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Jews in Babylon - Term Paper Example

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Name Institution Course Instructor Date Jews in Babylon Thesis statement: This paper seeks to highlight the social changes that occurred in the Jewish society after the exile in Babylon and subsequent return to Judea. In highlighting these changes, a distinction will be made on the Jews, Israelites, and Hebrews…
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Jews in Babylon

Download file to see previous pages... The Israelites and the Hebrews joined forces after the end Israelites captivity to form the Judean or Jews. ‘Jews’ will be used to mean the Israelites, in relevance to the question. The exile of the Babylonian Jews into the Diaspora between 597 BC to 539BC is one of the most important transitional periods for the Yahweh and Israelites. The events in the Babylonian exile and the consequent return to Judea resembled that of the of Israelites’ deliverance from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land. Despite being destined by prophet Jeremiah and told of the 70 years in exile of Babylon, the captivity of the Israelites still displayed social, religious, and cultural changes for the exiles. These changes may be attributed to the changed environment and governance as the Israelites are forced by circumstances to adapt to their new surroundings (Berger & Gerson 54). The influence of Canaanites’ culture, emphasis on idolatry, was absorbed by the Israelites. The Jews that inhabited Judea were made subjects on two subsequent deportations. The first deportation took place the year 597BC under the leadership of Nebuchadnezzar after he had conquered Jerusalem (Berger & Gerson 52). The king of Babylonia attacked Jerusalem with his army to punish Jehoiakim for renouncing his allegiance to his kingdom Babylon. The king of Jerusalem Jaconiah (the son of Jehoiakim) tried fighting but Nebuchadnezzar won the battle and ordered the king and his elders and treasure to be taken to Babylon. Consequently, this meant that the Jewish people were now under the rule of Babylon and evidenced by their capture in Babylon. This marked the beginning of the Babylonian exile (597 BC) as calculated by Ezekiel the prophet. The other deportation occurred after the fall of Judah in 586 BC after conquer on Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and the burning of the temple and palace, and the capture of all dwellers of Jerusalem. Another partial deportation took place after the siege of Tyre in 582 BC, which resulted to the murder of Jewish governor of Judah, Gedaliah. This was not considered a deportation as the numbers of Jews taken to Babylon were relatively low compared to the other two deportations. Indication of the termination of the exile was first evident with the freedom of King Jehoiachin in 562 BC, and being acknowledged as above all the other leaders in the Babylon court. The actual termination of the exile occurred in 539 BC when the king of Persia Cyrus conquered the city of Babylon. King Cyrus latter ordered rebuilding of the temple of the Lord and permitted the Jews to return to their home in Jerusalem. Ezra and Nehemiah led the significant return to Judea after difficult struggles. The conditions in exile for the Jews were not favorable. The first group that had been deported initially thought that would be left to go back home hastily. They gave credit to false prophets and claimed to be the true Israel, the one favored by Yahweh because of their right ways of life. This was easy as they were the leading families in their time. They interacted with the Babylonians and became content with the conditions of the exile following the advice of Jeremiah. This ultimately changed their cultural and economic status as they accumulated wealth and adopted the Babylonian’s way of living. They were viewed as equals politically. While in exile, the Jews enjoyed their life more than those who had been left behind in Jerusalem. They were allowed to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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