Babylonian captivity/Exile, applies to the period between the deportation of the Jews from Palestine to Babylon by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II and their release in 538 bc by the Persian king Cyrus. (Ezrah 1:1-23)Two main deportations are recorded: one in 597 bc, when Israelite nobles, warriors, and artisans were transported; and one in 586 bc when Nebuchadnezzar's army destroyed Jerusalem, and the major part of the remaining Israelite community was taken to Babylon. The majority of the Jews living in Babylon did not return to Palestine at the end of the exile period, but became a part of the Diaspora, or body of Jews dispersed among nations outside Palestine.
The Babylonian captivity or exile refers to the time period in Israel’s history when Jews were taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon. It is an important period of biblical history because both the captivity/exile and the return and restoration of the Jewish nation were fulfillments of Old Testament prophecies.
God used Babylon as His agent of judgment against Israel for their sins of idolatry and rebellion against Him. There were actually several different times during this period (607-586 B.C.) when the Jews were taken captive by Babylon. With each successive rebellion against Babylonian rule, Nebuchadnezzar would lead his armies against Judah until they laid siege to Jerusalem for over a year, killing many people and destroying the Jewish temple, taking captive many thousands of Jews, and leaving Jerusalem in ruins.
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