Babylonian captivity
   HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in
Jewish history Jewish history is the history of the Jews, and their nation, Judaism, religion, and Jewish culture, culture, as it developed and interacted with other peoples, religions, and cultures. Although Judaism as a religion first appears in Greek reco ...
during which a large number of Judeans from the ancient
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, , ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'údâ'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁𐤉𐤕𐤃𐤅𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'', "Davidic line, House of David") was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the South ...
were captives in
Babylon ''Bābili(m)'' * sux, 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 * arc, 𐡁𐡁𐡋 ''Bāḇel'' * syc, ܒܒܠ ''Bāḇel'' * grc-gre, Βαβυλών ''Babylṓn'' * he, בָּבֶל ''Bāvel'' * peo, 𐎲𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎽𐎢 ''Bābiru'' * elx, 𒀸𒁀𒉿𒇷 ''Babi ...
, the capital city of the
Neo-Babylonian Empire The Neo-Babylonian Empire or Second Babylonian Empire, historically known as the Chaldean Empire, was the last polity ruled by monarchs native to Mesopotamia. Beginning with the coronation of Nabopolassar as the List of kings of Babylon, King of B ...
, following their defeat in the Jewish–Babylonian War and the destruction of
Solomon's Temple Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple (, , ), was the Temple in Jerusalem The Temple in Jerusalem, or alternatively the Holy Temple (; , ), refers to the two now-destroyed religious structures that served as the central places ...
in
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس ) (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusałēm. i ...
. The event is described in the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (;"Tanach"
''Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary''.
Hebrew: ''Tān ...
, and its historicity is supported by archaeological and extra-biblical evidence. After the
Battle of Carchemish The Battle of Carchemish was fought about 605 BC between the armies of Late Period of ancient Egypt, Egypt allied with the remnants of the army of the former Neo-Assyrian Empire, Assyrian Empire against the armies of Neo-Babylonian Empire, Babyl ...
in 605 BCE, the Babylonian king
Nebuchadnezzar II Nebuchadnezzar II (Babylonian cuneiform: ''Nabû-kudurri-uṣur'', meaning "Nabu, watch over my heir"; Biblical Hebrew: ''Nəḇūḵaḏneʾṣṣar''), also spelled Nebuchadrezzar II, was the second king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, ruling ...
besieged Jerusalem, which resulted in tribute being paid by the Judean king
Jehoiakim Jehoiakim, also sometimes spelled Jehoikim; la, Joakim was the eighteenth and antepenultimate king of Judah from 609 to 598 BC. He was the second son of king Josiah () and Zebidah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. His birth name was Eliakim.; ...
. In the fourth year of Nebuchadnezzar II's reign, Jehoiakim refused to pay further tribute, which led to another siege of the city in Nebuchadnezzar II's seventh year (598/597 BCE) that culminated in the death of Jehoiakim and the exile to
Babylonia Babylonia (; Akkadian: , ''māt Akkadī'') was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in the city of Babylon in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq and parts of Syria). It emerged as an Amorites, Amorite-ruled ...
of his successor
Jeconiah Jeconiah ( he, יְכָנְיָה ''Yəḵonəyā'' , meaning " Yah has established"; el, Ιεχονιας; la, Iechonias, Jechonias), also known as Coniah and as Jehoiachin ( he, יְהוֹיָכִין ''Yəhōyāḵīn'' ; la, Ioachin, Joac ...
, his court, and many others; Jeconiah's successor
Zedekiah Zedekiah (), was the 20th and last Kings of Judah, king of Judah before the destruction of the kingdom by King Nebuchadnezzar II of Neo-Babylonian Empire, Babylon. His birth name was Mattaniah/Mattanyahu ( he, מַתַּנְיָהוּ, ''Mattan ...
