Fausset's Bible Dictionary 
Used in Scripture for compulsory exile. Besides minor captivities six under the judges, namely, that by Chushan-rishathaim, Eglon, the Philistines, Jabin of Canaan, Midian, Ammon (Judges 3; Judges 4; Judges 6; Judges 10), and that by Hazael of Syria ( 2 Kings 10:32), there were three great captivities. First in the reign of Pekah of Israel, when Tiglath Pileser, king of Assyria, carried away the people. of Gilead, Galilee, and all Naphtali ( 2 Kings 15:29; Isaiah 9:1). As Pul his predecessor is named with Tiglath Pileser as having carried away Reuben, Gad, and half Manasseh to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river Gozan ( 1 Chronicles 5:25-26), probably Tiglath Pileser carried (740 B.C.) out what Pul had intended but was diverted from by Menahem's bribe (771 or 762 B.C., Rawlinson) ( 2 Kings 15:19-20).
Secondly, in the reign of Hoshea of Israel, Shalmaneser king of Assyria, after letting him remain as a tributary prince for a time, at last when Hoshea omitted to send his yearly "present," and made a league with So or Sabacho II of Egypt (of which the record still exists on clay cylindrical seals found at Koyunjik), put Hoshea in prison and besieged Samaria three years, and in the ninth year of Hoshea's reign (721 B.C.) took it, and "carried Israel away to Halah and Habor by the river Gozan, and to the cities of the Medes" ( 2 Kings 17:1-6). Sargon ( Isaiah 20:1), according to the Assyrian monuments, completed the capture of Samaria which Shalmaneser began. In striking minute coincidence with Scripture, he was the first Assyrian monarch who conquered Media. In the monuments he expressly says that, in order to complete the subjugation of Media, he founded in it cities which he planted with colonists from other parts of his dominions.
Sennacherib (713 B.C.) carried into Assyria 200,000 from the Jewish cities he captured ( 2 Kings 18:13). Thirdly, Nebuchadnezzar carried away Judith under Zedekiah to Babylon, 588 B.C. (2 Kings 24; 25.) A previous deportation of Jewish captives (including Ezekiel, Ezekiel 1:1-3, and Mordecai, Esther's uncle, Esther 2:6) was tint of King Jehoiachin, his princes, men of valor, and the craftsmen, 599 B.C. From Jeremiah 52:12; Jeremiah 52:15; Jeremiah 52:28-29; Jeremiah 52:30 we learn Nebuchadnezzar in his seventh (or eighth, according to the month with which the counting of the year begins) year carried away 3,023; but in 2 Kings 24:14; 2 Kings 24:16; 2 Kings 24:10; 2 Kings 24:000, and 7,000 men of might, and 1,000 craftsmen; the 3,023 were probably of Judah, the remaining 7,000 were of the other tribes of Israel, of whom some still had been left after the Assyrian deportation; the 1,000 craftsmen were exclusive of the 10,000.
Or else the 3,023 were removed in the seventh year, the 7,000 find 1,000 craftsmen in the eighth year. In the 18th or 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar 832 of the most illustrious persons were carried away. In the 23rd year of Nebuchadnezzar, 745 persons, besides the general multitude of the poor, and the residue of the people in the city, and the deserters, were carried away by Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard. In Daniel 1:1-2, we find that in the third year of Jehoiakim Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem and carried away part of the temple vessels of Jehovah to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god Bel. (Subsequently he took all away; they were restored under Cyrus: Ezra 1:7; 2 Kings 24:13; Jeremiah 52:19.) Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, of the blood royal of Judah, were among the captives. With this first deportation in the third year of Jehoiakim (607 or 606 B.C.) the foretold (Jeremiah 25; Jeremiah 29:10) 70 years' "captivity" (i.e. subjection of Judah to Babylon) begins.
Nebuchadnezzar had intended to carry Jehoiakim to Babylon ( 2 Chronicles 36:6-7); but Jehoiakim died before Nebuchadnezzar's intention could be effected ( Jeremiah 22:18-19; Jeremiah 36:30), and. his dead body was dragged out of the gates by the Chaldaean besiegers and left unburied. This was eight years before the deportation under Jehoiachin. In the first year of Darius ( Daniel 9:2-19) the 70 years were nearly run out. Now Jehoiachin's third year was one year before Nebuchadnezzar's accession ( 2 Kings 23:36; 2 Kings 24:12). 2 Kings 24:67 years elapsed from that time to the taking of Babylon (Ptolemy's canon). So it would be in the 68th year of the captivity that Daniel prayed pardon for Jerusalem. Cyrus' decree, granting liberty and encouragement to the Jews to return to their own land, was one or two years after taking Babylon, 536 B.C. ( Ezra 1:2).
The captivity ecclesiastically began with the destruction of the temple, 586 B.C. The restoration was 70 years afterward, in the sixth year of Darius, 515 or 516 B.C. ( Ezra 6:15). The political aim of the deportation was to separate them from local associations, and from proximity to Egypt, their ally in every revolt, and so fuse them into the general population of the empire ( Isaiah 36:16; Genesis 47:21). The captives were treated as colonists. Daniel (Daniel 2; 6) and his three friends and Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1) subsequently held high offices near the king. Jeremiah had recommended the Jews to settle quietly in the land of their exile. They did so, and increased in numbers and wealth. They observed the law ( Esther 3:8), and distinctions of rank ( Ezekiel 20:1). The synagogues for prayer and reading the law publicly began during the captivity, and afterward were set up in every city ( Acts 15:21).
The apocryphal Tobit pictures the inner life of a Naphtalite family among Shalmaneser's captives at Nineveh. Jeremiah, Ezekiel (who died after 27 years' exile at least, Ezekiel 29:17), and Daniel, and some of the Psalms (e.g. 137) give a general view of the state of the whole people in their exile. A portion of the people returned under Sheshbazzar or Zerubbabel, 535 B.C., who set up the altar and began the temple. Then, after along interruption of the building of the temple through Samaritan opposition, the work was completed in the second year of Darius, through Haggai and Zechariah (515 B.C., Ezra 5) the prophets, Jeshua the high priest, and Zerubbabel. A further portion returned under Ezra 458 B.C., and under Nehemiah 445 B.C. ( Ezra 7:6-7; Nehemiah 2) In 536, besides servants, 42,360 returned; 30,000 belonging to Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, the remainder probably belonging to the Israelite tribes. Ezra 6:17 recognizes, in the sacrifices, the twelve tribes (compare 1 Chronicles 9).
Of the 24 courses of priests but four returned, so that seemingly only one sixth returned of the people, five sixths remained behind ( Ezra 2:36-39, compare 1 Chronicles 24:4; 1 Chronicles 24:18). The latter who kept up their national distinctions were termed "the dispersion" ( Esther 8:9; Esther 8:11; John 7:35; 1 Peter 1:1; James 1:1). The Afghans, the black Jews of Malabar, and the Nestorians, have been severally conjectured to represent the lost tribes. All we know is, some blended with the Jews, as Anna of Asher ( Luke 2:36), Saul or Paul of Benjamin ( Philippians 3:5); some with the Samaritans ( Ezra 6:21; John 4:12); many, staying in their land of exile, founded colonies in the E. and were known as "the dispersion" ( Acts 2:9-11; Acts 26:7). The prayer, the 10th of the Shemoneh Esre, is still offered by the Jews: "Sound the great trumpet for our deliverance, lift up a banner for the gathering of our exiles, and unite us all together from the four ends of the earth!" evidently alluding to Isaiah 11:12; Isaiah 27:13; Psalms 106:47.
Those who apostatized to Assyrian and Babylonian idolatry were absorbed among the pagan. The Jews' language became then much affected by Chaldaisms ( Nehemiah 8:7-8), so that they could no longer understand, without interpretation, the pure Hebrew of the law. A Chaldee targum or paraphrase became necessary. An increased reverence for the law (Psalm 119 witnesses to this), and an abhorrence thenceforth of idolatry to which they once had been so prone, were among the beneficial effects of affliction on their national character. The prophets foretell the restoration, spiritually and also nationally in their own land, of Israel and Judah distinct, and hereafter to be combined ( Isaiah 11:12-13), to be miraculously "gathered one by one" ( Isaiah 27:12; Jeremiah 3:18; Jeremiah 16:15-16; Jeremiah 31:7-20; Ezekiel 37:16-28; Hosea 1:10-11; Hosea 3:4-5; Zechariah 9:13; Zechariah 10:6; Zechariah 10:10).
Their return under Messiah (then to be manifested) and their spiritual glory shall be the appointed instrumentality of the conversion of all nations (Isaiah 2; Isaiah 60; Micah 5:7; Zechariah 8:13). The Lord Jesus foretold the Jews' dispersion, in that very generation, under Titus and the Romans, 37 years before the event (A.D. 70), and the treading under foot of Jerusalem by all nations "until the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled" ( Luke 21:20-24; Luke 21:32). In the siege 1,100,000 Jews perished, according to the contemporary witness Josephus; but not one Christian, for the Christians obeyed the Lord's warning by fleeing to Pella, when Cestius Gallus first advanced against Jerusalem, and then providentially, without seeming reason, withdrew ( Matthew 24:15-16).
The market was glutted with Jewish slaves, and Moses' words were fulfilled: "Ye shall be sold unto your enemies ... and no man shall buy you." Again returning they revolted under Bar-Cochaba "the son of a star" ( Numbers 24:17); but Adrian destroyed them, and built a pagan city, AEia, where Jerusalem had stood. "Captivity of the land" ( Judges 18:30) refers to the capture of the ark. So in Psalms 14:7 "bring back the captivity" means restore from depression; Job 42:10, "the Lord turned the captivity of Job," i.e. amply indemnified him for all he lost: which passages prove the error of those who refer to the times after the Babylonian captivity any passage which mentions "the captivity," as if it were the only one in the Bible.
Christ Jesus, the antitypical David (who took captive His foes), "when He ascended on high led captivity captive," i.e. led in triumphal procession as captives for destruction those who once had led men captive, namely, Satan, death, hell, the curse, sin ( Ephesians 4:8; Psalms 68:18; Colossians 2:15; 2 Peter 2:4). Revelation 20:10; Revelation 20:14, thus: "he that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity" ( Revelation 13:10); Satan who "brings into captivity to the law of sin and death" ( Romans 7:23) is brought into captivity ( 2 Corinthians 10:5; Isaiah 49:24; Hosea 13:14).
People's Dictionary of the Bible 
Captivity. A word used to designate the subjugation of God's people. God often punished the sins of the Jews by captivities or servitudes. Deuteronomy 28:1-68. Their first captivity or bondage from which Moses delivered them was rather a permission of Providence than a punishment for sin. There were six subjugations of the 12 tribes during the period of the Judges. But the most remarkable captivities, or rather expatriations of the Hebrews, were those of Israel and Judah under their kings. Israel was first carried away in part about 740 b.c. by Tiglath-pileser. 2 Kings 15:29. The tribes east of the Jordan, with parts of Zebulun and Naphtali, 1 Chronicles 6:26; Isaiah 9:1, were the first sufferers. Twenty years later, Shalmaneser carried away the rest of Israel, the northern kingdom, 2 Kings 17:6, and located them in distant cities, many of them probably not far from the Caspian Sea; and their place was supplied by colonies from Babylon and Persia. 2 Kings 17:6-24. This is sometimes known as the Assyrian captivity. Aside from certain prophecies, Isaiah 11:12-13; Jeremiah 31:7-9; Jeremiah 31:16-20; Jeremiah 49:2; Ezekiel 37:16; Hosea 11:11; Amos 9:14; Obadiah 1:18-19, etc., which are variously interpreted to mean a past or a future return, a physical or a spiritual restoration, there is no evidence that the ten tribes as a body ever returned to Palestine. Of Judah are generally reckoned three deportations, occurring during the Babylonian or great captivity: 1. Under Jehoiakim, in his third year, b.c. 606, when Daniel and others were carried to Babylon. 2 Kings 24:1-2; Daniel 1:1. 2. In the last year of Jehoiakim, when Nebuchadnezzar carried 3023 Jews to Babylon; or rather, under Jehoiachin, when this prince also was sent to Babylon, in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, b.c. 598. 2 Kings 24:12; 2 Chronicles 36:6-8; 2 Chronicles 36:10; Jeremiah 52:28. 3. Under Zedekiah, b.c. 588, when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed, and all the better class of the people and their treasures were carried to Babylon. 2 Kings 25:1-30; 2 Chronicles 36:1-23. This was 132 years after the final captivity of Israel. The 70 years during which they were to remain in captivity, Jeremiah 25:11; Jeremiah 29:10, are reckoned from the date of the first captivity, b.c. 606. Besides these, several other invasions and partial captivities are alluded to in 2 Kings 15:19; 2 Kings 17:3-6; 2 Kings 18:13; 2 Kings 25:11. While in Babylonia, the Jews were treated more like colonists than slaves. They had judges and elders who governed them, and decided matters in dispute. The books of Nehemiah and Daniel describe Jews in high positions at court, and the book of Esther celebrates their numbers and power in the Persian empire. There were priests among them, Jeremiah 29:1, and they preserved their genealogical records and many of their religious rites and customs. When the 70 years were fulfilled, Cyrus, in the first year of his reign at Babylon, b.c. 536, made a proclamation permitting the people of God to return to their own country and rebuild the temple. Ezra 1:11. Nearly 50,000 accepted the invitation, though a large proportion preferred to remain. Ezra 2:2; Nehemiah 7:7. This company laid the foundation of the second temple, which was completed in the sixth year of Darius. Fifty-eight years after, Ezra led a small company of 7000 from Babylon to Judæa. He was succeeded as governor by Nehemiah, who labored faithfully and successfully to reform the people. The Jewish character and language were changed by their sojourn for so long a time among foreigners, Nehemiah 8:8; and it is noteworthy that we hear little of idols or idolatry among them after the captivity. About 40 years after the crucifixion of Christ, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. According to Josephus, 1,100,000 perished at the siege of Jerusalem by Titus, and nearly 100,000 captives were scattered among the provinces and slain in gladiatorial shows, doomed to toil as public slaves, or sold into private bondage. Under the emperor Hadrian, a.d. 133, a similar crushing blow fell on the Jews who had again assembled in Judæa. They are scattered over the world, suffering under the woe which unbelief brought upon their fathers and themselves. See Jews.
