Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.
Jeremiah 52 is an historical appendix to the Book of Jeremiah, giving details of the capture of Babylon additional to those contained in Jeremiah 39:The last words of the foregoing chapter affirm that Jeremiah was not the author, and the view adopted by most commentators is, that this chapter is taken from the 2nd Book of Kings, but that the person who added it here had access to other valuable documents, and made several modifications in it, the principal being the substituation of the account of those led captive by Nebuchadnezzar Jeremiah 52:28-30, for the narrative given in 2 Kings 25:22-26, where see the notes.
And he did that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.
For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, till he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
It - i. e., Zedekiah's evil doing.
Presence, that Zedekiah - Or, punctuate; "presence. And Zedekiah" etc.
And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it, and built forts against it round about.
So the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.
And in the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land.
Then the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled, and went forth out of the city by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king's garden; (now the Chaldeans were by the city round about:) and they went by the way of the plain.
Broken up ... the plain - Or, "broken into ... the Arabah" Deuteronomy 1:1.
But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho; and all his army was scattered from him.
Then they took the king, and carried him up unto the king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; where he gave judgment upon him.
And the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah.
Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in chains, and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death.
Put him in prison ... - Not found in 2 Kings, for in the contemporaneous history what befell Zedekiah at Riblah would alone be known. It was no doubt added by the same hand which inserted the account of the deportations to Babylon.
Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem,
Served - The word implies high office.
And burned the house of the LORD, and the king's house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire:
Houses of the great - Rather, every great house; i. e., the larger houses only.
And all the army of the Chaldeans, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down all the walls of Jerusalem round about.
Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive certain of the poor of the people, and the residue of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the multitude.
Certain of the poor of the people, and - Omit (as in 2 Kings 25:11), being inserted through some confusion with Jeremiah 52:16.
Multitude - Possibly workmen. The object of Nebuchadnezzar was to people Babylon, not with paupers, but with men of a better class, artisans and workmen, who would enrich it.
But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left certain of the poor of the land for vinedressers and for husbandmen.
Husbandmen - Men who tilled little plots of ground with the mattock.
Also the pillars of brass that were in the house of the LORD, and the bases, and the brasen sea that was in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans brake, and carried all the brass of them to Babylon.
The caldrons also, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the bowls, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away.
And the basons, and the firepans, and the bowls, and the caldrons, and the candlesticks, and the spoons, and the cups; that which was of gold in gold, and that which was of silver in silver, took the captain of the guard away.
The two pillars, one sea, and twelve brasen bulls that were under the bases, which king Solomon had made in the house of the LORD: the brass of all these vessels was without weight.
twelve brasen bulls that were under - Omitted in 2 Kings nd in Jeremiah 27:19. Probably rightly, for what is said here of their being under the bases is a mistake. The bases were under the ten lavers. The Septuagint makes sense by translating it: "the twelve brasen bulls under the sea."
And concerning the pillars, the height of one pillar was eighteen cubits; and a fillet of twelve cubits did compass it; and the thickness thereof was four fingers: it was hollow.
The fillet means a measuring line; the pillars were 12 cubits, i. e., 18 feet, in circumference, and thus the diameter would be 5 feet 9 inches. As the brass was four fingers, i. e., scarcely four inches thick, the hollow center would be more than five feet in diameter.
And a chapiter of brass was upon it; and the height of one chapiter was five cubits, with network and pomegranates upon the chapiters round about, all of brass. The second pillar also and the pomegranates were like unto these.
And there were ninety and six pomegranates on a side; and all the pomegranates upon the network were an hundred round about.
On a side - The 96 were toward the four winds, 24 toward the north, 24 toward the east, and so on. Add one at each corner, and the whole 100 is made up.
And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door:
He took also out of the city an eunuch, which had the charge of the men of war; and seven men of them that were near the king's person, which were found in the city; and the principal scribe of the host, who mustered the people of the land; and threescore men of the people of the land, that were found in the midst of the city.
An eunuch ... men of war - Or, who had charge of men of war. The King James Version makes him commander-in-chief; he was second in command, i. e., a lieutenant, possibly one among many others of equal rank.
So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah.
And the king of Babylon smote them, and put them to death in Riblah in the land of Hamath. Thus Judah was carried away captive out of his own land.
This is the people whom Nebuchadrezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year three thousand Jews and three and twenty:
Seventh year - The suggestion is now generally received, that the word ten has dropped out before seven, and that the deportations mentioned here are all connected with the final war against Zedekiah. The calculation of Nebuchadnezzars reign is different from that used elsewhere, showing that the writer had access to a document not known to the compiler of the Book of Kings. In each date there is a difference of one year. The Septuagint omits Jeremiah 52:28-30.
The number of the exiles carried away is small compared with the 42,360 men who returned Ezra 2:64-65, leaving a large Jewish population behind at Babylon. But a continual drain of people from Judaea was going on, and the 10,000 carried away with Jehoiachin formed the nucleus and center, and gave tone to the whole (see 2 Kings 24:14). When they began to thrive in Babylon, large numbers would emigrate there of their own accord.
A comparison of this chapter with the parallel portion of 2 Kings hows that though not free from clerical errors and mistakes of copyists the body of the text is remarkably sound. Many of the differences between the two texts are abbreviations made purposely by the compiler of the Book of Kings; others are the result of negligence; and upon the whole the text of the Book of Kings is inferior to that of the Appendix to the Book of Jeremiah. Bearing in mind, however, that possibly they are not two transcripts of the same text, but the result of an independent use by two different writers of the same original authority, their complete agreement, except in trivial matters and mistakes easy of correction, is a satisfactory proof of the general trust-worthiness of the Masoretic Text in all more important particulars.
In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred thirty and two persons:
In the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadrezzar Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred forty and five persons: all the persons were four thousand and six hundred.
And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison,
And spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon,
And changed his prison garments: and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life.
And for his diet, there was a continual diet given him of the king of Babylon, every day a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life.