The siege of Babylon against Zedekiah lasted about 18 month’s before the city fell in c 587 B.C.
Jeremiah 39:1 In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, came Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon and all his army against Jerusalem, and they besieged it. 39:2 And in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, the city was broken up.
The Babylonians had begun the second siege of Jerusalem in the ninth year, tenth month, tenth day of king Zedekiah [the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem began on January 27, 589 BC] Jeremiah 29:1, Ezekiel 24:1-2 and 2 Kings 25:1.
All texts related to the fall of Jerusalem in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, 2 Kings, and 2 Chronicles are internally consistent and consistent with the fall of the city in Tammuz of 587 B.C. The city and temple were then plundered and burned on 9th day of Av [late July early August].
When the generals and princes of Babylon entered Jerusalem, Zedekiah fled.
39:3 And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, even Nergalsharezer, Samgarnebo, Sarsechim, Rabsaris, Nergalsharezer, Rabmag, with all the residue of the princes of the king of Babylon. 39:4 And it came to pass, that when Zedekiah the king of Judah saw them, and all the men of war, then they fled, and went forth out of the city by night, by the way of the king’s garden, by the gate betwixt the two walls: and he went out the way of the plain.
Zedekiah was caught and punished just as the Eternal had said.
39:5 But the Chaldeans’ army pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he gave judgment upon him. 39:6 Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah. 39:7 Moreover he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, and bound him with chains, to carry him to Babylon.
Then the city and Temple were looted and burned by Babylon of the Chaldean’s [who in later times migrated to Southern Europe].
39:8 And the Chaldeans burned the king’s house, and the houses of the people, with fire, and brake down the walls of Jerusalem. 39:9 Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the remnant of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to him, with the rest of the people that remained.
The people of Jerusalem were carried to Babylon while the farmers and poor of the countryside were left to care for the land.
39:10 But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left of the poor of the people, which had nothing, in the land of Judah, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time.
The king of Babylon charged his officers to care for the well-being of Jeremiah.
39:11 Now Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying, 39:12 Take him, and look well to him, and do him no harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee.
Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan is made governor of the people by the king of Babylon and Jeremiah was given into Gedaliah’s service.
39:13 So Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard sent, and Nebushasban, Rabsaris, and Nergalsharezer, Rabmag, and all the king of Babylon’s princes; 39:14 Even they sent, and took Jeremiah out of the court of the prison, and committed him unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, that he should carry him home: so he dwelt among the people.
Jeremiah is given a prophecy and a blessing from God for Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, because of his kindness in saving Jeremiah from the cistern.
39:15 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, while he was shut up in the court of the prison, saying, 39:16 Go and speak to Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring my words upon this city for evil, and not for good; and they shall be accomplished in that day before thee.
As Ebedmelech the Ethiopian trusted in God and did the will of God, if we also do the same; we shall likewise be blessed for our zeal to learn and to live by every Word of God.
39:17 But I will deliver thee in that day, saith the LORD: and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid. 39:18 For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee: because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the LORD.
The Word of God which came to Jeremiah after the final fall of Jerusalem
Jeremiah 40:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, after that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he had taken him being bound in chains among all that were carried away captive of Jerusalem and Judah, which were carried away captive unto Babylon.
Even the Babylonians understood that God had given them the victory because of the sins of Judah.
40:2 And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah, and said unto him, The LORD thy God hath pronounced this evil upon this place. 40:3 Now the LORD hath brought it, and done according as he hath said: because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed his voice, therefore this thing is come upon you.
Jeremiah is freed to do as he wanted
40:4 And now, behold, I loose thee this day from the chains which were upon thine hand. If it seem good unto thee to come with me into Babylon, come; and I will look well unto thee: but if it seem ill unto thee to come with me into Babylon, forbear: behold, all the land is before thee: whither it seemeth good and convenient for thee to go, thither go.
40:5 Now while he was not yet gone back, he said, Go back also to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon hath made governor over the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people: or go wheresoever it seemeth convenient unto thee to go. So the captain of the guard gave him victuals and a reward, and let him go.
Gedaliah is made governor by Nebuchadnezzar and Jeremiah goes to him.
40:6 Then went Jeremiah unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah; and dwelt with him among the people that were left in the land.
Then the forces of Judah which had been scattered in the countryside came to Gedaliah.
40:7 Now when all the captains of the forces which were in the fields, even they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam governor in the land, and had committed unto him men, and women, and children, and of the poor of the land, of them that were not carried away captive to Babylon; 40:8 Then they came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan and Jonathan the sons of Kareah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth, and the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, and Jezaniah the son of a Maachathite, they and their men.
Gedaliah told them to work their lands in peace and fight no more against Babylon.
40:9 And Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan sware unto them and to their men, saying, Fear not to serve the Chaldeans: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you. 40:10 As for me, behold, I will dwell at Mizpah, to serve the Chaldeans, which will come unto us: but ye, gather ye wine, and summer fruits, and oil, and put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that ye have taken.