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary 
God often punished the sins of the Jews be captivities or servitudes, according to his threatenings, Deuteronomy 28:1-68 . Their first captivity, however, from which Moses delivered them, should be considered rather as a permission of Providence, than as a punishment for sin. There were six subjugations of the twelve tribes during the period of the judges. But the most remarkable captivities, or rather expatriations of the Hebrews, were whose of Israel and Judah under the regal government. Israel was first carried away in part about B. C. 740, by Tiglath-pileser, 2 Kings 15:29 . The tribes east of the Jordan, with parts of Zebulun and Naphtali, Isaiah 9:1 , were the first sufferers. Twenty years later, Shalmanezer carried away the remainder, 2 Kings 17:6-24 . Aside from certain prophecies, Isaiah 11:12,13 Jeremiah 31:7-9,16-20 49:2 Ezekiel 37:16 Hosea 11:11 Amos 9:14 Obadiah 1:18,19 , etc., which are variously interpreter to mean a past or a future return, a physical or a spiritual restoration, there is no evidence that the ten tribes as a body ever returned to Palestine.
To Judah are generally reckoned three captivities: 1. Under Jehoiakim, in his third year, B. C. 606, when Daniel and others were carried to Babylon, 2 Kings 24:1,2 Daniel 1:1 2 . In the last year of Jehoiakim, when Nebuchadnezzar carried 3,023Jews to Babylon; or rather, under Jehoiachin, when this prince also was sent to Babylon, that is, in the seventh and eighth years of Nebuchadnezzar, B. C. 598, 2 Kings 24:2,12 2 Chronicles 36:8,10 Jeremiah 52:34 3 . Under Zedekiah, B. C. 588, when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed, and most that was valuable among the people and their treasures was carried to Babylon, 2 Kings 25:1-30 2 Chronicles 36:1-23 . The seventy years during which they were to remain in captivity, Jeremiah 25:11 29:10 , are reckoned probably from the date of the first captivity, B. C. 606. While at Babylon the Jews had judges and elders who governed them, and decided matters in dispute juridically according to their laws. The book of Daniel shows us a Jew in a high position at court, and the book of Esther celebrates their numbers and power in the Persian empire. The prophets labored, not in vain, to keep alive the flame of the true religion.
At length the seventy years were fulfilled, and Cyrus, in the first year of his reign at Babylon, B. C. 536, made a proclamation throughout his empire permitting the people of God to return to their country, and rebuild the temple, Ezra 1:11 . Nearly 50,000 accepted the invitation, Ezra 2:2 Nehemiah 7:7 . This company laid the foundation of the second temple, which was completed in the sixth year of Darius, B. C. 516. Fifty-eight years after, Ezra led a small company of 7,000 from Babylon to Judea. He was succeeded as governor by Nehemiah, who labored faithfully and successfully to reform the people, and many of the good fruits of his labors remained until the time of Christ.
Probably none among the posterity of Jacob can now prove from which of his twelve sons they are descended. Both Judah and Israel being removed from "the lot of their inheritance" in Canaan, and dispersed among strangers, the various tribes would naturally amalgamate with each other, the envy of Judah and Ephraim would depart, and the memory of Abraham, Moses, and David would revive, Ezra 6:16,17 8:35 Ezekiel 37:26-28 .
The last captivity of the Jews, A. D. 71, after they had filled up the measure of their iniquity by rejecting Christ and the gospel, was a terrible one. According to Josephus, 1,100,000 perished at the siege of Jerusalem by Titus, and nearly 100,000 captives were scattered among the provinces to perish in gladiatorial shows, doomed to toil as public slaves, or sold into private bondage. The cut represents the medal of the emperor Vespasian, A. D. 71, in memory of the capture of Jerusalem. Under the emperor Hadrian, A. D. 133, a similar crushing blow fell on the Jews who had again assembled in Judea; and at this day they are scattered all over the world, yet distinct from the people among whom they dwell, suffering under the woe which unbelief has brought upon their fathers and themselves, and awaiting the time when Christ "shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob," Romans 11:25,26 .
Easton's Bible Dictionary 
Mattaniah, the uncle of Jehoiachin, was now made king over what remained of the kingdom of Judah, under the name of Zedekiah ( 2 Kings 24:17; 2 Chronicles 36:10 ). After a troubled reign of eleven years his kingdom came to an end ( 2 Chronicles 36:11 ). Nebuchadnezzar, with a powerful army, besieged Jerusalem, and Zedekiah became a prisoner in Babylon. His eyes were put out, and he was kept in close confinement till his death ( 2 Kings 25:7 ). The city was spoiled of all that was of value, and then given up to the flames. The temple and palaces were consumed, and the walls of the city were levelled with the ground (B.C. 586), and all that remained of the people, except a number of the poorest class who were left to till the ground and dress the vineyards, were carried away captives to Babylon. This was the third and last deportation of Jewish captives. The land was now utterly desolate, and was abondoned to anarchy.
In the first year of his reign as king of Babylon (B.C. 536), Cyrus issued a decree liberating the Jewish captives, and permitting them to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and the temple ( 2 Chronicles 36:22,23; Ezra 1; 2 ). The number of the people forming the first caravan, under Zerubbabel, amounted in all to 42,360 ( Ezra 2:64,65 ), besides 7,337 men-servants and maid-servants. A considerable number, 12,000 probably, from the ten tribes who had been carried away into Assyria no doubt combined with this band of liberated captives.
At a later period other bands of the Jews returned (1) under ( Ezra 7:7 ) (B.C. 458), and (2) ( Nehemiah 7:66 ) (B.C. 445). But the great mass of the people remained still in the land to which they had been carried, and became a portion of the Jews of the "dispersion" ( John 7:35; 1 Peter 1:1 ). The whole number of the exiles that chose to remain was probably about six times the number of those who returned.
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 'Captivity'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/ebd/c/captivity.html. 1897.
Morrish Bible Dictionary 
This principally refers in the O.T. to the 'carrying away' of Israel and Judah. The order in which Israel was carried into captivity is not very clear. It appears however that the events recorded in 1 Chronicles 5:26 occurred first, because of Pul king of Assyria being mentioned, for he reigned before Tiglath-pileser: here the latter is named as carrying away the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh: showing that the Israelites who stopped short of their privileges, and did not crossthe Jordan, were the first to be carried into captivity. There is nothing in the passage to fix the date, but in 2 Kings 15:29 is another reference to Israel when Tiglath-pileser took Ijon, Abel-beth-maachah, Janoah, Kedesh, and Hazor, which are all in the north on the west of the Jordan; butthen is added Gilead, which is on the east, and this may be intended to embrace the two and a half tribes; then Galilee with all the land of Naphtali is added, which is again in the north on the west. So that this may be a summary of all that this king carried away captive to Assyria. It was 'in the days of Pekah,' and Pekah reigned 20 years: the date is generally reckoned as B.C. 740 for the captivity of the two and a half tribes.
A more definite date is given for the captivity of the remaining portion of Israel in 2 Kings 18:10,11 . It was in the ninth year of Hoshea, king of Israel and the sixth of Hezekiah that Samaria was taken by the Assyrians after a three years' siege: this would be B.C. 722. The captives were carried to Halah and Habor by the river of Gozan (these same names being mentioned in 1 Chronicles 5:26 , with Hara added there). These places are supposed to be in the north of Assyria; but in the above passage in Kings the words are added "and in the cities of the Medes." This is a region much farther east, where they would be far removed from their brethren in Assyria and from Judah, who were afterwards carried to Babylon.
The captivity of Judah followed in four detachments. Nebuchadnezzar, B.C. 606, carried away the sacred vessels and captives, among whom were Daniel and his companions. This formed the commencement of the 'times of the Gentiles.' 2 Chronicles 36:6,7 . The second captivity was in B.C. 599, when Jehoiachin had reigned three months. It is called the great captivity. Zedekiah was left as a vassal of Babylon. 2 Kings 24:14; 2 Chronicles 36:10 . The third captivity was in B.C. 588. 2 Chronicles 36:20 . The fourth was in B.C. 584 under Nebuzar-adan. Jeremiah 52:12,30 . The 70 years of captivity foretold by Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 25:11,12 ) commenced B.C. 606 and expired B.C. 536 when the Jews returned to Judaea by the proclamation of Cyrus king of Persia. Jeremiah 29:10; Ezra 1 . The captivity is referred to in Matthew 1:11,17 as 'the carrying away.' The places to which Israel and Judah were carried are considered under their respective names.
Those who returned from exile were the two tribes, Judah and Benjamin (unless any few of the ten tribes may have accompanied them; cf. Luke 2:36 ). They retained possession of the land, under many changes and vicissitudes, until their Messiah appeared. His rejection and crucifixion resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans A.D. 70, and the scattering of the Jews to all parts of the world.
Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary 
God generally punished the sins and infidelities of the Jews by different captivities or servitudes. The first captivity is that of Egypt, from which they were delivered by Moses, and which should be considered rather as a permission of providence, than as a punishment for sin. Six captivities are reckoned during the government by judges: the first, under Chushanrishathaim, king of Mesopotamia, which continued about eight years; the second, under Eglon, king of Moab, from which the Jews were delivered by Ehud; the third, under the Philistines, from which they were rescued by Shamgar; the fourth, under Jabin, king of Hazor, from which they were delivered by Deborah and Barak; the fifth, under the Midianites, from which Gideon freed them; and the sixth, under the Ammonites and Philistines, during the judicatures of Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, Eli, Samson, and Samuel. But the greatest and most remarkable captivities were those of Israel and Judah, under their regal government.
King James Dictionary 
1. The state of being a prisoner, or of being in the power of an enemy by force or the fate of war. 2. Subjection to love. 3. Subjection a state of being under control.
Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10 .
4. Subjection servitude slavery.
But I see another law in my members--bringing me into captivity to the law of sin. Romans 7 .
To lead captivity captive, in scripture, is to subdue those who have held others in slavery, or captivity. Psalms 98 .
Webster's Dictionary 
(1): (n.) A state of being under control; subjection of the will or affections; bondage.
(2): (n.) The state of being a captive or a prisoner.
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible 
CAPTIVITY . See Israel, I. 23 .
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary 
Holman Bible Dictionary 
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament 
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature 
(properly some form of the root שָבָה , Shabah', to Take Captive; but frequently expressed by other Hebrews words). The experience was so frequent as to have become a metaphorical expression ( Job 42:10). The bondage (q.v.) of Israel in Egypt, and their subjugation at different times by the Philistines and other nations, (See Judges), are sometimes included under the above title; and the Jews themselves, perhaps with reference to Daniel's vision (Daniel 7), reckon their national captivities as four — the Babylonian. Median, Grecian, and Roman (Eisenmenger, Entdecktes Judenthum, 1:748). But the popular distinction usually confines the term to the conquest and dispersion of the "ten northern" tribes by the Assyrians, the subsequent deportation of the remaining "two tribes" by the Babylonians, and the final disruption of the entire Jewish polity by the Romans. (See Captive). The word Captivity, as applied to the people of Israel, has been appropriated, contrary to the analogy of our language, to mean Expatriation.
The violent removal of the entire population of a city, or sometimes even of a district, is not an uncommon event in ancient history. As a measure of policy, no objection to it on the ground of humanity was felt by anyone, since, in fact, it was a very mild proceeding, in comparison with that of selling a tribe or nation into slavery. Every such destruction of national existence, even in modern times, is apt to be embittered be the simultaneous disruption of religious bonds; but in the ancient world, the positive sanctity attributed to special places, and the local attachment of Deity, made expatriation doubly severe. The Hebrew people, for instance, in many most vital points, could no longer obey their sacred law at all when personally removed from Jerusalem; and in many others they were forced to modify it by reason of their change of circumstances. Two principal motives impelled conquering powers thus to transport families in the mass: first, the desire of rapidly filling with a valuable population new cities, built for pride or for policy; next, the determination to break up hostile organizations, or dangerous reminiscences of past greatness. Both might sometimes be combined in the same act. To attain the former object, the skilled artisans would in particular be carried off; while the latter was better effected by transporting all the families of the highest birth, and all the well-trained soldiery. The Greeks used the special epithet Ἀνάσπαστοι for a population thus removed (Herod. 6:93, passim).
