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Chapter 8: The Exile. Mrs. Kenny Religion 9 March 2013. Towards what fate is Judah headed?.

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chapter 8 the exile

Chapter 8: The Exile

Mrs. Kenny

Religion 9

March 2013

towards what fate is judah headed
Towards what fate is Judah headed?
  • Injustice, infidelity, and idolatry of the two kingdoms were to end in crushing defeat. The north fell to Assyria. In Chapter 8, Judah (under the delusion that Jerusalem could never fall) was overrun by the Babylonians. The Temple is destroyed, and people sent to live in far-away Babylon.
  • Just as in the last chapter, prophets confronted and warned the kings before the Exile, then consoled the people and offered them hope once they were defeated and captive in Babylon.
chapter 8 covers the biblical books
Chapter 8 covers the biblical books:

2 Kings, Zephaniah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Baruch, Ezekiel, and Second Isaiah…

books covered in chapter 8
Books Covered in Chapter 8
  • Zephaniah, Nahum, and Habakkuk – (short books) - a coming time when God’s justice will finally be done
  • Jeremiah – (longer book)prophet’s call:
      • futile struggle to make kings listen to God’s message, persecution, the fall of Judah and Jerusalem, and the Exile. (basic def. of prophet!)
      • Offers hope of a new Covenant for Israel, written on people’s hearts, after the Exile has purified them.
  • Lamentations –5 poems expressing Judah’s grief over the loss of Jerusalem
  • Baruch – set in Babylon during the Exile but written centuries later when the Jews lived throughout the Greek Empire and needed hope to return
  • Ezekiel – prophet’s symbolic actions, acted-out messages from God before the Exile and impending disaster; offers hope & renewal to the people
  • Second Isaiah ­ - filled with hope and expectation to return to Jerusalem and a coming reign of peace. Describes a mysterious servant of the Lord who suffers for the sake of the people.
judah s slippery slope heading for disaster p 177
Judah’s Slippery Slope: Heading for Disaster (p.177)
  • Hezekiah (good Davidic king) has a son named Manasseh. Manasseh is the next king, and is wicked. He changes the Temple back to pagan worship, sacrifices his son, drenches Jerusalem in blood, etc. Manasseh’s son is assassinated when king, but his grandson Josiah grows up to be one of Judah’s great reformers.
a high point on the way downhill
A High Point on the Way Downhill
  • In 622 B.C. the Temple was being reformed, and they found a copy of The Law. (This is probably part of what is now Deuteronomy.)
  • Huldah (a prophetess or “navi” in Hebrew) is called to help explain it.
a high point on the way downhill1
A High Point on the Way Downhill
  • Josiah leads a renewal of the Covenant and celebration of Passover. He then commences reforms. These help slow Judah’s slide to ruin, but doesn’t stop it. Most people’s hearts do not change, even though Josiah tries to turn things around.
  • Josiah is killed in battle in 609 B.C. with Egypt’s pharaoh.
  • Jehoiakim then takes the throne of Judah as a puppet of Egypt.
josiah leaves a legacy
Josiah Leaves a Legacy
  • Deuteronomistshave been left with a long-lasting impression of Josiah, and are called back to the Covenant
  • Deuteronomists are also inspired by prophets before the Exile, such as: Zephaniah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and (the great) Jeremiah.
    • Jeremiah is the one who is most apparent in the Deut.’s writings.
  • During & after the Exile theyrework and edit these texts to compose the Deuteronomic History
  • Without the Deuteronomists – there would be no Bible!
zephaniah the remnant
Zephaniah: The Remnant
  • After First Isaiah, there is no mention of a prophet for 100 years. In 630 B.C., Zephaniah speaks, during the early reign of Josiah, a few years before the prophet Jeremiah.
  • Book = 3 short chapters
  • Tell of “the day of the Lord” – a time of judgment for everyone – enemies and faithful; guilty will be judged for their deeds, not their religious affiliation
  • Zephaniah introduces an idea only briefly touched on by Isaiah and Hosea: unfortunate and impoverished, the “humble of the land” will become the remnant
  • Remnant = a new kind of “chosen” from whom God will build a new Israel
the humble and lowly
The Humble and Lowly
  • Upper-class would have considered this a heresy
  • Poor were considered sinners
  • Poverty made it impossible for poor to abide by laws of washing, contributing money, and offering sacrifices – because they could not buy animal offerings
  • Poor reduced to begging; considered outcasts
  • If poor were ill = unclean
  • To religious Temple-goers, poor were beyond the reach of God
  • These were ideas during Jesus’ time, and are still thought by some today (stereotypes!)
nahum ninevah will fall nahum
Nahum: Ninevah Will Fall!Nahum
  • little known writing prophet during reign of Josiah
  • spoke several years before Ninevah, capital of Assyria, fell to the Babylonians around 612 B.C.
  • Book opens with Assyria soon to be destroyed by Babylon; Nahum rejoices that God will use Babylon to punish Assyria
  • Nahum’s vision: defeated soldiers and the queen and her ladies mourning them
  • Nahum assumes all will be well with Judah
  • Doesn’t call for repentance. Instead, calls for hope.
habakkuk why god why
Habakkuk: Why, God, Why?
  • Probably a prophet in the Jerusalem Temple during the reign of Josiah’s son Jehoiakim
  • Habakkuk = a writing prophet who had a marvelous way with words
  • Had a vision in the Temple, just like Isaiah
habakkuk the book
Habakkuk: The Book
  • 1st chapter:
    • Habakkuk complains to God that he has prayed endlessly that corrupt Judah be punished for its injustice and violence.
    • His prayer does not get heard, and he wants to know why.
    • God replies that Judah will be punished by the Chaldeans/Babylonians.
    • Habakkuk is appalled.
    • Exchange between Habakkuk and God leaves the prophet praising him and humbled by his own ignorance and divine ways.
  • 3rd chapter = psalm
tough questions
Tough Questions
  • Habakkuk is the 1st to ask the question
    • “Why?”
    • “Why if God is present, does he seem not to be?”
    • “Why, when God says that prayer will be answered, does it seem not to be?”
    • “Why does God not stop human evil?”
  • Habakkuk’s questioning was a bold step forward in the people’s understanding of God…
it is alright to challenge and question god

