Biblical Period 8
Lesson # 19

Heavenly Father,
The destruction of Jerusalem and Solomon's Temple in 587/6BC was an earth shattering event for the Covenant people.  They never dreamed-- no matter how badly they sinned, that You would allow gentiles to desecrate Your Holy Place!  But the condition of Your children's souls meant more to You, Father, than the earthly treasures of Your beautiful Temple.  Guide us in our study Lord, and help us to understand that a loving Father is not a permissive parent.  We pray in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.


"Yahweh spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai and said: 'Speak to the Israelites and say to them: When you enter the country which I am giving you, the land must keep a Sabbath's rest for Yahweh. For six years you will sow your field, for six years you will prune your vineyard and gather its produce.  But in the seventh year the land will have a sabbatical rest, a Sabbath for Yahweh.  You will neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard, nor reap any grain which has grown of its own accord, nor gather the grapes from your untrimmed vine. It will be a year of rest for the land."
Leviticus 25:1-5

"But if you will not listen to me and do not put all these commandments into practice, if you reject my laws and detest my customs, and you break my covenant by not putting all my commandments into practice, this is how I shall treat you: [...].  And, if in spite of this, you will not listen to me but go against me, I shall go against you in fury and punish you seven times over for your sins.  [...].  Then the country will indeed observe its Sabbaths, all the while it lies deserted, while you are in the country of your enemies.  Then indeed the country will rest and observe its Sabbaths.  And as it lies deserted it will rest, as it never did on your Sabbaths when you were living there."
Leviticus 26:14-15, 27-28, 31-35

"The surviving remnant of the House of Judah will bring forth new roots below and fruits above; for a remnant will issue from Jerusalem, and survivors from Mount Zion.  Yahweh Sabaoth's jealous love will accomplish this."
Isaiah 37:31-32

The readings for Biblical Period #8: The Exile

Assyria Destroys Israel: Exile/ Foreign people Inhabit the Land 2 Kings 17:1-41
The Salvation of Judah 2 Kings 18-21
King Josiah's Reforms in Judah 2 Kings 22:1-23:30
Jeremiah Prophesies the Fall and
The Restoration of Jerusalem
Jeremiah 1:1-52:34
The Prophecies of Ezekiel Ezekiel 1:1-44:31
Babylon Destroys Judah and Jerusalem/ The Exile begins 2 Kings 25:1-30
The Lament over Jerusalem Lamentations 1:1-5:22
The Prophet Daniel Daniel 1:1-6:28
Daniel's Vision of the Messianic King and the 5th Kingdom Daniel 2:31-45; 7:9-27
Daniel and the Secret Prophecy Of the Last Days Daniel 12:1-13

The twelve tribes of Israel were united as a monarchy under the rule of kings Saul, David, and Solomon.  Under the rule of Solomon Israel reached the height of its power and influence in the Levant with her borders stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River just as Yahweh had promised in Deuteronomy 1:7-8; 11:24 and Joshua 1:3-4. King Solomon, son of David, was given Yahweh's permission to build the Lord's glorious Temple in Jerusalem. In the 7th year after the building was begun the Temple was completed and consecrated. Yahweh lit the fire on the Altar of sacrifice just as He had when He took possession of the desert Tabernacle, and His Glory Cloud took possession of the Holy of Holies where God's presence would reside with His Covenant people.  But as the years past Solomon forgot the "Laws of the King" recorded in Deuteronomy 17:14-20.  Solomon acquired great wealth.  He acquired more and more horses and chariots.  He kept acquiring more and more wives.  He allowed his foreign wives to worship their false gods, and he even offered sacrifice to these false gods himself.  Solomon had stopped reading the scroll of the "Laws of the King", which he was commanded to read every day of his life. When Solomon died his son could not hold the kingdom together and the10 Northern tribes split off to form the Northern Kingdom of Israel with its capital city at Shechem [later the capital would be relocated at the city of Samaria]. The tribes of Judah and Benjamin retained Jerusalem as the capital of the Southern Kingdom of Judah and served the kings of the House of David.

