The Destruction of the Southern Kingdom of Judah

Archaeology

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Archaeological Discoveries and the Invasion of Judah

 

Psalm 137:5-6 "If I forget you, O Jerusalem, Let my right hand forget its skill! 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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The Babylonian Chronicles

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The Babylonian Chronicles make it possible to assign the fall of Jerusalem to the Second of Adar (March 16) in 597 B.C. with complete accuracy, confirming the Biblical accounts of Babylonian attacks on Jerusalem in 597 and 586 B.C.

 

The Babylonian Chronicle records:

 

"In the seventh month (of Nebuchadnezzar-599 BC.) in the month Chislev (Nov/Dec) the king of Babylon assembled his army, and after he had invaded the land of Hatti (Syria/Palestine) he laid seige to the city of Judah. On the second day of the month of Adara ( 16th of March) he conquered the city and took the king (Jehoiachin) prisoner. He installed in his place a king (Zedekiah) of his own choice, and after he had received rich tribute, he sent (them) forth to Babylon."

 

When comparing this text from ancient Babylon with the record of the Babylonian invasion in the Book of II Kings 24:7-17 they demonstrate very clearly the accuracy of the Biblical text.

 

Lachish Letters

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Important light has been revealed regarding the last days of Judah by the discovery in 1935 of eighteen ostraca (clay tablet with writing in ink) written in an ancient cursive script belonging to the seventh century B.C.

 

They were discovered at Lachish (Tell ed-Duweir) among the ruins of a small guard room just outside the city gate. Then a few years later three inscribed potsherds were also found at the site, and like the others, they contained names and lists from the period just before the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.

 

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Most of the letters were dispatches from a Jewish commander named Hoshaiah who was stationed at an outpost north of Lachish, who apparently was responsible for interpreting the signals from Azekah and Lachish during the time when the:

 

Jer 34:7 "when the king of Babylon's army fought against Jerusalem and all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish and Azekah; for only these fortified cities remained of the cities of Judah."

 

These final communications which mentioned the political and religious turmoil of the last days of Judah reveal the intensity of this time period and confirm that which was written in the Bible by the prophet Jeremiah.

 

Jehoiakin Inscription

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This is one of the clay tablets that reveal the presence of the Judean royal house as prisoners in Babylon. They were excavated from an arched building near the Ishtar Gate of ancient Babylon. The cuneiform texts, which are dated between 595 and 570 B.C., contain lists of rations of barley and oil issued to the captive princes and artisans, including "Yaukin, king of the land of Yahud." This is a direct reference to Jehoiachin, and some of the other tablets also mentioned his 5 sons who accompanied him to Babylon. (Staatliche Museum, Berlin).

 

Eliakim Seal

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This seal bears the inscription "The property of Eliakim, steward of Jehoiakin." It is from Debir (Tell Beit Mirsim) located 13 miles southwest of Hebron. It was excavated by William F. Albright in 1926.

 

Gedaliah Seal

This seal was found at Lachish and bears the inscription "Gedaliah, who is over the house." Gedaliah was the name of the man who the Babylonians had appointed as governor of Judah after the destruction of Jerusalem.

 

(See Jeremiah's Prophecies)

 

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The Events Surrounding the Destruction of Jerusalem

Map of the Fall of Judah

"And I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it
and turning it upside down" (2 Kings 21:13)

 

The Destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC.

babylonian_chronicle_thumb.jpg Revival came during the reign of Hezekiah but it was immediately swept aside by his son Manasseh, who was Judah's most wicked and longest ruling king. The nation never fully recovered from the effects of this evil king. Manasseh's son Amon continued in his father's depravity, but he soon was murdered. His successor Josiah (about 640-609 B.C.) restored traditional covenant religion, which was based on the Book of the Law newly discovered in a Temple storeroom (2 Chr. 34:14). Many did not follow Josiah's example, however, and the prophet Zephaniah foretold disaster for the nation. By 610 B.C. the Assyrian Empire had collapsed under Babylonian attacks, and Babylon prepared to march against Egypt, which had been helping the Assyrians. Against Jeremiah's advice, Josiah intervened and was killed at Megiddo.

 

After Josiah there was no hope for Judah, the last 3 kings were all evil. The Babylonians swept down upon Jerusalem in 597 B.C. and captured it. A second attack led to Jerusalem's second defeat in 586 B.C. Captives from both campaigns were taken to Babylonia to mark the captivity of the Southern Kingdom.

 

Introduction

Overview

Fall of Jerusalem

Scriptures

Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Timeline of Events

Archaeology

1 - Babylonian Forces Approaching

2 - Capture of Judean Cities

3 - The Siege of Jerusalem

4 - Edomites Raid Judah

5 - Rumor of Approaching Egyptian Forces

6 - Jerusalem is Captured

7 - King Zedekiah Tries to Flee

8 - Jews Deported to Babylon from Ramah

Jeremiah's Prophecies
 

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The Fall of Judah

Bible History Online

The Story of the Bible


Bible History Online (http://www.bible-history.com)

 

 


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