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Holman Bible Dictionary [1]

History of the Exile of Israel The United Monarchy divided in 922 B.C., with the tribes located in the north known as Israel and the tribes located to the south known as Judah. Internal strife prevailed in Israel from 922 to 842 B.C.

In Old Testament times the Assyrians and Babylonians introduced the practice of deporting captives into foreign lands. Deportation was generally considered the harsher measure only when other means had failed. Rather than impose deportation, Assyria demanded tribute from nations it threatened to capture. As early as 842 B.C., Jehu, king of Israel, was paying tribute to Shalmaneser, king of Assyria. Not until the reign of Tiglath-pileser (745-727 B.C.) did the Assyrians began deporting people from the various tribes of Israel.

In 734 B.C., Tiglath-pileser captured the cities of Naphtali ( 2 Kings 15:29 ) and carried away as captives the inhabitants of the tribes of Naphtali, Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh ( 1 Chronicles 5:26 ). In 732, Tiglath-pileser took control of Damascus, the capital city of Syria. At that time he appointed Israel (the Northern Kingdom) her last king—Hoshea (732-723 B.C.). Hoshea rebelled about 724 B.C. and was taken captive by the Assyrians ( 2 Kings 17:1-6 ).

Samaria, the capital city of Israel, held out until early 721 B.C. Shalmaneser V (727-722 B.C.) laid siege to the city. The eventual fall of Samaria occurred at the hands of Sargon II (722-705 B.C.). These events marked the end of the ten northern tribes ( 2 Kings 17:18 ).

The Assyrians exiled the Israelites into Halah, Gozan, and Media ( 2 Kings 17:6;  2 Kings 18:11;  Obadiah 1:20 ). The Assyrians brought into Samaria people from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and Sepharvaim ( 2 Kings 17:24;  Ezra 4:10 ). Sargon II recorded that 27,290 Israelites were deported.

The prophets Hosea and Amos had prophesied the fall of Israel. These two prophets proclaimed that Israel's fall was due to moral and spiritual degeneration rather than to the superior military might of the Assyrian nation. Assyria was only the “rod of mine anger”' ( Isaiah 10:5 ).

History of the Exile of Judah More than a hundred years before the Babylon Exile, Isaiah, the prophet, had predicted Judah's fall ( Isaiah 6:11-12;  Isaiah 8:14;  Isaiah 10:11 ). In addition, the prophets Micah, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, and Ezekiel agreed that Judah would fall.

Assyria's last king, Ashurbanipal, died in 630 B.C. His death marked the end of Assyrian dominance of Judah. Both Judah and Egypt sought to take advantage of Assyria's diminishing power. Judah's hopes were dashed when King Josiah (640-609) was killed at the battle of Megiddo ( 2 Kings 23:29 ). King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon dashed Egypt's hopes when he defeated the Egyptians at the battle of Carchemish in 605 B.C. Jehoahaz, one of Josiah's sons, ruled Judah for three months in 609 B.C. before he was deported to Egypt where he died ( 2 Kings 23:31-34;  2 Chronicles 36:4-8 ).

After defeating the Egyptians, Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem, the capital city of Judah, in 598 B.C. Jehoiakim, a second son of Josiah, served as king of Judah for eleven years (609-597 B.C.) before Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city of Jerusalem ( 2 Kings 23:34-24:6;  2 Chronicles 36:4-8 ). Jehoiakim died in the battle at Jerusalem. His son, Jehoiachin, reigned for three months before he was exiled to Babylon ( 2 Kings 24:6-16;  2 Chronicles 36:9-10;  Esther 2:6;  Jeremiah 22:24-30;).

Nebuchadnezzar appointed Zedekiah, a third son of Joshua to rule the vassal state of Judah for eleven years (597-586 B.C.) until the fall of Jerusalem when he was blinded and taken into Exile into Babylon ( 2 Kings 24:17-25:7;  2 Chronicles 36:10-21;  Jeremiah 39:1-7;  Jeremiah 52:1-11;  Ezekiel 12:12-13;  Ezekiel 17:5-21 ).

