I. The Defeat of Jerusalem (2Ki. 25:1-7; Jer. 39:1-7; 52:8-11)
Judah existed until 586BC, when it was conquered by the Babylonian Empire under Nebuzar-adan, also named “Chief Executioner”. While this may have been his title – and not his name, he was the captain of Nebuchadnezzar’s bodyguard.
Nebuchadnezzar was the one who conquered Jerusalem, but it was Nebuzaradan who actually set fire to the city.
After a 2-year siege, Jerusalem suffered severe famine. So, King Zedekiah and his men tried to escape they city by night… but were captured by the Babylonians. King Zedekiah was forced to watch as his sons were killed. Then his eyes were gouged out – ensuring that the death of his sons would be the last thing he would ever see. King Zedekiah was then carried off to Babylon.
II. The Destruction of Jerusalem (2Ki. 25:8-10,13-17; Jer. 39:8; 52:12-14)
The city’s walls were pulled down. The temple and all the important buildings were destroyed. The temple’s valuable furnishings were taken to Babylon.
III. The Deportation of Jews (2Ki. 25:11,12,18-21)
Most of the leading citizens were exiled to Babylon; those found hiding in the city were killed. The writer of 2Kings summarizes the sad end of Judah in 2Ki. 25:21.
PS. The Release of Jeremiah the prophet (Jer. 40:1-6)
Nebuzaradan was the one responsible for sparing the life of one of Judah’s greatest prophets, Jeremiah. Chained up with the rest of the prisoners from Jerusalem, Jeremiah seemed destined for exile and probable death – until Nebuzaradan found him. Apparently aware of Jeremiah’s prophecies concerning Jerusalem’s destruction and Nebuchadnezzar’s triumph, Nebuzaradan ordered that Jeremiah be set free. He even gave Jeremiah the choice between living in Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar’s protection, or returning to his decimated homeland. Jeremiah chose to go home… and remained there with the poorest of the poor who were left behind – those not considered worthy to take to Babylon – surrounded by the charred remains of the once great city of Jerusalem.
So, how would you describe Nebuzaradan? Was he a good guy? Was he a bad guy? Was he just following orders?
How do you think God judged him?
God considers the motives of a man… and, sometimes, only God knows what those motives are. That’s why we are ALWAYS better off to leave the judging to God.
You can read Nebuzaradan’s story in 2Kings 25:1-21; Jeremiah 39:1-8; 52:8-14; 40:1-6.