So is the case of Habakkuk in the Bible…because often when we find an answer, it brings about understanding that we, as imperfect human beings, did not have before!

  • Major prophet
  • Tragic figure of the Bible
  • Message: warning and suffering to come; was unpopular (of course!)
  • Longed for the security of normal life
  • Never married, which was unthinkable for a young Jewish man at the time
  • Despised at the time by the people, struggled with God, anguished over it
  • Loved and served God all his life
  • A tenderhearted young man, rather than a fiery fighter!
  • Dragged off to Egypt for an unrecorded death
  • Lived about 650-570 B.C.

Another famous Michelangelo painting!

the book of jeremiah
The Book of Jeremiah
  • Poetry, prose and biographical material combined into themes (probably by the Deuteronomists)

…therefore are not organized chronologically

  • Points out inevitable doom for Judah and Jerusalem if they do not turn things around
  • Plants seeds of hope that will grow in people later after the suffering: a new Covenant

Another famous Michelangelo painting!

a reluctant prophet who me
A Reluctant Prophet…Who, me?
  • Jeremiah was born into a priestly family north of Jerusalem
  • God calls him at about age 20, during Josiah’s reign
  • “I am too young!” exclaims Jeremiah when God calls him.
  • God reassures He will provide the right words for Jeremiah.
  • 2 visions:
    • Branch of an almond tree (watching tree) – symbolizing the God is watching to see if Judah and Jerusalem will change
    • Boiling cauldron tipped on a hearth in the north, meaning that God will summon kingdoms from the north to be poured out over Judah if it does not change
  • Jeremiah’s warnings outrage the people, so he has to work quickly
a reluctant prophet who me1
A Reluctant Prophet…Who, me?
  • More than any other prophet, Jeremiah communicates God’s message not only through words and oracles but also through his own suffering.
  • A reluctant prophet, he warns Judah to change its evil ways or face destruction. But the Judahites are convinced that God would never allow Jerusalem to be destroyed.
  • They persecute Jeremiah, who despairs of, but remains faithful to, his calling.
jerusalem your time is coming
Jerusalem, your time is coming!
  • Josiah is killed in battle with Egypt. Jehoiakim is an evil king that takes over.
  • Jehoiakimsides with the Egyptians against the king of Babylon: Nebuchadnezzar II.
  • Jeremiah hates the politics used in Judah, and is convinced punishment is on the way.
why so smug judah
Why So Smug Judah?

