THE INVASION OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR
AFTER Jehoiakim had been king for four years, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, marched
against him with a great army, and threatened to destroy the country unless Jehoiakim would
pay him a large sum of money every year. Jehoiakim was frightened, and agreed to do this.
But the third year afterwards he heard that Nebuchadnezzar was about to fight with the
Egyptians, so he did not pay his tribute that year, hoping the Egyptians would be victorious.
In vain did the prophet Jeremiah warn him against putting his trust in the Egyptians, and
foretell that Jerusalem would be overthrown by the king of Babylon, who would take
Jehoiakim captive. Jeremiah wrote down all his prophecies in a book, and read them to
the people in the temple. When the rulers heard of this, they took the book from him and
brought it to the king. And the king ordered that it should be read to him. But he was angry
when he found what the book contained, and tore it up and threw it into the fire.
Nebuchadnezzar came against the city, as the prophet had foretold, and took it, and slew the
king, Jehoiakim, and made his son Jehoiachin king in his place. But afterwards Nebuchadnezzar
repented of having put Jehoiachin on the throne, fearing that he would endeavor to avenge his
 so he displaced him and made Zedekiah king instead, having first made him promise that he
would always be faithful to him. Zedekiah was a brother of Jehoiakim. He was not a bad man
naturally, but was weak, and could easily be persuaded to do evil. He allowed his courtiers and
his people to sin against the law of Moses, and he worshipped false gods himself. Jeremiah came
often to him and warned him that if he did not leave off his transgressions great calamities would
fall upon him and his people, and the king of Babylon would destroy their cities and carry their
people into bondage. And another prophet, named Ezekiel, also prophesied that God would punish
him. Now, Zedekiah did not believe these prophets, because, although they agreed in all other points,
they seemed to disagree in one thing, for Jeremiah said that Zedekiah "would be carried a captive to
Babylon," while Ezekiel said that "he would not see Babylon." So Zedekiah flattered himself that
neither prophet spoke the truth.
After Zedekiah had been king eight years he broke his promise to Nebuchadnezzar, and allied
himself with the king of Egypt, who was fighting against Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar gathered
up an army, and, having defeated the Egyptians, marched against Jerusalem.
The prophet Jeremiah had been thrown into prison by his enemies, but he did not cease to exhort
the multitude to open their gate to the king of Babylon and trust to his mercy, for if they resisted
the city would surely be taken, and they would suffer the worst at the hands of their conquerors.
Then his enemies came to Zedekiah and accused the prophet of giving evil counsel to the people,
and they persuaded the king to deliver him into their hands. And they came into the prison and
took him and let him down into a pit full of mire, that he might be suffocated there. And he
stood up to his neck in the mire, and would surely have perished if one of the king's servants
had not obtained permission to draw him out again.
 For the king was so weak and good-natured that it was easy to make him change his mind.
For eighteen months Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, and then the city could no longer
hold out against him. And when Zedekiah saw that all was lost, he took his wives and his
children and his captains and his friends, and with them fled out of Jerusalem by night. But
at daybreak the Babylonians overtook the fugitives near Jericho, and they seized the king and
his wives and children, but let the rest escape. So Zedekiah was brought before Nebuchadnezzar.
And Nebuchadnezzar reproached Zedekiah for having broken his promises to him who had made
him ruler over Judea. Then he ordered the children of Zedekiah to be slain in the presence of their
father, and he put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him, and carried him to Babylon. Thus the
prophecies both of Jeremiah and of Ezekiel were fulfilled, for the king of Judea was brought captive
to Babylon, yet he did not see that city.
The general of Nebuchadnezzar's army was ordered to pillage the temple and the royal palace, and
afterwards to set fire to them, and to overthrow the whole city to its foundations. And he did as he
was told, so that not a stone remained in its place. He also carried away captive all the people of
Jerusalem who were not slain, except a few of the poor of the land, who were left to work in the
fields and vineyards. The gold and silver and all the treasures of the temple and the royal palace
were taken to Babylon, and Nebuchadnezzar dedicated the holy vessels to the service of his own gods.
And thus the kingdom of Judah came to an end.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics