Jeremiah 52: 16But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left some of the poorest of the land to be vinedressers and plowmen.
The poorest people are left to do this work. But “poorest” does not necessarily relate to whether or not, or, how well, a person will do a particular job. Sometimes the most “qualified” person for a task is the one who will wholeheartedly pursue it; the one who wants it most.
Babylon Judged for Sins against Israel
1Thus says the LORD:
“Behold, I am going to arouse against Babylon
And against the inhabitants of Leb-kamai
The spirit of a destroyer.
2 “I will dispatch foreigners to Babylon that they may winnow her
And may devastate her land;
For on every side they will be opposed to her
In the day of her calamity.
3 “Let not him who bends his bow bend it,
Nor let him rise up in his scale-armor;
So do not spare her young men;
Devote all her army to destruction.
4 “They will fall down slain in the land of the Chaldeans,
And pierced through in their streets.”
5 For neither Israel nor Judah has been forsaken
By his God, the LORD of hosts,
Although their land is full of guilt
Before the Holy One of Israel.
6 Flee from the midst of Babylon,
And each of you save his life!
Do not be destroyed in her punishment,
For this is the LORD’S time of vengeance;
He is going to render recompense to her.
7 Babylon has been a golden cup in the hand of the LORD,
Intoxicating all the earth.
The nations have drunk of her wine;
Therefore the nations are going mad.
8 Suddenly Babylon has fallen and been broken;
Wail over her!
Bring balm for her pain;
Perhaps she may be healed.
9 We applied healing to Babylon, but she was not healed;
Forsake her and let us each go to his own country,
For her judgment has reached to heaven
And towers up to the very skies.
10 The LORD has brought about our vindication;
Come and let us recount in Zion
The work of the LORD our God!
11 Sharpen the arrows, fill the quivers!
The LORD has aroused the spirit of the kings of the Medes,
Because His purpose is against Babylon to destroy it;
For it is the vengeance of the LORD, vengeance for His temple.
12 Lift up a signal against the walls of Babylon;
Post a strong guard,
Place men in ambush!
For the LORD has both purposed and performed
What He spoke concerning the inhabitants of Babylon.
13 O you who dwell by many waters,
Abundant in treasures,
Your end has come,
The measure of your end.
14 The LORD of hosts has sworn by Himself:
“Surely I will fill you with a population like locusts,
And they will cry out with shouts of victory over you.”
15 It is He who made the earth by His power,
Who established the world by His wisdom,
And by His understanding He stretched out the heavens.
16 When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,
And He causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth;
He makes lightning for the rain
And brings forth the wind from His storehouses.
17 All mankind is stupid, devoid of knowledge;
Every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols,
For his molten images are deceitful,
And there is no breath in them.
18 They are worthless, a work of mockery;
In the time of their punishment they will perish.
19 The portion of Jacob is not like these;
For the Maker of all is He,
And of the tribe of His inheritance;
The LORD of hosts is His name.
20 He says, “You are My war-club, My weapon of war;
And with you I shatter nations,
And with you I destroy kingdoms.
21 “With you I shatter the horse and his rider,
22 And with you I shatter the chariot and its rider,
And with you I shatter man and woman,
And with you I shatter old man and youth,
And with you I shatter young man and virgin,
23 And with you I shatter the shepherd and his flock,
And with you I shatter the farmer and his team,
And with you I shatter governors and prefects.
24“But I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea for all their evil that they have done in Zion before your eyes,” declares the LORD.
25 “Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain,
Who destroys the whole earth,” declares the LORD,
“And I will stretch out My hand against you,
And roll you down from the crags,
And I will make you a burnt out mountain.
26 “They will not take from you even a stone for a corner
Nor a stone for foundations,
But you will be desolate forever,” declares the LORD.
27 Lift up a signal in the land,
Blow a trumpet among the nations!
Consecrate the nations against her,
Summon against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz;
Appoint a marshal against her,
Bring up the horses like bristly locusts.
28 Consecrate the nations against her,
The kings of the Medes,
Their governors and all their prefects,
And every land of their dominion.
29 So the land quakes and writhes,
For the purposes of the LORD against Babylon stand,
To make the land of Babylon
A desolation without inhabitants.