'''I.''' Assyrian Captivity Of "Israel" —
1. Its Occurrence. — The kingdom of Israel was invaded by three or four successive kings of Assyria. Pul or Sardanapalus, according to H. Rawlinson (Outline Of Assyrian History, p. 14; but comp. G. Rawlinson, Herodotus, 1:466),imposed a tribute, B.C. cir. 762, upon Menahem ( 1 Chronicles 5:26, and 2 Kings 15:19). Tiglath - Pileser carried away, B.C. cir. 738, the trans-Jordanic tribes ( 1 Chronicles 5:26) and the inhabitants of Galilee ( 2 Kings 15:29; compare Isaiah 9:1) to Assyria. Shalmaneser twice invaded ( 2 Kings 17:3; 2 Kings 17:5) the kingdom which remained to Hoshea, took Samaria, B.C. 720, after a siege of three years, and carried Israel away into Assyria. (See Hoshea). In an inscription interpreted by Rawlinson (Herodotus, 1:472), the capture of Samaria is claimed by king Sargon ( Isaiah 20:1) as his own achievement. The cities of Samaria were occupied by people sent from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and Sepharvaim; and Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river of Gozan became the seats of the exiled Israelites. (See Kingdom Of Israel).
The theory of this history is, that in the time of these conquering monarchs Assyria was rapidly rising into power, and to aggrandize Nineveh was probably a great object of policy. It is therefore credible, as Tiglath-Pileser had received no particular provocation from the Israelites, that he carried off those masses of population to stock his huge city with. His successor Shalmaneser made the Israelitish king Hoshea tributary. When the tribute was withheld, he attacked and reduced Samaria, and, by way of punishment and of prevention, transported into Assyria and Media its king and all the most valuable population remaining to the ten tribes ( 2 Kings 17:6). That he did not carry off all the peasants is probable from the nature of the case; Hengstenberg, however, maintains the contrary (Genuineness of the Pentateuch, 1:71 sq. Edinb. tr.). The families thus removed were in a great measure settled in very distant cities, many of them probably not far from the Caspian Sea, and their place was supplied by colonies from Babylon and Susis ( 2 Kings 17:24). (See Assyria).
2. Condition Of The Assyrian Captives. — This was probably not essentially different in its external circumstances from that of their Judaite brethren subsequently during the exile in Babylon. (See below.) We know nothing, except by inference from the book of Tobit (q.v.), of the religious or social state of the Israelitish exiles in Assyria. Doubtless the constant policy of seventeen successive kings had effectually estranged the people from that religion which centered in the Temple, and had reduced the number of faithful men below the 7000 who were revealed for the consolation of Elijah. Some priests at least were among them ( 2 Kings 17:28), though it is not certain that these were of the tribe of Levi ( 1 Kings 12:31). The people had been nurtured for 250 years in idolatry in their own land, where they departed not ( 2 Kings 17:22) from the sins of Jeroboam, notwithstanding the proximity of the Temple, and the succession of inspired prophets ( 2 Kings 17:13) among them. Deprived of these checks on their natural inclinations ( 2 Kings 17:15), torn from their native soil, destitute of a hereditary king, they probably became more and more closely assimilated to their heathen neighbors in Media. And when, after the lapse of more than a century, they were joined by the first exiles from Jerusalem, very few families probably retained sufficient faith in the God of their fathers to appreciate and follow the instruction of Ezekiel. But whether they were many or few, their genealogies were probably lost, a fusion of them with the Jews took place, Israel ceasing to envy Judah ( Isaiah 11:13); and Ezekiel may have seen his own symbolical prophecy ( Ezekiel 37:15-19) partly fulfilled.
The nation thus transported by the monarchs of Assyria and Babylon were treated with no unnecessary harshness, even under the dynasty that captured them. So far were they from the condition of bondsmen (which the word "captive" suggests), that the book of Susanna represents their elders in Babylon as retaining the power of life and death over their own people (1:28), when Daniel was as yet a very young man. The authority of that book cannot indeed be pressed as to the chronology, yet the notices given by Ezekiel ( Ezekiel 14:1; Ezekiel 20:1) concur in the general fact that they still held an internal jurisdiction over their own members. At a later time, under the Seleucidae, we have distinct proof that in the principal cities the Jews were governed by an officer ( Ἐθνάρχης ) of their own nation, as also in Egypt under the Ptolemies. The book of Tobit exhibits Israelites in Media possessed of slaves themselves (8:18); the book of Daniel tells us of a Jew in eminent political station, and that of Esther celebrates their power and consequence in the Persian empire. Under the Seleucidae, (See Antiochus), they were occasionally important as garrison soldiers; and it may be suspected that, on the whole, their lot was milder than that of the other conquered nations among which they dwelt.
3. Eventual Fate Of The Exiles In Assyria. — Many attempts have been made to discover the ten tribes existing as a distinct community. Josephus (Ant. 11:5, 2) believed that in his day they dwelt in large multitudes somewhere beyond the Euphrates, in Arsareth, according to the author of 2 Esdras 13:45. Rabbinical traditions and fables, committed to writing in the Middle Ages, assert the same fact (Lightfoot, Hor. Hebr. in 1 Corinthians 14, Appendix), with many marvelous amplifications (Eisenmenger, Ent. Jud. vol. 2, ch. 10; Jahn, Hebrew Commonwealth App. bk. 6). The imagination of Christian writers has sought them in the neighborhood of their last recorded habitation; Jewish features have been traced in the Affghan tribes; rumors are heard to this day of a Jewish colony at the foot of the Himalayas; the Black Jews of Malabar claim affinity with them; elaborate attempts have been made to identify them with the Tartars (G. Fletcher, Israel Redux, Lond. 1677), and more recently with the Nestorians (Grant's Nestorians, N. Y. 1841), and in the seventeenth century with the Indians of North America. But, though history bears no witness of their present distinct existence, it enables us to track the footsteps of the departing race in four directions after the time of the Captivity:
(1.) Some returned and mixed with the Jews ( Luke 2:36; Philippians 3:5, etc.).
(2.) Some were left in Samaria, mingled with the Samaritans ( Ezra 6:21; John 4:12), and became bitter enemies of the Jews.
(3.) Many remained in Assyria, and, mixing with the Jews, formed colonies throughout the East, and were recognized as an integral part of the Dispersion (see Acts 2:9; Acts 26:7; Buchanan's Christian Researches, p. 212), for whom, probably ever since the days of Ezra, that plaintive prayer, the tenth of the Shemoneh Esre, has been daily offered, "Sound the great trumpet for our deliverance, lift up a banner for the gathering of our exiles, and unite us all together from the four ends of the earth."
(4.) Most, probably, apostatized in Assyria, as Prideaux (sub ann. 677) supposes, and adopted the usages and idolatry of the nations among whom they were planted, and became wholly swallowed up in them. Dissertations on the Ten Tribes have been written by Calmet (Commentaire Litteral, vol. 3 and 6) and others (the latest by J. Kennedy, Lond. 1855); also innumerable essays and disquisitions scattered in the works of travelers, and in the pages of various periodicals, mostly of a highly fanciful character. Every scriptural intimation respecting them, however, goes to show that they shared the ultimate history of their brethren of the kingdom of Judah transported to the same or adjoining parts. See below.
'''Ii.''' Babylonian Captivity Of "Judah" —
1. Its Date. — Sennacherib, B.C. 713, is stated (Rawlinson, Outline, p. 24; but comp. Demetrius ap. Clem. Alexand. Stromata, 1:21, incorrectly quoted as confirming the statement) to have carried into Assyria 200,000 captives from the Jewish cities which he took ( 2 Kings 18:13). Nebuchadnezzar, early in his reign, B.C. 606-562, repeatedly invaded Judsea, and finally beseiged Jerusalem, carried away the inhabitants to Babylon, and destroyed the city and Temple. Two distinct deportations are mentioned in 2 Kings 24:14; 2 Kings 25:11; one in 2 Chronicles 36:20; three in Jeremiah 52:28-29, and one in Daniel 1:3. The two principal deportations were, (1) that which took place B.C. 598, when Jehoiachin, with all the nobles, soldiers, and artificers were carried away; and (2) that which followed the destruction of the Temple and the capture of Zedekiah, B.C. 588. The three which Jeremiah mentions may have been the contributions of a particular class or district to the general captivity; or they may have taken place, under the orders of Nebuchadnezzar, before or after the two principal deportations. The third is located by the date in B.C. 582. The captivity of certain selected children, B.C. 607, mentioned by Daniel ( Daniel 1:3; Daniel 1:6), who was one of them, may have occurred when Nebuchadnezzar (q.v.) was colleague or lieutenant of his father Nabopolassar, a year before he reigned alone. The captivity of Ezekiel (q.v.) dates from B.C. 598, when that prophet, like Mordecai, the uncle of Esther ( Esther 2:6), accompanied Jehoiachin.
There is a difficulty in the statement with which the book of Daniel opens, which is generally interpreted to mean that in the third year of Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar besieged and captured Jerusalem, partially plundered the Temple, and carried off the first portion of the people into captivity, among whom was Daniel. The text, however, does not explicitly say so much, although such is the obvious meaning; but if this is the only interpretation, we find it in direct collision with the books of Kings and Chronicles (which assign to Jehoiakim an eleven years' reign), as also with Jeremiah 25:1. The statement in Daniel partly rests on 2 Chronicles 36:6, which is itself not in perfect accordance with 2 Kings 24. In the earlier history, the war broke out during the reign of Jehoiakim, who died before its close; and when his son and successor Jehoiachin had reigned three months, the city and its king were captured. But in the Chronicles, the same event is made to happen twice, at an interval of three months and ten days ( 2 Chronicles 36:6; 2 Chronicles 36:9), and even thus we do not obtain accordance with the received interpretation of Daniel 1:1-3. It seems, on the whole, the easiest supposition that "the third Year of Jehoia Kim" is there a mistake for "the third Month of Jehoiachin." Hengstenberg, however, and H Ä vernick defend the common reading, and think they reconcile it with the other accounts; which may not unreasonably be done by understanding the date in Daniel 1:1, to refer to the Setting Out of Nebuchadnezzar on the campaign in question. (See Kingdom Of Judah).
There has been considerable difference of opinion as to how the 70 years of captivity spoken of by Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 25:12; Jeremiah 29:10) are to be estimated. A plausible opinion would make them last from the destruction of the first Temple, B.C. 588, to the finishing of the second, B.C. 516; but the words of the text so specify "the punishing of the king of Babylon" as the end of the 70 years — which gives us the date B.C. 538 — that many, with Jahn, cling to the belief that a first captivity took place in the third year of Jehoiakim, B.C.605. But, in fact, if we read Jeremiah himself, it may appear that in ch. 25 he intends to compute the 70 years from the time at which he speaks ( Jeremiah 29:1, "in the fourth year of Jehoiakim," i.e. B.C. 604); and that in 29:10, the number " seventy years" is still kept up, in remembrance of the former prophecy, although the language there used is very lax. There seem, in fact to be two, if not more, coordinate modes of computing the period in question, used by the sacred writers, one civil, and extending from the first invasion by Nebuchadnezzar to the decree of Cyrus B.C. 606-536), and the other ecclesiastical, from the burning of the Temple to its reconstruction (B.C. 588-517). (See Seventy Years Captivity).
2. Its Extent. — Jeremiah dates by the years of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, and estimates that in his seventh year 3023 were carried off, in his eighteenth 832, and in his twenty-third only 745, making in all, as the writer is careful to note, 4600 ( Jeremiah 52:28, etc.). The third removal he ascribes to Nebuzaradan, the Babylonian general. That some misunderstanding here exists, at least in the Numbers, appears undeniable; for 4600 persons was a very petty fraction of the Jewish people; and, in fact, 42,360 are stated to have returned immediately upon the decree of Cyrus ( Ezra 2:64). In 2 Kings 24:8-16, we find 18,000 carried off at once, in the third month of king Jehoiachin, and in the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar, which evidently is the same as the first removal named by Jeremiah. After this, the vassal king Zedekiah having rebelled, his city is beleaguered, and finally, in his eleventh year, is reduced by Nebuchadnezzar in person; and in the course of the same year, "the nineteenth of Nebuchadnezzar" ( 2 Kings 25:8), Nebuzaradan carries away all the population except the peasants. Perhaps we need not wonder that no mention is made in the book of Kings of the third deportation, for the account of the destruction was in a manner complete upon the second invasion. The first expatriation was directed to swell the armies and strengthen the towns of the conqueror; for of the 18,000 then carried away, 1000 were "craftsmen and smiths, all strong and apt for war," and 7000 of the rest are called "mighty men of valor." (Yet there is an uncertainty about 2 Kings 25:14; 2 Kings 25:16 in 2 Kings 24. Probably here, as well as in Jeremiah 53, heads of families only are counted.) It was not until the rebellion of Zedekiah that Nebuchadnezzar proceeded to the extremity of breaking up the national existence. As the Temple was then burnt, with all the palaces and the city walls, and no government was left but that of the Babylonian satrap, this latter date is evidently the true era of the captivity. Previously Zedekiah was tributary, but so were Josiah and Ahaz long before; the national existence was still saved. (See Babylonia).