Remember: the people of Judah were convinced Jerusalem could not be overcome. The Temple was there, and the people still remembered the angel of the Lord saving the people from the Assyrians when Hezekiah was king. They then made the assumption they would always be protected, no matter what.

the temple no guarantee of safety
The Temple: No Guarantee of Safety
  • God tells Jeremiah to preach in the Temple: stop oppressing foreigners, shedding innocent blood, worshiping idols, and start to show justice and mercy to widows and orphans.
  • The priests and court prophets start a riot and Jeremiah has to escape before he is killed.
making fun of idols
Making Fun of Idols
  • The One and Only God: God uses Jeremiah to ridicule the idols of Jerusalem (Jer 10:1-16)
  • In Jer 10:1-16, he compares false idols to:
  • Up until the Exile, the Israelite people believed that there were many gods but “God” was superior to all others. Prophets suggested there was only one God, and that the others were powerless and phony.
jeremiah s suffering inner torment
Jeremiah’s Suffering & Inner Torment
  • Jeremiah is accused of blasphemy for things he has said, and beaten and put in the stocks overnight.
  • Jeremiah’s mood plummets, and he curses the day he was born. (Jer 19:1-6, 10-11; 20:1-18)
jeremiah at the edge of despair
Jeremiah: At the Edge of Despair
  • Jeremiah wants to be faithful, but God never makes it easy for him
  • Jeremiah is ravaged with inner torment, feeling abandoned and even tricked by God. He knows he has to continue to speak the truth, though.
  • Jesus went through similar torment: “Why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34)
the first exile do not resist babylon
The First Exile: Do Not Resist Babylon!
  • 597 B.C. = 1st Exile for Judah (The next exile will follow a decade later.)
  • This happens after Jehoiakim refuses to form an allegiance to Babylon’s Nebuchadnezzar, so he is killed. His son King Jehoiachin is forced into exile with his court, craftsmen, and professionals.
  • Jehoiakim’s other son Zedekiah becomes a wishy-washy king in Jerusalem. He wants to hear what Jeremiah says, but he doesn’t have the courage to heed his words.
prophet and traitor
Prophet and Traitor!

Jeremiah tells the people to go willingly into the 1st Babylonian exile because God will purify them through this means and offer the hope of return.

The people consider Jeremiah’s message to be treason and try to kill him.

