Inductive Bible Studies,

[Copyright by W. R. HARPER, 1887.]

PREPARED BY PROFESSORS W. R. HARPER (Yale University), W. G. BALLANTINE (Oberlin Theol. Sem.), WILLIS J. BEECHER (Auburn Theol. Sem.), and G. S. BURROUGHS (Amherst College).


Fortieth Study.—Judah and Israel in Exile.

[The material of this "study" is furnished by Professor Beecher. It is edited by Professor Harper.]


1. The Deportations to Babylon, under Nebuchadnezzar. Review the accounts of these, from the 37th " study," with especial attention to dates and numbers.  

(1) 2 Kgs. 24:1; 2 Chron. 36:6,7; Dan. 1:1,2, Daniel and his companions, B. C. 605.

(2) Jer. 52:28, 3023 persons, B. C. 598.

(3) 2 Chron. 36:10; 2 Kgs. 24:10-16, etc., 10,000 persons, with 7000 and 1000 (either included in, or exclusive of the 10,000), B. C. 597.

(4) Jer. 52:29, 832 persons, B. C. 587.  

(5) 2 Kgs. 25:8-21; 2 Chron. 36:18-20; Jer. 39:8-10; 52:12-27, general deportation, B. C. 586.

(6) Jer. 52:30, 745 persons, B. C. 582.

(7) 2 Kgs. 25:26; Jer. 41:11-44:30, voluntary exile of many Jews to Egypt, B. C. 586.1

2. The Date and the Duration of the Babylonian Exile.

(1) Over how many years did the process of Nebuchadnezzar's carrying Judah into exile extend?2  

(2) Jer. 25:11,12; 29:10; Dan. 9:2; 2 Chron. 36:21; Zech. 1:12; 7:5 (cf. Isa. 23:15,17), how about the seventy years of the exile?

(a) is this to be regarded as an exact number, or a round number?

(b) can you fix the beginning and end of the seventy years, from biblical data?3

3. Previous Deportations from Israel and Judah.

(1) From Israel:

(a) 1 Chron. 5:6,23,26 (cf. 2 Kgs. 15:19,20; 2 Chron. 30:6-10; Zech. 10:10, 11, by Pul or Tiglath-pileser, in reign of Menahem, of people from the Hermon region, Bashan, Gilead, and east of Jordan;

(b) 2 Kgs. 15:29; 2 Chron. 30:6-10; Jos. Ant. IX. xii. 3, by Tiglath-pileser, in reign of Pekah, from east and west of the northern Jordan;

(c) 2 Kgs. 17, especially 17:6; 18:11, by Sargon, in the reign of Hoshea, of the rest of the ten tribes;

(d) Schrader, or other Assyriological writers on these passages, Sargon says that at one time he carried away 27,280 inhabitants of Samaria, and mentions, at several dates, the deportation and importation of inhabitants from and to these regions;

(e) Ezra 4:2,10, and Assyrian records, possibly later deportations and importations.

(2) From Judah:

(a) 2 Chron. 29:9, possibly, Judaean exiles before Hezekiah's time;

(b) the records of Sennacherib, who says that, in Hezekiah's time, he captured in Judaea 200,150 people, " small and great, male and female;" cf. "remnant," 2 Kgs. 19:30,31, and similar expressions in the biblical history.

(3) Zech, 10:10,11; 2 Kgs. 23:34; Jer. 24:8; 22:11,12, etc. Exiles into Egypt and other countries than Assyria and Babylonia.

4. The Relations of the Exiles of Nebuchadnezzar's Time to the Earlier Exiles. It is often both assumed and asserted that the earlier exiles, especially those from the northern tribes, either lost their identity among the nations whither they were carried, or else became lost to history. On the latter supposition, the problem of the finding of the lost ten tribes is often brought up for solution. In opposition to all such views, weigh the following reasons for holding that the earlier exiles, both from Israel and Judah, became mingled with the exiles of Nebuchadnezzar's time, constituting the Jewish people, as it has ever since existed:

(1) The known character of the Israelitish race for race-persistence.

(2) The geographical statements as to where the exiles were located:

(a) 1 Chron. 5:26; 2 Kgs. 15:29; 17:6; 18:11, locate on a map the territories assigned to the exiles of the ten tribes;4

(b) the references in 1 above, with Jer. 24:5; 28:4,6; 50:8; 51:6, etc., locate the destination of Nebuchadnezzar's exiles;5

(c) Jer. 29:14,7; 3:18; Ezek. 1:2, etc., with many of the passages cited below, Jeremiah and Ezekiel speak of the exiles of Nebuchadnezzar's time as not confined to Babylonia, but living in all the countries, and especially in the " north," whither the ten tribes had formerly been carried;

(d) Ezra 1:1,3,4, etc.; Esth. 2:5,6; 3:8; 8:8-17, etc., from fifty to a hundred years later, these exiles of Nebuchadnezzar's time were found in all parts of the Persian empire.


(a) Jer. 3:12,18; 31:4,5,6,8,9, and very many passages, Jeremiah testifies that Israel of the ten tribes was living in the north, scattered among- all the nations, in his time;

(b) the same passages and Jer. 31:18,20; 50:19, etc., it is promised that Israel, as distinguished from Judah, shall be restored from the north country and all the nations, to Palestine;

(c) Jer. 3:18; 30:3; 31 throughout; 50:20; 51:5; Ezek. 37:16-22; Zech. 8:13, and very many places, it is represented that Judah and Israel are dwelling together in the north country, and among the nations, and will return together, the differences between them being effaced.