3. Its Conparative Mildness. — The captive Jews were probably prostrated at first by their great calamity, till the glorious vision of Ezekiel ( Ezekiel 1:1) in the fifth year of the captivity revived and reunited them. The wishes of their conqueror were satisfied when he had displayed his power by transporting them into another land, and gratified his pride by inscribing on the walls of the royal palace his victorious progress and the number of his captives. He could not have designed simply to increase the population of Babylon, for his Assyrian predecessor had sent Babylonian colonists into Samaria. One political end certainly was attained — the more easy government of a people separated from local traditions and associations (see Gesenius on Isaiah 26:16, and compare Genesis 47:21). It was also a great advantage to the Assyro-Babylonian king to remove from the Egyptian border of his empire a people who were notoriously well affected toward Egypt. The captives were treated not as slaves, but as colonists. There was nothing to hinder a Jew from rising to the highest eminence in the state ( Daniel 2:48), or holding the most confidential office near the person of the king ( Nehemiah 1:11; Tobit 1:13; Tobit 1:22). The advice of Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 29:5, etc.) was generally followed. The exiles increased in numbers and in wealth. They observed the Mosaic law ( Esther 3:8; Tobit 14:9). They kept up distinctions of rank among themselves ( Ezekiel 20:1). And though the assertion in the Talmud be unsupported by proof that they assigned thus early to one of their countrymen the title of Head of the Captivity (or captain of the people, 2 Esdras 5:16), it is certain that they at least preserved their genealogical tables, and were at no loss to tell who was the rightful heir to David's throne. They had neither place nor time of national gathering; no temple, and they offered no sacrifice. But the rite of circumcision, and their laws respecting food, etc., were observed; their priests were with them ( Jeremiah 29:1); and possibly the practice of erecting synagogues in every city ( Acts 15:21) was begun by the Jews in the Babylonian captivity. The captivity is not without contemporaneous literature.
In the apocryphal book of Tobit, which is generally believed to be a mixture of poetical fiction with historical facts recorded by a contemporary, we have a picture of the inner life of a family of the tribe of Naphtali, among the captives whom Shalmaneser brought to Nineveh. The apocryphal book of Baruch seems, in Mr. Layard's opinion, to have been written by one whose eyes, like those of Ezekiel, were familiar with the gigantic forms of Assyrian sculpture. Several of the Psalms appear to express the sentiments of Jews who were either partakers or witnesses of the Assyrian captivity. Ewald assigns to this period Psalms 42, 43, 84, 17, 16, 49, 22, 25, 38, 88, 40, 49, 109, 51, 71, 25, 34, 82, 14, 120, 121, 123, 130, 131. Also in Psalms 80 we seem to have the words of an Israelite, dwelling perhaps in Judaea ( 2 Chronicles 15:9; 2 Chronicles 31:6), who had seen the departure of his countrymen to Assyria; and in Psalms 137 an outpouring of the first intense feelings of a Jewish exile in Babylon. But it is from the three great prophets — Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel — that we learn most of the condition of the children of the captivity. The distant warnings of Jeremiah, advising and cheering them, followed them into Assyria. There, for a few years, they had no prophetic guide; till suddenly the vision of Ezekiel at Chebar (in the immediate vicinity of Nineveh, according to Layard, or, according to others, near Carchemish on the Euphrates) assured them that the glory which filled the Temple at Jerusalem was not hopelessly withdrawn from the outcast people of God. As Jeretmiah warned them of coming woe, so Ezekiel taught them how to bear that which was come upon them. When Ezekiel died, after passing at least twenty-seven years ( Ezekiel 29:17) in captivity, Daniel survived even beyond the Return; and though his high station and ascetic life probably secluded him from frequent familiar intercourse with his people, he filled the place of chief interpreter of God's will to Israel, and gave the most conspicuous example of devotion and obedience to his laws.
4. The Restoration From Babylon. — The first great event in the Return is the decree of Cyrus, B.C. 516 (which was possibly framed by Daniel; see Milman, Hist. Of Jews, 2:8), in consequence of which 42,360 Jews of Babylon returned under Sheshbazzar, with 7337 slaves, besides cattle. This ended in their building the altar, and laying the foundation of the second Temple, fifty-three years after the destruction of the first. The progress of the work was, however, almost immediately stopped; for Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest abruptly refused all help from the half-heathen inhabitants of Samaria, and soon felt the effects of the enmity thus induced. That the mind of Cyrus was changed by their intrigues we are not informed, but he was probably absent in distant parts through continual war. There is some difficulty in Ezra 4 as to the names Ahasuerus and Artaxerxes, yet the general facts are clear. When Darius (Hystaspis), an able and generous monarch, ascended the throne, the Jews soon obtained his favor. At this crisis Zerubbabel was in chief authority (Sheshbazzar, if a different person, perhaps being dead), and under him the Temple was recommenced in the second and finished in the sixth year of Darius, B.C. 520-517. Although this must be reckoned an era in the history, it is not said to have been accompanied with any new immigration of Jews. We pass on to "the seventh year of king Artaxerxes" (Longimanus), Ezra 7:7, i.e. B.C. 459, when Ezra comes up from Babylon to Jerusalem, with the king's commendatory letters, accompanied by a large body of his nation. The enumeration in Ezra 8 makes them under 1800 males, with their families; perhaps amounting to 5000 persons, young and old: of whom 113 are recounted as having heathen wives ( Ezra 10:18-43). In the twentieth year of the same king, or B.C. 446, Nehemiah, his cup-bearer, gains his permission to restore "his fathers' sepulchres," and the walls of his native city, and is sent to Jerusalem with large powers. This is the crisis which decided the national restoration of the Jewish people; for before their city was fortified they had no defense against the now confirmed enmity of their Samaritan neighbors; and, in fact, before the walls could be built, several princes around were able to offer great opposition. (See Sanballat). The Jewish population was overwhelmed with debt, and had generally mortgaged their little estates to the rich; but Nehemiah's influence succeeded in bringing about a general forfeiture of debts, or, at least, of interest; after which we may regard the new order of things to have been finally established in Judaea. (See Nehemiah). From this time forth it is probable that numerous families returned in small parties, as to a secure home, until all the waste land in the neighborhood was reoccupied.
The great mass of the Israelitish race nevertheless remained in the lands to which they had been scattered. Previous to the captivity, many Israelites had settled in Egypt ( Zechariah 10:11; Isaiah 19:18), and many Jews afterward fled thither from Nebuzaradan ( Jeremiah 41:17). Others appear to have established themselves in Sheba (see Jost's Geschichte, etc.), where Jewish influence became very powerful. (See Sheba). Among those that returned to Judea, about 30,000 are specified (comp. Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7) as belonging to the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi. It has been inferred (Prideaux, sub ann. 526) that the remaining 12,000 belonged to the tribes of Israel (comp. Ezra 6:17). Also from the fact that out of the twenty-four courses of priests only four returned ( Ezra 2:36), it has been inferred that the whole number of exiles who chose to continue in Assyria was about six times the number of those who returned. Those who remained ( Esther 8:9; Esther 8:11), and kept up their national distinction, were known as The Dispersion ( John 7:35; 1 Peter 1:1; James 1:1); and in course of time they served a great purpose in diffusing a knowledge of the true God, and in affording a point for the commencement of the efforts of the evangelists of the Christian faith. See below, and comp. RESTORATION (See Restoration) (Of The Jews).
5. Effects Of The Captivity. — The exile was a period of change in the vernacular language of the Jews (see Nehemiah 8:8, and (See Chaldee Language) ) and in the national character. The Jews who returned were remarkably free from the old sin of idolatry: a great spiritual renovation, in accordance with the divine promise ( Ezekiel 36:24-28), was wrought in them. A new and deep feeling of reverence for at least the letter of the law and the institutions of Moses was probably a result of the religious service which was performed in the synagogues. At the same time their theosophical and daemonological views were developed by their contact with Oriental systems, and perhaps by the polemics thereby engendered, and especially by their review of their own religious resources; and their more careful study of the didactic portions of the O.T. Scriptures; certain it is that from this period we can date not only a fuller angelology, (See Angel), but also more subtle philosophical distinctions, (See Philosophy)] and in particular a more distinct recognition of the great doctrines of the immortality of the soul, and even of the resurrection of the body, which we subsequently find so unquestioned by the orthodox Pharisees. (See Sects (Of The Jews).) All this was the natural consequence of the absence of the ritual services of the Temple, which brought out the more spiritual elements of Mosaism, and thus was the nation better prepared for the dispensation of the Gospel. A new impulse of commercial enterprise and activity was also implanted in them, and developed in the days of the Dispersion (see James 4:13), which they have continued to feel even to the present time. In fine, an innovation was effected upon the narrow and one-sided notions of Judaism by the associations of the exile, which, although it resulted in the defection of many from the national faith (but of these few cared to return to their native land), yet — like the earlier Sojourn in Egypt (with which, in the glowing pictures of prophecy, it was often compared) — ended in the colonization of Palestine with a fresh and more thoroughly cultured population, yet more scrupulously devoted than ever to the theocratic cultus, who volunteered with pious zeal to lay anew the foundations of the Hebrew polity.
6. The Dispersion, Ἡ Διασπορά ( 2 Maccabees 1:27; James 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1; John 7:35; Josephus, Ant. 12:1, 3, etc.; Sept. for גָּלוּת , which it also renders Ἀποικία , Μετοικεσία , Αἰχμαλωσία ) , is the collective name given to all those descendants of the twelve tribes ( James 1:1; Τὸ Δωδεκάφυλον , Acts 26:7) who lived without the confines of Palestine ( Ἔξω , 1 Corinthians 5:13., etc.; הִיָּם מַדַינִת , חוּצָה לָאֶרֶוֹ , Talmudic Mishna), during the time of the second Temple. The number of exiles, mostly of the tribe of Judah and Benjamin ( Ezra 1:5, etc.), who availed themselves of the permission of Cyrus to return from their captivity in Babylon to the land of their fathers, scarcely exceeded, if indeed it reached, the number of 50,000 [the total stated both in Ezra and Nehemiah is, exclusive of the slaves, 42,360; but the sum of the items given — with slight differences — in both documents, falls short of 30,000]. Old Jewish authorities see in this surplus Israelites of the ten tribes (comp. Seder Olam Rabbah, ch. 24), and among these few but the lowest and humblest, or such as had yielded to authority, were to be found (comp. Mishna, Kidushin, 4:1; Gem. 71:1).
The great bulk of the nation remained scattered over the wide dominions of the Persian empire, preferring the new homes in which they enjoyed all the privileges of native-born subjects, and where they had in many cases acquired wealth and honors, to the dangers and difficulties of a recolonization of their former country. But while, by the hands of the despised minority who had bravely gone forth, was to be recreated not only the Temple, the visible center of Judaism, but also the Astill more imposing and important edifice of the Jewish law and Jewish culture, to the much larger section which remained behind, and gradually diffused itself over the whole of the then known world, it was given to participate in the intellectual life and the progress in civilization of all the nations with whom their lot was cast. To the Dispersion is thus due the cosmopolitan element in Judaism which has added so vastly not only to its own strength and durability, but also, geographically at least, to thee rapid spread of Christianity. So far, however, from the dispersion paving the way for the new faith by relaxing the rigor of Jewish law, written or oral — as has been assumed by some — one of the strongest ties by which these voluntary exiles were bound to Palestine and Jerusalem consisted in the very regulations and decisions on all ritual and legal points which they received from the supreme religious authorities, either brought back by their own delegates, or transmitted to them by special messengers from the Central Court, the Sanhedrim ( Acts 28:21).
Generally it might be said of the whole Diaspora, as Philo (Flacc. § 7) said of that of Egypt: that while they looked upon the country in which they had been born and bred as their home, still they never ceased, so long as the Temple stood, to consider Jerusalem as the spiritual metropolis to which their eyes and hearts were directed. Many were the pilgrimages undertaken thither from their far-distant lands ( Acts 2:5; Acts 2:9-11; Joseph. War, 6:9, 3, etc.). The Talmud (Jeremiah Meg. 3:75; comp. Tos. Meg. 100:2) speaks of no less than 380 synagogues in Jerusalem, besides the Temple, all belonging to different communities of the Dispersion (comp. also Acts 6:9). Abundant and far exceeding the normal tax of half a shekel (Shek. 7:4) were the gifts they sent regularly for the support of the holy place (gold instead of silver and copper, Tos. Shek. 100:2), and still more liberal were the monetary equivalents for sacrifices, propitiatory offerings ( Χύτρα , Philo), for vows, etc., which flowed from all countries into the sacred treasury. The Sanhedrim again regulated the year, with all its subdivisions, throughout the wide circle of the Dispersion; the fact that the commencement of the new month had been officially recognized being announced either by beacon-fires to the adjoining countries, or by messengers to places more remote. That, in general, there existed, as far as circumstances permitted, an uninterrupted intercourse between the Jews abroad and those in Palestine cannot be doubted. Probably, owing to this very connection, two foreign academies only seem to have existed during the time of the second Temple; the youth of the Dispersion naturally preferring to resort to the fountain-head of learning and religious instruction in the Holy City. The final destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem was thus a blow hardly less sensibly felt by the Dispersion than by their brethren of Jerusalem themselves. From that time forward no visible center bound the widely-scattered members of the Jewish nation together; nothing remained to them but common memories, common hopes, and a common faith.
