Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard (Jeremiah 39)

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Illustration: Artistic impression of Nebuzaradan

When Zedekiah, king of Judah, rebelled against Babylonian rule in 588 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar responded quickly, capturing Jerusalem the following year. Nebuzaradan, a high-ranking officer in the Babylonian army, was responsible for supervising the burning of the city, tearing down the defences, deporting 832 captives to Babylon, plundering the temple and roundin up Judean officials to appear before Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25:8-21, Jeremiah 39:8-9, 52:15-27).

Nebuchadnezzar left Nebuzaradan with specific instructions to deal kindly with Jeremiah, who had been imprisoned along with those going to Babylon (Jeremiah 39:11-14, 40:1). Nebuzaradan released the prophet and gave him a choice of going to Babylon or remaining in Judah (40:2-4). Jeremiah  opted to remain in Judah and joined the newly appointed Judean leader, Gedaliah, at Mizpah (39:14, 40:5-6). Five years later Nebuzaradan returned to Jerusalem and deported another 745 persons to Babylon (52:30).

A clay prism listing court officials was found during excavations in Nebuchadnezzar’s palace in Babylon. Among the names is that of Nebuzaradan, along with the title “chancellor”. The prism is thought to date to around 570 B.C. and then to reflect a political appointment for Nebuchadnezzar following his military career.


 

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