(4) The different tribes are represented as still in existence, during and after the Babylonian exile:

(a) Ezek. 48 and Rev. 7, apocalyptically, all the tribes by name;

(b) Ezek. 37:19; 45:8; 47:13,21,22,23; Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:30; Acts 26:7; Jas. 1:1; Rev. 21:12, etc., the twelve tribes in general;

(c) Rev. 5:5; Ezra 1:5; Rom. 11:1; Luke 2:36; Acts 4:36, etc., Judah, Benjamin, Levi, and Asher.

(5) In Ezra and Nehemiah, and especially in Esther, the numbers of the Jews are too great to be reasonably accounted for on the supposition that they were all descended from the exiles taken away by Nebuchadnezzar; it is the testimony of these books that the Jews who returned to Palestine were only a small part of the Jewish population of the Persian empire, and this is confirmed by all subsequent history.

5. Conditions of Life among the Exiles.

(1) 2 Kgs. 25:27, cf. such passages as Isa. 49:9; 61:1, some cases of imprisonment and ill-treatment.

(2) Jer. 29:4-7, cf. Ezra 1, and Ezekiel and Esther throughout, the ordinary life of the exile.

(3) Jer. 29:1; Ezek. 8:1; 14:1; 20:1; Ezra 3:2; 2:68,70, etc., they retained, mainly, the organization to which they had been accustomed, with elders, prophets, priests, "heads of fathers' houses," and the Judean high priest, royal family, and temple attendants kept distinct.

(4) Jer. 29:8,15, 21-32; Ezek. 13, etc., false prophets among the exiles.

6. Some Special Institutions of the Exile.

(1) Zech. 7:2,3,5; 8:19, fasts; learn what you can concerning them.

(2) Ezra 8:15-20, the place Casiphia; learn what you can in Ezra and Nehemiah about the temple singers, porters, etc.

7. Two Classes of Exiles.

(1) Dan. 1:19-21; 2:46-49; 3:30; 5:11,12,29; 6:1-3; 2 Kgs. 25:28, etc., the character of these exiles, and their standing among the Babylonians.

(2) Jer. 29, Ezek. 13, and all Ezekiel, the character of these exiles, and their standing in the countries where they lived.

(3) Is the representation in Daniel contradictory to that in Ezekiel and Jeremiah?  

(4) If both these representations are true, what were probably the relations of these two classes of exiles, and the nature of the influence of each class on the other?

8. The Feelings of the Exiles toward Babylon.

(1) Read Ps. 137, and look up, with concordance, the passages that mention Babylon, in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the post-exilic books.

(2) Did this feeling prevent their being faithful citizens of the Babylonian empire?

9. Scripture Study during the Exile. Dan. 10:21; 9:2; Zech. 1:4-6; Ezra 7:6, and other passages in which Ezra is called a scribe; Neh. 8:1-3, what do passages like these indicate as to the study and use of the Old Testament books by the exiled Jews?

10. The Worship of Idols. Jer. 44 and Ezek. 8, for example, contain rebukes sent to the Jews during the earlier part of the seventy years of exile; compare these with such rebukes as you can find in Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zech. 1-8, Malachi. Can you draw any inferences in regard to the effect of the exile on Jewish idol worship?

11. What Followed the Exile.

(1) Did most of the Israelites return to Palestine, in the times of Zerubabel and Ezra?

(2) Where were the Jews living in the times of Jesus and the Apostles?

(3) How has it been ever since?  

(4) Was the influence of Israel in human history, on the whole, weakened by the exile? or was it enlarged?  


1) The whole number thus carried into exile may have been from 20,000 to 40,000. If we hold that these were mostly men, the adding of the number of the women and children will largely increase the total.

2) The importance of this question arises from the fact that we find in books so many statements based on the assumption that the exile is to be dated in some one year. Many of the results reached from this assumption are peculiar. It is essential to fix in mind that the carrying of Judah into exile was a series of events extending over at least twenty-four years, and not a single event; and so to fix this in mind that you will instantly detect mistakes arising from the opposite assumption.

3) Each of the following periods is exactly seventy years: (1) Death of Josiah, B. C. 608, to first year of Cyrus, B. C. 538, counting but one of the terminal years. (2) Exile of Daniel, 605 B. C., to 536 B. C., counting both terminal years. It is possible to count 536 B. C. as the first year of Cyrus, by counting the two previous years to Darius the Mede. Apparently, the Book of Daniel has two different ways of counting the first year of Cyrus, Dan. 1:21; 10:1. (3) Burning of the first temple, B. C. 586, to the completing of Zerubabel's temple, B. C. 516, counting one terminal year.

4) You will find this somewhat in dispute, but will have no difficulty in placing them somewhere in northern Mesopotamia, or eastward from there, across the Tigris, or, perhaps, in both regions, and, at all events, far to the north or north-east of the country properly called Babylonia.

5) In a great number of places, it is "Babylon," "the land of the Chaldeans," "the land of Shinar," so that if the evidence closed with the examination of such passages, we should be shut up to the conclusion that the Babylonian exiles were taken into an entirely different region from that to which the earlier exiles had been taken. But it is supposable that the earlier exiles may have spread into other countries from those to which they were first taken, and it is also possible that the statement that Nebuchadnezzar took exiles to Babylon may mean that he took them, either directly or indirectly, to any part of the Babylonian empire. Whether it means this is to be determined by further examination of the evidence.