God metes out His wrath against Zedekiah and Judah through the Babylonians, who capture Zedekiah and kill his sons. It is easy to overlook, but justice also comes for those in Judah who were mistreated under Zedekiah’s reign. For example, Nebuzaradan not only left the poor in Jerusalem, but also gave them vineyards and fields to tend (Jeremiah 39:10). Jeremiah and Ebed-Melek (the king’s Cushite servant) are also protected and treated with better kindness by the Babylonian captors.

The narrative point is clear: God is intentionally using the Babylonians as instruments of wrath and justice to reveal God’s immediate will for Judah. Like grace and mercy are not completely distinct but complementary, so God in His wrath against evil also works justice to address wrongs and maintain rights. This is key for Jewish interpretation of the events surrounding the Babylonian exile. Unlike other nations in defeat, the Jewish people did not believe the gods of their enemies won, but rather that Israel’s God is working through the enemy Babylon to purify and protect, as well as punish. The story also indicates that God, irrespective of our situations, always turns a compassionate eye to the broken, mistreated, and vulnerable. More than this, God will rectify all evils and enact justice on those who do wrong (Romans 12:19).