Nebuchadnezzar installed Jehoiachin's uncle Mattaniah as king, making him swear an oath of loyalty and changing his name to Zedekiah. At this time the Babylonians took 11,000 more captives to ensure his loyalty, including the prophet Ezekiel.
Zedekiah reigned eleven years. In his fourth year, he was summoned by Nebuchadnezzar. Quite possibly the king wanted to check on his loyalty. At that time Jeremiah sent a letter of encouragement to the captives telling them that they would remain in Babylon for 70 years and to make the most of their time in that foreign culture.
In his ninth year, Zedekiah rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar and was besieged for 2-1/2 years. Ezekiel was given an interesting prophecy about Zedekiah in which he declared that the king would never see his homeland again, would be taken to Babylon but would not see it, and would die there. Jeremiah had also prophecied that Zedekiah would be taken captive to Babylon.
As the siege of Jerusalem came to an end and the Babylonians entered the city, God's judgement upon the nation came to a close. This represented the third and final Babylonian captivity.
On the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av in the year 587BC, general Nebuzaradan plundered the holy temple and the palace, then set fire to both.
"And on the ninth day of the fourth month of Zedekiah's eleventh year, the city wall was broken through. Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came and took seats in the Middle Gate: Nergal-sharezer of Samgar, Nebo-sarsekim a chief officer, Nergal-sharezer a high official and all the other officials of the king of Babylon. When Zedekiah king of Judah and all the soldiers saw them, they fled; they left the city at night by way of the king's garden, through the gate between the two walls, and headed toward the Arabah. But the Babylonian army pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. They captured him and took him to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he pronounced sentence on him.
There at Riblah the king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes and also killed all the nobles of Judah. Then he put out Zedekiah's eyes and bound him with bronze shackles to take him to Babylon.
The Babylonians set fire to the royal palace and the houses of the people and broke down the walls of Jerusalem. Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard carried into exile to Babylon the people who remained in the city, along with those who had gone over to him, and the rest of the people."
-- Jeremiah 39:2-9
Zedekiah escaped through a hole in the wall, racing towards the Jordan river in hopes of reaching the desert. At daybreak, the Babylonians overtook him near Jericho. They brought Zedekiah and his family before Nebuchadnezzar at his headquarters in Riblah, a city to the north. He denounced the Jewish king as a traitor and an ungrateful wretch. While Zedekiah was forced to watch, Nebuchadnezzar executed his sons, then his eyes were gouged out with a spear. He was bound in bronze shackles and taken prisoner to Babylon, where he was presumably put on public display before being executed.
Some 470 years after it was built with such care and joy by Solomon and his people, the temple lay a smoldering wreck, devoid of hope, glory, or people to worship within its walls. Although Daniel had already been living in Babylon for 19 years when the temple was destroyed, this is a fitting place to begin our study of the incredible book of Daniel.