THE SAD FATE OF A GUILTY NATION 157
followed them and captured Zedekiah on the plains of Jericho. Then they brought him up to Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, who was then at Riblah in the land of Hamath. And the king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. And the king of Babylon put to death all the nobles of Judah. Moreover, he put out Zedekiah s eyes and bound him in chains to carry him to Babylon.
In the nineteenth year of the reign of Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan, the commander of the body-guard, an officer of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He burned the temple of Jehovah and the royal palace and all the houses in Jerusalem. All the soldiers of the Chaldeans, who were with the commander of the body-guard, broke down the walls around Jerusalem. The rest of the people who were left in the city and the deserters who had gone over to the king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan carried away captive. But he left some of the poorest of the people to take care of the vineyards and farms.
The pillars of brass that were in the temple of Jehovah, and the stands and the bronze sea that were in the temple of Jehovah the Chaldeans broke in pieces and carried the brass from them to Babylon. Also the pots, the shovels, the snuffers, the bowls, and all the vessels of brass, with which sacrifices were offered in the temple, they took away. The fire-pans and the basins of silver and of gold, the commander of the body-guard also melted and took away.
The commander of the body-guard carried away Seraiah, the chief priest and Zephaniah, the second priest, and the three doorkeepers and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. And the king of Babylon put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So the people of Judah were carried away captive from their own homeland.
Nebuchadrezzar made Gedaliah, the grandson of Shaphan, governor over the people he had left in the land of Judah.
Now Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, had given this command about Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan, the commander of the body-guard, "Take good care of him, and do him no harm; but do to him as he shall tell you." So Nebuzaradan, the commander of the body-guard, said to him, "See, I release you this day from the chains which are upon your hand. If it seems best to you to come with me to Babylon, come, and I will look out for you. But if you do not wish to come with me to Babylon, do not come; go back to Gedaliah, whom the king of Babylon has made governor over the cities of Judah,