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Reprinted with permission from
Who’s Who in the Hebrew Bible
(The Jewish Publication Society).
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, sent an army against Jerusalem to punish Jehoiakim, king of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar was angry because, after three years of paying tribute, Jehoiakim had rebelled against the Babylonian.
King Jehoiakim died during the siege of Jerusalem and was succeeded by his son, the 18-year-old Jehoiachin. The new king surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar after resisting for three months. Jehoiachin, his mother, his servants, and the officials of his court were exiled to Babyon. Nebuchadnezzar appointed Mattaniah, the 21-year-old uncle of Jehoiachin, to be the new king and changed his name to Zedekiah.
Baroque interpretation of
Nebuchadnezzar & Zedekiah
In the ninth year of his reign, Zedekiah rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, who again came against Jerusalem, besieged it, and built towers all around it. After two years, the walls of the city were breached.
Zedekiah escaped through the palace garden but was pursued and captured near Jericho. He was then taken to Riblah, to the presence of Nebuchadnezzar. The Babylonians slaughtered Zedekiah’s sons before his eyes and then put his eyes out, chained him in bronze fetters, and took him to Babylon.
Nebuzaradan, captain of the guards of Nebuchadnezzar, came to Jerusalem and burned down the Temple, the king’s palace, and all the houses. The walls of the city were torn down. The survivors, with the exception of the poorest of the land, were taken into exile in Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzar named Gedaliah son of Ahikam to be the governor of the conquered kingdom. A few months later, Gedaliah was murdered by Ishmael, one of the captains of the defeated Judean army and a member of the royal family of Judah.
Nebuchadnezzar ordered that four promising boys from the Israelites exiled in Babylon be selected. The chosen boys–Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah– were given a three-year course of instruction to prepare them for service in the Babylonian royal court. After the three years were over, the king examined them personally and found them to be ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers in the kingdom.
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