Study of Jeremiah, Chapter 52, The Fall of Jerusalem

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Jeremiah

The book of Jeremiah ends with a great description of the fall of Jerusalem.  This last chapter goes into great detail regarding the destruction of Jerusalem that is first told of in Chapter 39.  The prophesy that Jeremiah shared comes to fruition, and we see the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of Babylon occur exactly as Jeremiah predicted.

 Jeremiah 52:1-3Jeremiah 52:1-3
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

52 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. began...: Heb. reigned 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.  

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1 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother was Jamal, the daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah.  2 But Zedekiah did what was evil in the LORD’S sight, just as Jehoiakim had done.  3 These things happened because of the LORD’S anger against the people of Jerusalem and Judah, until he finally banished them from his presence and sent them into exile.  Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

To begin, we are taken back in time when Zedekiah was just taking the throne at the age of twenty-one.  If you remember, Zedekiah accompanied Judah into Babylonian exile, and who was later killed as a prisoner of war.  Jehoiakim was Zedekiah’s predecessor, and regardless of the message that Jeremiah repeatedly gave, both men continued to lead their nation into sin.  It appears that Zedekiah, at some point, rebelled against the King Nebuchadnezzar.

Jeremiah 52:4-7Jeremiah 52:4-7
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

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 Nebuchadrezzar 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; and they went by the way of the plain.  

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4 So on January 15, during the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon led his entire army against Jerusalem.  They surrounded the city and built siege ramps against its walls.  5 Jerusalem was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah’s reign.  6 By July 18 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign, the famine in the city had become very severe, and the last of the food was entirely gone.  7 Then a section of the city wall was broken down, and all the soldiers fled.  Since the city was surrounded by the Babylonians, they waited for nightfall.  Then they slipped through the gate between the two walls behind the king’s garden and headed toward the Jordan Valley.

The attack of Jerusalem began in January 588 B.C. and continued on until July of 587 B.C., until the people behind the walls had exhausted their food supply.  When a section of the wall was broken down, the king and his soldiers attempted to flee during the dark hours of night.

Jeremiah 52:8-11Jeremiah 52:8-11
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

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. put out: Heb. blinded chains: or, fetters prison: Heb. house of the wards  

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8 But the Babylonian troops chased King Zedekiah and caught him on the plains of Jericho, for his men had all deserted him and scattered.  9 They took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath.  There the king of Babylon pronounced judgment upon Zedekiah.  10 He made Zedekiah watch as they slaughtered his sons and all the other officials of Judah.  11 Then they gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon.  Zedekiah remained there in prison until the day of his death.

King Zedekiah was unsuccessful at escaping the Babylonian armies.  He was captured and taken to Riblah to stand before the king of Babylon.  Once there, Zedekiah was forced to watch as they killed his sons and officials before they gouged his eyes out and bound and imprisoned him in Babylon.  Zedekiah was never freed and died a prisoner.

Jerusalem

Jeremiah 52:12-16Jeremiah 52:12-16
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

12 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, captain...: or, chief marshal: Heb. chief of the executioners, or, slaughtermen served: Heb. stood before 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 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. 16 But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left certain of the poor of the land for vinedressers and for husbandmen.  

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12 On August 17 of that year, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard and an official of the Babylonian king, arrived in Jerusalem.  13 He burned down the Temple of the LORD, the royal palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem.  He destroyed all the important buildings in the city.  14 Then he supervised the entire Babylonian army as they tore down the walls of Jerusalem on every side.  15 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, then took as exiles some of the poorest of the people, the rest of the people who remained in the city, the defectors who had declared their allegiance to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the craftsmen.  16 But Nebuzaradan allowed some of the poorest people to stay behind in Judah to care for the vineyards and fields.

One month later, the captain of the guard, Nebuzaradan, returned to Jerusalem and completely destroyed anything that was left standing.  The Temple, every building, the palace, and all houses were taken down to the ground.  Remaining people were gathered, and all but a few were taken into exile.  Those who were left behind were to oversee the vineyards and the fields.

Jeremiah 52:17-23Jeremiah 52:17-23
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

17 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. 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. shovels: or, instruments to remove the ashes bowls: or, basons 19 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. firepans: or, censers 20 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. the brass: Heb. their brass 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. fillet: Heb. thread 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. 23 And there were ninety and six pomegranates on a side; and all the pomegranates upon the network were an hundred round about.  

