2 Kings 25:8-24
For many years now, God had sent prophets to warn his people. If they did not stop praying to false gods, they would become weak. Jerusalem would be destroyed. God’s people would become slaves. But the people had not listened.
Now the time had come for the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar to capture and destroy Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar had ordered his soldiers to set fire to the temple of the Lord. He burned the king’s palace. He burned all the houses of Jerusalem. The Babylonians set all buildings on fire. The entire city went up in flames!
Then his army broke down the walls of Jerusalem and captured all the people. They made them into slaves and sent them to Babylon. While Jerusalem burned, King Nebuchadnezzar sent his men into the palaces and temple to strip them of treasure. With buildings burning all around them, his soldiers grabbed every piece of gold and silver they saw. There was nothing left of the temple! Nebuchadnezzar carried it all away to Babylon, even the huge bronze pillars.
God’s prophet at this time was a man named Jeremiah. Except for the poor, he was the only man Nebuchadnezzar spared. Nebuchadnezzar gave orders that he should not be harmed. One of the king’s captains told Jeremiah, “Everything has happened just as you said it would. The Lord has brought disaster on this place because the people didn’t listen. But now you are free. Come with us to Babylon where you’ll be safe, or stay here. Go wherever you want.”
When Jeremiah did not choose to go with the king’s bodyguard to Babylon, the captain said, “All right, stay here with the people.” Then he gave Jeremiah some food and money and let him go. Jeremiah chose to stay with God’s people. These were the poorest of the poor, in the ruined city of Jerusalem.