Note: Until fairly recently the majority of modern Biblical scholars and archaeologists did not believe David was anything more than a mythological figure or an amalgamation of several Israelite chieftains created to produce a heroic early king of the nation of Israel.  Then in 1993 archaeologists at Tel Dan, in northern Israel, discovered a non-Israelite ninth-century BC Aramaic inscription bearing the phrases "Beth David" ["house of David"] and "Melech Yisrael" ["King of Israel"]. This discovery contained the earliest extrabiblical references to David and his dynasty.  The next year after assessing the validity of the find, some archaeologists began to accept the possibility that there was indeed a historical David. Today even though the majority of scholars and archaeologists have admitted that the David of the Bible did exist there are still those who refuse to accept the evidence discovered at Tel Dan as well as the two other inscriptions mentioning the "House of David" that have since been identified. [See "David Found at Dan," Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 1994 and Avraham Birgn, "More Fragments from "David's Stela Found at Dan," Biblical Archaeology Review, September/October 1995.]

If you consult the chart of the Kings of the Northern Kingdom of Israel found in last week's lesson [Biblical Period #7 The Divided Kingdom] you will notice that beginning with the reign of Israelite King Jeroboam there wasn't a single good king who ruled the Northern Kingdom.  Jeroboam's bad example accelerated the spiritual and moral decline of Israel.  He began this decline by causing a schism in the Old Covenant Church:

  1. He exiled all the priests of Yahweh from Israel and set up his own Temple on Mt. Gerizim in direct violation of the covenant obligations and commands [see 1 Kings 12:26, 27, 31]. 
  2. He also reinstituted golden calf worship setting up both a northern and southern shrine [see 1 Kings 12:28-30]. 

Please read the Covenant blessings and curses found in Leviticus 26:1-46 and Deuteronomy 28:1-68.

Question: Like the Deuteronomic Code in Deuteronomy 28, the "Law of Holiness" in Leviticus 26 ends with blessings and curses.  To end with conditional blessings and imprecations was common in ancient Middle Eastern treaties of alliance covenants such as Yahweh's treaty with the people of Israel.  Looking at the passages in Leviticus 26:1-2, what are the Covenant commands that King Jeroboam of Israel directly violated?

  1. He made Egyptian-Canaanite golden calf idols
  2. He did not revere Yahweh's Sanctuary in Jerusalem but established his own counter-sanctuary on a mountain in Northern Israel.

Question: According to Leviticus 26:17, 27-33 what was to be the consequence for such sins?
Answer: The "high places" of false worship would be destroyed, the cities would be laid waste by invading armies, the people were to be scattered into foreign nations and the enemies who come to take possession of their land would be appalled by the destruction.

Yahweh's holy Prophets Isaiah, Hosea, Amos, and Micah predicted Yahweh's judgment would fall on an unrepentant Israel and Judah.  Please read Isaiah 7:17-20; 10:5-11; Amos 5:1-7, and Hosea 11:1-6.

Question: According to the Prophet Hosea, what instrument of judgment will Yahweh use to punish Israel?
Answer: The armies of Assyria

The armies of Assyria began to carve out territory from Israel during the reign of King Pekah of Israel [ruled 737-732BC].  Please read 2 Kings 15:27-30.

Question: The deportation of the 10 Northern tribes was accomplished in 2 waves.  Where was the first deportation centered?  Which were the first tribes to be deported into exile?
Answer: The first Assyrian attack was led by Tiglath-Pileser III.  He led a campaign in the Galilee against the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun.  This first deportation in the Galilee took place circa 732 BC, approximately 40 years after Jonah's mission to the Assyrian capitol, Nineveh.

Question: Please read Isaiah 9:1-10:11.  What future prophecy does the Prophet Isaiah [c.740-680BC] make concerning the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, foretelling the hope of a glorious future in contrast to the humiliating tragedy of the exile they will suffer at the hands of the Assyrians?
Answer: Isaiah message of hope to the doomed Galilee foretells a glorious "Day of Yahweh" in which deliverance will come to the deportees.  He includes the prophecy of the peaceful reign of a child of the House of David who will restore the kingdom establishing peace. This future king is the same "Emmanuel" of Isaiah's prophecy of Isaiah 7:14, the child born of a virgin.

Question: When will this prophecy be fulfilled?
Answer: In the Incarnation of Jesus the Messiah, son of the house of David [see Matthew 1:1, 23 and Luke 1:26-35].  This passage from Isaiah 9 will be quoted in Matthew 4:13-16].

Please read 2 Kings 17:1-41: Assyria Destroys Israel: Exile/ Foreign people Inhabit the Land.

