14 The people of Judah and even the priests who were their leaders became more unfaithful. They followed the disgusting example of the nations around them and made the Lord's holy temple unfit for worship.
15 But the Lord God felt sorry for his people, and instead of destroying the temple, he sent prophets who warned the people over and over about their sins.
16 But the people only laughed and insulted these prophets. They ignored what the Lord God was trying to tell them, until he finally became so angry that nothing could stop him from punishing Judah and Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Is Destroyed
sent King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia to attack Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar killed the young men who were in the temple, and he showed no mercy to anyone, whether man or woman, young or old. God let him kill everyone in the city.
Nebuchadnezzar carried off everything that was left in the temple; he robbed the treasury and the personal storerooms of the king and his officials. He took everything back to Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzar's troops burned down the temple and destroyed every important building in the city. Then they broke down the city wall.
36.19 1K 9.8.
The survivors were taken to Babylonia as prisoners, where they were slaves of the king and his sons, until Persia became a powerful nation.
Judah was an empty desert, and it stayed that way for seventy years, to make up for all the years it was not allowed to rest.
q 36.21 rest: According to Leviticus 25.1-7, the land was supposed to rest every seventh year.
These things happened just as Jeremiah the Lord
's prophet had said.
r 36.21 Jeremiah ... said: Jeremiah 25.11,12; 29.10. According to the Law, the people had to allow the land to rest one out of every seven years (see Leviticus 25.1-7).
Cyrus Lets the Jews Return Home
In the first year that Cyrus was king of Persia,
s 36.22 the first year that Cyrus was king of Persia: Probably 538 B.C., when Cyrus captured Babylonia. He had actually ruled Persia since 549 B.C.
had Cyrus send a message to all parts of his kingdom. This happened just as Jeremiah the Lord
's prophet had promised.
The message said:
I am King Cyrus of Persia.
The Lord God of heaven has made me the ruler of every nation on earth. He has also chosen me to build a temple for him in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. The Lord God will watch over any of his people who want to go back to Judah.