There were three deportations of Jews to Babylon. The first occurred in 598 B.C. ( 2 Kings 24:12-16 ). The second deportation took place in 587 B.C. ( 2 Kings 25:8-21;  Jeremiah 39:8-10;  Jeremiah 40:7;  Jeremiah 52:12-34 ). After the second deporation, Gedeliah was appointed governor of Judah by the Babylonians but was assassinated ( 2 Kings 24:25 ). A third deportation, a punishment for Gedaliah's assassination, occurred in 582 B.C. ( Jeremiah 52:30 ).

Life in the Exile meant life in five different geographical areas: Israel, Judah, Assyria, Babylon, and Egypt. We possess little information about events in any of these areas between 587 B.C. and 538 B.C.

1. Israel Assyria took the educated, leading people from the Northern Kingdom and replaced them with populations from other countries they had conquered ( 2 Kings 17:24 ). They had to send some priests back to the area to teach the people the religious traditions of the God of the land ( 2 Kings 17:27-28 ). Such priests probably served a population which contained poor Jewish farmers dominated by foreign leaders. When Babylon took over the area, they established a provincial capital in Samaria. Leaders there joined with other provincial leaders to stop Zerubbabel and his people from rebuilding the Temple ( Ezra 4:1-24 ). Gradually, a mixed population emerged ( Ezra 10:1 ). Still, a faithful remnant attempted to maintain worship of Yahweh near Shechem, producing eventually the Samaritan community. See Samaritans.

2. Assyria Exiles from the Northern Kingdom were scattered through the Assyrian holdings ( 2 Kings 17:6 ). Apparently, their small communities, isolated from other Jews, did not allow them to maintain much national identity. We do not know what happened to these people, thus the popular title—the lost tribes of Israel. Some may have eventually returned to their original homeland. Others may have established the basis of Jewish communities which appear in later historical records.

3. Judah The Babylonians did not completely demolish Judah. They left farmers, in particular, to care for the land ( Jeremiah 52:16 ). Some citizens who had fled the country before the Babylonian invasion returned to the land after Jerusalem was destroyed ( Jeremiah 40:12 ). The Babylonians set up a government which may or may not have been dependent on the provincial government in Samaria. Jews loyal to the Davidic tradition assassinated Gedaliah, the governor ( 2 Kings 25:25 ). Then many of the people fled to Egypt ( 2 Kings 25:26;  Jeremiah 43:1 ). People remaining in the land continued to worship in the Temple ruins and seek God's word of hope (Lamentations). Many were probably not overjoyed to see Jews return from Babylon claiming land and leadership.

4. Babylon The center of Jewish life shifted to Babylon under such leaders as Ezekiel. Babylon even recognized the royal family of Judah as seen in  2 Kings 25:27 and in recovered Babylonian records. Exiled Jews based their calendar on the exile of King Jehoichin in 597 (  Ezekiel 1:2;  Ezekiel 33:21;  Ezekiel 40:1 ). Jehoiachin's grandson, Zerubbabel, led the first exiles back from Babylon in 538 ( Ezra 2:2;  Haggai 1:1 ). Most of the exiles in Babylon probably followed normal Near Eastern practice and became farmers on land owned by the government. Babylonian documents show that eventually some Jews became successful merchants in Babylon. Apparently religious leaders like Ezekiel were able to lead religious meetings ( Ezekiel 8:1; compare  Ezra 8:15-23 ). Correspondence continued between those in Judah and those in Exile ( Jeremiah 29:1 ), and Jewish elders gave leadership to the exiles ( Jeremiah 29:1;  Ezekiel 8:1;  Ezekiel 14:1;  Ezekiel 20:1 ).  1 Chronicles 1-9 , Ezra, and Nehemiah show that genealogies and family records became very important points of identity for the exiles. People were economically self-sufficient, some even owning slaves ( Ezra 2:65 ) and having resources to fund the return to Jerusalem ( Ezra 1:6;  Ezra 2:69 ). Still, many longed for Jerusalem and would not sing the Lord's song in Babylon ( Psalm 137:1 ). They joined prophets like Ezekiel in looking for a rebuilt Temple and a restored Jewish people. They laughed at Babylonian gods as sticks of wood left over from the fire ( Isaiah 44:9-17;  Isaiah 45:9-10;  Isaiah 46:1-2 ,Isaiah 46:1-2, 46:6-7;  Jeremiah 1:16;  Ezekiel 20:29-32 ). A Babylonian Jewish community was thus established and would exercise strong influence long after Cyrus of Persia permitted Jews to return to Judah. These Jews established their own worship, collected Scriptures, and began interpreting them in the Aramaic paraphrase and explanations which eventually became the Babylonian Talmud, but continued to support Jews in Jerusalem.