30 The mighty men of Babylon have ceased fighting,
They stay in the strongholds;
Their strength is exhausted,
They are becoming like women;
Their dwelling places are set on fire,
The bars of her gates are broken.
31 One courier runs to meet another,
And one messenger to meet another,
To tell the king of Babylon
That his city has been captured from end to end;
32 The fords also have been seized,
And they have burned the marshes with fire,
And the men of war are terrified.
33 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel:
“The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor
At the time it is stamped firm;
Yet in a little while the time of harvest will come for her.”
34 “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has devoured me and crushed me,
He has set me down like an empty vessel;
He has swallowed me like a monster,
He has filled his stomach with my delicacies;
He has washed me away.
35 “May the violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon,”
The inhabitant of Zion will say;
And, “May my blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea,”
Jerusalem will say.
36 Therefore thus says the LORD,
“Behold, I am going to plead your case
And exact full vengeance for you;
And I will dry up her sea
And make her fountain dry.
37 “Babylon will become a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals,
An object of horror and hissing, without inhabitants.
38 “They will roar together like young lions,
They will growl like lions’ cubs.
39 “When they become heated up, I will serve them their banquet
And make them drunk, that they may become jubilant
And may sleep a perpetual sleep
And not wake up,” declares the LORD.
40 “I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter,
Like rams together with male goats.
41 “How Sheshak has been captured,
And the praise of the whole earth been seized!
How Babylon has become an object of horror among the nations!
42 “The sea has come up over Babylon;
She has been engulfed with its tumultuous waves.
43 “Her cities have become an object of horror,
A parched land and a desert,
A land in which no man lives
And through which no son of man passes.
44 “I will punish Bel in Babylon,
And I will make what he has swallowed come out of his mouth;
And the nations will no longer stream to him.
Even the wall of Babylon has fallen down!
45 “Come forth from her midst, My people,
And each of you save yourselves
From the fierce anger of the LORD.
46 “Now so that your heart does not grow faint,
And you are not afraid at the report that will be heard in the land—
For the report will come one year,
And after that another report in another year,
And violence will be in the land
With ruler against ruler—
47 Therefore behold, days are coming
When I will punish the idols of Babylon;
And her whole land will be put to shame
And all her slain will fall in her midst.
48 “Then heaven and earth and all that is in them
Will shout for joy over Babylon,
For the destroyers will come to her from the north,”
Declares the LORD.
49Indeed Babylon is to fall for the slain of Israel,
As also for Babylon the slain of all the earth have fallen.
50 You who have escaped the sword,
Depart! Do not stay!
Remember the LORD from afar,
And let Jerusalem come to your mind.
51 We are ashamed because we have heard reproach;
Disgrace has covered our faces,
For aliens have entered
The holy places of the LORD’S house.
52 “Therefore behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD,
“When I will punish her idols,
And the mortally wounded will groan throughout her land.
53 “Though Babylon should ascend to the heavens,
And though she should fortify her lofty stronghold,
From Me destroyers will come to her,” declares the LORD.
54 The sound of an outcry from Babylon,
And of great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans!
55 For the LORD is going to destroy Babylon,
And He will make her loud noise vanish from her.
And their waves will roar like many waters;
The tumult of their voices sounds forth.
56 For the destroyer is coming against her, against Babylon,
And her mighty men will be captured,
Their bows are shattered;
For the LORD is a God of recompense,
He will fully repay.
57 “I will make her princes and her wise men drunk,
Her governors, her prefects and her mighty men,
That they may sleep a perpetual sleep and not wake up,”
Declares the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.
58 Thus says the LORD of hosts,
“The broad wall of Babylon will be completely razed
And her high gates will be set on fire;
So the peoples will toil for nothing,
And the nations become exhausted only for fire.”
