52:1 1 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he ruled in Jerusalem 2 for eleven years. His mother’s name was Hamutal 3 daughter of Jeremiah, from Libnah. 52:2 He did what displeased the Lord 4 just as Jehoiakim had done.
52:3 What follows is a record of what happened to Jerusalem and Judah because of the Lord’s anger when he drove them out of his sight. 5 Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. 52:4 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came against Jerusalem with his whole army and set up camp outside it. 6 They built siege ramps all around it. He arrived on the tenth day of the tenth month in the ninth year that Zedekiah ruled over Judah. 7 52:5 The city remained under siege until Zedekiah’s eleventh year. 52:6 By the ninth day of the fourth month 8 the famine in the city was so severe the residents 9 had no food. 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. 10 (The Babylonians had the city surrounded.) Then they headed for the Jordan Valley. 11 52:8 But the Babylonian army chased after the king. They caught up with Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho, 12 and his entire army deserted him. 52:9 They captured him and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah 13 in the territory of Hamath and he passed sentence on him there. 52:10 The king of Babylon had Zedekiah’s sons put to death while Zedekiah was forced to watch. He also had all the nobles of Judah put to death there at Riblah. 52:11 He had Zedekiah’s eyes put out and had him bound in chains. 14 Then the king of Babylon had him led off to Babylon and he was imprisoned there until the day he died.
1 sn This final chapter does not mention Jeremiah, but its description of the downfall of Jerusalem and exile of the people validates the prophet’s ministry.
3 tn Some textual witnesses support the Kethib (consonantal text) in reading “Hamital.”
4 tn Heb “what was evil in the eyes of the
6 tn Or “against.”
7 sn This would have been January 15, 588
8 sn According to modern reckoning that would have been July 18, 586
9 tn Heb “the people of the land.”
10 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.
11 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.
13 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.
14 tn Heb “fetters of bronze.” The more generic “chains” is used in the translation because “fetters” is a word unfamiliar to most modern readers.