5. Egypt Jews fled Jerusalem for Egypt ( 2 Kings 25:26 ) despite God's directions not to ( Jeremiah 42:13-44:30 ). Many Jews apparently became part of the Egyptian army stationed in northern border fortresses to protect against Babylonian invasion. As such, they may have joined Jews who had come to Egypt earlier. Archaeologists have discovered inscriptions at Elephantine in southern Egypt showing a large Jewish army contingent there also. They apparently built a temple there and worshiped Yahweh along with other gods. These military communities eventually disappeared, but Jewish influence in Egypt remained. Finally, a large community in Alexandria established itself and produced the Septuagint, the earliest translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek.

The Edict of Cyrus in 538 B.C. ( 2 Chronicles 36:22-23;  Ezra 1:1-4 ) released the Jews in Babylon to return to their homeland. Though conditions in the homeland were dismal, many Jews did return. The preaching of Haggai and Zechariah (520-519 B.C.) urged these returning captives to rebuild their Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple was completed in 515 B.C., the date which traditionally marks the end of the Babylonian Exile.

Gary Hardin

Easton's Bible Dictionary [2]

  • Of the kingdom of the two tribes, the kingdom of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim ( Jeremiah 25:1 ), invaded Judah, and carried away some royal youths, including Daniel and his companions (B.C. 606), together with the sacred vessels of the temple ( 2 Chronicles 36:7;  Daniel 1:2 ). In B.C. 598 ( Jeremiah 52:28;  2 Kings 24:12 ), in the beginning of Jehoiachin's reign ( 2 Kings 24:8 ), Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive 3,023 eminent Jews, including the king ( 2 Chronicles 36:10 ), with his family and officers ( 2 Kings 24:12 ), and a large number of warriors (16), with very many persons of note (14), and artisans (16), leaving behind only those who were poor and helpless. This was the first general deportation to Babylon.

    In B.C. 588, after the revolt of Zedekiah (q.v.), there was a second general deportation of Jews by Nebuchadnezzar ( Jeremiah 52:29;  2 Kings 25:8 ), including 832 more of the principal men of the kingdom. He carried away also the rest of the sacred vessels ( 2 Chronicles 36:18 ). From this period, when the temple was destroyed ( 2 Kings 25:9 ), to the complete restoration, B.C. 517 ( Ezra 6:15 ), is the period of the "seventy years."

    In B.C. 582 occurred the last and final deportation. The entire number Nebuchadnezzar carried captive was 4,600 heads of families with their wives and children and dependants ( Jeremiah 52:30;  43:5-7;  2 Chronicles 36:20 , etc.). Thus the exiles formed a very considerable community in Babylon.

    When Cyrus granted permission to the Jews to return to their own land ( Ezra 1:5;  7:13 ), only a comparatively small number at first availed themselves of the privilege. It cannot be questioned that many belonging to the kingdom of Israel ultimately joined the Jews under Ezra, Zerubbabel, and Nehemiah, and returned along with them to Jerusalem ( Jeremiah 50:4,5,17-20,33-35 ).

    Large numbers had, however, settled in the land of Babylon, and formed numerous colonies in different parts of the kingdom. Their descendants very probably have spread far into Eastern lands and become absorbed in the general population. (See Judah, Kingdom Of; Captivity .)

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Exile'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/ebd/e/exile.html. 1897.

  • Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [3]

    In the Old Testament ‘the exile’, or ‘the captivity’, refers to the period of approximately seventy years that followed Babylon’s conquest of Jerusalem and deportation of the people into captivity in Babylon (2 Kings 24;  2 Kings 25:1-21;  Jeremiah 25:11-12;  Jeremiah 29:10;  Daniel 1:1-4;  Ezekiel 1:1-3). (For details of the successive stages of this conquest and deportation see Judah, Tribe And Kingdom For details of life in captivity in Babylon see Daniel ; Ezekiel .) The exile came to an end after Persia’s conquest of Babylon in 539 BC, when the new ruler gave permission to the captive Jews to return to their homeland ( 2 Chronicles 36:22-23;  Ezra 1:1-4;  Isaiah 48:20; see Chronicles, Books Of; Ezra )

    In the New Testament ‘the exile’ refers to the life of Christians in the present world. Since Christians are considered to be a citizen of heaven, their present life is like that of foreigners or pilgrims in an alien country ( Philippians 3:20;  Hebrews 13:14;  1 Peter 1:1;  1 Peter 1:17;  1 Peter 2:11; see Foreigner ).