and others were exiled when Nebuchadnezzar II destroyed Jerusalem in his 18th year (587 BCE), and a later deportation occurred in Nebuchadnezzar II's 23rd year (582 BCE). However, the dates, numbers of deportations, and numbers of deportees vary in the several biblical accounts. After the fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire to the
Achaemenid Persian Empire The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an History of Iran#Classical antiquity, ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Bas ...
and its founding king
Cyrus the Great Cyrus II of Persia (; peo, wikt:𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, 𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁 ), commonly known as Cyrus the Great, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the History of Iran, first Persian empire.#refachaemenids-EI, Schmitt Achaemenid dynasty ...
at the
Battle of Opis The Battle of Opis was the last major military engagement between the Achaemenid Empire, Achaemenid Persian Empire and the Neo-Babylonian Empire, which took place in September 539 BC, during the Persian invasion of Mesopotamia. At the time, Ba ...
in 539 BCE, exiled Judeans were permitted by the Persians to return to Judah. According to the biblical
Book of Ezra The Book of Ezra is a book of the Hebrew Bible; which formerly included the Book of Nehemiah in a single book, commonly distinguished in scholarship as Ezra–Nehemiah. The two became separated with the first printed Mikraot Gedolot, rabbinic bi ...
, construction of the
Second Temple The Second Temple (, , ), later known as Herod's Temple, was the reconstructed Temple in Jerusalem between and 70 CE. It replaced Solomon's Temple, which had been built at the same location in the Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy), United Kin ...
in Jerusalem began in in the new Persian province of
Yehud Medinata Yehud, also known as Yehud Medinata or Yehud Medinta (), was an administrative province of the Achaemenid Persian Empire in the region of Judea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'' ...
. All of these events are considered significant to the developed history and culture of the
Jewish people Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים, , ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is the age of the Israelites""The ...
, and ultimately had a far-reaching impact on the development of
Judaism Judaism ( he, ''Yahăḏūṯ'') is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots ...
. Archaeological studies have revealed that, although the city of Jerusalem was utterly destroyed, other parts of Judah continued to be inhabited during the period of the exile. Most of the exiled did not return to their homeland, instead travelling westward and northward. Many settled in what is now northern
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, ; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, ), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a country in Western Asia. It is situated ...
,
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon () or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is located between Syria to Lebanon–Syria border, the north and east and Israel to Blue ...
, and
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or سُورِيَة, translit=Sūriyā), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, الجمهورية العربية السورية, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-Sūrīyah), is a Western Asian country loc ...
. The Iraqi Jewish,
Persian Jewish Persian Jews or Iranian Jews ( fa, یهودیان ایرانی, ''yahudiān-e-Irāni''; he, יהודים פרסים ''Yəhūdīm Parsīm'') are the descendants of Jews who were historically associated with the Persian Empire, whose successor s ...
, Georgian Jewish, and Bukharan Jewish communities are believed to derive their ancestry in large part from these exiles; these communities have now largely immigrated to Israel.