(a.) Foremost in the two or three chief sections into which the Dispersion has been divided stands the Babylonian ( Ὑπὲρ Εὐφράτην , Josephus, Ant. 15:3, 1), embracing all the Jews of the Persian empire, into every part of which ( Esther 3:8) — Babylonia, Media, Persia, Susiana, Mesopotamia, Assyria, etc. — they penetrated. The Jews of Babylonia proper prided themselves on the exceptional purity of their lineage — a boast uniformly recognized throughout the nation. What Judaea, it was said, was with respect to the Dispersion of other countries — as pure flour to dough that Babylonia was to Judaea (Jerus. Talm. Kid. 6:1). Herod pretended to have sprung from Babylonian ancestors (Joseph. Ant. 14:1, 3), and also bestowed the high-priesthood upon a man from Babylon (Joseph. Ant. 15:2, 4). In the messages sent by the Sanhedrim to the whole Dispersion, Babylonia received the precedence (Sanh. 11); although it remained a standing reproach against the Babylonians that they had held aloof from the national cause when their brethren returned to Palestine, and thus had caused the weakness of the Jewish state (Yoma, 9); as indeed living in Palestine under any circumstances is enumerated among the (613) Jewish ordinances (Nachmanides, Comm. to Maimonides's Sepher Hammizvoth).
The very territory of Babylonia was, for certain ritual purposes, considered to be as pure as Palestine itself. Very little is known of the history of the Babylonian Diaspora; but there is no reason to suppose that its condition was, under Persian as well as under Seleucidian and Parthian rule, at most times other than flourishing and prosperous; such as we find that it was when it offered Hyrcanus "honors not inferior to those of a king" (Joseph. Ant. 15:2, 2). Of Alexander the Great, Josephus records expressly that he confirmed the former privileges of the Jews in Babylonia (Joseph. Ant. 11:8, 5), notwithstanding their firm refusal to assist in rebuilding the temple of Belus at Babylon (Hecat. ap. Joseph. Ap. 1:22). Two great cities, Nisibis in Mesopotamia, and Nehardea on the Euphrates, where the moneys intended for transmission to Jerusalem were deposited (Joseph. Ant. 18:9, 1, 3, 4, etc.), as was the case also at Apamea in Asia Minor, Laodicea in Phrygia, Pergamus and Adramyttium in AEolis — seem to have been entirely their own, and for a number of years they appear even to have enjoyed the undisputed possession of a whole principality (ib. 5). Great calamities, however, befell them, both about this time under Mithridates (ib. 9), and later under Caligula, through the jealousy of the Greeks and Syrians; and at both of these epochs they emigrated in large numbers. Whether they had in those times, as was afterward the case, a universally recognized ethnarch at their head, is open to doubt, although Seder Olam Sutta enumerates the names of fifteen generations of such, down to the third century. The ties which linked Babylonia to Palestine were perhaps closer than in the case of any other portion of the Dispersion, both on account of their greater proximity, which enabled them to communicate by beacons (Beth-Biltin being the last station on the frontiers; Rosh Hash. 2:7), and of their common Aramaic idiom. That this Dispersion was not without an influence on the development of the Zoroastrian religion (comp. Spiegel, intr. to Zendavesta), which in its turn again influenced Judaism (and, at a later stage, Gnosticism), can hardly be doubted; at the same time, it was Babylon which, after the final destruction of the Temple, by its numerous and far-famed academies, became for a long time the spiritual center of the Jewish race, and was the seat of the prince of the Diaspora (Resh Gelutha). (See Babylon).
(b.) The second great and pre-eminently important group of the Dispersion we find in Egypt. Of the original immigrations from Palestine (comp. Zechariah 10:11), and of those which took place in the times of the last kings of Judah ( Jeremiah 41:17), we have no more certain traces than of those under Artaxerxes Ochus (Josephus; Revelation 1 , etc.). It was only after Alexander the Great, who first settled 8000 Jewish soldiers in the Thebais, and peopled a third of his newly-founded city Alexandria with Jews, and Ptolemaeus, the son of Lagus, after him, who increased the number of Egyptian Jews by fresh importations from Palestine, that the Egyptian Dispersion began to spread over the whole country, from the Libyan desert in the north to the boundaries of Ethiopia in the south (Philo, Fl. 2:523), over the Cyrenaica and parts of Libya (Joseph. Ant. 16:7, 2), and along the borders of the African coast of the Mediterranean. They enjoyed equal rights with their fellow-subjects, both Egyptian and Greek ( Ἰσοπολιτεία , Joseph. Revelation 2:4, etc.), and were admitted to the highest offices and dignities.
The free development which was there allowed them enabled them to reach, under Greek auspices, the highest eminence in science and art. Their artists and workmen were sent for to distant countries, as once the Phoenicians had been (Yoma, 3:8, A.; Erach. 10, B). In Greek strategy and Greek statesmanship, Greek learning and Greek refinement, they were ready disciples. From the number of Judaeo-Greek fragments, historical, didactic, epic, etc. (by Demetrius, Malchus, Eupolemus, Artapan, Aristaeus, Jason, Ezechielus, Philo the Elder, Theodotion, etc.; collected in M Ü ller, Fragm. Hist. Grcec. in, 207-230), which have survived, we may easily conclude what an immense literature this Egyptian Dispersion must have possessed. To them is owing likewise the Greek translation of the Bible known as the Septuagint, which, in its turn, while it estranged the people more and more from the language of their fathers, the Hebrew, gave rise to a vast pseudo-epigraphical and apocryphal literature (Orphica, Sybillines, Pseudophoclea; poems by Linus, Homer, Hesiod; additions to Esther, Ezra, the Maccabees, Book of Wisdom, Baruch, Jeremiah, Susannah, etc.). Most momentous of all, however, was that peculiar Graeco-Jewish philosophy which sprang from a mixture of Hellenism and Orientalism, and which played such a prominent part in the early history of Christianity.
The administrative government of this Egyptian, or, rather, African Dispersion, which, no less than all other branches, for all religious purposes looked to Jerusalem as the head, was, at the time of Christ, in the hands of a Gerousia (Sukkah, 51, b; Philo, Fl. 2:5, 28), consisting of seventy members and an ethnarch (alabarch), chosen from their own body, of priestly lineage. These sat at Alexandria, where two of the five divisions of the city, situated on the Delta (the site best adapted for navigation and commercial purposes), were occupied exclusively by Jews (Josephus, Ant. 14:7, 2). Of the splendor of the Alexandrine temple, there is a glowing account in the Jerusalem (Suk. 10, b); and when, in consequence of the Syrian oppression in Palestine, Onias, the son of the last high-priest of the line of Joshua, had fled to Egypt, where Ptolemy Philometor gave him an extensive district near Heliopolis, a new temple (Beth Chonyo) had arisen at Leontopolis (Joseph. Ant. 13:3, 2, f.), B.C. 180, which bade fair to rival the Temple of Jerusalem. Such, indeed, was the influence of the Jews in Egypt, whom Philo (Fl. 6) in his time estimates at a million, that this new temple was treated with consideration even by the Sanhedrim (Menach. 109, a). Their condition, it may easily be inferred, was flourishing both under the Seleucidian and Roman sway, but under Caligula, and still more under Nero (Joseph. War, 2:18, 7), they, like their brethren in other parts of the Roman empire, suffered greatly from sudden outbursts of the populace, prompted and countenanced in some instances by their rulers. From Egypt the Diaspora spread southward to Abyssinia, where some remnants of it still exist under the name of the Falasha, and in all likelihood eastward to Arabia (Miishna, Shab. 6:6), where we find a Jewish kingdom (Yemen) in the south (Tabari ap. Silv. de Sacy; Mem. de l'Acad. de Inscr. p. 78), and a large Jewish settlement (Chaibar) in Hejaz in the north. (See Alexandria).
(c.) Another principal section of the Dispersion we find in Syria, whither they had been brought chiefly by Seleucus Nicator or Nicanor (Joseph. Ant. 7:3,1), when the battle of Ipsus, B.C. 301, had put him in possession of the countries of Syria Proper, Bablylonia, Mesopotamia, Persia, Phoenicia, Palestine, etc. Under his and his successors' fostering rule they reached the highest degree of prosperity ( ''L. C'' ), principally at Antioch on the Orontes, and Seleucia on the Tigris, and other great cities founded by Seleucus; and the privileges which this king had bestowed upon them were constantly confirmed up to the time of Josephus (Ant. 12:3,1). Antiochus Epiphanes, or Epimanes, as he was called, seems to have been the only Syrian potentate by whom the Syrian dispersion was persecuted; and it was no doubt under his reign that they, in order to escape from his cruelty, began to emigrate in all directions — to Armenia, Cappadocia (Helena, the Jewish queen of Adiabene, Joseph. Ant. 20:2), Cyprus, and over the whole of Asia Minor; Phrygia and Lydia alone possessed Jewish colonies of a previous date, planted there by Antiochus the Greek (Joseph. Ant. 12:3, 4). Hence they dispersed themselves throughout the islands of the AEgean, to Macedonia, to Greece, where they inhabited chiefly the seaports and the marts of trade and commerce. (See Syria).
(d.) Although, to use the words of Josephus (Ant. 14:7, 2), the habitable globe was so full of Jews that there was scarcely a corner of the Roman empire where they might not be found — a statement fully confirmed by the number of Roman decrees issued to various parts of the empire for their protection (Joseph. Ant. 14:10 sq.) — there is yet no absolute proof of their having acquired any fixed settlements in the metropolis itself anterior to the time of Pompey, who, after the taking of Jerusalem, carried back with him many Jewish captives and prisoners to Rome, B.C. 63. These, being generally either allowed to retire from the service, or ransomed, remained there as Libertini, and in time formed, by the addition to their number of fresh immigrants from Asia and Greece, a large and highly influential community, which occupied chiefly the Transtiberine portion of the city, together with an island in the Tiber. Their prosperity grew with their numbers, and suffered but short interruptions under Tiberius (Suet. Tib. 100:36). The expulsion under Claudius (Suet. Cl. 25) and Caligula (Joseph. Ant. 18:6) is contradicted (Dio Cass. 60:6; Orosius, 7:6). They built numerous synagogues, founded schools (even a short-lived academy), made proselytes, and enjoyed the full advantages of Roman citizens (in the decrees they are styled Πολίται ῾Ρωμαίων , Πολίται Ἡμέτεροι ῾Ιουδαῖοι , Joseph. Ant. 14:10). The connection between the Roeman Dispersion and Palestine was very close, especially so long as the young princes of the Herodian house were, in a manner, obliged to live in Rome. There is no doubt that to the influence of this powerful body, whose number, origin, strange rites and customs, attracted no small share of public notice (Tacitus, Suetonius, Cicero, Juvenal, Horace, Martial, Justinian, etc., passim), and to their access to the imperial court was due the amelioration of the condition of the Jewish people throughout every country to which the sway of Rome extended. It was also through Rome chiefly, both before, and still more after the final destruction of Jerusalem, that the stream of Jewish emigration was poured over the greater part of Europe. Of the world-wide influence of the Jewish Dispersion on Christianity, which addressed itself first of all to the former as a body ( Acts 13:46; Acts 2:9; Acts 2:11), farther mention will be found under the article JEWS.
The most important original authorities on the Dispersion are Joseph. Ant. 14:10; 14:7; Apion. 2:5; Philo, Leg. ad Caium; id. Flaccum. Frankel has collected the various points together in an exhaustive essay in his Monatsschrift, Nov. Dec. 1853, p. 409-11, 449-51. Comp. Jost, Gesch. d. Judenth. p. 336, 344; Ewald, Gesch. d. Volkes Isr. 4. (See Dispersed Jews).
III. Subsequent States Of Captivity. —
1. The extermination suffered by the Jewish inhabitants of Palestine under the Romans far better deserves the name of captivity; for, after the massacre of countless thousands, the captives were reduced to a real bondage. According to Josephus, in his detailed account (War, especially 6:9, 3), 1,100,000 men fell in the siege of Jerusalem by Titus, and 97,000 were captured in the whole war. Of the latter number, the greatest part were distributed among the provinces, to be butchered in the amphitheaters, or cast there to wild beasts; others were doomed to work as public slaves in Egypt. Only those under the age of seventeen were sold into private bondage. (See Jerusalem).
2. An equally dreadful destruction fell upon the remains of the nation, which had once more assembled in Judaea, under the reign of Hadrian (A.D. 133), which Dion Cassius concisely relates; and by these two savage wars the Jewish population must have been effectually extirpated from the Holy Land itself, a result which did not follow from the Babylonian captivity.
3. Afterward, a dreary period of fifteen hundred years' oppression crushed in Europe all who bore the name of Israel, and Christian nations have visited on Their head a crime perpetrated by a few thousand inhabitants of Jerusalem, who were not the real forefathers of the European Jews.
4. Nor in the East has their lot been much more cheering. With few and partial exceptions, they have ever since been a despised, an oppressed, and naturally a degraded people, though from them have spread light and truth to the distant nations of the earth. (See Jews).
IV. Metaphorical Uses Of The Term "Captivity." — "Children of the captivity" is a common figure of speech denoting those who were in captivity, or perhaps sometimes literally their posterity ( Ezra 4:1). "Turn again" ( Psalms 126:1), "turn away" ( Jeremiah 29:14), "turn back" ( Zephaniah 3:20), or, "bring again" ( Ezekiel 16:53) "the captivity," are figurative phrases, all referring to the Jewish nation in bondage and their return to Canaan. A similar expression is used in relation to individuals ( Job 42:10): "The Lord turned the captivity of Job," i.e. he released him from the unusual sufferings and perplexities to which he had been in bondage, and caused him to rejoice again in the favor of God. "He led captivity captive," or "he led captive those who had led others captive" ( Ephesians 4:8), is a figurative allusion to the victory which our blessed Redeemer achieved over sin, the world, death, and hell, by which our ruined race are brought into bondage ( Psalms 68:18; Romans 8:21; Galatians 4:24; Hebrews 2:15; 2 Peter 2:19; Colossians 2:15). (See Exile).
