The Fall of the Judean Kingdom. The Prophet Jeremiah
For a long time the Lord endured the sins of the Jewish people and awaited their repentance, but the people did not reform themselves. Through the Prophet Jeremiah God clearly foretold that for their evil deeds, the Jewish people would be subjugated and led into captivity by the Babylonians and that the Jews would be in captivity for seventy years.
At first, the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 37:1) subjugated the Jewish King, but he preserved Jerusalem and did not destroy all the Jewish kingdom.
The Prophet Jeremiah persuaded the Jews to submit to Babylon. He pointed out that the Babylonians had been sent against the Jews by God as a punishment for the sins of the kings and the people, and for their apostasy from the faith. He told them that the only way to rid themselves of the disaster was to repent, reform, and pray to God.
But neither the King nor the people listened to the Prophet and instead they started a revolt. Then the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem, plundered it, set it on fire, and destroyed Solomon’s Temple to the foundation. At that time the Ark of the Covenant was hidden in a cave by the Prophet Jeremiah.
All the Jewish people were taken into captivity (in 589 B.C.). Only the poorest Jews were left on their land to cultivate the vineyards and fields. The Prophet Jeremiah remained in Jerusalem. He grieved over the ungodliness of his people amidst the ruins of the city and continued to teach virtue to those inhabitants who stayed.
Note: See II Kings, chaps. 24-25; Book of the Prophet Jeremiah; II Chronicles, chap. 36:5-21.
(from: The Law of God by Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy)