The Temple is destroyed, Nebuchadnezzar installs Gedaliah as governor of Judah and instructs his captain to find Jeremiah and offer him safety in Babylon or in Judah. Jeremiah stays in Judah: Jeremiah 52:12–29; 2 Kings 25:8–23; Jeremiah 39:11–18; Jeremiah 40:1–12; 2 Chronicles 36:15–21
There was no doubt amongst the exiles: they knew exactly why this disaster had come on Jerusalem. The short version? You can’t claim to follow God but ignore repeated warnings:
2 Chronicles 36:15-20The Lord, the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent his prophets to warn them, for he had compassion on his people and his Temple. 16 But the people mocked these messengers of God and despised their words. They scoffed at the prophets until the Lord’s anger could no longer be restrained and nothing could be done.
Eventually, you’ll be handed over to the enemy, where, it could be argued, your heart already is. But the results will be more dire than ever imagined:
2 Chronicles 36:17-21 So the Lord brought the king of Babylon against them. The Babylonians killed Judah’s young men, even chasing after them into the Temple. They had no pity on the people, killing both young men and young women, the old and the infirm. God handed all of them over to Nebuchadnezzar. The king took home to Babylon all the articles, large and small, used in the Temple of God, and the treasures from both the Lord’s Temple and from the palace of the king and his officials. Then his army burned the Temple of God, tore down the walls of Jerusalem, burned all the palaces, and completely destroyed everything of value. The few who survived were taken as exiles to Babylon, and they became servants to the king and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power.