King Shalmaneser of Assyria laid siege to Samaria, capitol of Israel in 724BC but the city managed to survive the siege until the beginning of the reign of his successor, Sargon II.  The city fell in 722 BC and all the remaining inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom, with a few exceptions, were deported eastward into the lands belonging to Assyria. Archaeological evidence supports the Biblical record.  To deport a conquered people and to import other conquered peoples to resettle the land was a common practice of the ancient Near Eastern Empires in the 8th - 6th centuries BC.

Question: According to 2 Kings 17:7-12, 17 why had this great tragedy fallen on the 10 Northern tribes?
Answer: Israel had sinned against Yahweh by:

Question: How had Yahweh sent warnings to Israel to call the people to repentance and to restore fellowship with their God?
Answer: He had sent His holy prophets.

Question: According to 2 Kings 17:24-28 how many foreign peoples where brought in from the East to resettle the land of Israel?
Answer: Five foreign peoples.

Question: What gods did these people worship?  See 2 Kings 17:29-41
Answer: These 5 peoples each brought their principal gods but also adopted the worship of the local god, therefore they adopted a form of their own worship of Yahweh.

Question: Even though they adopted Yahweh as one of their gods did Yahweh consider their worship legitimate? See 2 Kings 17:34-41
Answer: No, He did not "They did not worship Yahweh and did not conform to his statutes or ritual, or the law or the commandments, which Yahweh had laid down for the sons of Jacob to whom he gave the name Israel." [2 Kings 17:34].  "These nationalities, then, worshipped Yahweh and served their idols as well, as did their children; and their children's children still behave today as their ancestors behaved in the past." [2 Kings 17:41].

From 722 BC the nation of Israel will cease to exist.  The nation of Israel will not be reestablished until the United Nations votes the creation of the new state of Israel in 1947 AD.  In 722 BC the land of Israel came to be known as the Assyrian province of Samaria.  The foreigners who were brought in to inhabit the land are the ancestors of the Samaritans. The Jews always regarded these people as half-breed heretics and so there was deep hatred between Jews and Samaritans.  Jesus' parable about a kind Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37 would have been shocking to His Jewish audience.

Question: Considering Yahweh's judgment on the foreigners as a people not in covenant with Him even though they adopted their own worship of Yahweh, is it enough to simply say you accept Yahweh without observing the covenant obligations and commands?  What implications are there for us today if we neglect our New Covenant obligations and commands?  Is it enough to simply say the words "I believe in God?" How did Jesus answer such a question in Matthew 7:21-23 and Luke 13:22-30 and what are the implications for each of us?
Answer: Each of us must answer that question individually and honestly.  Yahweh is who He is, He cannot be our own creation, an image of what we think we want our god to be.

Archaeologists have uncovered Assyrian records that confirm the Biblical narrative.  Assyrian inscriptions record that Assyrian king Sargon II transported inhabitants of conquered countries into what had been Israel, replacing the native Israelites he had taken eastward into exile.  In the Biblical account the names of the 5 places listed are places recorded in the Assyrian inscriptions as the homelands of conquered peoples.  We also learned according to the inscriptions that these transportations were successive and that even the movement of the earliest foreign tribes sent west into what was Israel did not take place immediately on the removal of the Israelites.  This explains the Biblical account of how lions, which had once been numerous in Palestine, decreased after the conquest of Canaan but evidently increased when most of the population had been removed. 

The Salvation of Judah

Please read 2 Kings Chapters 18-21:

Question: How was Judah temporarily saved from the destruction of the Assyrians?  What kind of king was Hezekiah of Judah? How does the prophet Isaiah intervene? See 2 Kings 18:1-8; 19:10-19 and 19:20, 21, 29-37 and Isaiah 37:15-20, 30-38.
Answer: Hezekiah was a good king and instituted much needed reforms bringing the nation back to observance of the covenant obligations and commands.  When he received the threatening letter from King Sennacherib of Assyria he went to the Temple and prayed to Yahweh for deliverance.  Yahweh acknowledged Hezekiah's prayer and His Prophet Isaiah prophesied the deliverance of the people.  According to 2 Chronicles 32:20-23, Yahweh sent an angel who destroyed the Assyrian army.  That night God's messenger struck down the Assyrians with a plague [see 2 Kings 19:35; 2 Chronicles 32:20-22; Isaiah 37:36-38].  Recovered Assyrian inscriptions acknowledge that the Assyrian army broke off the siege but no reason for the withdrawal is given.

