Exile from the Promised Land

As the kings of both kingdoms turn away from God taking their nations with them, they fell into the captivity and the reign of neighboring nations. The northern kingdom of Israel was taken by the Assyrians around 740 BCE after strong resistance. The southern kingdom of Judah remained until around 600 BCE, at which time it was overtaken by the Babylonians. In both situations, the conquering forces took the educated and skilled families from the Jews and left behind the poor laborers. Part of the assimilation of the Judeans was to feed and educate this next generation of advisors in a particular manner, there were some that chose not to follow those rules. Daniel 1:1-7. Through the simple act of not defiling themselves with the diet chosen by the king or worshipping the idols, God blesses Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah and gives them wisdom and favor beyond anyone else in this program. Because of their obedience here, and in the situation of the Golden Image, they were saved from burning in front of the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. When the king sees this miracle, he decrees that no one is to speak against their God (Daniel 3:29).

Just as He had done during their wandering in the wilderness, they would find blessings from God through obedience to Him and his statutes.  We all know the story of Daniel, who like his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, his faith was questioned and tested, and he prevailed, earning the protection of the Lord.  Esther and her cousin, Mordecai, later encounter prosecution for their Jewish faith, despite the success and favor with the King, and only through their good faith and dedication do they earn protection for the Jewish people in his lands.

These accounts are there to show us that although the Kingdoms had fallen due to apostasy that God was still there for his people. By a simple act of obedience or prayer, these people could be in contact with their Jehovah in the midst of a heathen nation. There were many Prophets speaking out and calling the people back to proper worship of the one true God and their responsibility as a community of godly people. The disobedience had to be punished and brought to an end, to show that it was not okay, but God never once left his people without an answer. He required them to show their faith through their actions, to love no other god but Him, and we find no real mention of yearly tithing or the offerings that were previously given to the Temple. Those that found favor with God and were blessed and protected by Him had only to give their love and faith, without any monetary or animal payments towards Him.

The Exile would come to an end as it had been foretold along with their exile from the promised land. The children of Judah knew that God would not leave them, and their land would be restored. While the prophets foretold their exile for disobedience, they also told that God would forgive them and keep watch over them in spite of their sins (Hosea 14).

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