Jerusalem Captured

Now regarding the capture of Jerusalem: In the ninth year of [the reign of] Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and besieged it;(A) and in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, they breached the wall and broke into the city. Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came in and sat in the Middle Gate [establishing both military control of the city and their authority to judge the captives]: Nergal-sar-ezer, Samgar-nebu, Sar-sekim the Rab-saris (chief of the eunuchs), and [a]Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag (chief of the magicians), with all the rest of the officials of the king of Babylon. When Zedekiah the king of Judah and all the men of war saw them, they fled and escaped from the city at night by way of the king’s garden, through the gate between the two walls; and the king went out toward the Arabah (Jordan Valley). But the Chaldean (Babylonian) army pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. When they had seized him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon at Riblah in the [Aramean] land of Hamath, where he passed sentence on him. Then at Riblah the king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes; the king of Babylon also killed all the nobles of Judah. Moreover, he blinded Zedekiah and bound him with bronze shackles to take him to Babylon.(B) The Chaldeans also burned down the king’s palace and the houses of the people, and they broke down the walls of Jerusalem. Then Nebuzaradan the [chief executioner and] captain of the bodyguard took the rest of the people who remained in the city, along with those who had deserted and surrendered to him, and the rest of the [so-called better class of] people who were left and carried them into exile in Babylon. 10 But Nebuzaradan the [Babylonian] captain of the bodyguard left behind in the land of Judah some of the poor people who had nothing, and gave them vineyards and fields at that time.

Jeremiah Spared

11 Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave orders concerning Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, saying, 12 “Take him and look after him; do nothing to harm him, but rather deal with him just as he asks of you.” 13 So Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard sent word, along with Nebushazban the Rab-saris (chief of the high officials), and Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag (chief of the magicians), and all the leading officers of the king of Babylon; 14 they even sent and took Jeremiah out of the court of the guardhouse and entrusted him to Gedaliah [a prominent citizen], the son of Ahikam [who had once saved Jeremiah’s life], the son of Shaphan, to take him home [with him to Mizpah]. So Jeremiah [was released and] lived among the people.©

15 Now the word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah while he was [still] confined in the court of the guardhouse, saying, 16 “Go and speak to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold, I am about to bring My words [of judgment] against this city through disaster and not for good; and they will take place before you on that day. 17 But I will [b]protect you [Ebed-melech] on that day,” says the Lord, “and you will not be handed over to the men of whom you are afraid.(D) 18 For I will certainly rescue you; and you will not fall by the sword, but you will have your [own] life as a reward of battle, because you have placed your trust in Me,” says the Lord.’”


  1. Jeremiah 39:3 Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag, the son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar, ascended to the Babylonian throne in 560 b.c. after causing the death of Nebuchadnezzar’s son, Evil-merodach. Nergal-sar-ezer then ruled the Babylonian Empire until 556 b.c.
  2. Jeremiah 39:17 Lit deliver.

Cross references

  1. Jeremiah 39:1 : Jer 52:4-27
  2. Jeremiah 39:7 : Ezek 12:13
  3. Jeremiah 39:14 : Jer 26:24
  4. Jeremiah 39:17 : Jer 38:7-13