The Hebrew Exiles In Babylon Essay

The Hebrew Exiles In Babylon Essay

Length: 1821 words (5.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Hebrew Exiles in Babylon


     When Jerusalem fell to the conquering Babylonians in 587 BC, most of what was important to the Hebrew people was gone. They lost their holy city, the Temple was destroyed, and the Davidic monarchy ended (Beasley 221). Following the destruction of Jerusalem, the Babylonian king, Nebuchadrezzar, deported most of the population to other cities, including Babylon. These exiles remained there for about fifty years until the Persian forces, under king Cyrus, took the city of Babylon in 539 BC. The Persian policies concerning captured and exiled peoples were quite different than those of the Babylonians, and because of this King Cyrus allowed the exiles to return to Jerusalem in 538 BC to rebuild the city and the Temple.

However, even though the exiles were allowed to return to their ancestral homeland of Judah, many of the people chose not to return but to remain in the recently conquered city of Babylon. There are many contributing factors concerning why these Hebrew exiles chose to remain. Even so, it is difficult to understand why a people, who were located in Palestine for over a millennium and who had such strong religious beliefs and practices, would choose to abandon the location of their now destroyed sacred Temple and ancestral home after being exiled for only fifty years.

One contributing factor for the exile’s choice to remain in Babylon was the quality and level of social life that they experienced while in Babylon. Many of them maintained their identity and status within the Babylonian settlements. This suggests a well-developed social structure among the Hebrew exiles (Blenkinsopp 152). They also had the benefit of personal freedom and the ability to manage their own community life. An example of this are the “elders of the diaspora”, who aided the leader of the exiles, ex-king Jehoiachin, in conducting community affairs. The presence of elders among the Hebrew exiles suggests that the settlements within Babylon governed themselves similarly to pre-exilic urban existence, even to the point of maintaining gatherings for decisions and the hearing of prophets (Smith 97). The exiles were also allowed to live according to their own customs, were able to purchase property, and could even own slaves (Hayes 483). Some of the exiles may have actually had other Hebrews as slaves since the their laws allowed them to...


... middle of paper ...


...esolite condition of Jerusalem they faced if they returned. These are only a few of the total possible problems and factors that affected the choice of many of the Hebrews during the Babylonian exile and immediately following during the post-exilic period.

Works cited:

Ackroyd, Peter, Exile and Restoration. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1968.

Beasley, James R., et al., An Introduction to the Bible. Nashville: Abington Press, 1991.

Blenkinsopp, Joseph, A History of Prophecy in Israel. Louisville: Westminster John
     Knox Press, 1996.

Hayes, John H. and J. Maxwell Miller, ed. Israelite and Judean History. Philadelphia:
The Westminster Press, 1977.

Grabbe, Lester L., The Persian and Greek Periods. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992.
Vol. 1 of Judaism From Cyrus to Hadrian. 2 vols. 1992.

Metzger, Bruce M., and Roland E. Murphy, ed. The New Oxford Annotated Bible.
New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 1994.

Newsome, James D., By the Waters of Babylon. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1979.

Smith, Daniel L., The Religion of the Landless. Bloomington: Meyer-Stone Books, 1989.

Whitley, Charles Francis, The Exilic Age. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1975.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Hebrew Diaspora Essay

- The Jews faced a long history of persecution and racism. Envy, greed, and thirst for power caused groups such as the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Romans (to name a few) to persecute, exile, and threaten the existence of the Hebrew community. The Diaspora was definitely not a single event taking place over the course of one night, it was rather a series of dispersals by varying groups of people continuing up to the present time. The Diaspora resulted in the spread of the Hebrew population along with their culture and beliefs, which ultimately strengthened the Hebrew community....   [tags: Jews, Persecution, Racism, Envy, Greed, Power]

Term Papers
991 words (2.8 pages)

Historical Research Paper: Prophet Ezekiel

- Ezekiel denotes a Hebrew prophet who largely prophesied several instances of the destruction of Israel and its restoration. In the bible, Ezekiel is the son on Buzi and, as was at the time, in the lineage of priests and prophets. He describes himself in introduction as, ”In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the river Chebar, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. On the fifth day of the month, it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin, the word of The Lord came 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.” Ezekiel...   [tags: the Old Testament, Hebrew prophets]

Term Papers
1309 words (3.7 pages)

Hebrew Nomads View on the Creation Essay

- ... This is the story the Babylonians would have believed in when they heard Genesis. Genesis starts by saying “in beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. The Bible talks about God speaking things into existence. First God made the light, which He separated into day and night. Next, God created the sky and then the waters. “He called the dry ground ‘land’ and the waters ‘seas’”. This is when God says that “it was good”. God states that his creations are good, which is different from the creations of Enuma Elish....   [tags: Genesis, Hebrew, Bible]