new covenant
New Covenant
  • A New Covenant: The Law Written on Their Hearts
  • Jeremiah prophesizes that God will make a new covenant with the people, writing the Law on their hearts: Not just a Law that tells them what to do – but a Law that makes sure that “believers” feel their commitment to God with their hearts.
  • Israel’s acceptance of exile will bring hope for an entirely new, living relationship with God.
jeremiah jesus
  • A Prophesy Fulfilled by Christ
    • Early Christians believed that Jesus is the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophesy of a new Covenant.
    • Jesus fulfilled the new Covenant by his teachings, and sealed it with his death and resurrection.
the second exile jerusalem destroyed
The Second Exile: Jerusalem Destroyed
  • In 587 B.C. the Babylonians return. They:
      • break the city’s walls,
      • torch its buildings,
      • destroy the Temple, and
      • deport many people to Babylon.
      • Zedekiah is captured, and made to watch his sons slain, then he is blinded and hauled off to Babylon.
    • Jeremiah stays behind with the Judahites still in Jerusalem – and tells them they will remain safe if they stay and cooperate with Babylonian rules.
    • Instead of listening, the people flee to Egypt, and take Jeremiah and his scribe Baruch with them.
    • Few of them ever return to Jerusalem. (One of the few to return is Baruch. Jeremiah is never seen or heard from again.)
the power of failure
The Power of Failure
  • A second Babylonian exile begins after Jerusalem is destroyed in 587 B.C. Jeremiah’s contemporaries see him as a complete failure. But the exiles and succeeding generations of Jews see that the “failure” in both the experiences of Jeremiah and the exile hold seeds of transformation and hope. The Jewish religion was born during the exile.
lamentations baruch
Lamentations & Baruch
  • Lamentations: Judah Grieves
    • The Book of Lamentations contains five hymns of Judah’s grief after Jerusalem’s fall.
    • 1st, 2nd, 4th chapters: funeral speeches for loss of Jerusalem
    • 3rdchapter: author’s suffering and hope that God will bring an end to it
    • 5th chapter: people admitting their guilt, expressing hope, praying for restoration
  • Baruch: Keep the Faith!
    • the Book of Baruch was written centuries after the exile (therefore not by Baruch himself) to nurture the faith of the Jews during the Dispersion.
    • Ch 6: “Letter to Jeremiah” – powerful and amusing ridicule of idols
      • Overall message: “Don’t be fooled, you faraway sons and daughters of the one God; there is no other God but the Lord.” (Baruch 6:1-22)
ezekiel from the hearts of stone to hearts of flesh
Ezekiel: From the Hearts of Stone to Hearts of Flesh
  • Writing prophet in the southern territory of Judah.
  • Like Jeremiah, Ezekiel prophesized in Jerusalem in the years before the Exile.
  • After Jerusalem fell, Ezekiel was deported to Babylon.
  • Best known for: Prophesying in Babylon, where he inspired hope in the discouraged.
  • Message: God had forgiven Israel and would create it anew, giving it a new heart and a new spirit.
  • Gifts: Not writing and poetry, but: drama, symbol making, and storytelling!
  • Ezekiel had a dramatic flair, so much that people thought he was possessed.
  • Ezekiel was a fiery prophet – like Amos.
ezekiel an awesome call
Ezekiel: An Awesome Call
  • Ezekiel’s prophesy begins with a strange vision: A bright light with a chariot drawn by 4 winged creatures. Each creature has 4 faces: a lion, ox, eagle, and a man. On a throne above it is a bright light resembling a man – which appears to be the likeness of the glory of the Lord.
  • God instructs Ezekiel to tell the people His displeasure, and tells Ezekiel to eat a scroll with lamentations, mourning, and woe on it.
ezekiel an awesome call1
Ezekiel: An Awesome Call
  • God warns Ezekiel that the people will be stubborn and hard-hearted, so not to be afraid of them. Words won’t be enough: he has to act out his message.
  • God tells Ezekiel to be silent until told to speak. He therefore performs one bizarre wordless act after another.
  • From that point, Ezekiel is not his own person anymore: he is God’s.
  • Of course, the people do not change their ways, and Jerusalem still falls.
  • Ezekiel accompanies the Judahites on the long journey through the desert to Babylon.
a new heart and a new spirit within
“A New Heart…and a New Spirit” Within
  • Ezekiel’s role changed when the destruction of Jerusalem occurs.
  • Becomes a counselor, teacher, and inspirer to the exiles.
  • Instead of hearing about God’s anger, they need to hear about God’s mercy.
  • By becoming sorrowful during the exile, the people’s hearts will be softened and made anew.
  • Ezekiel prophesies what Jeremiah did: that they will be brought back to their land someday:
    • A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.(Ezekiel 36:26)
vision of the dry bones ezekiel 37 1 14
Vision of the Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37:1-14)

Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones

37 The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out [a]by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. 3 He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord [b]God, You know.” 4 Again He said to me, “ Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’ 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause [c] breath to enter you that you may come to life. 6 I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord.’”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a [d]noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9 Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.”’” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

The Vision Explained

11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are [e]completely cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. 14 I will put My [f]Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,” declares the Lord.’”

a resurrection
A Resurrection
  • Valley of the dry bones story is one of the most familiar Ezekiel stories.
  • Symbolism: The raising up of a nation and lost hope.
  • Israel tried to manipulate its own fate and has failed, so must lament. They have ignored, betrayed, and rejected God – and God alone can save them, and will!
  • This passage is often used at Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday.
  • We see this story as another reminder of Jesus, who will unite us forever with God through the Resurrection.
the vision of a new jerusalem
The Vision of a New Jerusalem
  • The last chapters of Ezekiel are a vision to return to Jerusalem, the rebuilding of the Temple, and the return of the glory of God.
  • God orders Ezekiel to tell the priests and people how to worship, celebrate feast days, observe laws of ritual, rules for nobles, and laws for the division of land.
  • Ezekiel doesn’t live to see Jerusalem again. He dies in exile.
second isaiah
Second Isaiah

First Isaiah: Chapters 1-39

Second Isaiah: Chapters 40-55

Writers of Second Isaiah: prophet or prophets that lived in Babylon toward the end of the exile, around 550 B.C.