    King James Dictionary [4]

    EX'ILE, n. eg'zile. L. exilium, exul The word is probably compounded of ex and a root in Sl, signifying to depart, or cut off, to separate, or the thrust away, perhaps L. salio.

    1. Banishment the state of being expelled from one's native country or place of residence by authority, and forbid to return, either for a limited time or for perpetuity. 2. An abandonment of one's country, or removal to a foreign country for residence, through fear, disgust or resentment, or for any cause distinct from business, is called a voluntary exile, as is also a separation from one's country and friends by distress or necessity. 3. The person banished, or expelled from his country by authority also, one who abandons his country and resides in another or one who is separated from his country and friends by necessity.

    EX'ILE, To banish, as a person from his country or from a particular jurisdiction by authority, with a prohibition of return to drive away, expel or transport from one's country.

    1. To drive from one's country by misfortune, necessity or distress.

    To exile one's self, is to quit one's country with a view not to return

    EX'ILE, a. eg'zil, L. exilis. Slender thin fine.

    Webster's Dictionary [5]

    (1): ( n.) The person expelled from his country by authority; also, one who separates himself from his home.

    (2): ( n.) Forced separation from one's native country; expulsion from one's home by the civil authority; banishment; sometimes, voluntary separation from one's native country.

    (3): ( a.) Small; slender; thin; fine.

    (4): ( v. t.) To banish or expel from one's own country or home; to drive away.

    Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [6]

    EXILE . See Israel, I. 23.

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [7]

    (only occurs of an expatriated person, צעֶה , Tsoeh', Bent, "captive exile,"  Isaiah 51:14; גֹלֶה , Goleh', A Transported captive, as elsewhere often (See Assyrio-Babylonian Banish)), of the Israelitish nation (comp. Cellarii Dissertatt. page 178 sq.). (See Captivity).

    1. Of the kingdom of Israel, as early as the time of Pekah (q.v.), B.C. cir. 741. Tiglath Pileser (q.v.), in accordance with a cardinal maxim of Oriental despots (compare Haeren, Ideen, I, 1:405 sq.; Gesenius, Jesa. 1:949), transported to Assyria ( 2 Kings 15:29; comp. Isaiah 8:23) a part of the inhabitants of Galilee and the trans-Jordanic provinces (Gilead). A still earlier deportation ( 1 Chronicles 5:26) seems to have been made by Pul (q.v.). After the destruction of Samaria (q.v.) and the entire northern state (B.C. 720) by Shalmaneser (q.v.), the same fate overtook all the distinguished and serviceable Israelites ( 2 Kings 17:6;  2 Kings 18:9 sq.;  1 Chronicles 5:26). They were assigned a residence on the Chaboras, in Mesopotamia (See Habor), and in Media (comp. Josephus, Ant. 9:14, 1), and there established the worship of Jehovah after their corrupt fashion ( 2 Kings 17:27 sq.). See Witsius, Δεκάφυλον , Site De Decem Tribubus Isr. (in his ,Egyptiaca, page 318 sq.), Michaelis, De Exilio Decem Tribuum (in his Comment. Soc. Gott. Brem. 1774, page 31 sq.). (See Israel (Kingdom Of).)

    2. Respecting the carrying away of the Jews in several colonies, there are various accounts in the Hebrew historical books, which modern writers have not carefully distinguished (see Bauer, Hebrews Gesch. 2:370 sq.; Jahn, Archdol. 11, 1:190 sq.; Bertholdt, Zeittafel Zum Daniel, page 503 sq.).

