The events of this chapter are recounted in Jeremiah 52, as God’s judgment on Judah comes to pass. Nebuchadnezzar and his army besieged Jerusalem for two years. There was severe famine, and no food was left. So Zedekiah and his men of war managed to escape through the exit in the wall that is probably referred to as the “Fountain gate” in Nehemiah 3:15. But the Chaldeans overtook him in the plain s of Jericho. They slaughtered his sons in front of him, put out his eyes, put him in chains, and took him to Babylon.
Then, a servant of the king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan (the captain of the bodyguard) came to Jerusalem. He burned the house of the Lord, the Kings house, and all the great houses down (verse 9). Verse 10: “And all the army of the Chaldeans, who were with the captain of the guard, broke down the walls around Jerusalem.” The rest of the people were carried into exile, leaving the poorest as vinedressers and plowmen. They took the majestic pillars of bronze that Solomon had made; and many were slaughtered. Nebuchadnezzar made Gedeliah his vassal governor over those left behind in Judah, but he was murdered. A more complete account of Gedeliah and the circumstances connected with his murder can be found in Jeremiah 40-41.
We close out the Books of Kings with verses 27-30. After 37 years, Nebuchadnezzar’s son (Evil-merodach) freed Jehoiachin. He dined at the king’s table and was given a regular allowance. Thereby, there was hope for the Davidic line and the promises of God to David in 2 Samuel 7:15-16.
Side note: Excavations of Babylon have yielded thousands of inscribed tablets with a wealth of information for scholars. Among many other things, they list the kings of other nations who were captured and living at the palace of the Babylonian king. Four of those tablets list “Jehoiachin, king of Judah” and his family as receiving rations from the king. An excellent article with photos, originally posted in the Summer 2007 issue of “Bible and Spade” can be found at this link.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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