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The City of Tel Aviv in Babylon
According to the Scriptures the captives of Judah were deported to a place called Tel-abib in the land of Babylon. The name means "mound of the deluge" because it was flooded by the Euphrates River. It is not exactly clear exactly where the Biblical Tel-abib was located but many scholars believe it was near Nippur, about 50 miles southeast of Babylon.
The prophet Ezekiel was among the first to be taken captive to Babylon. According to the Bible he lived at a place called Tel-abib which was by the River Chebar or (grand canal)
1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.
2 On the fifth day of the month, which was in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin's captivity,
3 the word of the LORD came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the River Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was upon him there.
15 Then I came to the captives at Tel Abib, who dwelt by the River Chebar; and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.
1 And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house with the elders of Judah sitting before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell upon me there.
The "river" has been identified as the "Naru Kabari" because of two cuneiform inscriptions from Nippur. According to these tablets there was an irrigation canal that brought the water of the Euphrates River from Nippur to Babylon and looped around to the River near Erech. The canal's modern name is Shatt en-Nil.
The Jewish colonists were treated rather well and the prophet Jeremiah sent them a message from Jerusalem to take wives, build houses, plant gardens and take advantage of their situation because they were going to be there for seventy years.
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.