The Reign of Nebuchadrezzar
When Nabopolassar died, Nebuchadrezzar (604–562) took the throne. His armies continued to maintain control in Hatti and, in December 604, he marched against Ashkelon and destroyed the city. Subsequently, in 601–600, he marched to Egypt and fought a fierce but inconclusive battle there; this battle may be reflected in the oracle in Jeremiah 46: 13–24 . Jehoiakim of Judah, probably with Egypt's encouragement, revolted. In December 598, Nebuchadrezzar marched to the ‘Hatti‐land’ and laid siege to Jerusalem. Jehoiakim had died (see ‘The Kingdom of Judah’ ) and his son Jehoiachin had become king. On 16 March 597, Jerusalem fell, and Nebuchadrezzar installed Zedekiah on the throne in place of Jehoiachin. The latter, along with other leading citizens (2 Kgs. 24: 15–16 ), was taken into exile. Tablets found at Babylon, dating from the period 595–570, include references to captives from many places, including Jehoiachin king of Judah and his five sons, and the sons of Aga, king of Ashkelon. Mention is also made of artisans, sailors, and musicians from other cities of Hatti, as well as places (perhaps outside the Babylonian Empire itself) as far afield as Lydia and Ionia in the west to Media and Persia in the east. The presence of captives from Pirindu and Khume resident in Babylon imply that Neduchadrezzar had campaigned in the area which was to become known as Cilicia.
When Judah again revolted in 589, the Babylonian armies returned. The siege of Jerusalem began in 588, and an Egyptian army which came to Judah's assistance was defeated. When Jerusalem fell in 586, Zedekiah was taken before Nebuchadrezzar at Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he was blinded (2 Kgs. 25: 6–7 ; see on ‘The Kingdom of Judah’ ). It was not only Jerusalem that was placed under siege at this time. Tyre too was besieged, but managed to resist for thirteen years.