This is the end of the Book of Jeremiah, the next is the Book of Lamentations. What…
Downfall of Jerusalem
1 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.
52:1-27, 31-34 – paralleled almost verbatim in 2 Kgs 24:18-25:21, 27-30. The writer(s) of Book of Kings and the writer of the appendix to the Book of Jeremiah (perhaps Baruch) doubtless had access to the same sources.
It’s unlikely that either of the two accounts copied from the other since each has peculiarities characteristic of the larger work that it concludes. In a few passages, the Book of Jeremiah is fuller than the Book of 2 Kings .
“Jeremiah” – not the prophet.
2 And he did that which was evil in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.
3 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.
4 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 army, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it, and built forts against it round about.
5 So the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.
6 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.
7 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.
8 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.
9 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.
10 And the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes: he slew also all the princes of Judah in Riblah.
11 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.
12 Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzar-adan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem,
13 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:
14 And all the army of the Chaldeans, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down all the walls of Jerusalem round about.
15 Then Nebuzar-adan 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.
16 But Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard left certain of the poor of the land for vinedressers and for husbandmen.
17 Also the pillars of brass that were in the house of the LORD, and the bases, and the brazen sea that was in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans brake, and carried all the brass of them to Babylon.
18 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.
19 And the brazons, and the fire pans, 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.
20 The two pillars, one sea, and twelve brazen 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.
21 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.
22 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.
“Five cubits” – about 7½ feet. The parallel in 2 Kgs 25:17 reads “three cubits” (about 4½ feet), probably a copyist’s error.
23 And there were ninety and six pomegranates on a side; and all the pomegranates upon the network were an hundred round about.
24 And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door:
25 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.
“Seven” – the parallel in 2 Kgs 25:19 reads “five.”
26 So Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard took them, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah.
27 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.
28 This is the people whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year three thousand Jews and three and twenty:
“Three thousand Jews and three and twenty” – probably includes only adult males since the corresponding figure(s) in 2 Kgs 24:14, 16 are significantly higher.
29 In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred thirty and two persons:
“Eighteenth year” – 586 B.C. in v. 12 the same year is called the “nineteenth year”; the difference is due to alternate ways of computing years.
30 In the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuzar-adan 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.
“Three and twentieth year – 581 B.C.
“Nebuchadnezzar…carried away captive” – either (1) to quell further rebellion or (2) in belated reprisal for Gedaliah’s assassination.
31 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 Evil-Merodach 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,
52:31-34 – paralleled almost verbatim in 2 Kgs 25:27-30. The Book of Jeremiah and the Book of Kings 2 conclude with the same happy ending.
“Five and twentieth” – the parallel in 2 Kgs 25:27 reads “seven and twentieth.”
32 And spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon,
33 And changed his prison garments: and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life.
34 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.
“Until the day of his death” – since the phrase does not appear in the parallel verses in 2 Kings in either case, it’s intention is probably to highlight the contrast between Zedekiah, who remained in prison till the day he died, and Jehoiachin, who was released from prison and treated well by the Babylonian kings till the day he died.
Jehoiachin in Captivity and Evil-Merodach
Jehoiachin ruled Judah for only three months and then, at age eighteen, was taken captive to Babylon in 597 B.C.
During excavation in Babylon approximately 300 day tablets containing administrative records were uncovered in a building adjacent to Nebuchadnezzar’s palace. Four of them were found to be highly significant for Old Testament studies, as they mention Jehoiachin.
Dating from 595 to 570 B.C., all four are receipts for rations of oil issued to Jehoiachin and his entourage. Jehoiachin is referred to as “Jehoiachin king of the land of Judah.” Three of the tablets list oil for Jehoiachin’s five sons and oil was also given to five named and eight unnamed Judeans.
Evil-Merodach (his Babylonian name was “Amil-Marduk” or “Avel-Marduk”= “man,” or “servant, of Marduk”) succeeded Nebuchadnezzar on the throne and ruled unjustly and lewdly but it lasted only for a year, from 561-56- B.C.
He released Jehoiachin from confinement, clothed him, treated him well, and even allowed him to eat at the king’s table, but there is no record explaining why. Inscriptions found in Babylon show that Evil-Merodach continued his father’s building projects.
He was deposed and perhaps murdered by his brother-in-law Nergal-Sharezer, a former military officer.
Evil-Merodach is spoken of in the Book of Daniel.
That’s a funny name, Evil-Merodach, especially since he was so nice to Jehoiachin. Yet, Jehoiachin, king of Judah, was evil too so like they say, birds of a feather flock together.
They were really ruthless back then, Negal-Sharezer killing Evil, Nebuchadnezzar forcing King Zedekiah to watch him kill his kids and then poked his eyes out.
…is the book of Lamentations about and who wrote it?