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia 
kap - tiv´i - ti ( גּולה , gōlāh , גּלוּת , gālūth , שׁבוּת , shebhūth , שׁביה , shibhyāh ; μετοικεσία , metoikesı́a ):
I. Of the Northern Kingdom (The Work of Assyria)
1. Western Campaigns of Shalmaneser II, 860-825 bc
2. Of Rimmon-nirari III, 810-781 bc
3. Of Tiglath-pileser III, 745-727 bc
4. Of Shalmaneser IV, 727-722 bc - S iege of Samaria
5. Samaria Captured by Sargon, 722 bc
6. Depopulation and Repopulation of Samaria
7. The Ten Tribes in Captivity
II. Of Judah (The Work of the Chaldean Power)
Southern Kingdom and House of David
1. Break-up of Assyria
2. Downfall of Nineveh, 606 bc
4. Defeat at Carchemish, 604 bc
5. The New Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadrezzar, 604-562 bc
The Mission of Jeremiah, 626-580 bc
6. Revolt and Punishment of Jehoiakim, 608-597 bc
7. Siege and Surrender of Jerusalem under Jehoiachin, 597 bc
8. First Deportation, 597 bc The Baskets of Figs
9. The Ministry of Ezekiel, 592-570 bc
10. Jeremiah's Ministry in Jerusalem, 597-588 bc
11. Zedekiah's Rebellion and Siege of Jerusalem, 588-586 bc
Jeremiah "Falling Away to the Chaldeans"
12. Destruction of Jerusalem, 586 bc
Flight, Capture, and Punishment of Zedekiah
13. Second Deportation of Inhabitants, 586 bc
14. Third Deportation, 581 bc
(1) Number and Quality of Exiles
15. Gedaliah, Governor of Judah
(1) Jeremiah and the Flight to Egypt
(2) Descendants of the Fugitives, 471-411 bc
16. The Exiles in Babylon: Their Social Condition, 464-405 bc
17. The Rise and Development of Judaism
18. The Return by Permission of Cyrus, 538 bc
19. Rebuilding of the Temple, 536 bc
Completed 515 bc
20. Reforms and Labors of Ezra and Nehemiah, 445 bc
21. Modern Theories of the Return
22. Importance of the Period of Ezra-Nehemiah
I. Of the Northern Kingdom (the Work of Assyria)
1. Western Campaigns of Shalmaneser II, 860-825 bc
The captivity of the Northern Kingdom was the work of the great Assyrian power having its seat at Nineveh on the Tigris. The empire of Assyria, rounded nearly 2000 bc, had a long history behind it when its annals begin to take notice of the kingdom of Israel and Judah. The reign of Shalmaneser Ii (860-825 bc) marks the first contact between these powers. This is not the Shalmaneser mentioned in 2 Ki 17 and 18, who is the fourth of the name and flourished more than a century later. Shalmaneser Ii was contemporary during his long reign with Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Ahaziah and Joash, kings of Judah; with Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram and Jehu, kings of Israel; with Hazael and Benhadad II, kings of Syria at Damascus, and with Mesha, king of Moab. The Assyrian authorities for his reign are an inscription engraved by himself on the rocks of Armenia; the Black Obelisk brought by Layard from Nimroud, now in the British Museum; and the texts engraved on the bronze gates of Balawât, discovered by Hormuzd Rassam in 1878, and recognized as the swinging gates of Shalmaneser's palace. From these authorities we learn that in his 6th year he encountered the combined forces of Damascus, Hamath, Israel, and other states which had united to oppose his progress westward, and completely routed them in the battle of Karkar (854 bc). The danger which threatened the western states in common had brought Syria and Israel together; and this is in accord with the Scripture narrative which tells of a covenant, denounced by God's prophet, between Ahab and Benhadad ( 1 Kings 20:34 ), and mentions a period of three years when there was no war between Syria and Israel. The defeat of the allies seems, however, to have broken up the confederacy, for, soon after, Ahab is found, with the aid of Jehoshaphat of Judah, attempting unsuccessfully, and with fatal result to himself, to recover from the weakened power of Syria the city of Ramoth-gilead (1 Ki 22). In another campaign to the West, which likewise finds no record in Scripture, Shalmaneser received the tribute of Tyre and Sidon, and of "Yahua of Khumri," that is, of Jehu, of the land of Omri, as Israel is called on the monuments.
2. Of Rimmon-Nirari III, 810-781 bc
The next Assyrian monarch who turned his arms against the West was Rimmon-nirari Iii (810-781 bc), grandson of Shalmaneser II. Although he is not mentioned by name in Scripture, his presence and activity had their influence upon contemporary events recorded in 2 Ki. He caused Syria to let go her hold of Israel; and although he brought Israel into subjection, the people of the Northern Kingdom would rather have a ruler exercising a nominal sovereignty over them in distant Nineveh than a king oppressing them in Damascus. Hence, Rimmon-nirari has been taken for the saviour whom God gave to Israel, "so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians" ( 2 Kings 13:5; compare 2 Kings 13:23 ).
With the death of Rimmon-nirari in 781 bc, the power of Assyria received a temporary check, and on the other hand the kingdom of Judah under Uzziah and the kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam Ii reached the zenith of their political prosperity. In 745 bc, however, a usurper, Pul, or Pulu, ascended the throne of Assyria, and reigned as Tiglath-pileser III. It is by the former name that he is first mentioned in the Scripture narrative ( 2 Kings 15:19; 1 Chronicles 5:26 ), and by the latter that he is mentioned on the monuments. That the two names belong to one man is now held to be certain (Schrader, COT , I, 230 f).
3. Of Tiglath-Pileser III, 745-727 bc
Tiglath-pileser was one of the greatest monarchs of antiquity. He was the first to attempt to consolidate an empire in the manner to which the world has become accustomed since Roman times. He was not content to receive tribute from the kings and rulers of the states which he conquered. The countries which he conquered became subject provinces of his empire, governed by Assyrian satraps and contributing to the imperial treasury. Not long after he had seated himself on the throne, Tiglath-pileser, like his predecessors, turned his attention to the West. After the siege of Arpad, northward of Aleppo, the Assyrian forces made their way into Syria, and putting into operation the Assyrian method of deportation and repopulation, the conqueror annexed Hamath which had sought the alliance and assistance of Azariah, that is Uzziah, king of Judah. Whether he then refrained from molesting Judah, or whether her prestige was broken by this campaign of the Assyrian king, it is not easy to say. In another campaign he certainly subjected Menahem of Israel with other kings to tribute. What is stated in a word or two in the Annals of Tiglath-pileser is recorded at length in the Bible history ( 2 Kings 15:19 ): "There came against the land Pul the king of Assyria; and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand. And Menahem exacted the money of Israel, even of all the mighty men of wealth, of each man 50 shekels of silver, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria tamed back, and stayed not there in the land." In the reign of Pekah, under his proper name of Tiglath-pileser, he is recorded to have raided the northern parts of Israel, and carried the inhabitants away into the land of Assyria ( 2 Kings 15:29 ). We next hear of Ahaz, king of Judah, appealing to the Assyrians for help against "these two tails of smoking firebrands," Rezin of Syria and Pekah, the son of Remaliah ( Isaiah 7:4 ). To secure this help he took the silver and gold of the house of the Lord, and sent it as a present to the king of Assyria ( 2 Kings 16:8 ). Meanwhile Tiglath-pileser was setting out on a new campaign to the West. He carried fire and sword through Syria and the neighboring lands as far as Gaza, and on his return he captured Samaria, without, however, razing it to the ground. Pekah having been slain by his own people, the Assyrian monarch left Hoshea, the leader of the conspiracy, on the throne of Israel as the vassal of Assyria.
4. Of Shalmaneser IV, 727-722 bc - S eige of Samaria
In 727 bc Tiglath-pileser Iii died and was succeeded by Shalmaneser IV. His reign was short and no annals of it have come to light. In 2 Ki 17 and 18, however, we read that Hoshea, relying upon help from the king of Egypt, thought the death of Tiglath-pileser a good opportunity for striking a blow for independence. It was a vain endeavor, for the end of the kingdom of Israel was at hand. The people were grievously given over to oppression and wickedness, which the prophets Amos and Hosea vigorously denounced. Hosea, in particular, was "the prophet of Israel's decline and fall." Prophesying at this very time he says: "As for Samaria, her king is cut off, as foam upon the water. The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us" ( Hosea 10:7 , Hosea 10:8; compare Hosea 10:14 , Hosea 10:15 ). No less stern are the predictions by Isaiah and Micah of the doom that is to overtake Samaria: "Woe to the crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim, and to the fading flower of his glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley of them that are overcome with wine" ( Isaiah 28:1 ). "For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria?... Therefore I will make Samaria as a heap of the field, and as places for planting vineyards" ( Micah 1:5 , Micah 1:6 ). No help came from Egypt. With the unaided and enfeebled resources of his kingdom Hoshea had to face the chastising forces of his sovereign. He was made prisoner outside Samaria and was most likely carried away to Nineveh. Meanwhile the land was over-run and the capital doomed to destruction, as the prophets had declared.
5. Samaria Captured by Sargon, 722 bc
Not without a stubborn resistance on the part of her defenders did "the fortress cease from Ephraim" ( Isaiah 17:3 ). It was only after a three years' siege that the Assyrians captured the city ( 2 Kings 17:5 ). If we had only the record of the Hebrew historian we should suppose that Shalmaneser was the monarch to whom fell the rewards and honors of the capture. Before the surrender of the city Shalmaneser had abdicated or died, and Sargon, only once mentioned in Scripture ( Isaiah 20:1 ), but one of the greatest of Assyrian monarchs, had ascended the throne. From his numerous inscriptions, recovered from the ruins of Khorsabad, we learn that he, and not Shalmaneser, was the king who completed the conquest of the revolted kingdom and deported the inhabitants to Assyria. "In the beginning (of my reign)," says Sargon in his Annals, "the city Samaria (I took) with the help of Shamash, who secures victory to me (.... 27,290 people inhabiters of it) I took away captive; 50 chariots the property of my royalty, which were in it I appropriated. (.... the city) I restored, and more than before I caused it to be inhabited; people of the lands conquered by my hand in it (I caused to dwell. My governor over them I appointed, and tribute) and imposts just as upon the Assyrians I laid upon them." The Assyrian Annals and the Scripture history support and supplement each other at this point. The sacred historian describes the deportation as follows: "The king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah, and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes ... because they obeyed not the voice of Yahweh their God, but transgressed his covenant, even all that Moses, the servant of Yahweh, commanded, and would not hear it, nor do it" ( 2 Kings 17:6 , 2 Kings 17:7; 2 Kings 18:11 , 2 Kings 18:12 ).
6. Depopulation and Repopulation of Samaria
The repopulation of the conquered territory is also described by the sacred historian: "And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Avva, and from Hamath and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof" ( 2 Kings 17:24 ). The fact that Sargon introduced foreign settlers taken in war into Samaria is attested by inscriptions. That there were various episodes of deportation and repopulation in connection with the captivity of the Northern Kingdom appears to be certain. We have seen already that Tiglath-pileser Iii deported the population of the northern tribes to Assyria and placed over the depopulated country governors of his own. And at a time considerably later, we learn that Sargon's grandson Esarhaddon, and his great-grandson Ashur-bani-pal, "the great and noble Osnappar," imported to the region of Samaria settlers of nations conquered by them in the East ( Ezra 4:2 , Ezra 4:10 ). Of the original settlers, whom a priest, carried away by the king of Assyria but brought back to Bethel, taught "the law of the god of the land," it is said that "they feared Yahweh, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away" ( 2 Kings 17:33 ). The hybrid stock descended from those settlers is known to us in later history and in the Gospels as the Samaritans.
7. The Ten Tribes in Captivity
We must not suppose that a clean sweep was made Of the inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom. No doubt, as in the Babylonian captivity, "the poorest of the land were left to be vinedressers and husbandmen" ( 2 Kings 25:12 ). The numbers actually deported were but a moiety of the whole population. But the kingdom of the Ten Tribes was now at an end. Israel had become an Assyrian province, with a governor established in Samaria. As regards the Golah - the captives of Israel in the cities of the Medes - it must not be supposed that they became wholly absorbed in the population among whom they were settled. We can well believe that they preserved their Israelite traditions and usages with sufficient clearness and tenacity, and that they became part of the Jewish dispersion so widespread throughout the East. It is quite possible that at length they blended with the exiles of Judah carried off by Nebuchadrezzar, and that then Judah and Ephraim became one nation as never before. The name Jew, therefore, naturally came to include members of what had earlier been the Northern Confederacy of Israel as well as those of the Southern Kingdom to which it properly belonged, so that in the post-exilic period, Jehudi, or Jew, means an adherent of Judaism without regard to local nationality.
II. Of Judah (the Work of the Chaldean Power)
Southern Kingdom and House of David
The captivity of Judah was the work of the great Chaldean power seated at Babylon on the Euphrates. While the Northern Kingdom had new dynasties to rule it in quick succession, Judah and Jerusalem remained true to the House of David to the end. The Southern Kingdom rested on a firmer foundation, and Jerusalem with its temple and priesthood secured the throne against the enemies who overthrew Samaria for nearly a century and a half longer.