Biblical accounts of the exile

In the late 7th century BCE, the
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, , ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'údâ'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁𐤉𐤕𐤃𐤅𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'', "Davidic line, House of David") was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the South ...
was a
client state A client state, in international relations, is a State (polity), state that is economically, politically, and/or militarily subordinate to another more powerful state (called the "controlling state"). A client state may variously be described as ...
of the
Assyria Assyria (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: , romanized: ''māt Aššur''; syc, ܐܬܘܪ, ʾāthor) was a major ancient Mesopotamia, Mesopotamian civilization which existed as a city-state from the 21st century BC to the 14th century BC, then to a terr ...
n empire. In the last decades of the century, Assyria was overthrown by Babylon, an Assyrian province.
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مصر , ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning the North Africa, northeast corner of Africa and Western Asia, southwest corner of Asia via a land bridg ...
, fearing the sudden rise of the
Neo-Babylonian empire The Neo-Babylonian Empire or Second Babylonian Empire, historically known as the Chaldean Empire, was the last polity ruled by monarchs native to Mesopotamia. Beginning with the coronation of Nabopolassar as the List of kings of Babylon, King of B ...
, seized control of Assyrian territory up to the
Euphrates river The Euphrates () is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Tigris–Euphrates river system, Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia ( ''the land between the rivers'') ...
in Syria, but Babylon counter-attacked. In the process
Josiah Josiah ( or ) or Yoshiyahu; la, Iosias was the 16th king of Judah (–609 BCE) who, according to the Hebrew Bible, instituted major religious reforms by removing official worship of gods other than Yahweh. Josiah is credited by most biblical s ...
, the king of Judah, was killed in a battle with the Egyptians at the Battle of Megiddo (609 BCE). After the defeat of
Pharaoh Pharaoh (, ; Egyptian language, Egyptian: ''wikt:pr ꜥꜣ, pr ꜥꜣ''; cop, , Pǝrro; Biblical Hebrew: ''Parʿō'') is the vernacular term often used by modern authors for the kings of ancient Egypt who ruled as Monarch, monarchs from th ...
Necho's army by the Babylonians at Carchemish in 605 BCE, Jehoiakim began paying tribute to
Nebuchadnezzar II Nebuchadnezzar II (Babylonian cuneiform: ''Nabû-kudurri-uṣur'', meaning "Nabu, watch over my heir"; Biblical Hebrew: ''Nəḇūḵaḏneʾṣṣar''), also spelled Nebuchadrezzar II, was the second king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, ruling ...
of Babylon. Some of the young nobility of Judah were taken to Babylon. In the following years, the court of Jerusalem was divided into two parties, one supporting Egypt, the other Babylon. After Nebuchadnezzar was defeated in battle in 601 BCE by Egypt, Judah revolted against Babylon, culminating in a three-month siege of Jerusalem beginning in late 598 BCE.
Jehoiakim Jehoiakim, also sometimes spelled Jehoikim; la, Joakim was the eighteenth and antepenultimate king of Judah from 609 to 598 BC. He was the second son of king Josiah () and Zebidah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. His birth name was Eliakim.; ...
, the king of Judah, died during the siege and was succeeded by his son Jehoiachin (also called
Jeconiah Jeconiah ( he, יְכָנְיָה ''Yəḵonəyā'' , meaning " Yah has established"; el, Ιεχονιας; la, Iechonias, Jechonias), also known as Coniah and as Jehoiachin ( he, יְהוֹיָכִין ''Yəhōyāḵīn'' ; la, Ioachin, Joac ...
) at the age of eighteen. The city fell on 2 Adar (March 16) 597 BCE, and Nebuchadnezzar pillaged Jerusalem and its
Temple A temple (from the Latin ) is a building reserved for spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. Religions which erect temples include Christianity (whose temples are typically called church (building), churches), Hindui ...
and took Jeconiah, his court and other prominent citizens (including the prophet
Ezekiel Ezekiel (; he, יְחֶזְקֵאל ''Yəḥezqēʾl'' ; in the Septuagint written in grc-koi, Ἰεζεκιήλ ) is the central protagonist of the Book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible. In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Ezekiel is acknow ...
) back to Babylon.The Oxford History of the Biblical World, ed. by Michael D Coogan. Pub. by Oxford University Press, 1999. p. 350 Jehoiakim's uncle
Zedekiah Zedekiah (), was the 20th and last Kings of Judah, king of Judah before the destruction of the kingdom by King Nebuchadnezzar II of Neo-Babylonian Empire, Babylon. His birth name was Mattaniah/Mattanyahu ( he, מַתַּנְיָהוּ, ''Mattan ...
