exile

exile

A term used, often synonymously with “captivity,” to refer to the period in the sixth century BCE when part of the Judean population was exiled to Babylonia. Deportation as a policy was practiced by various ancient powers: Assyria deported part of the population of the Northern Kingdom (Israel) in 722 BCE. 2Kgs 17:6 and 2Kgs 18:11 list places to which they were taken; their subsequent history is unknown. Sennacherib’s siege of Lachish (701 BCE) resulted in deportation of captives. Babylon deported Jehoiachin and other members of the royal family in 597 BCE, together with leading military men, military personnel, and craftsmen (2Kgs 24:15-16); a second deportation followed in 587 BCE consisting of survivors in Jerusalem and deserters (2Kgs 25:11). Jer 52:30 records a third deportation in 582 BCE. It was these Babylonian deportations that marked the period of Israelite history called the “exile.” “Exile” becomes a theological theme in later writings. The sins for which the exile is punishment are variously assessed and theologically justified, and various preconditions are given for the termination of the exile, like divine grace, human repentance, or a combination of the two (Jer 24; Jer 31; Ezek 18; Lam 5). Ps 137 offers an interpretation of the experience in terms of desolation and hope.

2Kgs 17:6

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2Kgs 18:11

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2Kgs 24:15-16

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2Kgs 25:11

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Jer 52:30

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Jer 24

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Jer 31

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Ezek 18

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Lam 5

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Ps 137

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