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Conclusion to the Babylonian Captivity
God allowed His chosen people to choose for themselves who they would serve, but man's heart is desperately wicked and they chose to forsake the Lord. The Jews, His inheritance and peculiar treasure, had become an abomination. The Word of God says that they were so corrupt that they were like a crooked wall, which had to be torn down and completely rebuilt.
It is amazing to think that God allowed His city Jerusalem to be burned with fire, and His Temple to be completely destroyed. Then His people were taken into captivity 800 miles across the Arabian desert, to the land of idols and bondage. Yet they would only be there for 70 years, and there would be an end to their misery. The lesson that God was to teach them in Babylon would only be for a season. During their hardships God was still with them, He had chosen servants who ministered to them, and He still had a plan and hope for them in His promised Redeemer.
Many of them had blamed God, yet it was their own rebellion that brought the judgment of God upon them, as the prophets continually warned.
Many of them hated the Babylonians for storming God's chosen city and destroying the Temple, yet it was their own rebellion that brought the Babylonians upon them, as the prophets continually warned.
There were also those who realized that it was because they had forsaken God that the judgment came, and they were sorry and turned back to the Lord.
There were also those who realized that it was because of their attachment to the things of this world that the judgment came, and they were sorry and turned back to the Lord.
There were also those who remembered that it was because of their estrangement to the wonderful purposes that God had for them that they were driven from their land of promise, and they were sorry and turned back to the Lord.
The Lord would remember His people even in the foreign land of Babylon. He would still keep His sworn oath that He made to their fathers and bring them back to their land, and bring them the promised Redeemer.
10 For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
14 I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.
Map of the Deportation of Judah
2 Kings 24:20 "For because of the anger of the LORD this happened in Jerusalem and Judah, that He finally cast them out from His presence"
In the Book of II Kings we read of the deportation of the Jews from their land to the land of Babylon, and then the Book ends 37 years later with the account of Jehoiachin who was blinded and in captivity in Babylon. After 30 years of imprisonment, Evil-merodach ascended the throne of Babylon and at the beginning of his rule he chose to honor the Judean prisoner Jehoiachin. The Jewish king was given appropriate garments and an income and made a member of the court of Babylon, with other deposed kings. This was no doubt a comforting sign to the Jewish captives who were still in the "land of bondage."
In all actuality it was the Lord who had given favor to Jehoiachin, and it was the Lord that had allowed the promised Seed (Messiah) to pass through the loins of Jehoiachin as Matthew states:
11 Josiah begot Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.
12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel.
13 Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor.
14 Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud.
15 Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob.
16 And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.
God was faithful to His promises that they would remain in the land of Babylon for seventy years, and the "Son of David" would still come to bring salvation to the world.
Even in bitter captivity there was hope for God’s people, the promises were being fulfilled and the Scriptures continued to be written:
1 By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, yea, we wept When we remembered Zion.
2 We hung our harps Upon the willows in the midst of it.
3 For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, And those who plundered us requested mirth, Saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"
4 How shall we sing the LORD's song In a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, Let my right hand forget its skill!
6 If I do not remember you, Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth -- If I do not exalt Jerusalem Above my chief joy.