Biblical sources relating to Judah in exile

The historical accounts contained in the Old Testament continue beyond the fall of Israel and Judah to include the time of the exile and the return of the people of Judah from Babylonia.

 

An Overview of Biblical accounts of the Jewish Exile in Babylonia

1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles are historical records or ‘chronicles’ covering events from the Garden of Eden to the fall of Jerusalem in 587BC. Much of the content repeats or expands on what has already been recounted in earlier books, especially 1 and 2 Samuel & 1 and 2 Kings which it uses as sources, together with many other contemporary historical records.

The Book of Ezra follows on from 2 Chronicles. It records the return of the Jewish exiles from Babylonia and the restoration of everyday life and worship in Jerusalem.

The Book of Nehemiah records some of the events during the return of the exiles, especially the re-building of the walls of Jerusalem under the leadership of Nehemiah and the re-establishment of the Mosaic religious Law by Ezra.

 

Nehemiah's Wall, City of David

Part of Nehemiah's Wall at the City of David, Jerusalem

 

The stories in the Book of Daniel are set between 598 and 539BC during the exile in Babylon. They tell of the persecution of Daniel and his fellow Jewish exiles, then recount a series of visions in which the pagan empires are overthrown and God’s people are victorious.

The Book of Esther is set during the later part of the exile. Esther becomes Queen to the Emperor of Persia and helps to save the Jewish exiles from extermination. Her story explains the background to the Jewish festival of Purim.

The Book of Ezekiel is set during the early years of exile (598-586BC). Ezekiel is exiled to Babylon with King Jehoiachin of Judah in 598BC. From Babylon he prophesies the destruction of Jerusalem and the eventual return of the Jewish exiles (the ‘Golah’).

The Book of Jeremiah is also written at this time. In 2 Kings 25:22-27, King Nebuchadnezzar conquers Jerusalem in 587BC. Gedeliah, the Babylonian governor of Judah, is assassinated at Mizpah by a group of Judaean rebels under Ishmael in 586BC. In Jeremiah Chapters 40-44, Jeremiah is forced to accompany the remaining Israelites to Egypt. He spends the rest of his life in Egypt.

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