life in babylon
Life in Babylon
  • Hebrews not treated as slaves, forced into labor or put into prison camps
  • Had a certain freedom, but were captives who couldn’t leave.
  • As Jeremiah advised them, they settled down, built homes, planted gardens, and developed businesses.
  • Babylon = sophisticated & wealthy compared to Jerusalem
  • Many exiles became prosperous and comfortable there as the years went on
religious renewal
Religious Renewal
  • Jews were not allowed to build a temple or practice religion in any public fashion
  • Marduk: Babylonian god, Jews didn’t like
  • Instead, much of the Torah/Jewish Bible came into its final form during this period
  • Exile: time of great creativity for Israel
    • religion focused more on Word of God and community than temple worship
    • Circumcision, kosher diet practice, and the Sabbath as a day of rest all became significant
    • The customs reminded Jews of their identity as God’s “Chosen People”
tensions and compromises
Tensions and Compromises
  • One could expect that assimilating with the Babylonian life was always a temptation, especially for younger generations.
  • This was always an issue in Hebrew culture up until this time.
2 nd isaiah raise hope
2nd Isaiah: Raise Hope!

Second Isaiah’s challenge to the people: raise hopes of people for the day they could go back to Jerusalem

consolation and hope
Consolation and Hope
  • Isaiah chapters 40-55 (Book of Consolation) are full of joyous expectation of:
    • The return to Jerusalem
    • Promised One/Messiah
    • Day when all nations gather to worship God in justice and peace
  • Book of Consolation: 4 songs of a mysterious servant to God, one whose mission is to bring salvation to all peoples through his own suffering
israel liberated
Israel Liberated!
  • In 538 B.C. Cyrus, King of Persia, defeated Babylonians and set the exiles free
  • Anyone who returned to Jerusalem would need to be passionate about it, since they had already settled in and it was generations after.
cyrus the anointed liberator
Cyrus the Anointed: Liberator
  • Cyrus = “God’s anointed” and God calls him by name
  • God is ruler of all the earth and all nations, even if those kings do not know the one, true, loving God
  • Cyrus is a good king – respectful and doesn’t resort to brutality, but asks to be prayed for
preparing the way of the lord
Preparing the Way of the Lord
  • Two famous passages that are referred to in the gospels (i.e. Luke 3:2-6) and many versions are widely used during our Advent season:
  • “A voice rings out: Clear the desert a road for the Lord! Level in the wilderness a highway for our God! Let every valley be raised, Every hill and mount made low. Let the rugged ground become level and the ridges become a plain. The Presence of the Lord shall appear, and all flesh, as one, shall behold – for the Lord Himself has spoken.” (From Jewish Bible, Isaiah 40:3-4)
  • “But they who trust in the Lord shall renew their strength, As eagles grow new plumes: They shall run and not grow weary, They shall march and not grow faint.” (From the Jewish Bible, Isaiah 40:31)

They are used during our Advent season.

songs of the suffering servant
Songs of the Suffering Servant
  • What is a Suffering Servant???
    • An innocent person who suffers greatly – not as punishment for their own sins but in order to save the people from theirs.
      • The Way of Salvation through Suffering
      • Jesus as the Suffering Servant
come to the feast
Come to the Feast!
  • Isaiah Chapter 55 uses the following images to convey hope:
    • a feast that will satisfy,
    • water that will quench thirst,
    • mountains breaking into song,
    • trees that clap their hands,
    • cypresses instead of thornbushes,
    • myrtle instead of nettles.

(myrtle flowers in picture!)

fruits of the exile a k a good to come out of exile
Fruits of the Exile(a.k.a. Good to come out of Exile)
  • The Word of God,
  • A new Covenant coming,
  • Saving power of suffering (suffering that is not punishment),
  • “Faithful remnant” that returns to Jerusalem after the Exile,
  • Distinctive practices (i.e. circumcision, kosher diet, keeping the Sabbath, etc.) intact,
  • Judaism can be celebrated anywhere – since they don’t need the temple to worship. Judaism = portable religion, and can spread to be used as a “light of the nations”

The Greek translation of the Old Testament and today the oldest complete version in existence.

Widely used around the time of Jesus.

According to popular legend, 72 Jewish scholars, working independently, came up with the identcally same translation of the text.

Septuagint = “seventy”


The Hebrew word meaning “instruction” refers to the collection of rabbinic writings that constitute the basic religious authority in Judaism.