was appointed king in his place, but the exiles in Babylon continued to consider Jeconiah as their
Exilarch The exilarch was the leader of the Jewish community in Persian Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) during the era of the Parthian Empire, Parthians, Sasanian Empire, Sasanians and Abbasid Caliphate up until the Siege of Baghdad (1258), Mongol invasion ...
, or rightful ruler. Despite warnings by
Jeremiah Jeremiah, Modern Hebrew, Modern:   , Tiberian vocalization, Tiberian: ; el, Ἰερεμίας, Ieremíās; meaning "Yahweh, Yah shall raise" (c. 650 – c. 570 BC), also called Jeremias or the "weeping prophet", was one of the major proph ...
and others of the pro-Babylonian party, Zedekiah revolted against Babylon and entered into an alliance with Pharaoh Hophra. Nebuchadnezzar returned, defeated the Egyptians, and again besieged Jerusalem, resulting in the city's destruction in 587 BCE. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city wall and the Temple, together with the houses of the most important citizens. Zedekiah and his sons were captured and the sons were executed in front of Zedekiah, who was then blinded and taken to Babylon with many others (Jer 52:10–11). Judah became a Babylonian province, called Yehud, putting an end to the independent Kingdom of Judah (Because of the missing years in the Jewish calendar, rabbinic sources place the date of the destruction of the First Temple at 3338 AM (423 BCE) or 3358 AM (403 BCE)). The first governor appointed by Babylon was
Gedaliah Gedaliah, Gedalia, Gedallah Hirsch, E. G. and Greenstone, J. H. (1906)Gedallah Jewish Encyclopedia or Gedalya(h) ( or ; he, גְּדַלְיָּה ''Gəḏalyyā'' or ''Gəḏalyyāhū'', meaning "Jah has become Great") was, according to the na ...
, a native Judahite; he encouraged the many Jews who had fled to surrounding countries such as
Moab Moab ''Mōáb''; Akkadian language, Assyrian: 𒈬𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Mu'abâ'', 𒈠𒀪𒁀𒀀𒀀 ''Ma'bâ'', 𒈠𒀪𒀊 ''Ma'ab''; Egyptian language, Egyptian: 𓈗𓇋𓃀𓅱𓈉 ''Mū'ībū'', name=, group= () is the name of an a ...
,
Ammon Ammon (Ammonite language, Ammonite: 𐤏𐤌𐤍 ''ʻAmān''; he, עַמּוֹן ''ʻAmmōn''; ar, عمّون, ʻAmmūn) was an ancient Semitic languages, Semitic-speaking nation occupying the east of the Jordan River, between the torren ...
and
Edom Edom (; Edomite: ; he, אֱדוֹם , lit.: "red"; Akkadian: , ; Ancient Egyptian: ) was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan, located between Moab to the northeast, the Arabah to the west, and the Arabian Desert The Arabian Dese ...
to return, and he took steps to return the country to prosperity. Some time later, a surviving member of the royal family assassinated Gedaliah and his Babylonian advisors, prompting many refugees to seek safety in Egypt. By the end of the second decade of the 6th century, in addition to those who remained in Judah, there were significant Jewish communities in Babylon and in Egypt; this was the beginning of the later numerous Jewish communities living permanently outside Judah in the
Jewish Diaspora The Jewish diaspora ( he, תְּפוּצָה, təfūṣā) or exile (Hebrew: ; Yiddish: ) is the dispersion of Israelites or Jews out of their ancient ancestral homeland (the Land of Israel) and their subsequent settlement in other parts of th ...
. According to the
book of Ezra The Book of Ezra is a book of the Hebrew Bible; which formerly included the Book of Nehemiah in a single book, commonly distinguished in scholarship as Ezra–Nehemiah. The two became separated with the first printed Mikraot Gedolot, rabbinic bi ...
, the Persian
Cyrus the Great Cyrus II of Persia (; peo, wikt:𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁, 𐎤𐎢𐎽𐎢𐏁 ), commonly known as Cyrus the Great, was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, the History of Iran, first Persian empire.#refachaemenids-EI, Schmitt Achaemenid dynasty ...
ended the exile in 538 BCE, the year after he captured Babylon. The exile ended with the return under
Zerubbabel According to the Hebrew Bible, biblical narrative, Zerubbabel, ; la, Zorobabel; Akkadian language, Akkadian: 𒆰𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 ''Zērubābili'' was a governor of the Achaemenid Empire's province Yehud Medinata and the grandson of Jeconiah, pe ...
the Prince (so-called because he was a descendant of the royal line of
David David (; , "beloved one") (traditional spelling), , ''Dāwūd''; grc-koi, Δαυΐδ, Dauíd; la, Davidus, David; gez , ዳዊት, ''Dawit''; xcl, Դաւիթ, ''Dawitʿ''; cu, Давíдъ, ''Davidŭ''; possibly meaning "beloved one". w ...
) and Joshua the Priest (a descendant of the line of the former High Priests of the Temple) and their construction of the
Second Temple The Second Temple (, , ), later known as Herod's Temple, was the reconstructed Temple in Jerusalem between and 70 CE. It replaced Solomon's Temple, which had been built at the same location in the Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy), United Kin ...
in the period 521–516 BCE.