Question: Despite the devastation of the Assyrian attack on Judah and the siege of Jerusalem what future hope does the Prophet Isaiah give in Isaiah 37:30-32?
Answer: "The surviving remnant of the House of Judah will bring forth new roots below and fruits above; for a remnant will issue from Jerusalem, and survivors from Mount Zion.  Yahweh Sabaoth's jealous love will accomplish this." Isaiah 37:31-32

It is a continuation of the promise of the surviving "faithful remnant".  Even though Judah has been devastated, Yahweh's "jealous love" will continue to preserve a "faithful remnant" of the House of Judah through whom His will in Salvation History will be accomplished.  It will be from this "faithful remnant" of Galilean Israelites that Jesus will call His Apostles and disciples.

Hezekiah has avoided the destruction of the Assyrians but he made an unfortunate alliance with the Babylonians.  When a delegation comes to pay their respects the flattered King foolishly shows them the extent of his wealth [see 2 Kings 20:12-19].

Question: What prophecy does Isaiah make concerning Hezekiah's foolishness and the Babylonians greed? What is Hezekiah's response?
Answer: Isaiah foretells the destruction of Jerusalem and the deportation of the sons of the nobility [i.e. the Prophet Daniel].  Hezekiah selfishly expresses relief that his own reign will be spared.

Please read 2 Kings 22:1-23:30: King Josiah's Reforms in Judah

Hezekiah's reign over Judah is followed by his wicked son Manasseh: "Manasseh shed innocent blood, too, in such great quantity that he flooded Jerusalem from one end to the other, besides the sins into which he led Judah by doing what is displeasing to Yahweh." Manasseh was so degenerate that "He caused his son to pass through the fire of sacrifice; he also practiced soothsaying and divination and set up mediums and spirit guides."[2 Kings 21:16].  Manasseh's son was killed in a palace coup and was succeeded by his eight year old son Josiah.

 Question: Do you recall a prophecy concerning Josiah in 1 Kings 13:3?
Answer: When Jeroboam of Ephraim, first king of the divided Israel, fell into apostasy Yahweh sent a prophet to foretell the coming of a righteous son of David named Josiah who would slaughter the false priests of the Northern Kingdom.  Josiah instituted reforms and renewed Judah's covenant with God.  Josiah fulfilled the prophecy made to Jeroboam in 1 Kings 13:1-2 when he extended his reforms into Israel/Samaria.

Question: What reforms did Josiah make?

Note: The 1st century historian Diodorus Siculus wrote about the sacrifice of children in the city of Carthage in north Africa: "There was in their city a bronze image of Cronus, extending its hands, palms up and sloping toward the ground, so that each of the children when placed thereon rolled down and fell into a sort of gaping pit filled with fire." [Didorus Siculus, Library of History 20.14.6]. Excavations in the ancient city of Carthage in the 1970's led by American Archaeologist Lawrence Strager recorded that hundreds of children were burned in a sacred precinct called the "Tophet" [see 2 Kings 23:10] giving support to the tradition that Carthaginians, among other cultures engaged in the Canaanite practice of child sacrifice.   At least one thing to the credit of the Assyrians is that there is no evidence that they ever engaged in this wicked practice [see Archaeology Odyssey, November/December 2000, page 28ff].

Josiah's reforms spared Judah from judgment a little longer.  He was the great hope of Judah'a messiah [anointed one] fulfilling the cherished image of the righteous Davidic King!  Josiah may have become a king greater than Solomon had he lived.  He not only instituted reforms that returned Judah to the Covenant obligations and commands but his reconquest of Samaria and Galilee [2Kings 23:15, 19; 2 Chronicles 35:18] gave the hope of a restored United Kingdom of David.  However, the growing power of the Babylon Empire and the threat it posed to the Assyrian Empire changed the course of history in the Near East.  The combined armies of the Babylonians and Medes inflicted a major defeated on the Assyrian forces in Mesopotamia in 612BC.  Necho of Egypt, fearing that the Babylonians would move into the vacuum created by the fall of Assyira, marched to the aid of the Assyrian king. Josiah, fearful of being caught between a powerful alliance of Assyria and the Egyptians, marshaled the army of Judah and attempted to stop Pharaoh Necho II [ruled 609-595BC] and the Egyptians when they crossed the lands of Israel on the plain of Megiddo near Mt. Carmel in 609BC. 

