Biblical accounts of the exile in Babylon 538 BC.

In the late 7th century BC , the Kingdom of Judah was a client state of the Assyrian empire. In the last decades of the century, Assyria was overthrown by Babylon, an Assyrian province. Egypt, fearing the sudden rise of the Neo-Babylonian empire, seized control of Assyrian territory up to the Euphrates river in Syria, but Babylon counter-attacked. In the process Josiah, the king of Judah, was killed in a battle with the Egyptians at the Battle of Megiddo (609 BCE).

After the defeat of Pharaoh Necho’s army by the Babylonians at Carchemish in 605 BC, Jehoiakim began paying tribute to Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon. Some of the young nobility of Judah were taken to Babylon.

In the following years, the court of Jerusalem was divided into two parties, in support of Egypt and Babylon. After Nebuchadnezzar was defeated in battle in 601 BC by Egypt, Judah revolted against Babylon, culminating in a three-month siege of Jerusalem beginning in late 598 BC. Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, died during the siege and was succeeded by his son Jehoiachin (also called Jeconiah) at the age of eighteen. The city fell on 2 Adar (March 16) 597 BC, and Nebuchadnezzar pillaged Jerusalem and its Temple and took Jeconiah, his court and other prominent citizens (including the prophet Ezekiel) back to Babylon. Jehoiakim’s uncle Zedekiah was appointed king in his place, but the exiles in Babylon continued to consider Jeconiah as their Exilarch, or rightful ruler.

Despite warnings by Jeremiah and others of the pro-Babylonian party, Zedekiah revolted against Babylon and entered into an alliance with Pharaoh Hophra. Nebuchadnezzar returned, defeated the Egyptians, and again besieged Jerusalem, resulting in the city’s destruction in 587 BC. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city wall and the Temple, together with the houses of the most important citizens. Zedekiah and his sons were captured, the sons were executed in front of Zedekiah, who was then blinded and taken to Babylon with many others (Jer 52:10–11). Judah became a Babylonian province, called Yehud, putting an end to the independent Kingdom of Judah. (Because of the missing years in the Jewish calendar, rabbinic sources place the date of the destruction of the First Temple at (423 BC) or  (403 BC).

The first governor appointed by Babylon was Gedaliah, a native Judahite; he encouraged the many Jews who had fled to surrounding countries such as Moab, Ammon and Edom to return, and he took steps to return the country to prosperity. Some time later, a surviving member of the royal family assassinated Gedaliah and his Babylonian advisors, prompting many refugees to seek safety in Egypt. By the end of the second decade of the 6th century, in addition to those who remained in Judah, there were significant Jewish communities in Babylon and in Egypt; this was the beginning of the later numerous Jewish communities living permanently outside Judah in the Jewish Diaspora.

According to the book of Ezra, the Persian Cyrus the Great ended the exile in 538 BC, the year after he captured Babylon. The exile ended with the return under Zerubbabel the Prince (so-called because he was a descendant of the royal line of David) and Joshua the Priest (a descendant of the line of the former High Priests of the Temple) and their construction of the Second Temple in the period 521–516 BC.

Tomorrow we will meet in the streets of Babylon 538 AD.  Come with a thirst and hunger, Christ will feed you.  We are leaving for Jerusalem. The Last Supper with Christ.

Look at Christ on the Cross and tell himI am a sinner, I want to follow you, forgive me for my sins and the sins of those committed against me.  I believe at that point you are reborn and Christ will advocate for you in the Throne room.

Remember to dine in the Throne room with your Father, ask questions and say your prayers.  If you do not know Christ, ask Him into your life.