Jeremiah 52

When Judah rebelled against the Chaldean horde,
They sought to gain freedom without help from the Lord,
Trusting, instead, in the massive stone of their walls,
Like Jericho had before the Jewish footfalls.

Nebuchadnezzar came with his army of might,
Which, before, had sent the Assyrians to flight.
He surrounded those walls and prepared to lay siege,
Hoping by this conquest to enhance his prestige.

The defenders quailed at the display of these troops,
Arrayed throughout the valley in battle-clad groups;
The sunlight gleaming against their breastplates of bronze,
Appeared like the campfires a frigid night spawns.

For over a year, the holy city was choked.
Each morning, the fire of their hunger was stoked;
Starvation spread until the siege engines broke through:
The great walls collapsed, and the defeated men flew.

Judah’s King was caught on the Jerusalem plains;
His sons were murdered as he watched, bounded by chains.
This Zedekiah was carried to Babylon,
Blinded, imprisoned, and told his kingdom was gone.

Nebuzaradan, captain of Babylon’s guard,
Made this city, once great, just a smoking graveyard.
He commanded his troops to set all there aflame;
Each charred building then stood, a monument to shame.

Finally, the Chaldeans stripped God’s temple bare,
Every utensil, all the bronze paneling there;
And when it was emptied, what had once been renowned,
Was coldly ignited and soon crashed to the ground.

They left David’s royal city a smoldering void,
Where only the poorest of men were employed
In working the land for their Chaldean masters,
Who took what they grew for their own pagan altars.

Many years before, when stout Sennacherib fell,
It was struck down at night by a marvelous spell;
But, this time, Zion’s clamors and groans of despair
Disappeared, unheeded, like dawn mist in the air.

For though God is patient, beyond grasp of mere men,
Forgiving wayward children again and again,
The time comes when His justice cannot be delayed:
Jerusalem’s fall was the hour their debt was paid.

 

Ron L. Hodges is an English teacher and poet who lives in Orange County, California. His works have appeared in The Road Not Taken, Ancient Paths, Calvary Cross, and The Society of Classical Poets Journal 2015 and 2016. He won the Society’s prestigious Annual Poetry Competition in 2016.

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