Siege of Jerusalem (597 BC)
|Siege of Jerusalem|
|Part of Jewish–Babylonian war (601–587 BC)|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
|Many slain, others taken to captivity||Unknown|
The Siege of Jerusalem was a military campaign carried out by Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon in 597 BC. In 605 BC, he defeated Pharaoh Necho at the Battle of Carchemish, and subsequently invaded Judah. According to the Nebuchadnezzar Chronicle, King Jehoiakim of Judah rebelled against Babylonian rule, but Nebuchadnezzar captured the city and installed Zedekiah as ruler.
To avoid the destruction of Jerusalem, King Jehoiakim of Judah, in his third year, changed allegiances from Egypt to Babylon. He paid tribute from the treasury in Jerusalem, some temple artifacts and some of the royal family and nobility as hostages. In 601 BC, during the fourth year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar unsuccessfully attempted to invade Egypt and was repulsed with heavy losses. The failure led to numerous rebellions among the states of the Levant which owed allegiance to Babylon, including Judah, where King Jehoiakim stopped paying tribute to Nebuchadnezzar and took a pro-Egyptian position.
In the seventh year [of Nebuchadnezzar, 598 BC] in the month Chislev [November/December] the king of Babylon assembled his army, and after he had invaded the land of Hatti (Syria/Palestine) he laid siege to the city of Judah. On the second day of the month of Adar [16 March] he conquered the city and took the king [Jeconiah] prisoner. He installed in his place a king [Zedekiah] of his own choice, and after he had received rich tribute, he sent forth to Babylon.
Jehoiakim died during the siege, possibly on 22 Marcheshvan (December 10) 598 BC, or during the months of Kislev, or Tevet. Nebuchadnezzar pillaged the city and its Temple, and the new king Jeconiah, who was either 8 or 18, and his court and other prominent citizens and craftsmen, and much of the Jewish population of Judah, numbering about 10,000 were deported to Babylon. The deportation occurred prior to Nisan of 597 BC, and dates in the Book of Ezekiel are counted from that event. A biblical text reports, "None remained except the poorest people of the land". Also, taken to Babylon were the treasures and furnishings of the Temple, including golden vessels dedicated by King Solomon.(2 Kings 24:13–14)
The events are described in the Nevi'im and Ketuvim sections of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible, also known as the Old Testament). The first deportation is the start of the Jewish Diaspora (or exile). (2 Kings 24:10–16) Nebuchadnezzar installed Jeconiah's uncle, Zedekiah as puppet-king of Judah, and Jeconiah was compelled to remain in Babylon. The start of Zedekiah's reign has been variously dated within a few weeks before, or after the start of Nisan 597 BC.
The Babylonian Chronicles, which were published by Donald Wiseman in 1956, establish that Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem the first time on 2 Adar (16 March) 597 BC. Before Wiseman's publication, E. R. Thiele had determined from the biblical texts that Nebuchadnezzar's initial capture of Jerusalem occurred in the spring of 597 BC, but other scholars, including William F. Albright, more frequently dated the event to 598 BC.
- C. Hassell Bullock. An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophetic Books. p. 340.
- The Divided Monarchy c. 931–586 BC
- Geoffrey Wigoder, The Illustrated Dictionary & Concordance of the Bible Pub. by Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. (2006)
- No 24 WA21946, The Babylonian Chronicles, The British Museum
- Horn, Siegfried H. (1967). "The Babylonian Chronicle and the Ancient Calendar of the Kingdom of Judah" (pdf). Andrews University Seminary Studies. V (1): 21.
- Lipschits, Oded (2002). "'Jehoiakim Slept with his Fathers...' (II Kings 24:6) - Did He?" (pdf). Journal of Hebrew Scriptures. 4: 23. doi:10.5508/jhs.2002.v4.a1. ISSN 1203-1542.
- Green, Alberto R. (1982). "The fate of Jehoiakim" (pdf). Andrews University Seminary Studies. 20 (2): 106.
- The Oxford History of the Biblical World, ed. by Michael D Coogan. Published by Oxford University Press, 1999. pg 350
- Young, Rodger C. (March 2004). "When Did Jerusalem Fall?" (pdf). Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. 47 (1): 32ff.
- Zedekiah on Britannia.com
- Thompson, John Arthur (1980). The Book of Jeremiah. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 729.
- Hayes, John H.; Hooker, Paul K. (2007). A New Chronology for the Kings of Israel and Judah and Its Implications for Biblical History and Literature. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 95.
- Thiele, Edwin R. (1970). The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings. Kregel Academic. p. 192.
- D. J. Wiseman, Chronicles of Chaldean Kings in the British Museum (London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1956) 73.
- Edwin Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, (1st ed.; New York: Macmillan, 1951; 2d ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965; 3rd ed.; Grand Rapids: Zondervan/Kregel, 1983). ISBN 0-8254-3825-X, 9780825438257, 217.
- Kenneth Strand, "Thiele's Biblical Chronology As a Corrective for Extrabiblical Dates," Andrews University Seminary Studies 34 (1996) 310, 317.
- The Siege on the British Museum website
- The Siege on the Encyclopædia Britannica website
- The Chronicle Concerning the Early Years of Nebuchadnezzar II