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The Fall of Jerusalem

39 This is how Jerusalem was captured: Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. He surrounded the city to attack it. This was during the tenth month of the ninth year Zedekiah was king of Judah. This lasted until the ninth day of the fourth month in Zedekiah’s eleventh year. Then the city wall was broken through. And all the officers of the king of Babylon came into Jerusalem. They sat down at the Middle Gate. They were Nergal-Sharezer of the district of Samgar; Nebo-Sarsekim, a chief officer; Nergal-Sharezer, an important leader; and all the other important officers.

When Zedekiah king of Judah and all his soldiers saw them, they ran away. They left Jerusalem at night and went out from the king’s garden. They went through the gate that was between the two walls. Then they headed toward the Jordan Valley. But the Babylonian army chased them. They caught up with Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. They captured him and took him to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar was at Riblah in the land of Hamath. There Nebuchadnezzar passed his sentence on Zedekiah. There at Riblah the king of Babylon killed Zedekiah’s sons as he watched. And Nebuchadnezzar killed all the important officers of Judah as Zedekiah watched. Then he put out Zedekiah’s eyes. He put bronze chains on Zedekiah and took him to Babylon.

The Babylonians set fire to the palace. And they set fire to the houses of the people of Jerusalem. And they broke down the walls around Jerusalem. Nebuzaradan was commander of the king’s special guards. He took the people left in Jerusalem as captives. He also took those captives who had surrendered to him earlier. And he took the rest of the people of Jerusalem. He carried them all away to Babylon. 10 But Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard, left some of the poor people of Judah behind. They were the people who owned nothing. So on that day he gave them vineyards and fields.

11 Nebuchadnezzar had given these orders about Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard: 12 “Find Jeremiah and take care of him. Do not hurt him. Give him whatever he asks for.” 13 So these men sent for Jeremiah: Nebuzaradan, commander of the guards; Nebushazban, a chief officer; Nergal-Sharezer, an important leader; and all the other officers of the king of Babylon. 14 They had Jeremiah taken out of the courtyard of the guard. They turned him over to Gedaliah son of Ahikam son of Shaphan. Gedaliah had orders to take Jeremiah back home. So they took him home, and he stayed among his own people.

15 While Jeremiah was guarded in the courtyard, the Lord spoke his word to him: 16 “Jeremiah, go and tell Ebed-Melech the Cushite this message: ‘This is what the Lord of heaven’s armies, the God of Israel, says: Very soon I will make my words about Jerusalem come true. They will come true through disaster, not through good times. You will see everything come true with your own eyes. 17 But I will save you on that day, Ebed-Melech, says the Lord. You will not be handed over to the people you fear. 18 I will surely save you, Ebed-Melech. You will not die from a sword. But you will escape and live. This will happen because you have trusted in me, says the Lord.’”

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