Jeremiah 52, is a historical appendix to the Book of Jeremiah, giving details of the capture of Babylon. Jeremiah was not the author of this last chapter. Most commentators believe this chapter was taken from the 2nd Book of Kings.
The Capture of Jerusalem
Verse 1 – Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.
This is not the prophet Jeremiah, because he had no children and he was from Anathoh.
Verse 2 – He also did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.
Verse 3 – For because of the anger of the Lord this happened in Jerusalem and Judah, till He finally cast them out from His presence. Then Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
Verse 4 – Now it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and encamped against it; and they built a siege wall against it all around.
Verse 5 – So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. (They held out one year and six months.)
Verse 6 – By the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, the famine had become so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land.
The siege of Jerusalem, with its horrible famine, began in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign (January of 588) and it dragged on until July of 587 B.C., Zedekiah’s eleventh year.
Verse 7 – Then the city wall was broken through, and all the men of war fled and went out of the city at night by way of the gate between the two walls, which by the king’s garden, even though the Chaldeans were near the city all around. And they went by way of the plain.
Jeremiah had plainly said to the king not to resist the Babylonian army and he would live, but he wouldn’t listen. He thought he could sneak out through his garden at night.
Verse 8 – But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king, and they overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. All his army was scattered from him.
Verse 9 – So they took the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, and he pronounce judgement on him.
Riblah was 200 miles north of Jerusalem. This was the Babylon headquarters for ruling the region. Hamath was the district of Aram containing the nation’s capital.
Verse 10 – Then the king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. And he killed all the princes of Judah in Riblah.
Verse 11 – He also put out the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him in bronze fetters, took him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death.
Verse 12 – Now in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, who served the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem.
Verse 13 – He burned down the house of the Lord and the king’s house; all the houses of Jerusalem, that is, all the houses of the great men, he burned with fire.
One month after the fall of Jerusalem, the Babylonian army returned under the command of Nebuzaradan to burn down the temple, the king’s palace, the houses in the city, and to raze the city walls.
Verse 14 – And all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down all the walls of Jerusalem all around.
Verse 15 – Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive some of the poor people, the rest of the people who remained in the city, the defectors who had deserted to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the craftsmen.
Verse 16 – But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left some of the poor of the land as vine-dressers and farmers.
Verse 17 – The bronze pillars that were in the house of the Lord, and the carts and the bronze Sea that were in the house of the Lord, the Chaldeans broke in pieces, and carried all their bronze to Babylon.
Verse 18 – They also took away the pots, the shovels, the trimmers, the bowls, the spoons, and all the bronze utensils with which the priests ministered.
Verse 19 – The basins, the firpans, the bowls the pots, the lampstands, the spoons, and the cups, whatever was of solid gold and whatever was of solid silver, the captain of the guard took away.
Verse 20 – The two pillars, one Sea, the twelve bronze bulls which were under it, and the carts, which King Solomon had made for the house of the Lord – the bronze of all these articles was beyond measure.
Verse 21 – Now concerning the pillars: the height of one pillar was eighteen cubits, a measuring line of twelve cubits could measure its circumference, and its thickness was four fingers; it was hollow. (A cubit was a standard of measure about 17 to 20 inches long.)
Verse 22 – A capital of bronze was on it; and the height of one capital was five cubits, with a network and pomegranates all around the capital, all the bronze. The second pillar, with pomegranates was the same.
Verse 23 – There were ninety-six pomegranates on the sides; all the pomegranates, all around on the network, were one hundred.
The Exile to Babylon
Verse 24 – The captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the second priest, and the three doorkeepers.
Verse 25 – He also took out of the city an officer who had charge of the men of war, seven men of the king’s close associates who were found in the city, the principal scribe of the army who mustered the people of the land and sixty men of the people of the land who were found in the midst of the city.
Verse 26 – And Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took these and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah.
Verse 27 – Then the king of Babylon struck them and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. Thus Judah was carried away captive from its own land.
Verse 28 – These are the people whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year, three thousand and twenty-three Jews;
Verse 29 – in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred and thirty-two person;
verse 30 – in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan the captain to the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred and forty-five persons. All the persons were four thousand six hundred.
Why these particular priests and leaders were executed is not known.
Verse 31 – Now it came to pass in the thirty-seventh year of captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth day of the month, that Evil-Merodach king of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, lifted up his head of Jehoiachin king of Judah and brought him out of prison.
Verse 32 – And he spoke kindly to him and gave him a more prominent seat than those of the kings who were with him in Babylon.
Verse 33 – So Jehoiakin changed from his prison garments, and he ate bread regularly before the king all the days of his life.
Verse 34 – And as for his provisions, there was a regular ration given him by the king of Babylon, a portion for each day until the day of his death, all the days of his life.
In 561 B.C., Jehoiakin was released from prison and allowed to eat with the king. God continued to show kindness to the descendants of King David, even in exile.
Even though all the years of Jeremiah’s life was to deliver the message of destruction on Judah, he completed the task God had set before him. Success can never be measured by popularity, fame, or fortune. If we are obedient and faithful to the assignment God gives us, then we are successful in God’s eyes!