Jerusalem Is Captured by the Babylonians
(Jeremiah 52.4-16; 2 Kings 25.1-12)
1-3In the tenth month of the ninth year that Zedekiah was king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian army began their attack on Jerusalem. They kept the city surrounded for a year and a half. Then, on the ninth day of the fourth month of the eleventh year that Zedekiah was king, they broke through the city walls.
After Jerusalem was captured, Nebuchadnezzar's highest officials, including Nebo Sarsechim and Nergal Sharezer from Simmagir, took their places at Middle Gate to show they were in control of the city.
4When King Zedekiah and his troops saw that Jerusalem had been captured, they tried to escape from the city that same night. They went to the king's garden, where they slipped through the gate between the two city walls and headed toward the Jordan River valley. 5But the Babylonian troops caught up with them near Jericho. They arrested Zedekiah and took him to the town of Riblah in the land of Hamath, where Nebuchadnezzar put him on trial, then found him guilty, 6and gave orders for him to be punished. Zedekiah's sons were killed there in front of him, and so were the leaders of Judah's ruling families. 7Then his eyes were poked out, and he was put in chains, so he could be dragged off to Babylonia.
8Meanwhile, the Babylonian army had burned the houses in Jerusalem, including the royal palace, and they had broken down the city walls. 9Nebuzaradan, the Babylonian officer in charge of the guards, led away everyone from the city as prisoners, even those who had deserted to Nebuchadnezzar. 10Only the poorest people who owned no land were left behind in Judah, and Nebuzaradan gave them fields and vineyards.
11Nebuchadnezzar had given the following orders to Nebuzaradan: 12“Find Jeremiah and keep him safe. Take good care of him and do whatever he asks.”
13Nebuzaradan, Nebushazban, Nergal Sharezer, and the other officers of King Nebuchadnezzar 14sent some of their troops to bring me from the courtyard of the royal palace guards. They put me in the care of Gedaliah son of Ahikam and told him to take me to my home. And so I was allowed to stay with the people who remained in Judah.
The Lord Promises To Protect Ebedmelech
15While I was a prisoner in the courtyard of the palace guard, the Lord told me to say 16to Ebedmelech from Ethiopia:
I am the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel. I warned everyone that I would bring disaster, not prosperity, to this city. Now very soon I will do what I said, and you will see it happen. 17-18But because you trusted me, I will protect you from the officials of Judah, and when Judah is struck by disaster, I will rescue you and keep you alive. I, the Lord, have spoken.