The Destruction of the Southern Kingdom of Judah

Historical Overview

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Brief Overview of the History of the the Fall of Judah to Zerubbabel

 

The Destruction of Jerusalem

babylonian_chronicle_thumb.jpgRevival 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.

 

The Babylonian Captivity

Around 605 B.C. Nineveh and Assyria had fallen. It was just Egypt and Babylon who were seeking world supremacy. The young brilliant new king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, went out and defeated the Egyptians at Carchemish. He marched on to Judah, during Jehoiakim's reign, and took thousands of Hebrews back to Babylon (including Daniel, who became one of the greatest prophets). Nebuchadnezzar made two more attacks when he heard of rebellion in Judah. Each time he took captives (including Ezekiel the prophet). Only a remnant of the weakest, poorest, and least threatening Jews remained. King Nebuchadnezzar set up a puppet king (Zedekiah) of David's line to sit on the throne of Judah and made him swear an oath of allegiance (2 Chr 36:10-12).

 

Zedekiah was as faithless as the rest of the evil kings of Judah. He then rebelled and allied with other enemies. When Nebuchadnezzar heard he came back for the last time (586 B.C.) to reduce Jerusalem to rubble and send the Temple up in flames. Zedekiah was forced to witness the slaughter of his sons, then his eyes were put out, and he himself was carried off to Babylon. The Kingdom was over and the "times of the gentiles" had begun.

 

2 Kin 24:13-14 "And he carried out from there all the treasures of the house of the LORD and the treasures of the king's house, and he cut in pieces all the articles of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said. 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."

 

The Return From Babylon

The people of Judah were horribly distressed. They lost their home, their city, their pride, their Temple, the Ark of the Covenant, and they were taken as prisoners to Babylon, the homeland of idolatry. But God raised up great men to remind them of Jeremiah's prophesies, that they would only be there for 70 years. Babylon would not be their home:

 

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."

 

They would return and the temple would be rebuilt, and the Messiah would still come. Daniel and Ezekiel sought to keep the true faith alive.

 

The Decree of Cyrus

By 538 B.C. Babylon had passed into history and the Medo-Persian Empire took its place. Cyrus the Persian issued a decree to allow the Jews to go back to their land, and with the blessing of The Persian Empire. The Jews were hardly moved. Babylon was their home. Only a portion returned (Neh 7) and only 74 of the Levites, who were supposed to be known for their dedication to the things of God.

 

Zerubbabel

The first move back to Palestine was led by Zerubbabel, of the house of David. He was the only one of royal blood to pay any attention to the decree of Cyrus (Ezra 2). When he returned, he found just rubble. No temple, torn down walls, and a mixed breed of corrupt Jews (Samaritans) living there. In 536 B.C. he laid the foundations for a new temple, built an altar and worshipped the Lord. The prophets Haggai and Zechariah helped urge the Jews on. They finished the work on the Temple in 516 B.C. (exactly 70 years).

 

(See the Timeline)

 

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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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