1. Break-Up of Assyria
Sargon, who captured Samaria in 722 bc, was followed by monarchs with a great name as conquerors and builders and patrons of literature, Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, Ashurbanipal. When Ashurbanipal died in 625 bc, the dissolution of the Assyrian Empire was not far off. Its hold over the West had greatly slackened, and the tributary peoples were breaking out into revolt. Bands of Scythians, a nomad Aryan race, from the region between the Caucasus and the Caspian, were sweeping through the Assyrian Empire as far as Palestine and Egypt, and the prophecies of Jeremiah and Zephaniah reflect their methods of warfare and fierce characteristics. They were driven back, however, at the frontier of Egypt, and appear to have returned to the North without invading Judah.
2. Downfall of Nineveh, 606 bc
From the North these hordes were closing in upon Nineveh, and on all sides the Assyrian power was being weakened. In the "Burden of Nineveh," the prophet Nahum foreshadows the joy of the kingdom of Judah at the tidings of its approaching downfall: "Behold, upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! Keep thy feasts, [[O J]] udah, perform thy vows; for the wicked one shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off" ( Nahum 1:15; compare Nahum 3:8-11 ). The Medes regained their independence and under their king, Cyaxares, formed an alliance with the Chaldeans, who soon afterward revolted under the leadership of Nabopolassar, viceroy of Babylon. Rallying these various elements to his standard Nabopolassar laid siege to the Assyrian capital, and in 606 bc, Nineveh, which had been the capital city of great conquerors, and had "multiplied (her) merchants above the stars of heaven" ( Nahum 3:16 ), fell before the combined forces of the Medes and Chaldeans, fell suddenly and finally, to rise no more. Of the new Babylonian Empire upon which the Chaldeans now entered, Nebuchadrezzar, whose father Nabopolassar had associated him with him on the throne, was the first and most eminent ruler.
3. Pharaoh Necoh's Revolt
That the people of Judah should exult in the overthrow of Nineveh and the empire for which it stood we can well understand. Jerusalem herself had by God's mercy remained unconquered when Sennacherib nearly a century before had carried off from the surrounding country 200,150 people and had devastated the towns and fortresses near. But the hateful Assyrian yoke had rested upon Judah to the end, and not upon Judah only but even upon Egypt and the valley of the Nile. In 608 bc Pharaoh Necoh revolted from his Assyrian suzerain and resolved upon an eastern campaign. He had no desire to quarrel with Josiah of Judah, through whose territory he must pass; but in loyalty to his Assyrian suzerain Josiah threw himself across the path of the Egyptian invader and perished in the battle of Megiddo. The Pharaoh seems to have returned to Egypt, taking Jehoahaz the son of Josiah with him, and to have appointed his brother Jehoiakim king of Judah, and to have exacted a heavy tribute from the land.
4. Defeat at Carchemish, 604 bc
But he did not desist from his purpose to win an eastern empire. Accordingly he pressed forward till he reached the Euphrates, where he was completely routed by the Babylonian army under Nebuchadrezzar in the decisive battle of Carchemish, 604 bc. The battle left the Chaldeans undisputed masters of Western Asia, and Judah exchanged the yoke of Assyria for that of Babylon.
5. The New Babylonian Empire Under Nebuchadrezzar, 604-562 bc
So far as cruelty was concerned, there was little to choose between the new tyrants and the old oppressors. Of the Chaldeans Habakkuk, who flourished at the commencement of the new Empire, says: "They are terrible and dreadful.... Their horses also are swifter than leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves; and their horsemen spread themselves: yea, their horsemen come from far; they fly as an eagle that hasteth to devour" ( Habakkuk 1:7 , Habakkuk 1:8 the American Revised Version, margin). Over Western Asia, including Judah, Nebuchadrezzar since the battle of Carchemish was supreme. It was vain for Judah to coquet with Egypt when Nebuchadrezzar had a long and powerful arm with which to inflict chastisement upon his disloyal subjects.
The Mission of Jeremiah, 626-580 bc
The mission of Jeremiah the prophet in this crisis of the history of Judah was to preach obedience and loyalty to the king of Babylon, and moral reformation as the only means of escaping the Divine vengeance impending upon land and people. He tells them in the name of God of the great judgment that was to come at the hand of the Chaldeans on Jerusalem and surrounding peoples. He even predicts the period of their subjection to Chaldean domination: "And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years" ( Jeremiah 25:11 ). This preaching was unpalatable to the partisans of Egypt and to those who believed in the inviolability of Jerusalem. But with stern rebuke and with symbolic action he proclaims the doom of Jerusalem, and in the face of persecution and at the risk of his life, the prophet fulfills his ministry.
6. Revolt and Punishment of Jehoiakim, 608-597 bc
Jehoiakim, who was first the vassal of Pharaoh Necoh, and then of Nebuchadrezzar, was in corruption and wickedness too faithful a representative of the people. Jeremiah charges him with covetousness, the shedding of innocent blood, oppression and violence ( Jeremiah 22:13-19 ). The fourth year of Jehoiakim was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar, who, fresh from the victory of Carchemish, was making his sovereignty felt in the western world. The despicable king of Judah became Nebuchadrezzar's vassal and continued in his allegiance three years, after which he turned and rebelled against him. But he received neither encouragement nor help from the neighboring peoples. "Yahweh sent against him bands of the Chaldeans, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of Yahweh, which he spake by his servants the prophets" ( 2 Kings 24:2 ). The history of the latter part of Jehoiakim's reign is obscure. The Hebrew historian says that after a reign of eleven years he slept with his fathers, from which we infer that he died a natural death. From Daniel we learn that in the third year of Jehoiakim, Nebuchadrezzar came up against Jerusalem and besieged it, and carried off, along with vessels of the house of God, members of the seed royal, and of the nobility of Judah, among whom was Daniel the prophet. That Jehoiakim was included in what seems to be a first installment of the captivity of Judah is expressly affirmed by the Chronicler who says: "Against him (Jehoiakim) came up Nebuchadnezzar ... and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon" ( 2 Chronicles 36:6 ). However the facts really stand, the historian adds to the record of the death of Jehoiakim and of the succession of Jehoiachin the significant comment: "And the king of Egypt came not again any more out of this land; for the king of Babylon had taken, from the brook of Egypt unto the river Euphrates, all that pertained to the king of Egypt" ( 2 Kings 24:7 ).
7. Siege and Surrender of Jerusalem Under Jehoiachin, 597 bc
Jehoiachin who succeeded Jehoiakim reigned only three months, the same length of time as his unfortunate predecessor Jehoahaz ( 2 Kings 23:31 ). The captivity of Jehoahaz in Egypt and the captivity of Jehoiachin in Babylon are lamented in a striking elegy by Ezekiel, who compares them to young lions, the offspring of the mother lioness Israel, which learned to catch and their prey and devoured men, but were taken in the pit of the nations and put in rings, so that their roar was no more heard in the mountains of Israel ( Ezekiel 19:1-9 ). Nebuchadrezzar came in person while his servants were besieging Jerusalem, and Jehoiachin surrendered at discretion. So the king and his mother and his servants and his princes and his officers were carried off with the mighty men of valor, even ten thousand captives. 'None remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land. He carried out thence all the treasures of the house of Yahweh, and the treasures of the king's house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold, which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of Yahweh, as Yahweh had said.
8. First Deportation, 597 bc
And all the men of might, even seven thousand, and the craftsmen and the smiths a thousand, all of them strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon. And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin's father's brother, king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah' ( 2 Kings 24:10-17 ). From Jehoiachin dates the carrying away into Babylon, the year being 597 bc. The unfortunate monarch lived in exile in Babylon 38 years, and seems to have retained the respect and loyalty of the exiles among whom he dwelt.
The Baskets of Figs
It was with reference to the deportation of the princes and craftsmen and smiths that Jeremiah had his vision of the baskets of figs - one containing figs very good, like the first ripe figs; the other very bad, so bad they could not be eaten ( Jeremiah 24:1-3 ). The good figs were the captives of Judah carried away into the land of the Chaldeans for good; the bad figs were the king Zedekiah and his princes and the residue of Jerusalem, upon whom severe judgments were yet to fall till they were consumed from off the land ( Jeremiah 24:4-10 ).
9. The Ministry of Ezekiel, 592-570 bc
Among the captives Thus carried to Babylon and placed on the banks of the Chebar was the priest-prophet Ezekiel. Five years after the captivity he began to have his wonderful "visions" of God, and to declare their import to the exiles by the rivers of Babylon. To the desponding captives who were engrossed with thoughts of the kingdom of Judah, not yet dissolved, and of the Holy City, not yet burned up with fire, Ezekiel could only proclaim by symbol and allegory the destruction of city and nation, till the day when the distressing tidings reached them of its complete overthrow. Then to the crushed and despairing captives he utters no lamentations like those of Jeremiah, but rather joyful predictions of a rebuilt city, of a reconstituted kingdom, and of a renovated and glorious temple.
10. Jeremiah's Ministry in Jerusalem, 597-588 bc
Although the flower of the population had been carried away into Babylon and the Temple had been despoiled of its treasures, Jerusalem and the Temple still stood. To the inhabitants who were left behind, and to the captives in Babylon, Jeremiah had a message. To the latter he offered counsels of submission and contentment, assured that the hateful and repulsive idolatries around them would throw them back upon the law of their God, and Thus promote the work of moral and spiritual regeneration within them. 'Thus saith Yahweh, I will give them a heart to know me, that I am Yahweh: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God; for they shall return unto me with their whole heart' ( Jeremiah 24:5 , Jeremiah 24:7 ). To "the residue of Jerus" his counsels and predictions were distasteful, and exposed him to the suspicion of disloyalty to his people and his God. None of his warnings was more impressive than that symbolically proclaimed by the bands and bars which the prophet was to put upon his neck to send to the kings of Edom and Moab and Ammon and Tyre and Sidon, who seem to have had ideas of forming an alliance against Nebuchadrezzar. Zedekiah was also urged to submit, but still entertained hopes that the king of Babylon would allow the captives of Judah to return. He even himself went to Babylon, perhaps summoned thither by his suzerain ( Jeremiah 51:59 ). With an Egyptian party in Jerusalem urging an alliance with Egypt, and with a young and warlike Pharaoh on the throne, Hophra (Apries), Zedekiah deemed the opportunity favorable for achieving independence, and entered into an intrigue with the Egyptian king. So Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon ( 2 Kings 24:20 ).
11. Zedekiah's Rebellion and the Siege of Jerusalem, 588-586 bc
It was a bold throw, but Nebuchadrezzar would brook no such disloyalty from his vassals. He marched at once to the West, and committed to Nebuzaradan the task of capturing Jerusalem, while he himself established his headquarters at Riblah, in Syria, on the Orontes. Meanwhile the Pharaoh with his army crossed the frontier to the help of his allies, and compelled the Chaldeans to raise the siege of Jerusalem and meet him in the field ( Jeremiah 37:5 ). But here his courage failed him, and he retired in haste without offering battle. Nebuzaradan now led back his army and the siege became closer than before.
Jeremiah "Falling Away to the Chaldeans"
During the breathing-space afforded by the withdrawal of the Chaldeans, Jeremiah was going out of the city to his native Anathoth, some 4 miles to the Northeast across the ridge, on family business ( Jeremiah 37:11-15 ). His departure was observed, and he was charged with falling away to the Chaldeans, and cast into an improvised dungeon in the house of Jonathan the scribe. While there the king sent for him and asked, "Is there any word from Yahweh?" And Jeremiah answered fearlessly, "There is. Thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon." For a time Jeremiah, by the favor of Zedekiah, enjoyed after this a greater measure of freedom; but as he continued to urge in hearing of all the people the duty of surrender, his enemies vowed that he should be put to death, and had him cast into a foul empty cistern, where he ran the risk of being choked or starved to death. Once again the king sought an interview with the prophet, giving him private assurance that he would not put him to death nor allow his enemies to do so. Again the prophet counseled surrender, and again he was allowed a measure of freedom.
12. Destruction of Jerusalem, 586 bc
Flight, Capture, and Punishment of Zedekiah
But the end of the doomed city was at hand. In the 11th year of Zedekiah, 586 bc, in the 4th month, the 9th day of the month, a breach was made in the city ( Jeremiah 39:1 , Jeremiah 39:2 ), and the final assault completed the work that had been done by months of famine and want. Zedekiah and his men of war do not seem to have waited for the delivery of the last assault. They fled from the city by night "by the way of the king's garden, through the gate betwixt the two walls," and made eastward for the Arabah. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. They took him prisoner and brought him to Nebuchadrezzar at Riblah, where the king of Babylon first slew the son of Zedekiah, and then put out his eyes. With the sons of the captured monarch were slain all the nobles of Judah. This time neither city nor temple nor palace was spared. Nebuzaradan "burnt the house of Yahweh, and the king's house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, even every great house, burnt he with fire" ( 2 Kings 25:9 ). His soldiers, too, broke down the walls of Jerusalem round about. The treasure and the costly furnishings of the Temple, in so far as they had escaped the former spoliation, were carried away to Babylon. The ruin of Jerusalem was complete. The Book of Lamentations utters the grief and shame and penitence of an eyewitness of the captures and desolation of the Holy City: "Yahweh hath accomplished his wrath, he hath poured out his fierce anger; and he hath kindled a fire in Zion, which hath devoured the foundations thereof. The kings of the earth believed not, neither all the inhabitants of the world, that the adversary and the enemy would enter into the gates of Jerusalem. Woe unto us! for we have sinned. For this our heart is faint; for these things our eyes are dim; for the mountain of Zion, which is desolate: the foxes walk upon it" ( Lamentations 4:11 , Lamentations 4:12; Lamentations 5:16 , Lamentations 5:18 ).
