1. The first exiles were sent to Babylonia in 605 B.C. including Daniel. The second group went into exile around 597 B.C. including Ezekiel. The third and final group went in 586 B.C. after Jerusalem was destroyed.
2. Unfortunately only a few of the actual events during the Babylonian exile are part of the historical record.
3. The reason why thousands of people from Judah were taken to Babylon was quite simple. By removing them from their homeland the Babylonians could keep the potential for rebellion down.
4. While living in the cities of Babylon the Jews worked, married, and had children. They carried on with life’s events….the good and the bad.
5. Over time they forgot their native Hebrew and began to speak Aramaic which was like English is today---the international language of trade.
6. Many Jews completely forgot their native customs, language, and religion, and over time completely blended in with Babylonian society. Many scholars state these are the Jews that represent the Lost Tribes.
7. Many other Jews remembered the messages of the prophets and they attempted to follow the Lord as best as they could, but they had no temple and no sacrifices.
8. Some Jews kept their history alive and passed on the story that they were exiles from the land of Judah-----from this eventually came the designation “Jew.”
9. The name “Jew” is only found in the Old Testament books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Jeremiah, Daniel, and Zecariah.
10. Originally the designation “Jew” only referred to those that had lived in Judah---members of the tribe of Judah.
11. After the time of the exile the term “Jew” came to mean anyone who was a biological descendant of Jacob.
12. By the first century A.D. the term “Jew” included non-biological Jews who accepted the Jewish religion.
13. In our world today the term Jew has religious and ethnic connotations.
Find out more about the Babylonian Exile here.
See other 13s here.