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17 The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars in front of the LORD’S Temple, the bronze water carts, and the great bronze basin called the Sea, and they carried all the bronze away to Babylon.  18 They also took all the ash buckets, shovels, lamp snuffers, basins, dishes, and all the other bronze articles used for making sacrifices at the Temple.  19 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, also took the small bowls, incense burners, basins, pots, lampstands, dishes, bowls used for liquid offerings, and all the other articles mad of pure gold or silver. 20 The weight of the bronze from the two pillars, the  Sea with the twelve bronze oxen beneath it, and the water carts was too great to be  measured.  These things had been mad for the LORD’S Temple in the days of King Solomon.  21 Each of the pillars was 27 feet tall and 18 feet in circumference.  They were hollow, with walls 3 inches thick.  22 The bronze capital on top of each pillar was 7 1/2 feet high and was decorated with a network of bronze pomegranates all the way around.  23 There were 96 pomegranates on the sides, and a total of 100 on the network around the top.

Each vessel of the Temple is listed one by one, as if to illustrate the degree of their destruction, and to draw out the agony of their actions.  The most cherished items of the temple have been removed and/or destroyed.

Jeremiah 52:24-27Jeremiah 52:24-27
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

24 And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door: door: Heb. threshold 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. were near...: Heb. saw the face of the king principal...: or, scribe of the captain of the host 26 So Nebuzaradan 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.  

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24 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took with him as prisoners Seraiah the high priest, Zephaniah the priest of the second rank, and the three chief gatekeepers.  25 And from among the people still hiding in the city, he took an officer who had been in charge of the Judean army; seven of the king’s personal advisers; the army commander’s chief secretary, who was in charge of recruitment; and sixty other citizens.  26 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took them all to the king of Babylon at Riblah.  27 And there at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king of Babylon had them all put to death.  So the people of Judah were sent into exile from their land.

The remaining leaders (74) of the people of Jerusalem, are captured and returned to King Nebuchadnezzar for execution.  Most of the leaders of Jerusalem had been exiled, so the reason for this specific group of leaders death is not known.

Jeremiah 52:28-30Jeremiah 52:28-30
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

28 This is the people whom Nebuchadrezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year three thousand Jews and three and twenty: 29 In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred thirty and two persons: persons: Heb. souls 30 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.  

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28 The number of captives taken to Babylon in the seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign was 3,023.  29 Then in Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth year he took 832 more.  30 In Nebuchadnezzar’s twenty-third year he sent Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, who took 745 more – a total of 4,600 captives in all.

Nebuchadnezzar had removed leadership which allowed for the exile of the people.  Here, we see three different accounts of people being taken captive.  God would use these people as a lesson to all of the other nations.  They were an example of God’s anger and uncompromising mandate for placing God second in their life, and for worshiping idols.  We all come short of the glory of God.  We do things in our life that disappoint God, and may even anger Him to the point that we need a lesson in life, therefore, we receive one.  We learn through our trials and tribulations of life.

Jeremiah 52:31-34Jeremiah 52:31-34
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

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 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, 32 And spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon, kindly...: Heb. good things with him 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. every...: Heb. the matter of the day in his day  

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31 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin of Judah, Evil-merodach ascended to the Babylonian throne.  He was kind to Jehoiachin and released him from prison on March 31 of that year.  32 He spoke kindly to Jehoiachin and gave him a higher place than all the other exiled kings in Babylon.  33 He supplied Jehoiachin with new clothes to replace his prison garb and allowed him to dine in the king’s presence for the rest of his life.  34 So the Babylonian king gave him a regular food allowance as long as he lived.  This continued until the day of his death.

The closing verse shows that even through all of the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem, a king of Judah is still alive.  Evil-merodach, as a gesture of good will, improves Jehoiachin’s prison conditions by supplying new clothes, allowing him to dine in the king’s presence, and giving him a food allowance.  Throughout this powerful book of Jeremiah, we have seen God’s judgment and wrath fall upon those who are disobedient to Him.  But, we have also seen periods of hope, allowing people the opportunity to turn to God.  The improvement in Jehoiachin’s conditions is just one of the many indications of hope.

Summary:  Jeremiah is written with the assistance of Baruch, a scribe.  Throughout the book, the message is given that Judah will be punished for its many years of sinful behavior.  Jeremiah delivered God’s message for approximately forty years, giving Judah much time to repent.

2 Peter 3:92 Peter 3:9
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  

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The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think.  No, he is being patient for your sake.  He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

Have you given your life to Christ?  Have you asked for forgiveness and repented of your sins?   Will you accept God’s gift of salvation, or will you be among those that have turned away from God and will surely experience the wrath of God?

Written by Mary Hudak-Collins

Mary Hudak-Collins

2 thoughts on “Study of Jeremiah, Chapter 52, The Fall of Jerusalem

    1. mhudakcollins Post author

      It is incredible how much tolerance He has Martha! I’m with you on that, He never ceases to amaze me! Knowing scripture, I don’t know if our nation can ever return to its prosperous state as before. And knowing where the nations have to be in order to fulfill prophesy, surely makes it look like much in the Bible is unfolding before our very eyes. No doubt, this is a very exciting time for Christians!

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