Then when peace was in the land, the refugees that had fled returned to live on their lands in Judea.
40:11 Likewise when all the Jews that were in Moab, and among the Ammonites, and in Edom, and that were in all the countries, heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant of Judah, and that he had set over them Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan; 40:12 Even all the Jews returned out of all places whither they were driven, and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah, unto Mizpah, and gathered wine and summer fruits very much.
Strife in Judah
Then Ishmael the captain of the remaining military of Judah conspired against governor Gedaliah, considering him a collaborator with the Babylonians and rejecting the Word of God by Jeremiah.
The king of Ammon a nation also under the yoke of Babylon, sought to alleviate his own position by creating an incident between Judah and Babylon and bribed Ishmael.
Then Johanan came to Gedaliah and warned him that the king of Ammon had sent Ishmael to kill him. But Gedaliah would not believe the report.
40:13 Moreover Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were in the fields, came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, 40:14 And said unto him, Dost thou certainly know that Baalis the king of the Ammonites hath sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to slay thee? But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam believed them not.
Gedaliah refused to believe the report and did not take any precautions against the conspiracy.
40:15 Then Johanan the son of Kareah spake to Gedaliah in Mizpah secretly saying, Let me go, I pray thee, and I will slay Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and no man shall know it: wherefore should he slay thee, that all the Jews which are gathered unto thee should be scattered, and the remnant in Judah perish? 40:16 But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam said unto Johanan the son of Kareah, Thou shalt not do this thing: for thou speakest falsely of Ishmael.
Ishmael slays Gedaliah with the help of ten of his men
Jeremiah 41:1 Now it came to pass in the seventh month, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah the son of Elishama, of the seed royal, and the princes of the king, even ten men with him, came unto Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah; and there they did eat bread together in Mizpah. 41:2 Then arose Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and the ten men that were with him, and smote Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan with the sword, and slew him, whom the king of Babylon had made governor over the land.
Ishmael also killed all the Chaldeans and the other Jews with Gedaliah; making his actions a full scale revolt against serving the king of Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar’s appointed governor.
41:3 Ishmael also slew all the Jews that were with him, even with Gedaliah, at Mizpah, and the Chaldeans that were found there, and the men of war.
Ishmael then murders 70 others.
41:4 And it came to pass the second day after he had slain Gedaliah, and no man knew it, 41:5 That there came certain from Shechem, from Shiloh, and from Samaria, even fourscore men, having their beards shaven, and their clothes rent, and having cut themselves, with offerings and incense in their hand, to bring them to the house of the LORD.
41:6 And Ishmael the son of Nethaniah went forth from Mizpah to meet them, weeping all along as he went: and it came to pass, as he met them, he said unto them, Come to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam. 41:7 And it was so, when they came into the midst of the city, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah slew them, and cast them into the midst of the pit, he, and the men that were with him.
Ten men only of the 80, were able to buy their lives with their fortunes.
41:8 But ten men were found among them that said unto Ishmael, Slay us not: for we have treasures in the field, of wheat, and of barley, and of oil, and of honey. So he forbare, and slew them not among their brethren.
41:9 Now the pit wherein Ishmael had cast all the dead bodies of the men, whom he had slain because of Gedaliah, was it which Asa the king had made for fear of Baasha king of Israel: and Ishmael the son of Nethaniah filled it with them that were slain.
Ishmael then went to go over to the king of Ammon with many prisoners and much spoil.
41:10 Then Ishmael carried away captive all the residue of the people that were in Mizpah, even the king’s daughters, and all the people that remained in Mizpah, whom Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had committed to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam: and Ishmael the son of Nethaniah carried them away captive, and departed to go over to the Ammonites.
When Johanan heard of the wickedness of Ishmael he pursued after him.
41:11 But when Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were with him, heard of all the evil that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had done, 41:12 Then they took all the men, and went to fight with Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and found him by the great waters that are in Gibeon.
And as Johanan came close to overtaking Ishmael the captives were able to escape from Ishmael.
41:13 Now it came to pass, that when all the people which were with Ishmael saw Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were with him, then they were glad. 41:14 So all the people that Ishmael had carried away captive from Mizpah cast about and returned, and went unto Johanan the son of Kareah.
Ishmael then escaped with eight men to the king of Ammon.
41:15 But Ishmael the son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight men, and went to the Ammonites.
Johanan then gathered the people together near Bethlehem and prepared to flee into Egypt for fear of retribution from Babylon because of the wickedness of Ishmael.
41:16 Then took Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces that were with him, all the remnant of the people whom he had recovered from Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, from Mizpah, after that he had slain Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, even mighty men of war, and the women, and the children, and the eunuchs, whom he had brought again from Gibeon:
41:17 And they departed, and dwelt in the habitation of Chimham, which is by Bethlehem, to go to enter into Egypt, 41:18 Because of the Chaldeans: for they were afraid of them, because Ishmael the son of Nethaniah had slain Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, whom the king of Babylon made governor in the land.