    (a.) The books of Kings mention only two deportations: The First occurred after the surrender of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar, in the time of Jehoiachin ( 2 Kings 24:14 sq.; comp.  Jeremiah 27:20 sq.; in this way involved Mordecai ( Esther 2:6), and it befell (besides the king himself) the affluent and useful citizens, 10,000 and upwards in number (Josephus says 10,832, Ant. 10:7, 1); the second was the result of a formal capture of Jerusalem by assault of the Chaldaeans in the time of Zedekisah, and was effected by Nebuchadnezzar's general (in that prince's 19th year) Nebuzaradan ( 2 Kings 25:11). Only the common people, devoted to agriculture, remained ( 2 Kings 25:12;  2 Kings 25:22).

    (b.) The books of Chronicles expressly record only the carrying away under Zedekiah ( 2 Chronicles 26:20), while ( 2 Chronicles 26:10), in mentioning the transportation of king Jehoiachin, they say nothing of a deportation of the people at that time.

    (c.)  Jeremiah 52:28 sq., specifies three distinct carryings away, and assigns to each not only the number of those deported, but also a date namely, the first deportation in the 7th year (of Nebuchadnezzar, comp.  Jeremiah 52:29-30), which consisted of 3023 Jews; the second in the 18th of Nebuch., of 832 chiefs of Jerusalem; then third in the 23d of Neb., of 745 individuals. Finally

    (d.), according to  Daniel 1:1;  Daniel 1:3 sq., as early as the 3d yeas of Jehoiakim's reign, some Jewish youths of noble families among them Daniel himself) must have been carried to Babylon. These difficulties (see Hengstenberg, Genuineness of Daniel [Clarke's ed.], page 43 sq., against De Wette, in the Hall. Encyclop. 23:7 sq.; Lengerke, Daniel, page 13 sq.) are readily adjusted by observing, 1st, that the years of Nebuchadnezzar in this passage of Jeremiah bear date from his full accession to the throne of Babylon (the beginning of B.C. 604), while those in Kings are reckoned from the epoch of his viceroyship, a little over one year earlier (See Nebuchadnezzar); and, 2dly, that the apparent discrepancy in the number of citizens transported naturally arises from the different manner in which they are enumerated and classified in the several narratives. Thus viewed, the transactions will appear concisely as follows:

    1. (Early in B.C. 6516.) Nebuuchadnezzar's invasion, in the 3d year of Jehoiakimn ( Daniel 1:1).

    2. (Sumumer of B.C. 606.) Subjugation by Nebuchadnezzar in his first associate year, and the 4th of Jehoiakiam ( Jeremiah 25:1); when, besides some of the sacred vessels ( 2 Chronicles 36:7), a few royal youths were taken away as hostages, including Daniel and his companions ( Daniel 1:2 sq.).

    3. (Spring of B.C. 598) First general deportation, in the 7th year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign ( Jeremiah 52:28), or the 8th of his viceroyship ( 2 Kings 24:12), and the beginning of Jehoiachin's reign (2 Kings xxiv, 8), when 3028 eminent Jews ( Jeremiah 52:28), including the king ( 2 Chronicles 36:10), his family, and officers ( 2 Kings 24:12), with such men as Mordecai ( Esther 2:6), also some 7000 warriors ( 2 Kings 21:16), were carried away, making about 10,000 individuals of note ( 2 Kings 24:14), besides about 1000 artisans ( 2 Kings 24:16, and leaving only the poorer classes of the city and its neighborhood ( 2 Kings 14:14).

    4. (Late in B. C. 588.) Second general deportation, in Nebuchadnezzar's 18th year of reign ( Jeremiah 52:29), or the 19th of his viceroyship ( 2 Kings 25:8), when, besides the rest of the sacred vessels ( 2 Chronicles 36:18), 832 more of the principal men who had by that time rallied to Jerusalem were taken away ( Jeremiah 52:29), iucluding especially the refugees ( 2 Kings 25:1), and leaving but the commonest agricultural laborers ( 2 Kings 25:14).

    5. (Early in BS.C. 582.) Final deportation, in Nebuchadnezzer's 28d year ( Jeremiah 52:30), when the last 745 private persons ( Jeremiah 52:30) who had not fled to Egypt ( Jeremiah 43:5-7), nor been destroyed in the pa vioum massacres ( 2 Chronicles 36:20), ware taken away making 4600 definitely enumerated ( Jeremiah 52:10), but in all somue 12,600 male heads of families, with their wives, children, and dependents, from Jerusalem and its vicinity alone, and a proportionate number from the residue of the country of Judaea.

