Ancient Near East
Images & Art
Maps & Geography
Mythology & Beliefs
People in History
Timelines & Charts
Seventy Years in Captivity
The 70 Years of Captivity in Babylon
It is from the three great prophets, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, that we learn most of the condition of the children of the captivity. The prophet Jeremiah prophesied that the captivity should last for seventy years:
Jer 29:10-14 "For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive."
Jer 25:12 "'Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,' says the LORD;'and I will make it a perpetual desolation."
The Babylonian Captivity lasted exactly 70 years as predicted, extending from the burning of the Temple to its reconstruction, 586 B.C. - 516 B.C.
The Babylonian captivity ended with the decree of Cyrus in 537 B.C.
Ezra 1:2-4 "Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem."
A portion of the nation of Israel returned to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel in 535 B.C., and then with Ezra in 458 B.C., and Nehemiah in 444 B.C.
The number who returned upon the decree of 537 B.C. was 42,360, besides servants. Among them about 30,000 are specified (Ezra 2 and Neh 7) as belonging to the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi.
2 Kings 24:20 "For because of the anger of the LORD this happened in Jerusalem and Judah, that He finally cast them out from His presence"
In the Book of II Kings we read of the deportation of the Jews from their land to the land of Babylon, and then the Book ends 37 years later with the account of Jehoiachin who was blinded and in captivity in Babylon. After 30 years of imprisonment, Evil-merodach ascended the throne of Babylon and at the beginning of his rule he chose to honor the Judean prisoner Jehoiachin. The Jewish king was given appropriate garments and an income and made a member of the court of Babylon, with other deposed kings. This was no doubt a comforting sign to the Jewish captives who were still in the "land of bondage."
In all actuality it was the Lord who had given favor to Jehoiachin, and it was the Lord that had allowed the promised Seed (Messiah) to pass through the loins of Jehoiachin as Matthew states:
11 Josiah begot Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.
12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel.
13 Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor.
14 Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud.
15 Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob.
16 And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.
God was faithful to His promises that they would remain in the land of Babylon for seventy years, and the "Son of David" would still come to bring salvation to the world.
Even in bitter captivity there was hope for Godís people, the promises were being fulfilled and the Scriptures continued to be written:
1 By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, yea, we wept When we remembered Zion.
2 We hung our harps Upon the willows in the midst of it.
3 For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, And those who plundered us requested mirth, Saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"
4 How shall we sing the LORD's song In a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, Let my right hand forget its skill!
6 If I do not remember you, Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth -- If I do not exalt Jerusalem Above my chief joy.
Places of the Exile
Bible History Online
The Story of the Bible
© Bible History Online (http://www.bible-history.com)
Table of Contents
The Destruction of Jerusalem
The Deportation of Judah
Seventy Years in Babylon
Treatment of the Jews in Babylon
Benefits of the Captivity
Archaeology and Babylon
Dictionaries and Encyclopedias
Timeline of Events
Places of the Exile