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The Benefits of the Babylonian Captivity
The 70 Years in Babylon Brought Many Changes in God's People
During the 70 years in Babylon the Jewish people learned a big lesson. They were despaired because they lost their Temple and their homeland, but they had not given up hope. God was with them and they were revitalized in many remarkable ways. God loves His people and He fully intended to keep His promises to their father Abraham. During their captivity they were cured of many things, and they recommitted themselves.
1. Cured of Idolatry
The Jews were almost completely cured of idolatry, no matter what their faults and downfalls were in later periods of history, they never returned to the idolatry of the nations around them as they had. The Babylonian Captivity had taught them to abhor the worship of idols.
2. The Scribes and Rabbinic Literature
The situation caused them to be separated from Jerusalem and the Temple and thus there came a new order called the "Scribes." In their earliest stages they served the Jewish colonists in a very valuable way, especially in teaching, guarding and preserving the Scriptures. The Scribes produced the rabbinical literature known as the Mishna (God's laws allegedly passed down orally and not recorded in Scripture), the Gemara (a commentary on the Mishna and a compilation of accepted traditions). These two volumes were later added to and combined to form the Talmud (Babylonian Talmud). Their was also other important literature and secular writings.
3. The Synagogues
Places for assembly or "synagogues" were instituted in order to conduct formal Jewish worship, and to provide schools for education while they were far from their homeland. It was the difficult circumstances of the Babylonian Captivity that allowed for the synagogues, without these unusual circumstances there might not have been synagogues which kept the national spirit of the Jewish people even after the fall of the Second Temple.
4. The Teaching of the Scriptures
The Jewish people pursued the Scriptures. They compiled the Scriptures and studied them intensely, realizing the reason for the Captivity and teaching this to their children. Later Ezra, the Scribe, taught the Scriptures and gave light to its meaning.
5. Unification of the Jewish People
Similar to the captivity in Egypt, the Babylonian Captivity brought a common hardship and isolation which brought a common sympathy and a closer relationship with each of individual of the nation. They returned united and purified, anyone who would not learn this lesson remained in Babylon only to become lost in history.