Term Papers
1165 words (3.3 pages)

Essay about The Hebrew Bible And The Bible

- The Hebrew Bible contains conflicting and insufficient information, which impacts my views about what the Hebrew Bible says and what the Bible means. It has multiple dimensions. It is evident that various scriptures in the Hebrew Bible do not say what it means, nor does it mean what it says. “Ultimately it 's going to take some detective work in an effort to increase findings to enhance interpretation and more.” [6] I feel that portions of the Hebrew Bible should be modified, re-investigated, re-instated and re-interpreted to include all God 's people, of all nationalities and religions in fairness and justice....   [tags: Bible, Old Testament, Hebrew Bible, Tanakh]

Term Papers
778 words (2.2 pages)

Essay about Pat Frank’s Alas Babylon

- *“In The End, It Is Our Defiance That Redeems Us.” – Mark Rowland* “To the world you may be just another person, but to one person you may just be the world (Snyder, ThinkExist.com). In Pat Frank’s book, Alas Babylon, Randy Bragg is no one of importance. He is failed politician that lives off his family’s land in a small town, Fort Repose, in Florida. But For this small town lawyer everything was about to change. The United States had been on edge of Nuclear Warfare with Russia for years. Frank writes on about how one man, Randy Bragg, redeems himself from a failed politician to a somewhat of a town hero (Frank)....   [tags: Alas Babylon Essays]

Term Papers
837 words (2.4 pages)

By the Waters of Babylon and Planet of the Apes Essay

- By the Waters of Babylon and Planet of the Apes Comparitive Essay               The short story by the waters of Babylon and the movie planet of the apes were both futuristic stories.  They also both showed the evil sides of today’s man and the chaos and mass destruction that we are capable of accomplishing.  They portrayed today’s man as selfish, violent, and full of hate and rage.  By the waters of Babylon was written from the point of view of a boy close to becoming a man who knew nothing of his past civilization.  Whereas in the movie planet of the apes it was from the point of view of a man that had come nearly directly from that past civilization.  The main people in charge...   [tags: By the Waters of Babylon Essays]

Free Essays
984 words (2.8 pages)

Connecting Babylon Revisited, My Life, and the Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald

-     It is no wonder, that when students read literature, some are confused about the meaning of the story or poem, know little, if anything at all, about the author, and have trouble memorizing important points. This is not only because of the limited time allowed, but because the student fails to associate new knowledge with old knowledge. Making a personal connection is important whether the instructor recommends it or not. Attention should be given to both the technical points of the writing and the author's biography....   [tags: Babylon Revisited, F. Scott Fitzgerald]

Term Papers
2586 words (7.4 pages)

A Comparison of the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Hebrew Scriptures Essay

- A Comparison of the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Hebrew Scriptures The Hebrew Flood story of Noah and his obligation to preserve man kind after God had punished all living creatures for their inequities parallels The Epic of Gilgamesh in several ways. Even though these two compilations are passed on orally at different times in history the similarities and differences invoke deliberation when these stories are compared. Numerous underlining themes are illustrated throughout each story. Humans are guilty of transgressions and must be punished, God or Gods send a flood as punishment to destroy this evil race, a person is selected by the gods to build a craft that will withstand the flood and al...   [tags: Hebrew Flood Story Scripture Gilgamesh Essays]

Term Papers
1297 words (3.7 pages)

A Character Analysis of Charlie in Fitzgerald's Babylon Revisited Essay

- A Character Analysis of Charlie in Fitzgerald's Babylon Revisited In considering Charlie Wales plight in Fitzgerald's "Babylon Revisited," I believe Charlie is a victim of his own success. As a successful businessman two times over he has burned many bridges behind him and for his well intentions he is blind to that continued fallacy. He does not seem to realize that the success he enjoys now is the envy that brought about Marion and Lincoln's contempt prior to Helen's death. I see Charlie attempting desperately to act out of character....   [tags: Babylon Revisited Essays]

Free Essays
368 words (1.1 pages)

Essay on Exiles

- Exiles Exiles Response In the essay "Exiles," Carolyn Steedman uses different voices throughout the story. Steedman uses her mom, dad, and grandma's voice to speak her essay to the reader. She does this by either using someone else's memories of the instant by referring to what their mom did, told by the father or grandmother. She also uses memories or voices that her mom or dad said. An example of this would be the telling of Steedman mom's story, which was told by her father at the time "in bits and pieces throughout the fifties"....   [tags: essays papers]

Free Essays
668 words (1.9 pages)