1 After Zedekiah had been ruling for nine years, on January 15 of that year, King Nebuchadnezzar arrived with his whole army, and they surrounded Jerusalem. Against the walls of the city, they built ramps made of dirt, so that they could climb up the ramps and attack the city. 2 They did that for two years. 3 After Zedekiah had been ruling for eleven years, on July 18 of that year, the ◄famine/shortage of food► had become very bad. All their food was gone. 4 Then the Babylonian soldiers broke through part of the city wall, and that enabled them to enter the city. All the soldiers of Judah wanted to escape. But the Babylonian soldiers surrounded the city, so the king and the soldiers of Judah waited until it was nighttime. Then they fled through the gate that was between the two walls near the king's park. They ran across the fields and started to go down to the Jordan River Valley. 5 But the Babylonian soldiers chased/ran after them. They caught the king when he was by himself in the valley near the Jordan River. He was by himself because all his soldiers had abandoned him. 6 The Babylonian soldiers took King Zedekiah to Riblah city in Babylon. There the king of Babylon decided what they would do to punish him. 7 The king of Babylon forced Zedekiah to watch as the Babylonian soldiers killed all of Zedekiah's sons. Then they gouged out Zedekiah's eyes. They put bronze chains on his hands and feet and took him to Babylon city.
8 On August 14 of that year, after Nebuchadnezzar had been ruling for nineteen years, Nebuzaradan arrived in Jerusalem. He was one of king Nebuchadnezzar's officials and captain of the men that guarded the king. 9 He commanded his soldiers to burn down the temple of Yahweh, the king's palace, and all the houses in Jerusalem. So they burned down all the important buildings in the city. 10 Then Nebuzaradan supervised all the soldiers of the Babylonian army as they tore down the walls of Jerusalem. 11 Then he and his soldiers took to Babylon the people who were still living in the city, the other people who lived in that area, and the soldiers who had previously surrendered to the Babylonian army. 12 But Nebuzaradan allowed some of the very poor people to stay in Judah to take care of the vineyards and to plant crops in the fields.
13 The Babylonian soldiers broke into pieces the bronze pillars, the bronze carts with wheels, and the huge bronze basin, all of which were in the temple courtyard, and they took all the bronze to Babylon. 14 They also took the pots, the shovels, the instruments for ◄snuffing out/extinguishing► the wicks of the lamps, the dishes, and all the other bronze items that the Israeli priests had used for offering sacrifices at the temple. 15 The soldiers also took away the ◄firepans/trays for carrying burning coals►, the basins, and all the other items made of pure gold or pure silver.
16 The bronze from the two pillars, the carts with wheels, and the huge basin were very heavy; they could not be weighed. ◄Those things had been made/A man named Hiram had made these things► for the temple when Solomon was the king of Israel. 17 Each of the pillars was ◄27 feet/8 meters► tall. The bronze capital/top of each pillar was ◄7-1/2 feet/2.3 meters► high. They were each decorated all around with something that looked like a net made of bronze chains connecting bronze pomegranates.
18 Nebuzaradan took with him to Babylon Seraiah the Supreme Priest, Zephaniah his assistant, and the three men who guarded the entrance to the temple. 19 And from the people who were still hiding in Jerusalem, he took one officer from the Judean army, five of the king's advisors, the chief secretary of the army commander who was in charge of recruiting men to join the army, and sixty other important Judean men. 20 Nebuzaradan took them all to the king of Babylon at Riblah city. 21 There at Riblah, in Hamath province, the king of Babylon commanded that they all be executed.
That is what happened when the people of Judah were ◄taken forcefully/exiled► from their land to Babylon.
Gedaliah was appointed governor in Judah
22 Then King Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah, who was the son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan, to be the governor of the people who were still living in Judah. 23 When all the army captains of Judah and their soldiers found out that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah to be the governor, they met with him at Mizpah town. These army captains were Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, Johanan the son of Kareah, Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth from Netophah town, and Jaazaniah from the Maacah region.
24 Gedaliah solemnly promised them that the officials from Babylon were not planning to harm them. He said, “You may live in this land without being afraid and serve the king of Babylon, and if you do, everything will go well for you.”
25 But in October of that year, Ishmael, whose grandfather Elishama was one of the relatives of the descendants of King David, went to Mizpah along with ten other men and assassinated/killed Gedaliah and all the men who were with him. There were also men from Judah and men from Babylon whom they assassinated. 26 Then many [HYP] of the people from Judah, important people and unimportant ones, and the army captains, were very afraid of what the Babylonians would do to them, so they fled to Egypt.
Jehoiachin was released
27 Thirty-seven years after King Jehoiachin of Judah was taken to Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar's son Evil-Merodach became the king of Babylon. He was kind to Jehoiachin, and on April 2 of that year, he released/freed Jehoiachin from prison. 28 He always spoke kindly to Jehoiachin and honored him more than the other kings who had been taken/exiled to Babylon. 29 He gave Jehoiachin new clothes to replace the clothes that he had been wearing in prison, and he allowed Jehoiachin to eat at the king's table every day for the rest of his life. 30 The king of Babylon also gave him money every day, so that he could buy the things that he needed. The king continued to do that until Jehoiachin died.