59The message which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, the grandson of Mahseiah, when he went with Zedekiah the king of Judah to Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. (Now Seraiah was quartermaster.) 60So Jeremiah wrote in a single scroll all the calamity which would come upon Babylon, that is, all these words which have been written concerning Babylon. 61Then Jeremiah said to Seraiah, “As soon as you come to Babylon, then see that you read all these words aloud, 62and say, ‘You, O LORD, have promised concerning this place to cut it off, so that there will be nothing dwelling in it, whether man or beast, but it will be a perpetual desolation.’ 63“And as soon as you finish reading this scroll, you will tie a stone to it and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates, 64and say, ‘Just so shall Babylon sink down and not rise again because of the calamity that I am going to bring upon her; and they will become exhausted.’” Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.
Recount the Fall of Jerusalem
1Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. 2He did evil in the sight of the LORD like all that Jehoiakim had done. 3For through the anger of the LORD this came about in Jerusalem and Judah until He cast them out from His presence. And Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. 4Now it came about in the ninth year of his reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, camped against it and built a siege wall all around it. 5So the city was under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. 6On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine was so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. 7Then the city was broken into, and all the men of war fled and went forth from the city at night by way of the gate between the two walls which was by the king’s garden, though the Chaldeans were all around the city. And they went by way of the Arabah. 8But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho, and all his army was scattered from him. 9Then they captured the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, and he passed sentence on him. 10The king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and he also slaughtered all the princes of Judah in Riblah. 11Then he blinded the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him with bronze fetters and brought him to Babylon and put him in prison until the day of his death.
12Now on the tenth day of the fifth month, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, who was in the service of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 13He burned the house of the LORD, the king’s house and all the houses of Jerusalem; even every large house he burned with fire. 14So all the army of the Chaldeans who were with the captain of the guard broke down all the walls around Jerusalem. 15Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away into exile some of the poorest of the people, the rest of the people who were left in the city, the deserters who had deserted to the king of Babylon and the rest of the artisans. 16But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left some of the poorest of the land to be vinedressers and plowmen.
17Now the bronze pillars which belonged to the house of the LORD and the stands and the bronze sea, which were in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans broke in pieces and carried all their bronze to Babylon. 18They also took away the pots, the shovels, the snuffers, the basins, the pans and all the bronze vessels which were used in temple service. 19The captain of the guard also took away the bowls, the firepans, the basins, the pots, the lampstands, the pans and the drink offering bowls, what was fine gold and what was fine silver. 20The two pillars, the one sea, and the twelve bronze bulls that were under the sea, and the stands, which King Solomon had made for the house of the LORD—the bronze of all these vessels was beyond weight. 21As for the pillars, the height of each pillar was eighteen cubits, and it was twelve cubits in circumference and four fingers in thickness, and hollow. 22Now a capital of bronze was on it; and the height of each capital was five cubits, with network and pomegranates upon the capital all around, all of bronze. And the second pillar was like these, including pomegranates. 23There were ninety-six exposed pomegranates; all the pomegranates numbered a hundred on the network all around.
24Then the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest and Zephaniah the second priest, with the three officers of the temple. 25He also took from the city one official who was overseer of the men of war, and seven of the king’s advisers who were found in the city, and the scribe of the commander 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. 26Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard took them and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 27Then the king of Babylon struck them down and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was led away into exile from its land.
28These are the people whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away into exile: in the seventh year 3,023 Jews; 29in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar 832 persons from Jerusalem; 30in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried into exile 745 Jewish people; there were 4,600 persons in all.
31Now it came about in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth of the month, that Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, showed favor to Jehoiachin king of Judah and brought him out of prison. 32Then he spoke kindly to him and set his throne above the thrones of the kings who were with him in Babylon. 33So Jehoiachin changed his prison clothes, and had his meals in the king’s presence regularly all the days of his life. 34For his allowance, a regular allowance was given him by the king of Babylon, a daily portion all the days of his life until the day of his death.
1 How blessed are those whose way is blameless,
Who walk in the law of the LORD.
2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies,
Who seek Him with all their heart.
3 They also do no unrighteousness;
They walk in His ways.
4 You have ordained Your precepts,
That we should keep them diligently.
5 Oh that my ways may be established
To keep Your statutes!
6 Then I shall not be ashamed
When I look upon all Your commandments.
7 I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart,
When I learn Your righteous judgments.
8 I shall keep Your statutes;
Do not forsake me utterly!