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The Fall of Jerusalem

39 This is how Jerusalem was captured: During the tenth month of the ninth year that Zedekiah was king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. He surrounded the city to defeat it. And on the ninth day of the fourth month in Zedekiah’s eleventh year, the wall of Jerusalem was broken through. Then all the royal officials of the king of Babylon came into the city of Jerusalem. They came in and sat down at the Middle Gate. These are the names of the officials: Nergal-Sharezer, the governor of the district of Samgar, a very high official; Nebo Sarsekim, another very high official; and various other important officials were there also.

King Zedekiah of Judah saw the officials from Babylon, so he and the soldiers with him ran away. They left Jerusalem at night. They went out through the king’s garden and out through the gate that was between the two walls. Then they went toward the desert. The Babylonian army chased Zedekiah and the soldiers with him. They caught up with Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. They captured Zedekiah and took him to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar was at the town of Riblah in the land of Hamath. At that place Nebuchadnezzar decided what to do to Zedekiah. There at the town of Riblah, the king of Babylon killed Zedekiah’s sons and he killed all the royal officials of Judah while Zedekiah watched. Then Nebuchadnezzar tore out Zedekiah’s eyes. He put bronze chains on Zedekiah and took him to Babylon.

The army of Babylon set fire to the king’s palace and the houses of the people of Jerusalem. And they broke down the walls of Jerusalem. Nebuzaradan was the commander of the king of Babylon’s special guards. He took all the people who had surrendered to him and all the people still in Jerusalem and made them captives. He carried them away to Babylon. 10 But commander Nebuzaradan left behind some of the poor people of Judah who owned nothing. Nebuzaradan gave them vineyards and farmland in Judah.

11 Nebuchadnezzar also gave an order about Jeremiah to commander Nebuzaradan: 12 “Find Jeremiah and take care of him. Don’t hurt him. Give him whatever he asks for.”

13 So Nebuzaradan, the commander of the king’s special guards, Nebushazban, a chief officer in the army of Babylon, Nergal-Sharezer, a high official, and all the other officers of the army of Babylon sent for Jeremiah. 14 They had Jeremiah taken out of the Temple yard where he had been under the guard of the king of Judah. They turned Jeremiah over to Gedaliah[a] son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan. Gedaliah had orders to take Jeremiah back home. So Jeremiah was taken home, and he stayed among his own people.

The Lord’s Message to Ebed Melech

15 While the guards were watching Jeremiah in the Temple yard, a message from the Lord came to him. This was the message: 16 “Jeremiah, go and tell Ebed Melech[b] the Ethiopian this message: ‘This is what the Lord All-Powerful, the God of the people of Israel, says: Very soon I will make my messages about this city of Jerusalem come true. My messages will come true through disaster, not through something good. You will see everything come true with your own eyes. 17 But I will save you on that day, Ebed Melech.’ This is the message from the Lord. ‘You will not be given to the people you are afraid of. 18 I will save you, Ebed Melech. You will not die from a sword, but you will escape and live. That will happen because you have trusted in me.’” This message is from the Lord.


  1. Jeremiah 39:14 Gedaliah Gedaliah was the man who Nebuchadnezzar appointed as his governor for the land of Judah.
  2. Jeremiah 39:16 Ebed Melech See Jer. 38:7-13.

39 In the ninth year of Zedekiah(A) king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar(B) king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army and laid siege(C) to it. And on the ninth day of the fourth(D) month of Zedekiah’s eleventh year, the city wall(E) was broken through.(F) Then all the officials(G) of the king of Babylon came and took seats in the Middle Gate: Nergal-Sharezer of Samgar, Nebo-Sarsekim a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer a high official and all the other officials of the king of Babylon. When Zedekiah king of Judah and all the soldiers saw them, they fled; they left the city at night by way of the king’s garden, through the gate between the two walls,(H) and headed toward the Arabah.[a](I)

But the Babylonian[b] army pursued them and overtook Zedekiah(J) in the plains of Jericho. They captured(K) him and took him to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon at Riblah(L) in the land of Hamath, where he pronounced sentence on him. There at Riblah the king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes and also killed all the nobles(M) of Judah. Then he put out Zedekiah’s eyes(N) and bound him with bronze shackles to take him to Babylon.(O)

The Babylonians[c] set fire(P) to the royal palace and the houses of the people and broke down the walls(Q) of Jerusalem. Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard carried into exile to Babylon the people who remained in the city, along with those who had gone over to him,(R) and the rest of the people.(S) 10 But Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard left behind in the land of Judah some of the poor people, who owned nothing; and at that time he gave them vineyards and fields.

11 Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had given these orders about Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard: 12 “Take him and look after him; don’t harm(T) him but do for him whatever he asks.” 13 So Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard, Nebushazban a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer a high official and all the other officers(U) of the king of Babylon 14 sent and had Jeremiah taken out of the courtyard of the guard.(V) They turned him over to Gedaliah(W) son of Ahikam,(X) the son of Shaphan,(Y) to take him back to his home. So he remained among his own people.(Z)

15 While Jeremiah had been confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him: 16 “Go and tell Ebed-Melek(AA) the Cushite, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I am about to fulfill my words(AB) against this city—words concerning disaster,(AC) not prosperity. At that time they will be fulfilled before your eyes. 17 But I will rescue(AD) you on that day, declares the Lord; you will not be given into the hands of those you fear. 18 I will save(AE) you; you will not fall by the sword(AF) but will escape with your life,(AG) because you trust(AH) in me, declares the Lord.’”


  1. Jeremiah 39:4 Or the Jordan Valley
  2. Jeremiah 39:5 Or Chaldean
  3. Jeremiah 39:8 Or Chaldeans

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