Archaeological and other extra-biblical evidence


First campaign (597 BCE)

Nebuchadnezzar's siege of Jerusalem, his capture of King Jeconiah, his appointment of Zedekiah in his place, and the plundering of the city in 597 BCE are corroborated by a passage in the
Babylonian Chronicles The Babylonian Chronicles are a series of clay tablet, tablets recording major events in Babylonian history. They are thus one of the first steps in the development of ancient historiography. The Babylonian Chronicles were written in Babylonian c ...
:
In the seventh year, in the month of Kislev, the king of Akkad mustered his troops, marched to the Hatti-land, and encamped against the City of Judah and on the ninth day of the month of Adar he seized the city and captured the king. He appointed there a king of his own choice and taking heavy tribute brought it back to Babylon.
Jehoiachin's Rations Tablets, describing ration orders for a captive King of Judah, identified with King Jeconiah, have been discovered during excavations in Babylon, in the royal archives of Nebuchadnezzar. One of the tablets refers to food rations for "Ya’u-kīnu, king of the land of Yahudu" and five royal princes, his sons.


Second campaign (589–587 BCE)

Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian forces returned in 589 BCE and rampaged through Judah, leaving clear archaeological evidence of destruction in many towns and settlements there. Clay
ostraca An ostracon (Greek language, Greek: ''ostrakon'', plural ''ostraka'') is a piece of pottery, usually broken off from a vase or other earthenware vessel. In an archaeology, archaeological or epigraphy, epigraphical context, ''ostraca'' refer ...
from this period, referred to as the Lachish letters, were discovered during excavations; one, which was probably written to the commander at
Lachish Lachish ( he, לכיש; grc, Λαχίς; la, Lachis) was an ancient Canaanite languages, Canaanite and Israelites, Israelite city in the Shfela, Shephelah ("lowlands of Judea") region of Israel, on the South bank of the Lakhish River, mention ...
from an outlying base, describes how the signal fires from nearby towns were disappearing: "And may (my lord) be apprised that we are watching for the fire signals of Lachish according to all the signs which my lord has given, because we cannot see Azeqah." Archaeological finds from Jerusalem testify that virtually the whole city within the walls was burnt to rubble in 587 BCE and utterly destroyed.


Aftermath in Judah

Archaeological excavations and surveys have enabled the population of Judah before the Babylonian destruction to be calculated with a high degree of confidence to have been approximately 75,000. Taking the different biblical numbers of exiles at their highest, 20,000, this would mean that only about 25% of the population had been deported to Babylon, with the remaining 75% staying in Judah. Although Jerusalem was destroyed and depopulated, with large parts of the city remaining in ruins for 150 years, numerous other settlements in Judah continued to be inhabited, with no signs of disruption visible in archaeological studies. Archaeologist Avraham Faust states that between the deportations and executions caused by the Babylonians, plus the famines and epidemics that occurred during the war, the population of Judah was reduced to barely a 10% of what it had been in the time before deportations.


