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The Deportation of Judah
The Deportation of the Southern Kingdom of Judah
2 Kings 24:14-16 "Also he carried into captivity all Jerusalem: all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths. None remained except the poorest people of the land. And he carried Jehoiachin captive to Babylon. The king's mother, the king's wives, his officers, and the mighty of the land he carried into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. All the valiant men, seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths, one thousand, all who were strong and fit for war, these the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon."
This was not the first time that the Jews in the Southern Kingdom of Judah were taken into captivity. Sennacherib, about 701 BC, is stated to have carried into Assyria 200,000 captives from the Jewish cities that he took (2 Kings 18:13).
The carrying away of the people of Judah to Babylon was not accomplished at one time. Three distinct deportations are mentioned in 2 Kings 24:14 (including 10,000 persons) and 2 Kings 25:11, one in 2 Chron 36:20, three in Jer 52:28-30 (including 4,600 persons), and one in Dan 1:3.
The two principal deportations were:
(1) when Jehoiachin with all his nobles, soldiers, and artificers were carried away; and
(2) that which followed the destruction of Jerusalem and the capture of Zedekiah, 586 B.C. The three mentioned by Jeremiah may have been contributions from the more distinguished portions of the captives, and the captivity of certain selected "children" (Dan 1:3), 607 BC, may have occurred when Nebuchadnezzar was a colleague of his father, Nabopolassar.
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.
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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
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Places of the Exile