13. Second Deportation of Inhabitants, 586 bc
"So Judah," says the prophet who had been through the siege and the capture (if not rather the editor of his prophecies), "was carried away captive out of his land" ( Jeremiah 52:27 ). The statements of the numbers carried away are, however, conflicting. In Jer ( Jeremiah 52:28-30 ) we read of three deportations: that of 597 bc when 3,023 Jews were carried off; that of 586 bc when Nebuchadrezzar carried off 832 persons; and one later than both in 581 bc, when Nebuzaradan carried away captive of the Jews 745 persons - a total of 4, 600.
14. Third Deportation, 581 bc
(1) Number and Quality of Exiles
In 2 Kings 24:15 , 2 Kings 24:16 it is said that in 597 Nebuchadrezzar carried to Babylon 8,000 men. Dr. George Adam Smith taking all the data together estimates that the very highest figures possible are 62,000 or 70,000 men, women and children, less than half of the whole nation ( Jerusalem , II, 268-70). In 597 bc, Nebuchadrezzar carried off the princes and nobles and craftsmen and smiths, leaving behind the poorest sort of the people of the land ( 2 Kings 24:14 ).
(2) The Residue Left
In 586 bc Nebuzaradan carried off the residue of the people that were left in the city, but he "left of the poorest of the land to be vinedressers and husbandmen" ( 2 Kings 25:12 ). "They were, as the Biblical narratives testify, the poorest of the land , from whom every man of substance and energy had been sifted; mere groups of peasants, without a leader and without a center; disorganized and depressed; bitten by hunger and compassed by enemies; uneducated and an easy prey to the heathenism by which they were surrounded. We can appreciate the silence which reigns in the Bible regarding them, and which has misled us as to their numbers. They were a negligible quantity in the religious future of Israel: without initiative or any influence except that of a dead weight upon the efforts of the rebuilders of the nation, when these at last returned from Babylonia" ( Jerusalem , II, 269-70).
15. Gedaliah, Governor of Judah
Over those who were left behind, Gedaliah was appointed governor, with his residence at Mizpah, where also a Babylonian contingent remained on guard. Jeremiah had the choice of being taken to Babylon or of remaining in Judah. He preferred to remain with the residue of the people under the care of Gedaliah. With the murder of Gedaliah by Ishmael, a traitorous scion of the royal house, who in turn had to flee and made good his escape, it looked as if the last trace of the former kingdom of Judah was wiped out.
(1) Jeremiah and the Flight to Egypt
Against the counsel of Jeremiah, the remnant, led by Johanan the son of Kareah, resolved to take refuge in Egypt and insisted that Jeremiah and his friend Baruch should accompany them. It is in Egypt, amid disappointment and misrepresentation which he had to endure, that we have our last glimpse of the prophet of the downfall of Judah.
(2) Descendants of the Fugitives, 471-411 bc
Of the descendants of those settlers in Egypt remarkable remains have been discovered within the last few years. They consist of Aramaic papyri which were found at Assouan, the ancient Syene, and which belong to a time not more than a century after the death of Jeremiah. The documents are accounts and contracts and deeds of various kinds, from which we gather that in the 5th century bc there were Jews keeping themselves apart as they do still, worshipping Yahweh, and no other God, and even having a temple and an altar of sacrifice to which they brought offerings as their fathers did at Jerusalem before the destruction of the Temple. These papyri give us valuable glimpses of the social condition and religious interest of the settlers. See Dispersion .
16. The Exiles in Babylon: Their Social Condition, 464-405 bc
Of the Jewish captives carried off by Nebuchadrezzar and settled by the rivers of Babylon, we learn something from the prophecies of Daniel which are now generally believed to belong to the Maccabean period, and much from the prophecies of Ezekiel, from the Psalms of the Captivity, and from the Second Isaiah, whose glowing messages of encouragement and comfort were inspired by the thought of the Return. From Haggai and Zechariah we see how the work of rebuilding the Temple was conceived and carried out. Of the social condition of the Exiles an interesting revelation is given by the excavations at Nippur. From cuneiform tablets, now in the Imperial Ottoman Museum at Constantinople, preserved among the business archives of the wealthy firm of Murashu, sons of Nippur, in the reign of Artaxerxes I and Darius Ii (464-405 bc), there can be read quite a number of Jewish names. And the remarkable thing is that many of the names are those known to us from the genealogical and other lists of the Books of Ki and Ch and Ezr and Neh. Professor Hilprext ( The Babylonian Expedition , IX, 13ff) infers from an examination of these that a considerable number of the Jewish exiles, carried away by Nebuchadrezzar after the destruction of Jerusalem, were settled in Nippur and its neighborhood. Of this fact there are various proofs. The Talmudic tradition which identifies Nippur with Calneh ( Genesis 10:10 ) gains new force in the light of these facts. And "the river Khebar in the land of the Chaldeans," by which Ezekiel saw his vision, is now known from inscriptions to be a large navigable canal not far from Nippur (ibid., 27, 28).
17. The Rise and Development of Judaism
The influence of the Captivity as a factor in the development of Judaism can hardly be overestimated. "The captivity of Judah," says Dr. Foakes-Jackson ( Biblical History of the Hebrews , 316) "is one of the greatest events in the history of religion.... With the captivity the history of Israel ends, and the history of the Jews commences." Placed in the midst of heathen and idolatrous surroundings the Golah recoiled from the abominations of their neighbors and clung to the faith of their fathers in the God of Abraham. Exposed to the taunts and the scorn of nations that despised them, they formed an inner circle of their own, and cultivated that exclusiveness which has marked them ever since. Being without a country, without a ritual system, without any material basis for their life as a people, they learned as never before to prize those spiritual possessions which had come down to them from the past. They built up their nationality in their new surroundings upon the foundation of their religion. Their prophets, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, had encouraged and stimulated them with the assurance of spiritual blessings, and the promise of restoration. For their whole social and domestic and spiritual life there was needed some steady and continuous regulative principle or scheme. The need of this threw their leaders and thinkers back upon the Law of Moses. The rabbi and the scribe took the place of the sacrificing priest. The synagogue and the Sabbath came to occupy a new place in the religious practice of the people. These and other institutions of Judaism only attained to maturity after the Return, but the Captivity and the Exile created the needs they were meant to supply. While the prophets were clear and explicit in setting forth the Captivity, they were not less so in predicting the Return. Isaiah with his doctrine of the Remnant, Micah, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and others gifted with the vision of God, cheered the nation, each in their day, with the hope of restoration and return, not for Judah only but for Israel as well. Vineyards were to be planted again upon the mountains of Samaria as well as in the valleys of Judah. Jeremiah had even predicted the length of the period of the Exile, when he declared that the inhabitants of the land should serve the king of Babylon for seventy years ( Jeremiah 25:12; Jeremiah 29:10 ).
18. The Return by Permission of Cyrus, 538 bc
It was in Cyrus, who brought about the fall of Babylon and ended the New Babylonian Empire in 539 bc, that the hopes of the exiles came to be centered. He was "the battle-axe" with which Yahweh was to shatter Babylon ( Jeremiah 51:20 ), and as he proceeded on his path of victory the unknown Seer whom we call the Second Isaiah welcomed him as the liberator of his people. "Thus saith Yahweh ... of Jerusalem, She shall be inhabited; and of the cities of Judah, They shall be built, and I will raise up the waste places thereof; that saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers; that saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure, even saying of Jerusalem, She shall be built; and of the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid" ( Isaiah 44:26-28 ).
19. Rebuilding of the Temple, 536 bc
Within a year of the entry of Cyrus into Babylon an edict was issued ( 2 Chronicles 36:22 , 2 Chronicles 36:23; Ezra 1:1 ), granting permission to the exiles to return and build a house for the Lord in Jerusalem. He also brought forth the vessels of the Temple which Nebuchadrezzar had carried away and handed them over to Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah; and Sheshbazzar brought them with him when they of the Captivity were brought up from Babylon unto Jerusalem.
Particulars of the Return are given in the Books of Ezr and Neh, and in the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah. Of the exiles 42,360 returned under Sheshbazzar, besides slaves; and under Jeshua the son of Jozadak the priest, and Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, first an altar was built and then the foundations of the Temple were laid. In consequence of the opposition of the Samaritans, who were refused any share in the restoration of the Temple, the work of rebuilding was greatly hindered, and came to a stop. It was then that Haggai and Zechariah urged the resumption of the work and partly by denouncing the niggardliness of the people and partly by foreshadowing the glorious future in store for the Temple, hastened forward the enterprise.
Completed 515 bc
At length in the month Adar, in the 6th year of Darius (515 bc) the work was completed and the Passover celebrated within the courts of the restored Sanctuary ( Ezra 6:15-18 ).
20. Reforms and Labors of Ezra and Nehemiah, 445 bc
For some decades the history is silent, and it was in 458 bc that Ezra set out for Jerusalem taking 1,800 Jews along with him. He found that the returned Jews had become allied in marriage with the people of the land and were in danger of losing their racial characteristics by absorption among the heathen ( Ezra 9:1-15 ). It was due no doubt to his efforts and those of Nehemiah, supported by the searching and powerful utterances of Malachi, that this peril was averted. Thirteen years later (445 bc) Nehemiah, the cupbearer of Artaxerxes, having heard of the desolate condition of the Holy City, the place of his fathers' sepulchers, obtained leave of his master to visit Jerusalem. With letters to the governors on the route and to the keeper of the king's forest, he set out, and came safely to Jerusalem. Having himself inspected the walls he called the people to the work of repairing the ruins, and despite the taunts and calumny and active hostility of the Samaritan opposition he had the satisfaction of seeing the work completed, the gates set up and the city repopulated. Nehemiah and Ezra then gathered the people together to hear the words of the Law, and at a solemn convocation the Law was read and explained to the assembly. Thereafter a covenant was entered into by the people that they would observe the Law of Moses and not intermarry with the heathen nor traffic on the Sabbath, but would pay a third of a shekel annually for the services of the Temple and would bring first-fruits and tithes ( Nehemiah 10:28 ).
21. Modern Theories of the Return
The course of the history as here set forth has been disputed by some modern scholars, who hold that there was no return of the exiles under Cyrus and that the rebuilding of the Temple was the work of the Jews who remained behind in Judah and Jerusalem ( EB , article "Ezra-Nehemiah"). This view, held by the late Professor Kosters of Leyden and supported by Professor H. P. Smith and other scholars, proceeds largely upon the rejection of the historical character of the Book of Ezra-Nehemiah. The historical difficulties which are found in the book are by no means such as to warrant us in denying the fact of the Return and the work of Ezra in connection with Nehemiah. As regards the Return, the course of the narrative is too well supported by documents which bear upon them the stamp of historical truth to be rashly disputed. Moreover, it seems highly improbable that an enterprise requiring such energy and skill and faith should have been undertaken, without stimulus from without, by the residue of the people. We have already seen how little initiative was to be expected of the poorest of the people; and the silence of Haggai, on the subject of the Return, is no argument against it. That the Judaism of Palestine required invigoration by an infusion of the zeal and enThusiasm which grew up in the Judaism of Babylonian, is manifest from the story of the Captivity.
22. Importance of the Period Ezra-Nehemiah
From the age of Nehemiah and the period immediately preceding it came influences of the utmost moment for the future. "Within these hundred years," says the late Dr. P. Hay Hunter in After the Exile (I, xvi), "the teaching of Moses was established as the basis of the national life, the first steps were taken toward the formation of a canon of Scripture. Jewish society was moulded into a shape which succeeding centuries modified, but did not essentially change. During this period the Judea of the days of our Lord came into being. Within this period the forces which opposed Christ, the forces which rallied to His side, had their origin. This century saw the rise of parties, which afterward became sects under the names of Pharisees and Sadducees. It laid the foundation of Rabbinism. It fixed the attitude of the Jews toward the Gentiles. It put the priesthood in the way to supreme authority. It gave birth to the Samaritan schism."
Figurative uses. See Captive .
Schrader, COT , I; McCurdy, HPM , I, 281ff, II, 249ff, Iii; C. F Barney, Notes on Heb Text of Bks of Kings ; Foakes-Jackson, Biblical Hist of the Hebrews , 260-412; G. A. Smith, Jerusalem , II, 223-349; Cambridge Biblical Essays , 93-135; P. Hay Hunter, The Story of Daniel and After the Exile ; EB , article "Ezra-Nehemiah"; Nicol, Recent Archaeology and the Bible , 239-78; H. P. Smith, Old Testament Hist , 219-412; Kittel, History of the Hebrews , II, 329ff.
- ↑ Captivity from Fausset's Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Captivity from People's Dictionary of the Bible
- ↑ Captivity from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Captivity from Easton's Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Captivity from Morrish Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Captivity from Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary
- ↑ Captivity from King James Dictionary
- ↑ Captivity from Webster's Dictionary
- ↑ Captivity from Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
- ↑ Captivity from Bridgeway Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Captivity from Holman Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Captivity from Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament
- ↑ Captivity from Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
- ↑ Captivity from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia