He carried all Yerushalayim away captive — all the princes, all the bravest soldiers — 10,000 captives; also all the craftsmen and metalworkers. No one was left but the poorest people of the land.
Why did Nebuchadnezzar leave the poorest people from Jerusalem and Judah? The captivity was sanctioned due to the great sins of Judah’s kings, namely idolatry and the shedding of innocent blood. Was the nation punished for its leaders sins in such a way that those farthest from it were held innocent? Was it mercy that the poor were left in Jerusalem? If the sins were brought on by kings, were paupers guiltless? Is there something else going on here? The poor and meek wouldn’t hold political power or sway to stop the king and the more prominent members of society, short of a violent mob or rebellion. Were the poor as ignorant of the Torah, if not more so than the kings? Just a fee chapters ago, a scroll of the Torah was found and big changes were made by the elites who had been neglecting it for decades. Perhaps the poor were excused and spared from the punishment of exile through their ignorance. May we never turn from Torah and may we always cleave to our Heavenly Father.