Joiakim Is Dethroned

For three years Joiakim remained obedient to the king of Babylon. Then he revolted and joined forces with Egypt against Nebuchadnezzar. To punish this rebellion, the king of Babylon again sent his armies into Judea. They put Joiakim in chains and led him into captivity. But while the Babylonian forces were on their way home, Joiakim died, and was succeeded by his son Jehoiachin (or Jechoniah).

The new monarch had been on the throne for scarcely more than three months when Jerusalem came under the siege of the Babylonian hosts. To appease Nebuchadnezzar and save the city, Jehoiachin delivered himself up to the Babylonian conqueror, together with his mother and all his chief officers. After plundering the Temple and the royal palace, Nebuchadnezzar returned to his land, carrying away from Jerusalem ten thousand captives, including the king and his family, the nobility of the land, and the leaders of the army. Only the poorest of the population were left, and over them Nebuchadnezzar appointed Mattaniah, the exiled monarch's uncle, as tributary king, changing his name to Zedekiah.

Jeremiah's Letter to the Exiles

In Babylonia, too, false prophets arose to mislead the exiled and depressed people of Judea with deceitful and illusory hopes which were only too readily believed by the distressed Jews.

To counteract this influence, Jeremiah sent the following message of solace and admonition to the exiles In Babylon. "Build houses, and dwell therein; and plant gardens, and eat their fruit; take wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that you may multiply there, and not be diminished. And seek for the welfare of the city whither you have been banished and pray for it to the L-rd; for in its welfare shall lie your welfare. For thus has said the L-rd: Let not your prophets that are in the midst of you, and your diviners, deceive you, and do not hearken to your dreams which you cause to be dreamt; for in falsehood do they prophesy to you in My name: I have not sent them, said the L-rd. For thus says the L-rd: After seventy years in Babylon will I visit you, and fulfill my good word regarding you, and cause you to return to this place."