    The Babylonian exile thus began with the Jews partially in B.C. 598, but generally in B.C. 588. It ended in the first year of the reign of Cyrus (over Babylon), i.e., B.C. 536, and therefore lasted strictly 51-52 years. The reckoning of Jeremiah, however ( Jeremiah 25:11 sq.;  Jeremiah 29:10; compare  2 Chronicles 36:21;  Zechariah 1:12;  Zechariah 7:5; Josephus, War, 5:9, 4), which assigns it a length of 70 years, is to be understood as computed from Nebuchadnezzar's invasion of Western Asia in B.C. 606, when, as appears from  Daniel 1:1; Daniel cf.1 some of the members of the royal family of Judah were carried into captivity, in fulfillment of  Isaiah 39:6-7. (See Offerhaus, Spicilegium, page 181 sq.; Schroder, Rege. Babyl. page 286 sq.). This was the more natural epoch to the Jews, inasmuch as from that time Nebuchadnezzar became to all intents and purposes the liege lord of the Jewish kings, and in the above table we see the years of his reign are dated accordingly. It is a remarkable coincidence that from thee date of the destruction of the Temple, B.C. 588 ( 2 Kings 25:8), to the time of its complete restoration, B.C. 517 ( Ezra 6:15), is precisely the commensurate (and sacred) term of 70 years; and this period is sometimes employed as an aera by the sacred writers ( Ezekiel 40:1). Other very strained conjectures as to this time are those of Behin (in Iken and Hase's Thesaur. Theol. Philol. 1:954 sq.), Bengel (Ordo Temporum, page 196 sq.), etc. Ideler deems the desolation of the Temple to be exclusively referred to (Flandbuch D. Chronol. 1:530). Gramberg (Religionsid. 2:388 sq.) and Hitzig (Jerem. page 230) think the 70 years merely a round number. (See Seventy Years' Captivity).

    The condition of the Hebrews in the exile was certainly, as a general thing, not so severe (Jahn, Archaologie, II, 1:209; comp. Leydecker, De var. reip. Hebr. statu, page 299 sq., especially page 310 sq.; Verbrugge, De statu ad condit. Judaeurum teampore exil. Babyl., in his work De nomin. Hebr. plur. num. [Groning. 1730], page 71 sq.) as is usually held. Most of them became settled ( Jeremiah 29:5 sq.), and acquired property, even to affluence (Tob. 1:22, 25; 2:1; 6:13; 8:21; 9:3; 10:11; 14:15, etc.), and the possession of slaves ( Tobit 8:14 sq.;  Tobit 11:10). Several were taken to court ( Daniel 1:3 sq.,  Daniel 1:19), and even promoted to high station (Daniel 2:48 sq.; 6:2; compare  Esther 10:3), or were honored with important trusts ( Tobit 1:16); indeed, in one instance a Jewess actually reached queenly dignities ( Esther 2:17). They also appear to have kept up in some sort their national constitution ( Ezekiel 14:1;  Ezekiel 20:1; Susan. 5:28), and to have maintained among themselves an observance of the Mosaic law ( Tobit 7:14; Susan. 5:62). According to the Talmud (R. Gedaliah in Shalshel. Flakkab. folio 13; Gemara, Makkoth, 1:1; Sanhedr. 1:12 and 21), they were under the general direction of an aichmalotarch (q.v.), or "chief of the exiles" ( ראֹשׁ הִגְּלוּת ), one of their own nation (Buddaei Hist. Vet. T . 2:863). Religious discipline was exercised among them; but, as they could not lawfully offer sacrifice outside Jerusalem, their worship necessarily consisted of prayer (and public reading, out of which naturally grew expounding) in stated assemblies (comp. Psalms 137). (See Synagogue). They did not lack strong comfort and exhortation: Ezekiel (q.v.) lifted in their midst his prophetic voice, and Jeremiah (q.v.) sent them from afar a monitory epistle (chapter 29). Probably many surrendered themselves to levity and vice ( Ezekiel 33:31), and yielded an ear to false prophets ( Jeremiah 29:21; but comp,  Tobit 2:14).