This battlefield was the site of one the most famous battles during the time of the Judges when Deborah and Barak defeated the army of the Canaanite general Sisera [Judges 5:19ff].  This plain also called the Plain of Esdraelon, lies between the Galilee on the north and Samaria on the south.  The western corner of the plain lies near the river Kishon which flows between Mt. Carmel and the southern extremity of the Lebanon range into the Mediterranean.  There was, however, no victory for Josiah on that day.  The beloved young king was killed in the first encounter with the Egyptians and Judah became a vassal of Egypt.  Today Jews still mourn the premature death of good king Josiah [he was about 39 years old] on the plains of Megiddo. From then on for the Jews the word "Megiddo", which had been a code word for victory and greatness, became instead a reminder of unfulfilled greatness and bitter defeat.  [For a more complete account of the battle see 2 Chronicles 35:20-27].   This battle and its outcome have been confirmed in both Egyptian, and Babylonian records.

Perhaps the name Meggido is familiar to you?  Historically the Plain of Meggido was an important communications link between the nations of the Near East making it the most famous battleground of Palestine. Battles fought on Meggido plain include:

The Valley of Jezreel, the most fertile valley in Israel, is located in the SW portion of the plain. But the most famous reference is probably found in the New Testament Book of Revelation, the last of the Bible books, in Revelation 16:16.  In our English translations this reference to Meggido is a word usually rendered Armageddon, a transliteration of the Greek Harmagedon, but in Hebrew this word is har megiddo, "the mountain of Megiddo."  In the Book of Revelation this is the place where the kings of the earth are mustered for battle on the great "Day of the Lord".  The difficulty is that there is no mountain of Megiddo.   The city of Megiddo is located at a pass leading from Mt. Carmel into the Plain of Esdraelon, also called the Plain of Meggido.  The mountain is Carmel and it is at the foot of this mountain near Megiddo that one of Israel's greatest victories took place [Barak vs. Sisera] and also one of the greatest defeats [Judahite King Josiah vs Necho]. The other Biblical reference to Megiddo is a prophecy of the judgment of the nations and the mourning of Jerusalem and all of Judah over the death of "the Pierced One" and is found in the book of the post-exile late 6th century prophet Zechariah in Zechariah 12:11 "When tht day comes, I shall set about destroying all the nations who advance against Jerusalem.  But over the House of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem I shall pour out a spirit of grace and prayer, and they will look to me.  They will mourn for the one whom they have pierced as though for an only child, and weep for him as people weep for a first-born child.  When that day comes, the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad rimmon in the Plain of Megiddo."  In the Gospel of John 19:37 John interprets this passage as a prophecy of Jesus' passion.  Zechariah 13:1 continues "When that day comes, a fountain will be opened for the House of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to wash sin and impurity away."  See the Revelation Bible Study chapter 16 at for more information on this passage.

In 605BC the Babylonian army commanded by Nebuchadnezzar and the Egyptian army under the command of Pharaoh Necho II [Nechao], battled for the control of the Assyrian Empire at the Battle of Carchemish.  Necho who marched to the aid of the Assyrians in their last stand against Babylon, was defeated and the way was opened for the Babylonians to conquer all of Mesopotamia, Syria, Samaria, and Judah.  After the defeat of the Egyptians the Babylonians were the new world-power.

King Josiah's reforms failed because the people's repentance was not sincere.  They continued in their apostasy.  With Josiah's death there was no moral leadership left in Judah.  When the religious and civil leadership fails God's Prophet comes forward to call the people to repentance.  The priest Jeremiah served as Yahweh's Prophet to Judah from 627BC until the exile of 586 BC. He served God faithfully for 40 years [c. 627 - 580 BC], but during that time the people ignored, rejected, and persecuted him as he tried to fulfill his mission to call the people to repentance.


The prophet Jeremiah, the young son of a priest living in the priest-city of Anathoth, was called by God as a child to be His holy Prophet.  A heartbroken prophet with a heart breaking message, Jeremiah (Hebrew = Yireyahu or Yirmeyah which may mean, "Yahweh will lift up") faithfully labors for more than forty years proclaiming a message of doom to the unrepentant people of Judah. 


