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Exile in Babylon

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The southern kingdom of Judah was conquered by Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar. Before and after the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 b.c. the population was taken into exile in three stages.

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The entire episode was within the purposes of God and under his control

The reason for the captivity

2 Kings 21:11–15 NKJV
“Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations (he has acted more wickedly than all the Amorites who were before him, and has also made Judah sin with his idols), therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Behold, I am bringing such calamity upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab; I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. So I will forsake the remnant of My inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become victims of plunder to all their enemies, because they have done evil in My sight, and have provoked Me to anger since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day.’ ”
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The captivity foretold by the prophets

Isaiah 39:5–7 NKJV
Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord of hosts: ‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and what your fathers have accumulated until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,’ says the Lord. ‘And they shall take away some of your sons who will descend from you, whom you will beget; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’ ”
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Babylon the instrument of God’s chastisement of Judah

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A remnant would be spared

Ezekiel 12:16 NKJV
But I will spare a few of their men from the sword, from famine, and from pestilence, that they may declare all their abominations among the Gentiles wherever they go. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.”

The historical details

Nebuchadnezzar marches against Jerusalem

Daniel 1:1–2 NKJV
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god.
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The people of Judah are taken into exile in three stages

Jeremiah 52:27–30 NKJV
Then the king of Babylon struck them and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. Thus Judah was carried away captive from its own land. These are the people whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year, three thousand and twenty-three Jews; in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred and thirty-two persons; in the twenty-third year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred and forty-five persons. All the persons were four thousand six hundred.

God watches over his people during their captivity

The Lord hears and answers the prayers of his people in captivity

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Babylon spares certain captives, and gives them some freedom and dignity

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God encourages his people during their captivity

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Promises of eventual restoration

Ezekiel 36:8 NKJV
But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are about to come.

The promise of return from exile

Jeremiah 33:7–8 NKJV
And I will cause the captives of Judah and the captives of Israel to return, and will rebuild those places as at the first. I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned and by which they have transgressed against Me.
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Restoration to be a demonstration of God’s grace

Ezekiel 36:22 NKJV
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went.

The promise of covenant renewal

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The promise of return fulfilled

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Babylonian oppressors to be punished

Jeremiah 25:12–14 NKJV
‘Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the Lord; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation. So I will bring on that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah has prophesied concerning all the nations. (For many nations and great kings shall be served by them also; and I will repay them according to their deeds and according to the works of their own hands.)’ ”
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