The actual fired lapis colored bricks of King Nebuchadnezzar's Ishtar Gate in Babylon. The children of Israel would have been driven into the city through this gate. Now in the Berlin Museum.
2 Kings 25:1-12 - Audio Link - all of 2 Kings 25
1 So in the ninth year of Zedekiah's reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. He encamped outside the city and built siege works all around it. 2 The city was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. 3 By the ninth day of the fourth [the same is said in Jeremiah 52] month the famine in the city had become so severe that there was no food for the people to eat. 4 Then the city wall was broken through, and the whole army fled at night through the gate between the two walls near the king's garden, though the Babylonians were surrounding the city. They fled toward the Arabah, [Jordan Valley]c]"> 5 but the Babylonian army pursued the king and overtook him in the plains of Jericho. All his soldiers were separated from him and scattered, 6 and he was captured. He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where sentence was pronounced on him. 7 They killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. Then they put out his eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon.
8 On the seventh day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, an official of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 9 He set fire to the temple of the LORD, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down. 10 The whole Babylonian army, under the commander of the imperial guard, broke down the walls around Jerusalem. 11 Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard carried into exile the people who remained in the city, along with the rest of the populace and those who had gone over to the king of Babylon. 12 But the commander left behind some of the poorest people of the land to work the vineyards and fields.
Judah was invaded 3 times - last time the king, king's families and officials were carted off to Babylon. 2 Kings 25 is the final, most grim, most brutal, 3rd invasion. Zedekiah isn't king by the usual succession. He is actually Mattaniah. The name Zedekiah was given to him by the king-maker of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Mattaniah/Zedekiah is actually the reigning king's Jehoiachin's uncle. Jehoiachin surrendered and lived comfortably in Nebuchadnezzar's palace. Nebuchadnezzar's puppet king decided to rebel, the consequences for Judah is complete enslavement.
We know Jeremiah cried out for Judah to turn to the Lord. Jeremiah's cry for reform was heard by King Josiah, but the next 3 kings (Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin & Zedekiah) and the children of Israel were deaf to the Lord, through Jeremiah.
The actual prophesy of the end of the kingdom was made by Samuel, hundreds of years before the end, before any king was anointed:
1 Samuel 8:18-35
18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day."
19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles."
21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD. 22 The LORD answered, "Listen to them and give them a king."
It was Joshua who told of God's plan for Israel:
then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me."
Help us each day, Father. To choose Whom we will serve, guide us and lead our lives. We ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen