August 19, 2 Kings 24-25, 2 Chronicles 36

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24 During Jehoiakim’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked. Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years, and then he turned and rebelled against him. The Lord sent Chaldean, Aramean, Moabite, and Ammonite raiders against Jehoiakim. He sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the Lord he had spoken through his servants the prophets. Indeed, this happened to Judah at the Lord’s command to remove them from his presence. It was because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all he had done, and also because of all the innocent blood he had shed. He had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the Lord was not willing to forgive.

The rest of the events of Jehoiakim’s reign, along with all his accomplishments, are written in the Historical Record of Judah’s Kings. Jehoiakim rested with his ancestors, and his son Jehoiachin became king in his place.

Now the king of Egypt did not march out of his land again, for the king of Babylon took everything that had belonged to the king of Egypt, from the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates River.

Judah’s King Jehoiachin

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Nehushta daughter of Elnathan; she was from Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight just as his father had done.

Deportations to Babylon

10 At that time the servants of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon marched up to Jerusalem, and the city came under siege. 11 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to the city while his servants were besieging it. 12 King Jehoiachin of Judah, along with his mother, his servants, his commanders, and his officials,[a] surrendered to the king of Babylon.

So the king of Babylon took him captive in the eighth year of his reign. 13 He also carried off from there all the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king’s palace, and he cut into pieces all the gold articles that King Solomon of Israel had made for the Lord’s sanctuary, just as the Lord had predicted. 14 He deported all Jerusalem and all the commanders and all the best soldiers—ten thousand captives including all the craftsmen and metalsmiths. Except for the poorest people of the land, no one remained.

15 Nebuchadnezzar deported Jehoiachin to Babylon. He took the king’s mother, the king’s wives, his officials, and the leading men of the land into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 16 The king of Babylon brought captive into Babylon all seven thousand of the best soldiers and one thousand craftsmen and metalsmiths—all strong and fit for war. 17 And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s[b] uncle, king in his place and changed his name to Zedekiah.

Judah’s King Zedekiah

18 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah. 19 Zedekiah did what was evil in the Lord’s sight just as Jehoiakim had done. 20 Because of the Lord’s anger, it came to the point in Jerusalem and Judah that he finally banished them from his presence. Then Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar’s Siege of Jerusalem

25 In the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon advanced against Jerusalem with his entire army. They laid siege to the city and built a siege wall against it all around. The city was under siege until King Zedekiah’s eleventh year.

By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine was so severe in the city that the common people had no food. Then the city was broken into, and all the warriors fled at night by way of the city gate between the two walls near the king’s garden, even though the Chaldeans surrounded the city. As the king made his way along the route to the Arabah, the Chaldean army pursued him and overtook him in the plains of Jericho. Zedekiah’s entire army left him and scattered. The Chaldeans seized the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah, and they passed sentence on him. They slaughtered Zedekiah’s sons before his eyes. Finally, the king of Babylon blinded Zedekiah, bound him in bronze chains, and took him to Babylon.

Jerusalem Destroyed

On the seventh day of the fifth month—which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon—Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guards, a servant of the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem. He burned the Lord’s temple, the king’s palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem; he burned down all the great houses. 10 The whole Chaldean army with the captain of the guards tore down the walls surrounding Jerusalem. 11 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guards, deported the rest of the people who remained in the city, the deserters who had defected to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the population. 12 But the captain of the guards left some of the poorest of the land to be vinedressers and farmers.

13 Now the Chaldeans broke into pieces the bronze pillars of the Lord’s temple, the water carts, and the bronze basin,[c] which were in the Lord’s temple, and carried the bronze to Babylon. 14 They also took the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, dishes, and all the bronze articles used in the priests’ service. 15 The captain of the guards took away the firepans and sprinkling basins—whatever was gold or silver.

16 As for the two pillars, the one basin, and the water carts that Solomon had made for the Lord’s temple, the weight of the bronze of all these articles was beyond measure. 17 One pillar was twenty-seven feet[d] tall and had a bronze capital on top of it. The capital, encircled by a grating and pomegranates of bronze, stood five feet[e] high. The second pillar was the same, with its own grating.

18 The captain of the guards also took away Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest of the second rank, and the three doorkeepers. 19 From the city he took a court official[f] who had been appointed over the warriors; five trusted royal aides[g] found in the city; the secretary of the commander of the army, who enlisted the people of the land for military duty; and sixty men from the common people[h] who were found within the city. 20 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guards, took them and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 21 The king of Babylon put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah went into exile from its land.

