Again and again, the people of Judah left Jehovah and worshipped false gods. For many years, Jehovah kept trying to help them. He sent many prophets to warn them, but they did not listen. Instead, they made fun of the prophets. How did Jehovah put an end to their idolatry?
The king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, was conquering one nation after another. The first time he conquered Jerusalem, he captured King Jehoiachin, the princes, the warriors, and the craftsmen, and he took them all to Babylon. He also took all the treasures from Jehovah’s temple. Then Nebuchadnezzar made Zedekiah king of Judah.
At first, Zedekiah obeyed Nebuchadnezzar. But the nearby nations and the false prophets advised Zedekiah to rebel against Babylon. Jeremiah warned him: ‘If you rebel, there will be murder, famine, and disease in Judah.’
After ruling for eight years, Zedekiah decided to rebel against Babylon. He asked the Egyptian army to help him. Then Nebuchadnezzar sent his army to attack Jerusalem, and they camped around the city. Jeremiah told Zedekiah: ‘Jehovah says that if you surrender to Babylon, both you and the city will survive. But if you don’t, the Babylonians will burn Jerusalem down and take you as prisoner.’ Zedekiah said: ‘I won’t surrender!’
A year and a half later, the Babylonian army broke through the walls of Jerusalem and set the city on fire. They burned down the temple, killed many people, and took thousands as prisoners.
Zedekiah escaped from Jerusalem, but the Babylonians chased after him. They captured him near Jericho and brought him to Nebuchadnezzar. The king of Babylon made Zedekiah watch as his own sons were executed. Then Nebuchadnezzar blinded Zedekiah and put him in prison, where he later died. But Jehovah promised the people of Judah: ‘After 70 years, I will bring you home to Jerusalem.’
What would happen to the young people who had been taken as prisoners to Babylon? Would they remain loyal to Jehovah?
“Jehovah God, the Almighty, true and righteous are your judgments.”—Revelation 16:7