Bible Society of South Africa

Bible Reading Plan – Day 214

Bible text(s)

The Fall of Jerusalem

1Zedekiah was 21 years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for eleven years. His mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of the Jeremiah who lived in the city of Libnah. 2King Zedekiah sinned against the LORD, just as King Jehoiakim had done. 3The LORD became so angry with the people of Jerusalem and Judah that he banished them from his sight.

Zedekiah rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia, 4and so Nebuchadnezzar came with all his army and attacked Jerusalem on the tenth day of the tenth month of the ninth year of Zedekiah's reign. They set up camp outside the city, built siege walls round it, 5and kept it under siege until Zedekiah's eleventh year. 6On the ninth day of the fourth month of that same year, when the famine was so bad that the people had nothing left to eat, 7the city walls were broken through. Although the Babylonians were surrounding the city, all the soldiers escaped during the night. They left by way of the royal garden, went through the gateway connecting the two walls, and fled in the direction of the Jordan Valley. 8But the Babylonian army pursued King Zedekiah, captured him in the plains near Jericho, and all his soldiers deserted him. 9Zedekiah was taken to King Nebuchadnezzar, who was in the city of Riblah in the territory of Hamath, and there Nebuchadnezzar passed sentence on him. 10At Riblah he put Zedekiah's sons to death while Zedekiah was looking on and he also had the officials of Judah executed. 11After that, he had Zedekiah's eyes put out and had him placed in chains and taken to Babylon. Zedekiah remained in prison in Babylon until the day he died.

The Destruction of the Temple

12On the tenth day of the fifth month of the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia, Nebuzaradan, adviser to the king and commander of his army, entered Jerusalem. 13He burnt down the Temple, the palace, and the houses of all the important people in Jerusalem; 14and his soldiers tore down the city walls. 15Then Nebuzaradan took away to Babylonia the people who were left in the city, the remaining skilled workmen, and those who had deserted to the Babylonians. 16But he left in Judah some of the poorest people, who owned no property, and he put them to work in the vineyards and fields.

17The Babylonians broke in pieces the bronze columns and the carts that were in the Temple, together with the large bronze tank, and they took all the bronze to Babylon. 18They also took away the shovels and the ash containers used in cleaning the altar, the tools used in tending the lamps, the bowls used for catching the blood from the sacrifices, the bowls used for burning incense, and all the other bronze articles used in the temple service. 19They took away everything that was made of gold or silver: the small bowls, the pans used for carrying live coals, the bowls for holding the blood from the sacrifices, the ash containers, the lampstands, the bowls used for incense, and the bowls used for pouring out offerings of wine. 20The bronze objects that King Solomon had made for the Temple — the two columns, the carts, the large tank, and the twelve bulls that supported it — were too heavy to weigh. 23On the grating of each column there were a hundred pomegranates in all, and 96 of these were visible from the ground.

The People of Judah are Taken to Babylonia

24In addition, Nebuzaradan, the commanding officer, took away as prisoners Seraiah the High Priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank, and the three other important temple officials. 25From the city he took the officer who had been in command of the troops, seven of the king's personal advisers who were still in the city, the commander's assistant, who was in charge of military records, and sixty other important men. 26Nebuzaradan took them to the king of Babylonia, who was in the city of Riblah 27in the territory of Hamath. There the king had them beaten and put to death.

So the people of Judah were carried away from their land into exile. 28This is the record of the people that Nebuchadnezzar took away as prisoners: in his seventh year as king he carried away 3,023; 29in his eighteenth year, 832 from Jerusalem; 30and in his 23rd year, 745 — taken away by Nebuzaradan. In all, 4,600 people were taken away.

31In the year that Evil-merodach became king of Babylonia, he showed kindness to King Jehoiachin of Judah by releasing him from prison. This happened on the 25th day of the twelfth month of the 37th year after Jehoiachin had been taken away as a prisoner. 32Evil-merodach treated him kindly and gave him a position of greater honour than he gave the other kings who were exiles with him in Babylonia. 33So Jehoiachin was permitted to change from his prison clothes and to dine at the king's table for the rest of his life. 34Each day for as long as he lived, he was given a regular allowance for his needs.

Jeremiah 52:1-34GNBOpen in Bible reader

1This is the message that the LORD revealed to the prophet Habakkuk.

Habakkuk Complains of Injustice

2O LORD, how long must I call for help before you listen, before you save us from violence? 3Why do you make me see such trouble? How can you endure to look on such wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are all round me, and there is fighting and quarrelling everywhere. 4The law is weak and useless, and justice is never done. Evil people get the better of the righteous, and so justice is perverted.

The LORD's Reply

5Then the LORD said to his people, “Keep watching the nations round you, and you will be astonished at what you see. I am going to do something that you will not believe when you hear about it. 6I am bringing the Babylonians to power, those fierce, restless people. They are marching out across the world to conquer other lands. 7They spread fear and terror, and in their pride they are a law to themselves.

8“Their horses are faster than leopards, fiercer than hungry wolves. Their horsemen come riding from distant lands; their horses paw the ground. They come swooping down like eagles attacking their prey.

9“Their armies advance in violent conquest, and everyone is terrified as they approach. Their captives are as numerous as grains of sand. 10They treat kings with contempt and laugh at high officials. No fortress can stop them — they pile up earth against it and capture it. 11Then they sweep on like the wind and are gone, these men whose power is their god.”

