Front Matter The Garden of Eden The First Great Crime The Flood The Tower of Babel Abraham Moves into Canaan Sodom and Gomorrah The Trial of Abraham's Faith Searching for a Wife for Isaac Isaac and Rebekah Esau Sells his Birthright Jacob Serves for Rachel Jacob Returns to Canaan Joseph is Sold into Egypt Pharaoh's Dream Joseph's Brethren Buy Corn Jacob Moves into Egypt The Early Life of Moses Egyptians Smitten with Plagues Egyptians Drowned in Red Sea The Lord Provides for Israel Plan to Build the Tabernacle The Golden Calf Wanderings of the Israelites Spying Out the Land of Canaan Punishing the Israelites Balaam is Made to Prophesy Border of the Promised Land Last Days of Moses Rahab Saves the Spies The Destruction of Jericho The Capture of Ai Joshua Conquers Canaan Gideon is Given a Sign Gideon Overcomes Midianites The Punishment of Abimelech Jephthah's Daughter The Young Samson Samson and the Philistines The Death of Samson Naomi and Ruth Ruth and Boaz The Young Samuel Philistines Capture the Ark Philistines Return the Ark Saul in Anointed King Jonathan and the Philistines The Disobedience of Saul Samuel Anoints David David and Goliath Saul is Jealous of David David and Jonathan The Madness of Saul David Spares the Life of Saul The Last Days of King Saul David Becomes King The Rebellion of Absalom The Death of Absalom Solomon Becomes King The Wisdom of Solomon Solomon Builds the Temple Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon Revolt of the Ten Tribes The Wickedness of Jeroboam Elijah Begins His Ministry Elijah Destroys the Prophets Elisha is Made a Prophet Death of Ahab Sickness of Ahaziah Last Days of Elijah Miracles of Elisha Naaman is Cured of Leprosy Flight of the Syrians Jehu is Appointed King The Story of Joash Last days of Elisha Destruction of Sennacherib Judah Led into Captivity Destruction of Jerusalem Daniel Interprets the Dream The Fiery Furnace Madness of Nebuchadnezzer Handwriting on the Wall Daniel in the Lion's Den Jonah Swallowed by a Fish Jonah Warns Nineveh Esther Becomes Queen The Vengeance of Haman Esther Saves Her People The Return from Captivity Nehemiah Rebuilds Jerusalem

Heroes of Israel - Lawton Evans

The Destruction of Jerusalem

Nebuchadnezzar carried Jehoiachin and his mother and his wives and all the rulers of the land of Babylon, and made captives of them. He took all the strong and brave men and all the workers of all sorts, so that there was none left in Jerusalem that could make war. Then he made Zedekiah, the brother of Jehoiachin, to be king over what was left in Judah.

Jeremiah, the prophet, wrote a letter to the captives in Babylon, telling them to be content with their lot, and to plant vineyards and raise crops, for they were to be captives seventy years. After that the Lord would deliver them from the hands of their enemies, because they would repent of their sins, and then they would come back to their old land and Jerusalem would be restored to them.

Zedekiah was no better than the other kings of Judah before him, for he did evil in the sight of the Lord and at last, after nine years of service, he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. Of course, the king of Babylon came with another great army of Chaldeans and surrounded Jerusalem. He built forts around the city and cut off all the supplies of food so that there was nothing for the people to eat and there was a great famine.

Now, Jeremiah was also in Jerusalem, even as the rest of the people. Zedekiah sent word to him: "Pray now unto the Lord for us, that he may drive our enemies away." But Jeremiah replied to the messengers: "Tell the king that the Chaldeans shall fight against this city, and take it, and burn it with fire." When the princes heard this answer of the prophet they smote him and put him in prison, and accused him of conspiring with the Chaldeans who were besieging the city.

The king sent secretly for Jeremiah and took him out of the prison and had him brought to the palace. "Is there any word from the Lord?" he asked of the prophet. "Yes, there is; the Lord says you shall be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon," replied Jeremiah.

The prophet furthermore told the princes and the people that those who surrendered to the Chaldeans should be saved alive, but those who stayed in the city should die by the sword, by famine and by pestilence. All this so angered the princes that they cast the prophet into a dungeon, and let him down with cords. There was mire at the bottom of the dungeon, so that the poor old prophet sank down into the mire. One of the officers told Zedekiah what had been done by the princes and that Jeremiah was likely to die if he were allowed to remain in the mud at the bottom of the dungeon.

"Take thirty men and draw Jeremiah out of the dungeon before he die," were the king's orders. So the men took some pieces of old cloth and some rags and made a kind of rope of them, and let it down into the dungeon. Then they called out: "Put these old cloths and old rags under your armholes and we will pull you out of the dungeon." So Jeremiah di as the men told him and they drew him out of the dungeon. They did not let him go free, but they kept him in another part of the prison.

The Chaldeans still besieged Jerusalem. Eighteen months passed and all the food was gone and the people had nothing to eat. When Zedekiah saw that it was useless to fight any longer, he fled by night out of the city, with all his soldiers. But the Chaldeans pursued him and overtook him and his men, and brought the king before Nebuchadnezzar for judgment.

The king of Babylon thereupon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and all the nobles of Judah that were with him. Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with chains and sent him captive to Babylon. There he was kept in prison until the day of his death.

Then Nebuchadnezzar and the army of the Chaldeans broke down the walls of Jerusalem and burnt the temple, and the palace of the king, and destroyed the city itself. The treasures of the temple, the pillars of brass which Solomon had made, and the sea of brass that stood on the backs of the twelve oxen in the court of the temple, and all the gold and silver vessels of the temple were carried away.

Many of the people were slain, but those who were not, were carried away captives to Babylon. Only the very poor were left to care for the fields and vineyards, and over these Nebuchadnezzar appointed a governor. The kingdom of Judah had lasted nearly four hundred years.

There had been twenty rulers in all, fifteen of whom did wickedly in the sight of the Lord, and five of whom served Him. The people had worshiped idols and disobeyed the word of God and rejected His prophets, and at last the punishment for their sins had come upon them. They were now captives in the city of Babylon and the land of the Chaldeans where they were to serve for seventy years.

As for the prophet, Jeremiah, he was released from his prison and was allowed to remain in the land of Judah among the poor people who had not been carried away.