THE BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY
We begin our story in 626 B.C.Israel had existed as an independent nation since the time of King David (c. 1000 B.C.)However, 400 years had past since David’s reign, and Israel had fallen further and further away from God. So God had in mind to punish the nation by making Israel subservient tothe Gentile powers. . In 626 B.C. the prophet Jeremiah began his ministry. For 40 yearshe preached a message of coming judgment – urging the people to repent.However, after the death of King Josiah (in 607 B.C.), the last righteous king, the Jewish people had almost completely abandoned God and His commandments – and Jeremiahmade this prophecy - he prophesied that the Jews would be taken captive by theBabylonians and put under their power for 70 years.
"Therefore the LORD Almighty says this: 'Because you have not listened to mywords, I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,' declares the LORD, 'and I will bring them against this land and it's inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroythem and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin. I will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp. This whole countrywill become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years. But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and hisnation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,' declares the LORD, 'and will make it desolate forever. I will bring upon that land all the things I have spokenagainst it, all that is written in this book and prophecied by Jeremiah against all the nations. They themselves will be enslaved by many nations and great kings. I will repay them according to their deeds and the work of their hands." JEREMIAH 25 v 7-14"When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place." JEREMIAH 29 v 10
It is a remarkable fact of history that Jeremiah's prophecy was fulfilled exactly.
"He (Nebuchadnezzar) carried into exile to Babylon the remnant (of the Jews)who escaped the sword, and they became servants of him and his sons until thekingdom of Persia came to power. The land enjoyed it's sabbath rests; all the timeof it's desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah." 2 CHRONICLES 36 v 22