Habakkuk Complains to the LORD Again

12LORD, from the very beginning you are God. You are my God, holy and eternal. LORD, my God and protector, you have chosen the Babylonians and made them strong so that they can punish us. 13But how can you stand these treacherous, evil men? Your eyes are too holy to look at evil, and you cannot stand the sight of people doing wrong. So why are you silent while they destroy people who are more righteous than they are?

14How can you treat people like fish or like a swarm of insects that have no ruler to direct them? 15The Babylonians catch people with hooks, as though they were fish. They drag them off in nets and shout for joy over their catch! 16They even worship their nets and offer sacrifices to them, because their nets provide them with the best of everything.

17Are they going to use their swords for ever and keep on destroying nations without mercy?

The LORD's Answer to Habakkuk

1I will climb my watchtower and wait to see what the LORD will tell me to say and what answer he will give to my complaint.

2The LORD gave me this answer: “Write down clearly on clay tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance. 3Put it in writing, because it is not yet time for it to come true. But the time is coming quickly, and what I show you will come true. It may seem slow in coming, but wait for it; it will certainly take place, and it will not be delayed. 4And this is the message: ‘Those who are evil will not survive, but those who are righteous will live because they are faithful to God.’ ”

Doom on the Unrighteous

5Wealth is deceitful. Greedy people are proud and restless — like death itself they are never satisfied. That is why they conquer nation after nation for themselves. 6The conquered people will taunt their conquerors and show their scorn for them. They will say, “You take what isn't yours, but you are doomed! How long will you go on getting rich by forcing your debtors to pay up?”

7But before you know it, you that have conquered others will be in debt yourselves and be forced to pay interest. Enemies will come and make you tremble. They will plunder you! 8You have plundered the people of many nations, but now those who have survived will plunder you because of the murders you have committed and because of your violence against the people of the world and its cities.

9You are doomed! You have made your family rich with what you took by violence, and have tried to make your own home safe from harm and danger! 10But your schemes have brought shame on your family; by destroying many nations you have only brought ruin on yourself. 11Even the stones of the walls cry out against you, and the rafters echo the cry.

12You are doomed! You founded a city on crime and built it up by murder. 13The nations you conquered wore themselves out in useless labour, and all they have built goes up in flames. The LORD Almighty has done this. 14But the earth will be as full of the knowledge of the LORD's glory as the seas are full of water.

15You are doomed! In your fury you humiliated and disgraced your neighbours; you made them stagger as though they were drunk. 16You in turn will be covered with shame instead of honour. You yourself will drink and stagger. The LORD will make you drink your own cup of punishment, and your honour will be turned to disgrace. 17You have cut down the forests of Lebanon; now you will be cut down. You killed its animals; now animals will terrify you. This will happen because of the murders you have committed and because of your violence against the people of the world and its cities.

18What's the use of an idol? It is only something that a human being has made, and it tells you nothing but lies. What good does it do for its maker to trust it — a god that can't even talk! 19You are doomed! You say to a piece of wood, “Wake up!” or to a block of stone, “Get up!” Can an idol reveal anything to you? It may be covered with silver and gold, but there is no life in it.

20The LORD is in his holy Temple; let everyone on earth be silent in his presence.

A Prayer of Habakkuk

1This is a prayer of the prophet Habakkuk:

2O LORD, I have heard of what you have done,

and I am filled with awe.

Now do again in our times

the great deeds you used to do.

Be merciful, even when you are angry.

3God is coming again from Edom;

the holy God is coming from the hills of Paran.

His splendour covers the heavens;

and the earth is full of his praise.

4He comes with the brightness of lightning;

light flashes from his hand,

there where his power is hidden.

5He sends disease before him

and commands death to follow him.

6When he stops, the earth shakes;

at his glance the nations tremble.

The eternal mountains are shattered;

the everlasting hills sink down,

the hills where he walked in ancient times.

7I saw the people of Cushan afraid

and the people of Midian tremble.

8Was it the rivers that made you angry, LORD?

Was it the sea that made you furious?

You rode upon the clouds;

the storm cloud was your chariot,

as you brought victory to your people.

9You got ready to use your bow,

ready to shoot your arrows.

Your lightning split open the earth.

10When the mountains saw you, they trembled;

water poured down from the skies.

The waters under the earth roared,

and their waves rose high.

11At the flash of your speeding arrows

and the gleam of your shining spear,

the sun and the moon stood still.

12You marched across the earth in anger;

in fury you trampled the nations.

13You went out to save your people,

to save your chosen king.

You struck down the leader of the wicked

and completely destroyed his followers.

14Your arrows pierced the commander of his army

when it came like a storm to scatter us,

gloating like those who secretly oppress the poor.

15You trampled the sea with your horses,

and the mighty waters foamed.

16I hear all this, and I tremble;

my lips quiver with fear.

My body goes limp,

and my feet stumble beneath me.

I will quietly wait for the time to come

when God will punish those who attack us.

17Even though the fig trees have no fruit

and no grapes grow on the vines,

even though the olive crop fails

and the fields produce no corn,

even though the sheep all die

and the cattle stalls are empty,

18I will still be joyful and glad,

because the LORD God is my saviour.

19The Sovereign LORD gives me strength.

He makes me sure-footed as a deer,

and keeps me safe on the mountains.

Habakkuk 1:1-3:19GNBOpen in Bible reader
Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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