The people of Jerusalem ignored Jeremiah’s messages. Now we witness the fall of Jerusalem. And we learn the fate of Jeremiah.
VERSE 1. In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem, and besieged it.
ninth year … tenth month. The siege began on January 15, 588 BC.
VERSE 2. In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, a breach was made in the city.
eleventh year … fourth month … ninth day. This is the dating of the fall of Jerusalem: July 18, 586 BC.
Thus the entire siege had lasted just over 30 months.
It was so traumatic that it was recorded three other times in the Bible:
2 Kings 25:1-4. In the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and encamped against it; and they built forts against it around it. 2 So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. 3 On the ninth day of the fourth month, the famine was severe in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land. 4 Then a breach was made in the city, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king’s garden (now the Kasdim were against the city around it); and the king went by the way of the Arabah.
Jeremiah 52:4-5. In the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and encamped against it; and they built forts against it round about. 5 So the city was besieged to the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.
Ezekiel 24:1. Again, in the ninth year, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, the LORD’s word came to me, saying,
a breach was made in the city. The enemy’s goal is to penetrate your boundaries. Then the victory is certain.
VERSE 3. All the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, Nergal Sharezer, Samgarnebo, Sarsechim, Rabsaris, Nergal Sharezer, Rabmag, with all the rest of the princes of the king of Babylon.
VERSE 4. When Zedekiah the king of Judah and all the men of war saw them, then they fled, and went out of the city by night, by the way of the king’s garden, through the gate between the two walls; and he went out toward the Arabah.
they fled. King Zedekiah and his army ran away. Like cowards, they left the civilian population behind with no defense against the enemy.
went out of the city by night. Even worse, cowardly King Zedekiah and his army ran away … during the night. That way, the civilian population would not know their leaders had abandoned them.
by the way of the king’s garden. This was located in the south near the Pool of Siloam.
VERSE 5. But the army of the Kasdim pursued them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. When they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; and he pronounced judgment on him.
Riblah in the land of Hamath. Riblah was the headquarters of Nebuchadnezzar in Syria. That city had also been used by Pharaoh Neco.
VERSE 6. Then the king of Babylon killed Zedekiah’s sons in Riblah before his eyes. The king of Babylon also killed all the nobles of Judah.
Terrible things are happening. Nebuchadnezzar killed Zedekiah’s sons. And he killed all the nobles of Judah.
These things are the fault of King Zedekiah. Had Zedekiah done as Jeremiah said, none of them would have happened.
he put out Zedekiah’s eyes. Cowardly king Zedekiah has been blinded. And put in chains. And taken away to Babylon.
Had Zedekiah done as Jeremiah said, none of these things would have happened.
VERSE 8. The Kasdim burned the king’s house, and the houses of the people, with fire, and broke down the walls of Jerusalem.
burned the king’s house. The Kasdim set fire to the royal palace.
and the houses of the people. They set fire to the ordinary person’s house.
The Kasdim … broke down the walls of Jerusalem. The fall of Jerusalem is one of the saddest moments in the entire Bible.
VERSE 9. Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the residue of the people who remained in the city, the deserters also who fell away to him, and the residue of the people who remained.
Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard. In Hebrew, rav-tabbakheem. Literally “chief of the slaughterers.”
VERSE 10. But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left of the poor of the people, who had nothing, in the land of Judah, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time.
VERSE 11. Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon commanded Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard concerning Jeremiah, saying,
Nebuchadnezzar … concerning Jeremiah. The leader of the enemy knows of the prophet Jeremiah by name.
take care of him. King Nebuchadnezzar orders the protection of Jeremiah.
do to him even as he tells you. Jeremiah will be given anything he wants.
Jeremiah has finally escaped the corrupt religious leaders of his day. Now, a secular leader protects him.
Secular leaders are often much more committed to justice than religious leaders.
VERSE 13. So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard sent, with Nebushazban, Rabsaris, and Nergal Sharezer, Rabmag, and all the chief officers of the king of Babylon;
VERSE 14. they sent, and took Jeremiah out of the court of the guard, and committed him to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, that he should carry him home. So he lived among the people.
took Jeremiah out of the court of the guard. Jeremiah had probably been rounded up with the other survivors of Jerusalem and then taken five miles north to Ramah for processing. It was there that he was identified and released.
VERSE 15. Now the LORD’s word came to Jeremiah, while he was shut up in the court of the guard, saying,
VERSE 16. “Go, and speak to Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, ‘The LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: “Behold, I will bring my words on this city for evil, and not for good; and they will be accomplished before you in that day.
VERSE 17. But I will deliver you in that day,” says the LORD; “and you will not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid.
VERSE 18. For I will surely save you, and you won’t fall by the sword, but you will escape with your life; because you have put your trust in me,” says the LORD.’ ”
NLT translation. Because 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!
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.