39In January of the ninth year of King Zedekiah’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar came with his army to besiege Jerusalem.2Two and a half years later, on July 18 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign, the Babylonians broke through the wall, and the city fell.3All the officers of the Babylonian army came in and sat in triumph at the Middle Gate: Nergal-sharezer of Samgar, and Nebo-sarsekim, a chief officer, and Nergal-sharezer, the king’s adviser, and all the other officers.4When King Zedekiah and all the soldiers saw that the Babylonians had broken into the city, they fled. They waited for nightfall and then slipped through the gate between the two walls behind the king’s garden and headed toward the Jordan Valley.5But the Babylonian troops chased the king and caught him on the plains of Jericho. They took him to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who was at Riblah in the land of Hamath. There the king of Babylon pronounced judgment upon Zedekiah.6He made Zedekiah watch as they slaughtered his sons and all the nobles of Judah.7Then they gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon.8Meanwhile, the Babylonians burned Jerusalem, including the palace, and tore down the walls of the city.9Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, sent to Babylon the rest of the people who remained in the city as well as those who had defected to him.10But Nebuzaradan left a few of the poorest people in Judah, and he assigned them vineyards and fields to care for.
Jeremiah Remains in Judah
11King Nebuchadnezzar had told Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, to find Jeremiah.12“See that he isn’t hurt,” he said. “Look after him well, and give him anything he wants.”13So Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard; Nebushazban, a chief officer; Nergal-sharezer, the king’s adviser; and the other officers of Babylon’s king14sent messengers to bring Jeremiah out of the prison. They put him under the care of Gedaliah son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, who took him back to his home. So Jeremiah stayed in Judah among his own people.15The Lord had given the following message to Jeremiah while he was still in prison:16“Say to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: I will do to this city everything I have threatened. I will send disaster, not prosperity. You will see its destruction,17but I will rescue you from those you fear so much.18Because you trusted me, I will give you your life as a reward. I will rescue you and keep you safe. I, the Lord, have spoken!’”