Old Testament History

By Henry Preserved Smith | Go to book overview

CHAPTER. XV
THE EXILE

IT has already been told how some years before the fall of Jerusalem, a considerable body of Jerusalemites were carried away by Nebuchadrezzar, and settled in Babylonia. It would seem that they were not made slaves, and that they were not taken to the city of Babylon, whose proletariat we may suppose to have been already numerous enough. The indications are that they were settled in agricultural communities along one of the great irrigating canals, to which the country then owed its extraordinary productiveness. The "river" Chebar, of our text, was such a canal.1 Babylonian supervision seems not to have gone so far as to destroy a certain measure of autonomy. We hear of the Sheikhs (Elders), who came to the prophet for advice, and we naturally suppose that they preserved something of their traditional authority.

The expectations of these people have already been remarked upon. In the face of all human probability their prophets fostered a hope that they would soon return to their native land. Jeremiah bitterly opposed these delusions, and saw plainly that the exile would be of long duration. But even he could hardly suppose that Yahweh would permanently leave His people in the hands of foreigners. For the time being this hope may have made the exiles cling together, so that they were able to adapt themselves to their new circumstances. But it also made them restless and unwilling to listen to the counsel of the more thoughtful of their number. It was not till the fall of Jerusalem that they were disposed to look the situation squarely in the face. That they did so then, and that they were able to adhere to the faith of Yahweh, is due to Ezekiel, in some respects the most remarkable of Israel's prophets.

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1
Ezek. I1, and elsewhere. References in Kraetzschmar, Handkommentar ( 1900), and in Toy's edition of the text ( Sacred Books of the Old Testament, 1899).

-301-

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Old Testament History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Chapter I - The Sources 1
  • Chapter II - The Origins 11
  • Chapter III - The Patriarchs 35
  • Chapter IV - Egypt and the Desert 52
  • Chapter V - The Conquest 73
  • Chapter VI - The Heroes 87
  • Chapter VII - The Early Monarchy 106
  • Chapter VIII - David 129
  • Chapter IX - Solomon 156
  • Chapter X - From Jeroboam to Jehu 177
  • Chapter XI - The House of Jehu 198
  • Chapter XII - The Fall of Samaria 219
  • Chapter XIII - Hezekiah and Manasseh 238
  • Chapter XIV - Josiah and His Sons 260
  • Chapter XV - The Exile 301
  • Chapter XVI - The Rebuilding of the Temple 344
  • Chapter XVII - Nehemiah and After 382
  • Chapter XVIII - The Greek Period 413
  • Chapter XX - The Priest-Kings 470
  • Appendix - Chronological Table 499
  • Index of Subjects 503
  • Index of Scripture Passages 510
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