Persian restoration

The
Cyrus Cylinder The Cyrus Cylinder is an ancient clay cylinder, now broken into several pieces, on which is written a declaration in Akkadian language, Akkadian cuneiform script in the name of Persia's Achaemenid Empire, Achaemenid king Cyrus the Great.#Kuhrt-200 ...
, an ancient tablet on which is written a declaration in the name of Cyrus referring to restoration of temples and repatriation of exiled peoples, has often been taken as corroboration of the authenticity of the biblical decrees attributed to Cyrus, but other scholars point out that the cylinder's text is specific to Babylon and Mesopotamia and makes no mention of Judah or Jerusalem. Professor Lester L. Grabbe asserted that the "alleged decree of Cyrus" regarding Judah, "cannot be considered authentic", but that there was a "general policy of allowing deportees to return and to re-establish cult sites". He also stated that archaeology suggests that the return was a "trickle" taking place over decades, rather than a single event. As part of the
Persian Empire The Achaemenid Empire or Achaemenian Empire (; peo, wikt:𐎧𐏁𐏂𐎶, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, , ), also called the First Persian Empire, was an History of Iran#Classical antiquity, ancient Iranian empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC. Bas ...
, the former Kingdom of Judah became the province of Judah (''
Yehud Medinata Yehud, also known as Yehud Medinata or Yehud Medinta (), was an administrative province of the Achaemenid Persian Empire in the region of Judea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'' ...
'') with different borders, covering a smaller territory. The population of the province was greatly reduced from that of the kingdom, archaeological surveys showing a population of around 30,000 people in the 5th to 4th centuries BCE. A 2017 exhibition in Jerusalem displayed over 100 cuneiform tablets detailing trade in fruits and other commodities, taxes, debts, and credits accumulated between Jews forced or persuaded to move from Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar around 600 BCE. The tablets included details on one exiled Judean family over four generations, all with Hebrew names.


Exilic literature

The exilic period was a rich one for Hebrew literature. Biblical depictions of the exile include
Book of Jeremiah The Book of Jeremiah ( he, ספר יִרְמְיָהוּ) is the second of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, and the second of the Prophets in the Christian Old Testament. The superscription at chapter Jeremiah 1#Superscription, Jeremiah 1 ...
39–43 (which saw the exile as a lost opportunity); the final section of
2 Kings The Book of Kings (, ''Sefer (Hebrew), Sēfer Malik, Məlāḵīm'') is a book in the Hebrew Bible, found as two books (1–2 Kings) in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. It concludes the Deuteronomistic history, a history of Israel also ...
(which portrays it as the temporary end of history);
2 Chronicles The Book of Chronicles ( he, דִּבְרֵי־הַיָּמִים ) is a book in the Hebrew Bible, found as two books (1–2 Chronicles) in the Christian Old Testament. Chronicles is the final book of the Hebrew Bible, concluding the third sect ...
(in which the exile is the "Sabbath of the land"); and the opening chapters of
Ezra Ezra (; he, עֶזְרָא, '; fl. 480–440 BCE), also called Ezra the Scribe (, ') and Ezra the Priest in the Book of Ezra, was a Jewish scribe ('' sofer'') and priest ('' kohen''). In Greco-Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical lang ...
, which records its end. Other works from or about the exile include the stories in
Daniel Daniel is a masculine given name and a surname of Hebrew language, Hebrew origin. It means "God is my judge"Hanks, Hardcastle and Hodges, ''Oxford Dictionary of First Names'', Oxford University Press, 2nd edition, , p. 68. (cf. Gabriel (given ...
1–6, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, the "Story of the Three Youths" (
1 Esdras 1 Esdras ( grc-gre, Ἔσδρας Αʹ), also Esdras A, Greek Esdras, Greek Ezra, or 3 Esdras, is the ancient Greek Septuagint version of the biblical Book of Ezra in use within the Early Christianity, early church, and among many modern Christia ...
3:1–5:6), and the books of Tobit and
Book of Judith The Book of Judith is a deuterocanonical book, included in the Septuagint and the Catholic Church, Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Christian Old Testament of the Bible, but Development of the Hebrew Bible canon, excluded from the ...
. The
Book of Lamentations The Book of Lamentations ( he, אֵיכָה, , from its incipit meaning "how") is a collection of poetic laments for the Siege of Jerusalem (587 BC), destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BCE. In the Hebrew Bible it appears in the Ketuvim ("Writi ...
arose from the Babylonian captivity. The final redaction of the
Pentateuch The Torah (; hbo, ''Tōrā'', "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") is the compilation of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, namely the books of Book of Genesis, Genesis, Book of Exodus, Exodus, Leviticus, Book of Numbers, Numbers a ...
took place in the Persian period following the exile,and the
Priestly source The Priestly source (or simply P) is perhaps the most widely recognized of the sources underlying the Torah. It is both stylistically and theologically distinct from other material in the Torah, and includes a set of claims that are contradicted b ...
, one of its main sources, is primarily a product of the post-exilic period when the former Kingdom of Judah had become the Persian province of Yehud.


