History of Judaism

Destruction of the First Temple
Chaldees destroy the Brazen Sea ©James Tissot
586 BCE Jan 1

Destruction of the First Temple

Jerusalem, Israel

According to the Bible, the Temple was plundered by King Nebuchadnezzar II of the Neo-Babylonian Empire when the Babylonians attacked Jerusalem during the brief reign of Jehoiachin c. 598 BCE (2 Kings 24:13).

A decade later, Nebuchadnezzar again besieged Jerusalem and after 30 months finally breached the city walls in 587/6 BCE. The city finally fell to his army in July 586/7 BCE. A month later, Nebuzaradan, commander of Nebuchadnezzar's guard, was sent to burn and demolish the city. According to the Bible, "he set fire to the Temple of Yahweh, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem" (2 Kings 25:9). Everything worth plundering was then removed and taken to Babylon (2 Kings 25:13–17).