Nebuchadnezzar besieges Jerusalem; it is taken, after having been sorely reduced by famine, etc.; and Zedekiah, endeavoring to make his escape, is made prisoner, his sons slain before his eyes; then, his eyes being put out, he is put in chains and carried to Babylon, 2 Kings 25:1-7. Nebuzar-adan burns the temple, breaks down the walls of Jerusalem, and carries away the people captives, leaving only a few to till the ground, 2 Kings 25:8-12. He takes away all the brass, and all the vessels of the temple, 2 Kings 25:13-17. Several of the chief men and nobles found in the city, he brings to Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah, who puts them all to death, 2 Kings 25:18-21. Nebuchadnezzar makes Gedaliah governor over the poor people that were left, against whom Ishmael rises, and slays him, and others with him; on which the people in general, fearing the resentment of the Chaldeans, flee to Egypt, 2 Kings 25:22-26. Evil-merodach, king of Babylon, releases Jehoiachin out of prison, treats him kindly, and makes him his friend, 2 Kings 25:27-30.
And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about.In the ninth year of his reign - Zedekiah, having revolted against the Chaldeans, Nebuchadnezzar, wearied with his treachery, and the bad faith of the Jews, determined the total subversion of the Jewish state. Having assembled a numerous army, he entered Judea on the tenth day of the tenth month of the ninth year of the reign of Zedekiah; this, according to the computation of Archbishop Usher, was on Thursday, January 30, A.M. 3414, which was a sabbatical year: whereon the men of Jerusalem hearing that the Chaldean army was approaching, proclaimed liberty to their servants; see Jeremiah 34:8-10, according to the law, Exodus 21:2; Deuteronomy 15:1, Deuteronomy 15:2, Deuteronomy 15:12 : for Nebuchadnezzar, marching with his army against Zedekiah, having wasted all the country, and taken their strong holds, except Lachish, Azekah, and Jerusalem, came against the latter with all his forces. See Jeremiah 34:1-7. On the very day, as the same author computes, the siege and utter destruction of Jerusalem were revealed to Ezekiel the prophet, then in Chaldea, under the type of a seething pot; and his wife died in the evening, and he was charged not to mourn for her, because of the extraordinary calamity that had fallen upon the land. See Ezekiel 24:1, Ezekiel 24:2, etc.
Pharaoh Hophra, or Vaphris, hearing how Zedekiah was pressed, and fearing for the safety of his own dominions should the Chaldeans succeed against Jerusalem, determined to succor Zedekiah. Finding this, the Chaldeans raised the siege of Jerusalem, and went to meet the Egyptian army, which they defeated and put to flight. Joseph. Antiq., lib. 10, cap. 10. In the interim the Jews, thinking their danger was passed, reclaimed their servants, and put them again under the yoke; Jeremiah 34:8, etc.
And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.And the city was besieged, etc. - Nebuchadnezzar, having routed the Egyptian army, returned to Jerusalem, and besieged it so closely that, being reduced by famine, and a breach made in the wall, the Chaldeans entered it on the ninth day of the fourth month, (Wednesday, July 27), Zedekiah and many others endeavoring to make their escape by night.
And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land.
And the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king's garden: (now the Chaldees were against the city round about:) and the king went the way toward the plain.
And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him.The army of the Chaldeans pursued - Zedekiah was taken, and brought captive to Riblah in Syria, where Nebuchadnezzar then lay, who ordered his sons to be slain before his face, and then put out his eyes; and having loaded him with chains, sent him to Babylon, (see Jeremiah 39:4, Jeremiah 39:7; Jeremiah 52:7, Jeremiah 52:11), thus fulfilling the prophetic declarations, that his eyes should see the eyes of the king of Babylon, Jeremiah 32:4; Jeremiah 34:3; but Babylon he should not see, though he was to die there; Ezekiel 12:13.
So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him.
And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon.
And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem:In the fifth month - On the seventh day of the fifth month, (answering to Wednesday, Aug. 24), Nebuzar-adan made his entry into the city; and having spent two days in making provision, on the tenth day of the same month, (Saturday, Aug. 27), he set fire to the temple and the king's palace, and the houses of the nobility, and burnt them to the ground; Jeremiah 52:13, compared with Jeremiah 39:8. Thus the temple was destroyed in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the nineteenth of Nebuchadnezzar, the first of the XLVIIIth Olympiad, in the one hundred and sixtieth current year of the era of Nabonassar, four hundred and twenty-four years three months and eight days from the time in which Solomon laid its foundation stone.
And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king's house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man's house burnt he with fire.
And all the army of the Chaldees, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about.Brake down the walls - In the same fifth month, Jeremiah 1:3, the walls of Jerusalem being razed to the ground, all that were left in the city, and all that had fled over formerly to Nebuchadnezzar, and all the common people of the city, with all the king's treasures, those of the nobles, and the whole furniture of the temple, did Nebuzar-adan carry off to Babylon. See Jeremiah 39:8, Jeremiah 39:9; Jeremiah 52:14, Jeremiah 52:23. And thus was Judah carried away out of her own land, four hundred and sixty-eight years after David began to reign over it; from the division of the ten tribes three hundred and eighty-eight years; and from the destruction of the kingdom of Israel, one hundred and thirty-four years; A.M. 3416, and before Christ five hundred and ninety. And thus ends what is called the fifth age of the world. See Usher's Annals.
