52:7 They broke through the city walls, and all the soldiers tried to escape. They left the city during the night. They went through the gate between the two walls that is near the king’s garden. 1 (The Babylonians had the city surrounded.) Then they headed for the Jordan Valley. 2 52:8 But the Babylonian army chased after the king. They caught up with Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho, 3 and his entire army deserted him. 52:9 They captured him and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah 4 in the territory of Hamath and he passed sentence on him there.
1 sn The king’s garden is mentioned again in Neh 3:15 in conjunction with the pool of Siloam and the stairs that go down from the city of David. This would have been in the southern part of the city near the Tyropean Valley which agrees with the reference to the “two walls” which were probably the walls on the eastern and western hills.
2 sn Heb “toward the Arabah.” The Arabah was the rift valley north and south of the Dead Sea. Here the intention was undoubtedly to escape across the Jordan to Moab or Ammon. It appears from 40:14; 41:15 that the Ammonites were known to harbor fugitives from the Babylonians.
4 sn Riblah was a strategic town on the Orontes River in Syria. It was at a crossing of the major roads between Egypt and Mesopotamia. Pharaoh Necho had earlier received Jehoahaz there and put him in chains (2 Kgs 23:33) prior to taking him captive to Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar had set up his base camp for conducting his campaigns against the Palestinian states there and was now sitting in judgment on prisoners brought to him.