At the time of Babylon’s attack on Jerusalem in 597 BC, the Judean king Jehoiakim died and was succeeded by his eighteen year old son Jehoiachin (also known as Jeconiah, or Coniah). After three months resistance, Jehoiachin surrendered (2 Kings 24:6,8,12). The Babylonians then plundered Judah’s treasures and took Jehoiachin captive to Babylon, along with the royal family, palace officials and most of Judah’s best people (2 Kings 24:8-16; Esther 2:6; Jer 22:24-30; 24:1; 27:20; 29:2). One of the captives was Ezekiel (Ezek 1:1-2). In 561 BC a new Babylonian king released Jehoiachin from prison and treated him with special favour. To the captive Jews this was a sign of hope that one day they would all be released (2 Kings 25:27-30). When, after Persia’s conquest of Babylon in 539 BC, the Jews were released and returned to Jerusalem, a grandson of Jehoiachin, Zerubbabel, became their governor (1 Chron 3:17; Ezra 3:2; Hag 1:1; Matt 1:12).

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