    Of the permission to return to Palestine, which Cyrus granted to the entire people ( Ezra 1:5;  Ezra 7:13), Jews alone, in the first instance at least, availed themselves (Ezra 2; Nehemiah 7; comp. Josephus, Ant. 11:5, 2: "But the whole people of the Israelites remained in the mine country ... The ten tribes are beyond the Euphrates to this day, unknown and innumerable myriads"); for the return mentioned in  Ezra 2:1, is only of such exiles as had been carried away by Nebuchadnezzar, and in the list there following there are (besides priests and Levites) only recited Judahites and Benjamites; nor can "Israel" ( Ezra 2:59; compare  Nehemiah 7:61) be there referred to the former kingdom so called. The indications of  Jeremiah 1:4; Jeremiah cf., 17, 19;  Ezekiel 37:11 sq., had, moreover, not at that time been fulfilled (the date in  1 Chronicles 5:26 is uncertain; Keil, On Kings, page 497, n.). (See Witsius, Δεκάφυλον , page 344 sq.; Ritter, Erdk. 10:250.) Yet it cannot well be doubted that many of the exiles from the northern kingdom, who were likewise embraced in the decree of Cyrus, and at the time included in his dominions, did eventually join their Jewish brethren, if not in some of the homeward expeditions named in Scripture as having taken place under Ezra, Zerubbabel, and Nehemiah, yet in some smaller, later, or less distinguished companies. This supposition is not only justified by the, nature of the case, but fortified by the numerous intimations in the prophets (e.g. Jeremiah 1:4, 5, 17-20, 33-35) coupling the return of both the kingdoms (see Meth. Quart. Review, July, 1855, page 419 sq.), and is well-nigh established by the Palestinian occurrence in a late age of individuals from the northern tribes (e.g.  Luke 2:36; comp.  Acts 26:7). What proportion thus returned we have no means of determining; it was doubtless small, as was indeed that of the exiles from the southern tribes compared with the great mass who still remained in the land of their captivity, now become their home. Community of lot must have drawn both branches of the common stock of Israel nearer together during the captivity under the same heathen government, and it is altogether likely that in a few centuries those who permanently remained lost all trace of the sectarian distinction that had once estranged "Judah and Ephraim." (See Restoration (Of The Jews).)

    The descendants of those who did not return either centred at certain points, especially Babylon (q.v.), where they afterwards became celebrated for their Jewish schools of Rabbinical literature; or, as was chiefly the case, it may be presumed, with the more distant and earlier removed ten tribes, wandered still farther in numerous Jewish colonies into the Medo- Babylonian provinces (Lightfoot, Append. to Hor. Hebr. in Acts, page 264 sq.), remnants of which have survived to a late day (Benj. of Tudela, quoted in Ritter, Erdk. 10:241 sq.). It is possible even that the Samaritans may have owed their mongrel origin to some such source (Gesenius, De Pentat. Samar. page 4), as they were transplanted to Palestine before the deportation of the Jews, and yet sufficiently late to have allowed a partial amalgamation with the heathen whence they came to have taken place, and especially as they had only the Pentateuch (Paulus, in Eichhorn's Biblioth. 1:931). From the provinces of the Persian empire the Jewish colonists may readily have spread into Arabia, India, and even China. Wild attempts at their discovery have been abundantly made, such as those of Adair (tlistory of the American Indians, Lond. 1775), Noah (The Amer. Indians the Descendants of the ten Lost Tribes of Israel, N.Y, 1835), and Grant (Nestorians, or the Lost Tribes, N.Y. 1841). (See Dispersed Jews).

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [8]

    ek´sı̄l , eg´zı̄l ( גּלה , gālāh , צעה , cā‛āh ): Occurs twice only in the King James Version ( 2 Samuel 15:19 ( gālāh , "to remove");  Isaiah 51:14 ( cā‛āh , "to be bowed down"). In the Revised Version (British and American) "exile" is substituted for "captivity" ( Ezra 8:35 ( shebhı̄ ), and  Ezekiel 12:4 ( gōlāh' ); "go into exile," for "remove and go" ( Ezekiel 12:11 ); "exiles of Ethiopia" for "Ethiopians captives" ( Isaiah 20:4 ); "He shall let my exiles go free" for "He shall let go my captives" ( Isaiah 45:13 ); "an exile" for "a captive" ( Isaiah 49:21 ). "The exile" is in the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) "the captivity" (which see).