Gedaliah Made Governor

22 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, over the rest of the people he left in the land of Judah. 23 When all the commanders of the armies—they and their men—heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah, they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah. The commanders included Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah son of the Maacathite—they and their men. 24 Gedaliah swore an oath to them and their men, assuring them, “Don’t be afraid of the servants of the Chaldeans. Live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well for you.”

25 In the seventh month, however, Ishmael son of Nethaniah, son of Elishama, of the royal family, came with ten men and struck down Gedaliah, and he died. Also, they killed the Judeans and the Chaldeans who were with him at Mizpah. 26 Then all the people, from the youngest to the oldest, and the commanders of the army, left and went to Egypt, for they were afraid of the Chaldeans.

Jehoiachin Pardoned

27 On the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month of the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Judah’s King Jehoiachin, in the year Evil-merodach became king of Babylon, he pardoned King Jehoiachin of Judah and released him[i] from prison. 28 He spoke kindly to him and set his throne over the thrones of the kings who were with him in Babylon. 29 So Jehoiachin changed his prison clothes, and he dined regularly in the presence of the king of Babylon for the rest of his life. 30 As for his allowance, a regular allowance was given to him by the king, a portion for each day, for the rest of his life.

36 Then the common people[a] took Jehoahaz son of Josiah and made him king in Jerusalem in place of his father.

Jehoahaz[b] was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. The king of Egypt deposed him in Jerusalem and fined the land seventy-five hundred pounds[c] of silver and seventy-five pounds[d] of gold.

Judah’s King Jehoiakim

Then King Neco of Egypt made Jehoahaz’s brother Eliakim king over Judah and Jerusalem and changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. But Neco took his brother Jehoahaz and brought him to Egypt.

Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God. Now King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked him and bound him in bronze shackles to take him to Babylon. Also Nebuchadnezzar took some of the articles of the Lord’s temple to Babylon and put them in his temple in Babylon.

The rest of the deeds of Jehoiakim, the detestable actions he committed, and what was found against him, are written in the Book of Israel’s Kings. His son Jehoiachin became king in his place.

Judah’s King Jehoiachin

Jehoiachin was eighteen[e] years old when he became king, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. 10 In the spring[f] Nebuchadnezzar sent for him and brought him to Babylon along with the valuable articles of the Lord’s temple. Then he made Jehoiachin’s brother Zedekiah king over Judah and Jerusalem.

Judah’s King Zedekiah

11 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. 12 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God and did not humble himself before the prophet Jeremiah at the Lord’s command. 13 He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar who had made him swear allegiance by God. He became obstinate[g] and hardened his heart against returning to the Lord, the God of Israel. 14 All the leaders of the priests and the people multiplied their unfaithful deeds, imitating all the detestable practices of the nations, and they defiled the Lord’s temple that he had consecrated in Jerusalem.

The Destruction of Jerusalem

15 But the Lord, the God of their ancestors sent word against them by the hand of his messengers, sending them time and time again, for he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they kept ridiculing God’s messengers, despising his words, and scoffing at his prophets, until the Lord’s wrath was so stirred up against his people that there was no remedy. 17 So he brought up against them the king of the Chaldeans, who killed their fit young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary. He had no pity on young men or young women, elderly or aged; he handed them all over to him. 18 He took everything to Babylon—all the articles of God’s temple, large and small, the treasures of the Lord’s temple, and the treasures of the king and his officials. 19 Then the Chaldeans burned God’s temple. They tore down Jerusalem’s wall, burned all its palaces, and destroyed all its valuable articles.

20 He deported those who escaped from the sword to Babylon, and they became servants to him and his sons until the rise of the Persian[h] kingdom. 21 This fulfilled the word of the Lord through Jeremiah, and the land enjoyed its Sabbath rest all the days of the desolation until seventy years were fulfilled.

The Decree of Cyrus

22 In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken through[i] Jeremiah, the Lord roused the spirit of King Cyrus of Persia to issue a proclamation throughout his entire kingdom and also to put it in writing:

23 This is what King Cyrus of Persia says: The Lord, the God of the heavens, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and has appointed me to build him a temple at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up, and may the Lord his God be with him.

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