First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…

Nebuchadnezzar(Nabuchodonosor) made Mattaniah (Mathanias), the uncle of Jeconiah (Joachim), king at Jerusalem, and by oath bound him to pay an annual tribute; and he changed his name to Zedekiah (Sedechias). He (Zedekiah) began to reign at the age of twenty-one years, and he reigned 11 years at Jerusalem. Thereafter he did evil in the sight of the Lord. He was arrogant and decided to make an alliance with the king of Egypt; nor did he keep his oath. The false prophets deceived him, saying, The Babylonians would certainly be driven out by the Egyptians. Jeremiah advised him to place his faith in God and not in humanity. In the ninth year of his reign, on the advice of the Egyptians, he decided not to pay the promised tribute, but to liberate himself and to ignore his oath, in consequence Nebuchadnezzar besieged him with a great number of people, and by starvation sought to compel him to pay the tribute. The city was opened at midnight, and Zedekiah and his relatives escaped, and went on their way to the wilderness. The mercenaries pursued him and captured him in the evening. And they brought him before the king at Riblah (Reblata). And the king punished him for his ingratitude, for although he had invested him with the kingdom, he had become perfidious; and he caused his eyes to be put out, and had him sent to Babylon in chains. He also contrived to have him, together with Jehozadek (Josedech)[Jehozadak, son of Seraiah, was a high priest under Zedekiah. He succeeded his father who was slain at Riblah, but was immediately carried captive and died in exile.] and all his relatives, put to death. And he carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon a great number of people as prisoners. He caused the city and the temple to be destroyed and burned.[The text of the closely follows the 24th and 25th chapters of II Kings, covering the rebellions of Jehoiakim and Zedekiah, and the siege and destruction of Jerusalem.] He also conquered the empire of Assyria, which the Medes had destroyed. And so Babylonia became the sovereign of all these empires, and the kingdom of the Hebrews passed out as that of the Chaldees sprang up. Chaldaea, the kingdom in Asia, adjoined Arabia, a poor flat country, lacking water. In it (Chaldaea) was Babylon the capital city; and in the time of Zedekiah, after Astyages the eighth and last king of Media had reigned 38 years, the empire of the Medes declined.