Now the rest of the people that were left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude, did Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carry away.
But the captain of the guard left of the poor of the land to be vinedressers and husbandmen.
And 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, did the Chaldees break in pieces, and carried the brass of them to Babylon.
And the pots, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away.
And the firepans, and the bowls, and such things as were of gold, in gold, and of silver, in silver, the captain of the guard took away.
The two pillars, one sea, and the bases which Solomon had made for the house of the LORD; the brass of all these vessels was without weight.
The height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits, and the chapiter upon it was brass: and the height of the chapiter three cubits; and the wreathen work, and pomegranates upon the chapiter round about, all of brass: and like unto these had the second pillar with wreathen work.
And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door:Seraiah the chief priest - Zephaniah - The person who is here called the second priest was what the Jews call sagan, a sort of deputy, who performed the functions of the high priest when he was prevented by any infirmity from attending the temple service. See on 2 Kings 23:4 (note).
And out of the city he took an officer that was set over the men of war, and five men of them that were in the king's presence, which were found in the city, and the principal scribe of the host, which mustered the people of the land, and threescore men of the people of the land that were found in the city:And five men of them that were in the king's presence - These were principal counselors, and confidential officers.
In Jeremiah 52:25, it is said he took seven men who were near the king's person, and the same number is found in the Arabic in this place; and the Chaldee has no less than fifty men; but in Jeremiah this, as well as all the rest of the versions, reads seven. Probably they were no more than five at first, or, perhaps Jeremiah reckoned with the five the officer that was set over the men of war, and the principal scribe of the host mentioned here, as two with the five; and thus made seven in the whole.
And Nebuzaradan captain of the guard took these, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah:
And the king of Babylon smote them, and slew them at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was carried away out of their land.The king of Babylon smote them - He had, no doubt, found that these had counselled Zedekiah to revolt.
And as for the people that remained in the land of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left, even over them he made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, ruler.Made Gedaliah - ruler - This was no regal dignity; he was only a sort of hind or overseer, appointed to regulate the husbandmen.
And when all the captains of the armies, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah governor, there came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan the son of Careah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah the son of a Maachathite, they and their men.To Mizpah - This is said to have been situated on the east side of the river Jordan, and most contiguous to Babylon, and therefore the most proper for the residence of Gedaliah, because nearest to the place from which he was to receive his instructions. But there were several places of this name, and we do not exactly know where this was situated.
And Gedaliah sware to them, and to their men, and said unto them, Fear not to be the servants of the Chaldees: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon; and it shall be well with you.Gedaliah sware to them - He pledged himself in the most solemn manner to encourage and protect them.
But it came to pass in the seventh month, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the seed royal, came, and ten men with him, and smote Gedaliah, that he died, and the Jews and the Chaldees that were with him at Mizpah.Smote Gedaliah - This was at an entertainment which Gedaliah had made for them; see Jeremiah 41:1, etc. He was not content with this murder, but slew fourscore more, who were coming with offerings to the temple, and took several as prisoners, among whom were some of the king's daughters; and set off to go to the Ammonites: but Johanan, the son of Careah, hearing of these outrages, raised a number of men, and pursued Ishmael upon which Ishmael's prisoners immediately turned and joined Johanan; so that he, and eight of his accomplices, with difficulty escaped to the Ammonites. See Jeremiah 41:1, etc. Baalis, king of the Ammonites, had sent Ishmael to murder Gedaliah; and of this he was informed by Johanan, who offered to prevent it, by taking away the life of this murderer. But Gedaliah could not believe that he harbored such foul designs, and therefore took no precaution to save his life. See Jeremiah 40:13-16.
And all the people, both small and great, and the captains of the armies, arose, and came to Egypt: for they were afraid of the Chaldees.
And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign did lift up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison;And it came to pass - Nebuchadnezzar was just now dead; and Evil-merodach, his son, succeeded to the kingdom in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of Jehoiachin: and on the seven and twentieth day [Jeremiah says five and twentieth] of the twelfth month of that year, (Tuesday, April 15, A.M. 3442), he brought the long captivated Jewish king out of prison; treated him kindly; and ever after, during his life, reckoned him among the king's friends. This is particularly related in the four last verses of the book of Jeremiah.
And he spake kindly to 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 eat bread continually before him all the days of his life.
And his allowance was a continual allowance given him of the king, a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life.A continual allowance given him of the king - He lived in a regal style, and had his court even in the city of Babylon, being supplied with every requisite by the munificence and friendship of the king. In about two years after this, Evil-merodach was slain in a conspiracy; and it is supposed that Jehoiachin, then about fifty-eight years of age, fell with his friend and protector. Thus terminates the catastrophe of the Jewish kings, people, and state; the consequence of unheard-of rebellions and provocations against the Majesty of heaven.