted blockade, the inhabitants were reduced to dreadful extremities; and under the maddening influence of hunger, the most inhuman atrocities were perpetrated (La 2:20, 22; 4:9, 10; Eze 5:10). This was a fulfilment of the prophetic denunciations threatened on the apostasy of the chosen people (Le 26:29; De 28:53-57; Jer 15:2; 27:13; Eze 4:16).

2Ki 25:4-30. Zedekiah Taken.

4. the city was broken up—that is, a breach was effected, as we are elsewhere informed, in a part of the wall belonging to the lower city (2Ch 32:5; 33:14).

the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king's garden—The king's garden was (Ne 3:15) at the pool of Siloam, that is, at the mouth of the Tyropæon. A trace of the outermost of these walls appears to be still extant in the rude pathway which crosses the mouth of the Tyropæon, on a mound hard by the old mulberry tree, which marks the traditional spot of Isaiah's martyrdom [Robinson]. It is probable that the besiegers had overlooked this pass.

the king went … toward the plain—that is, the Ghor, or valley of Jordan, estimated at five hours' distance from Jerusalem. The plain near Jericho is about eleven or twelve miles broad.

6, 7. they took the king, and brought him … to Riblah—Nebuchadnezzar, having gone from the siege to oppose the auxiliary forces of Pharaoh-hophra, left his generals to carry on the blockade, he himself not returning to the scene of action, but taking up his station at Riblah in the land of Hamath (2Ki 23:33).

they gave judgment upon him—They, that is, the council (Jer 39:3, 13; Da 6:7, 8, 12), regarding him as a seditious and rebellious vassal, condemned him for violating his oath and neglecting the announcement of the divine will as made known to him by Jeremiah (compare Jer 32:5; 34:2; 38:17). His sons and the nobles who had joined in his flight were slain before his eyes (Jer 39:6; 52:10). In conformity with Eastern ideas, which consider a blind man incapable of ruling, his eyes were put out, and being put in chains, he was carried to perpetual imprisonment in Babylon (Jer 52:11), which, though he came to it, as Ezekiel had foretold, he did not see (Jer 32:5; Eze 12:13; 17:16).

8-18. on the seventh day of the month … came Nebuzar-adan—(compare Jer 52:12). In attempting to reconcile these two passages, it must be supposed either that, though he had set out on the seventh, he did not arrive in Jerusalem till the tenth, or that he did not put his orders in execution till that day. His office as captain of the guard (Ge 37:36; 39:1) called him to execute the awards of justice on criminals; and hence, although not engaged in the siege of Jerusalem (Jer 39:13), Nebuzar-adan was despatched to rase the city, to plunder the temple, to lay both in ruins, demolish the fortifications, and transport the inhabitants to Babylon. The most eminent of these were taken to the king at Riblah (2Ki 25:27) and executed, as instigators and abettors of the rebellion, or otherwise obnoxious to the Assyrian government. In their number were Seraiah, the high priest, grandfather of Ezra (Ezr 7:1), his sagan or deputy, a priest of the second order (Jer 21:2; 29:25, 29; 37:3).

18. the three keepers of the door—not mere porters, but officers of high trust among the Levites (2Ki 22:4; 1Ch 9:26).

19. five men of them that were in the king's presence—that is, who belonged to the royal retinue. It is probable that there were five at first, and that other two were found afterwards (Jer 52:25).

22-26. Nebuchadnezzar … made Gedaliah … ruler—The people permitted to remain were, besides the king's daughters, a few court attendants and others (Jer 40:7) too insignificant to be removed, only the peasantry who could till the land and dress the vineyards. Gedaliah was Jeremiah's friend (Jer 26:24), and having, by the prophet's counsel, probably fled from the city as abandoned of God, he surrendered himself to the conqueror (Jer 38:2, 17), and being promoted to the government of Judea, fixed his provincial court at Mizpeh. He was well qualified to surmount the difficulties of ruling at such a crisis. Many of the fugitive Jews, as well as the soldiers of Zedekiah who had accompanied the king in his flight to the plains of Jericho, left their retreats (Jer 40:11, 12) and flocked around the governor; who having counselled them to submit, promised them on complying with this condition, security on oath that they would retain their possessions and enjoy the produce of their land (Jer 40:9).

25. Ishmael … of the seed royal, came, and ten men with him, and smote Gedaliah—He had found refuge with Baalis, king of the Ammonites, and he returned with a bad design, being either instigated by envy of a governor not descended from the house of David, or bribed by Baalis to murder Gedaliah. The generous governor, though apprised of his intentions, refused to credit the report, much less to sanction the proposal made by an attached friend to cut off Ishmael. The consequence was, that he was murdered by this same Ishmael, when entertaining him in his own house (Jer 41:1).

26. and all the people … came to Egypt—In spite of Jeremiah's dissuasions (Jer 43:7, 8) they settled in various cities of that country (Jer 44:1).

27. seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin—corresponding with the year of Nebuchadnezzar's death, and his son Evil-merodach's ascension to the throne.

Evil-merodach … did lift up the head of Jehoiachin … and spake kindly—gave him liberty upon parole. This kindly feeling is said to have originated in a familiar acquaintance formed in prison, in which Evil-merodach had lain till his father's death, on account of some malversation while acting as regent during Nebuchadnezzar's seven years' illness (Da 4:32, 33). But doubtless the improvement in Zedekiah's condition is to be traced to the overruling providence and grace of Him who still cherished purposes of love to the house of David (2Sa 7:14, 15).

29. Jehoiachin … did eat … continually before him—According to an ancient usage in Eastern courts, had a seat at the royal table on great days, and had a stated provision granted him for the maintenance of his exiled court.




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