Significance in Jewish history

In the Hebrew Bible, the captivity in Babylon is presented as a punishment for idolatry and disobedience to
Yahweh Yahweh *''Yahwe'', was the national god of ancient Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Israel and Kingdom of Judah, Judah. The origins of his worship reach at least to the early Iron Age, and likely to the Late Bronze Age if not somewhat earlier, ...
in a similar way to the presentation of Israelite slavery in Egypt followed by deliverance. The Babylonian captivity had a number of serious effects on Judaism and Jewish culture. For example, the current
Hebrew alphabet The Hebrew alphabet ( he, wikt:אלפבית, אָלֶף־בֵּית עִבְרִי, ), known variously by scholars as the Ktav Ashuri, Jewish script, square script and block script, is an abjad script used in the writing of the Hebrew languag ...
was adopted during this period, replacing the
Paleo-Hebrew alphabet The Paleo-Hebrew script ( he, הכתב העברי הקדום), also Palaeo-Hebrew, Proto-Hebrew or Old Hebrew, is the writing system found in Canaanite and Aramaic inscriptions, Canaanite inscriptions from the region of biblical Kingdom of Israel ...
. This period saw the last high point of
biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek , , 'the books') is a collection of religious texts or scriptures that are held to be sacredness, sacred in Christianity, Judaism, Samaritanism, and many other religions. The Bible is an anthologya compilation of ...
prophecy In religion, a prophecy is a message that has been communicated to a person (typically called a ''prophet'') by a supernatural entity. Prophecies are a feature of many cultures and belief systems and usually contain divine will or divine law, la ...
in the person of
Ezekiel Ezekiel (; he, יְחֶזְקֵאל ''Yəḥezqēʾl'' ; in the Septuagint written in grc-koi, Ἰεζεκιήλ ) is the central protagonist of the Book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible. In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Ezekiel is acknow ...
, followed by the emergence of the central role of the
Torah The Torah (; hbo, ''Tōrā'', "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") is the compilation of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, namely the books of Book of Genesis, Genesis, Book of Exodus, Exodus, Leviticus, Book of Numbers, Numbers a ...
in Jewish life. According to many historical-critical scholars, the Torah was redacted during this time, and began to be regarded as the authoritative text for Jews. This period saw their transformation into an ethno-religious group who could survive without a central Temple. Israeli philosopher and Biblical scholar Yehezkel Kaufmann said "The exile is the watershed. With the exile, the religion of Israel comes to an end and Judaism begins." This process coincided with the emergence of scribes and sages as Jewish leaders (see
Ezra Ezra (; he, עֶזְרָא, '; fl. 480–440 BCE), also called Ezra the Scribe (, ') and Ezra the Priest in the Book of Ezra, was a Jewish scribe ('' sofer'') and priest ('' kohen''). In Greco-Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical lang ...
). Prior to exile, the people of Israel had been organized according to tribe. Afterwards, they were organized by smaller family groups. Only the Tribe of Levi continued in its temple role after the return. After this time, there were always sizable numbers of Jews living outside
Eretz Israel The Land of Israel () is the traditional Jewish name for an area of the Southern Levant. Related biblical, religious and historical English terms include the Land of Canaan, the Promised Land, the Holy Land, and Palestine (region), Palesti ...
; thus, it also marks the beginning of the "
Jewish diaspora The Jewish diaspora ( he, תְּפוּצָה, təfūṣā) or exile (Hebrew: ; Yiddish: ) is the dispersion of Israelites or Jews out of their ancient ancestral homeland (the Land of Israel) and their subsequent settlement in other parts of th ...
", unless this is considered to have begun with the Assyrian captivity of Israel. In
Rabbinic literature Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, is the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Judaism, Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabb ...
, Babylon was one of a number of metaphors for the Jewish diaspora. Most frequently the term "Babylon" meant the diaspora prior to the destruction of the
Second Temple The Second Temple (, , ), later known as Herod's Temple, was the reconstructed Temple in Jerusalem between and 70 CE. It replaced Solomon's Temple, which had been built at the same location in the Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy), United Kin ...
. The post-destruction term for the Jewish Diaspora was "
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg ...
", or "
Edom Edom (; Edomite: ; he, אֱדוֹם , lit.: "red"; Akkadian: , ; Ancient Egyptian: ) was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan, located between Moab to the northeast, the Arabah to the west, and the Arabian Desert The Arabian Dese ...
".