Destruction of Jerusalem

Jerusalem, the noblest and oldest city, was destroyed a number of times: Firstly by the King of Babylon when Nebuchadnezzar, King of Chaldaea in the time of Zedekiah, invaded the land of Judah with a great and powerful army, and afflicted the cities and besieged Jerusalem. Thereafter he marched against Pharaoh the King of Egypt; and when he had forced him to flight he sent Nebuzar-adan (Nabuzardo)[Nebuzar-adan, chief of the executioners under Nebuchadnezzar, and his agent in the sacking and destruction of Jerusalem (II Kings 25:8-21).], one of the generals of his army, to besiege Jerusalem. He was encamped there for eight months when they surrendered themselves and their city to the Chaldaeans. They slew the king, leveled the towers and walls, burned the Temple, and seized the temple treasures. The Temple remained desolate for seventy years. The captivity did not end until the time of Cyrus. The Temple was not rebuilt until the time of Darius, the King of Persia and Media. Jerusalem was destroyed a second time by Asobeus, King of Egypt. What the land of Judea suffered at the hands of the Medes, Egyptians, and Macedonians, I will not here relate. The city was destroyed a third time by that most cruel tyrant, Antiochus Epiphanes, who took the city through the treachery of Menelaus, and through merciless men plundered the Holy City; gave the Jews pork to eat, forced them to forego their own laws, and to worship the Olympian Jove. On the fourth occasion it was destroyed by Pompey, who conquered the entire land of Judea, making it and Jerusalem tributary. Strabo relates that Pompey on a certain sabbath of the Jews, when they withheld themselves from all labor, filled up the moats, set up the ladders, and conquered the city. For a fifth time the cities of Judea, and particularly Jerusalem, were attacked, and this time by Gabinius, Scaurus, and Varus; and Herod the Great[Herod the Great, King of the Jews, was the second son of Antipater. Caesar appointed his father procurator of Judea in 47 BCE. Herod, thought only twenty-five, obtained the government of Galilee. In 40 he went to Rome and obtained from Anthony and Octavian a decree of the Senate constituting him king of Judea. He possessed a jealous temper and ungovernable passions. His government, though cruel and tyrannical, was vigorous, and he was feared and respected by his subjects and neighbors. He loved to display his power and magnificence by costly and splendid public works. In the last year of his reign Jesus of Nazareth was born. He died in the 37th year of his reign, at the age of seventy.] and Sosius[Sosius was one of Anthony's principal lieutenants in the East. In 37 BCE he advanced against Jerusalem along with Herod, became the master of the city and placed Herod on the throne.] conquered it, and possessed it as a march. On the sixth occasion it was taken by Vespasian[Vespasian (T. Flavius Sabinus), Roman emperor from 70-79 CE, was the son of a man of modest means, in the country of the Sabines. His mother Vespasia Pola was the daughter of a praefectus castrorum, and the sister of a Roman senator. She was left a widow with two sons, Flabius Sabinus and Vespasian. Vespasian served as a tribinus militum in Thrace, and was quaestor in Crete and Cyrene. He married and had two sons, both of whom succeeded him. In the reign of Claudius he was sent into Germany as legatus legionis; and in 43 he held the same command in Britain, and reduced the Isle of Wight. He was consul in 51, and proconsul of Africa under Nero. He had a great military reputation and was liked by his soldiers. In the year 66 he conducted the war against the Jews, and with that war raised his reputation. He was proclaimed emperor at Alexandria in 69, and soon after all through the East. He came to Rome in 70, leaving his son Titus to continue the war against the Jews. Titus took Jerusalem after a siege of five months. The cause of Vespasian's return to Rome was the war that broke out between Otho and Vitellus. Vespasian on his return labored to restore order in the city and the empire. The simplicity and frugality of his mode of life was in striking contrast with the profusion and luxury of his predecessors, and his example is said to have done more to reform the morals of Rome than all the laws that had ever been enacted. He lived like a private person, was affable and easily approached. He ridiculed all attempts to give him a distinguished genealogy. He knew the bad character of his son Domitian, but kept him under proper restraint. In 71, Titus returned to Rome, and father and son triumphed together for their conquest of the Jews. In the summer of 79, Vespasian, whose health was failing, spent some time in his parental home in the mountains of Sabini. Drinking cold water to excess he injured his stomach, which was already disordered; but he still attended to business. When he felt death approaching, he said that an emperor should die standing, and so he died at the age of 69 on June 24, 79.] on the eighth day of the month of September, in the second year of his reign, through his son Titus, who razed it to the ground and destroyed the temple. They leveled the walls and filled the moats. This conquest the Romans considered a feat of great importance, and Titus, leader of the hosts, and afterwards governor of the realm, when he passed over the walls was himself surprised, and


SIZE 8¾" X 5½"

This woodcut portrays one of the incidents in the fall of Jerusalem as recorded in the accompanying text, based on the 24th and 25th chapters of II Kings.

We are in the plains of Jericho in the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah, whose army has been defeated and dispersed by the besiegers. From the right the Babylonian hosts—a horse and armed cap-a-pie in stout European armor of the Middle Ages, and equipped with implements of war of the same period—proudly enter the picture. At their head is a distinguished personage in Oriental turban, apparently intended for Nebuchadnezzar, although this potentate was at Riblah at this time and not on the plans of Jericho. Proceeding before them in simple raiment but wearing his crown, is Zedekiah. His hands are bound behind his back by a cord, and he is being urged along by a rather aggressive looking infantryman who has strapped to his back a peculiar shield in the shape of a human face. Strangely enough, his trusty sword is in its scabbard at his side, while he urges on Zedekiah and the multitude with a stick.

Zedekiah is proceeding forward as best he can, with a peculiar dance step. He is already blindfolded, no doubt the artist's way of indicating that his eyes have already been put out, although this did not occur until he was brought before the great Babylonian king at Riblah. Crowded about the unfortunate king of Judah are his people, men, women and children, all in distress and fear. One of their numbers, in a cloak or mantle, stands immediately before the blinded king, making a gesture as if speaking to him. Who this may be, or what he may be saying, we do not know.

The background represents a desolate undulating plain.