God empowered King Nebuchadnezzar to become a mighty ruler on the Earth around 610 B.C. which is where he appears on the Biblical Timeline chart. This Babylonian king was to use his power from God to conquer many empires and kingdoms. King Nebuchadnezzar did use his power for that purpose and he used his strength against the nation of Judah.
Around 600 B.C. Babylon had marched against Judah because the territory hadn’t been paying its required tribute. King Nebuchadnezzar had previously conquered Judah during the reign of Jehoiakim. After Jehoiakim had died his son Jehoiachin took his place. During Jehoiakim reign, Judah was paying tribute to Egypt and Babylon. God had stirred up the king of Babylon to attack Judah during the reign of Jehoiakim so that he could pay them back for their sins.
King Nebuchadnezzar marched his armies into Judah and placed his dominance over the territory. After he captured Judah he then began to make them pay tribute and he marched off some of the people back to Babylon. He only took a few people.
After Jehoiakim’s power had come to an end, King Nebuchadnezzar placed his son Jehoiachin on the throne. This particular event set the stage for the first Babylonian captivity sent to Judah by God. The first Babylonian captivity occurred during the reign of King Jehoiachin.
King Nebuchadnezzar marched against the Babylonians because he was led by God to perform this act. He laid siege to Jerusalem and carried away many of the elite citizens of the kingdom. The Babylonian king also imprisoned Judah‘s ruler.
The second Babylonian captivity happened during the reign of King Zedekiah. This particular ruler of Judah was the uncle of and Nebuchadnezzar placed him in power after he attacked Judah the third time. This time around he was done being patient with Judah. He then began to siege to the city of Jerusalem for two years. Eventually, Judah was defeated and King Zedekiah was captured.
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The king was forced to witness the murder of his sons and then he was blinded by Nebuchadnezzar before he was marched back to Babylon as a prisoner. Most of the people of Judah were taken back to Babylon and only the poor people remained in the land. God had used many prophets to warn Judah about their sins and to turn away from them. The sin of idolatry had also been extremely problematic for the people of Judah. This sin is what caused the Israelites to be deported by the Assyrians and now the people of Judah had experienced the same thing at the hands of the Babylonians.
Jeremiah had sternly warned the King Zedekiah the last ruler of Judah to repent before the Babylonians finally destroyed them but the king didn’t listen. The Lord was fed up with the sins of his people so he finally resolved the issue of their disobedience by forcing them into exile. The people of Judah were now living as captives in a foreign land because of their disobedience. The Babylonian captivity lasted for 70 years before Nehemiah was allowed to bring back the captives to rebuild Judah. The second Babylonian captivity took place around 586 B.C.
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