Chronology

The following table is based on Rainer Albertz's work on ''Israel in exile''.Rainer Albertz
''Israel in exile: the history and literature of the sixth century BCE''
p.xxi.
page 77 with another list of dates
/ref> (Alternative dates are possible.)


See also

*
Avignon Papacy The Avignon Papacy was the period from 1309 to 1376 during which seven successive popes resided in Avignon – at the time within the Kingdom of Burgundy-Arles, Kingdom of Arles, part of the Holy Roman Empire; now part of France – rather than i ...
, sometimes called the "Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy" * Al-Yahudu Tablets, 200 clay tablets from the sixth and fifth centuries BCE on the exiled Judean community *
Biblical Egypt Biblical Egypt (; ''Mīṣrāyīm''), or Mizraim, is a Theology, theological term used by historians and scholars to differentiate between Ancient Egypt as it is portrayed in Judeo-Christian texts and what is known about the region based on archaeo ...
*
Return to Zion The return to Zion ( he, שִׁיבָת צִיּוֹן or שבי ציון, , ) is an event recorded in Ezra–Nehemiah of the Hebrew Bible, in which the Jews of the Kingdom of Judah—subjugated by the Neo-Babylonian Empire—were freed from the ...
, biblical account of the return to Judah by some of the exiled Juhadites * Psalm 137, expressing lamentation of the exiles in Babylon for the loss of Jerusalem


References


Further reading


Yehud Medinata
map
CET – Center For Educational technology

Yehud Medinata
Border map, CET – Center For Educational technology * Peter R. Ackroyd
"Exile and Restoration: A Study of Hebrew Thought of the Sixth Century B.C." (SCM Press, 1968)

Rainer Albertz, Bob Becking, "Yahwism after the Exile" Van Gorcum, 2003)

Blenkinsopp, Joseph, "Judaism, the first phase: the place of Ezra and Nehemiah in the origins of Judaism" (Eerdmans, 2009)

Nodet, Étienne, "A search for the origins of Judaism: from Joshua to the Mishnah" (Sheffield Academic Press, 1999, original edition Editions du Cerf, 1997)

Becking, Bob, and Korpel, Marjo Christina Annette (eds), "The Crisis of Israelite Religion: Transformation of Religious Tradition in Exilic & Post-Exilic Times" (Brill, 1999)

Bedford, Peter Ross, "Temple restoration in early Achaemenid Judah" (Brill, 2001)

Berquist, Jon L., "Approaching Yehud: new approaches to the study of the Persian period" (Society of Biblical Literature, 2007)

Grabbe, Lester L., "A history of the Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period", vol.1 (T&T Clark International, 2004)

Levine, Lee I., "Jerusalem: portrait of the city in the second Temple period (538 B.C.E.-70 C.E.)" (Jewish Publication Society, 2002)

Lipschitz, Oded, "The Fall and Rise of Jerusalem" (Eisenbrauns, 2005)

Lipschitz, Oded, and Oeming, Manfred (eds), "Judah and the Judeans in the Persian period" (Eisenbrauns, 2006)

Middlemas, Jill Anne, "The troubles of templeless Judah" (Oxford University Press, 2005)

Stackert, Jeffrey, "Rewriting the Torah: literary revision in Deuteronomy and the holiness code" (Mohr Siebeck, 2007)

Vanderkam, James, "An introduction to early Judaism" (Eerdmans, 2001)
* * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Babylonian captivity Ancient Jewish Persian history Babylonia Books of Chronicles Books of Kings Book of Jeremiah Expulsions of Jews Jewish Babylonian history Jewish Iraqi history Kingdom of Judah Second Temple