Bible Period #8 THE EXILE
Focus Call of Jeremiah Prophetic messages the Nation of Judah Prophecies to the Gentiles Conclusion of the fall of Jerusalem
Scripture 1:1------------2:1--------------30:1-----------34:1------------46:1-----------52:1-----52:34
Division of Text Commissioning of the Prophet 12 homilies of condemnation against the Covenant people Promises of future restoration The siege and battle for Jerusalem Prophecies against 9 gentile nations Capture of Jerusalem destruction of the Temple
Topic Prior to the Fall of Jerusalem From the fall of Jerusalem to the exile
Location Judah Neighbor nations Babylon
Time 627 – 580 BC


Divided Kingdom---Southern Kingdom
(70 yr exile for Judah)
c.873-853  722                587/6           539               516          458            445-3              331
Elijah's        Israel            Judah            Persians     Temple     Ezra's        Nehemiah      conquest of
Ministry       conquered   conquered    conquer       rebuilt       mission     rebuilds           Persia by
                    by Assyria    by Babylon   Babylon                         to Judah/  Jerusalem's    Alexander the
                                                              -Judah's                          return #2   walls/               Great
                                                               Exiles return #1                               return #3          Battle of Arbela

Unlike many of the other Bible books, this prophetic book clearly states that Jeremiah is its author (1:1).  He dictated all his prophecies to his secretary Baruch from the beginning of his ministry during the reign of King Josiah (c. 627BC) until the fourth year of the reign of king Jehoiakim (605BC). There were three stages in Jeremiah's ministry as Yahweh's Prophet to Judah:

Only chapter 52, a supplement which is almost identical to 2 Kings 24:18 – 25:30, was evidently not written by Jeremiah.

A contemporary of the prophets Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Daniel and Ezekiel, Jeremiah's life is a parable to his people. As an object lesson to Judah, Jeremiah was not allowed to marry (16:2). Because of his unwelcome message of divine judgement to be brought about through the Babylonian invasion, he was threatened, beaten and imprisoned, and he often desired to resign the prophetic office because of the harshness of his message.   Known as "the weeping prophet", who was despised and persecuted by his countrymen, Jeremiah bathes his harsh prophecies in tears of compassion.  His broken heart causes him implore his countrymen to surrender to God's will. Jeremiah survived the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and was later taken to Egypt where he died. 

Please read Jeremiah 1:1-52:34: Jeremiah Prophesies the Fall and The Restoration of Jerusalem
Babylon became the new world-power after overthrowing the Assyrian Empire in 612BC and defeating Egypt at the battle of Carchemish in 605BC.  After defeating Egypt Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon took control of Egypt's vassal states, including Judah.  The Babylonians invaded Judah in 605BC in order to establish rule by force. This was to be the first of three Babylonian invasions of Judah over the next 20 years.  The other two invasions occurred in c.597BC and in 586BC [some scholars prefer 587BC].  With each of the invasions captives were removed from Judah and taken into exile back to Babylon.  The prophet Daniel was taken in the first invasion of 605BC and the prophet Ezekiel in the second deportation of 597BC.

During Jeremiah's ministry he bravely listed all the sins of the people and their representative, the priests and kings.  He called them to repentance but when the people failed to repent Jeremiah condemned Judah for her sins and predicted God's judgment: the terrible destruction of Judah, Jerusalem and the Temple by the Babylonians and the judgment of a 70 year exile for the people of Judah.

It was Yahweh's command that Jeremiah perform a series of prophetic acts to prophesy future events.  In Hebrew this is know as an ot.  Jeremiah became a living parable revealing the sins of the people and foretelling future events.  Jeremiah gives 12 different homilies and 10 different such object lessons for the people:

Jeremiah 1:11, 12 Branch of an almond tree God will carry out His threats of punishment
Jeremiah 1:13 Boiling pot tilting away from the North God will punish Judah with an invasion from the North
Jeremiah 13:1-11 A ruined linen belt Because the people refuse to listen to God they had become useless like a ruined linen belt.
Jeremiah 8:1-17 The Potter's Clay God will destroy His sinful people He had created unless they repent before it is too late
Jeremiah 19:1-12 Broken clay jars God will smash Judah just as Jeremiah smashed the clay jars.
Jeremiah 24:1-10 Two baskets of figs Good figs represent God's holy remnant.  Poor figs are the people left behind
Jeremiah 27:2-11 The Yoke A nation who refuses to submit to Babylon's yoke will be destroyed
Jeremiah 32:6-25 The purchased field Yahweh commands Jeremiah to purchase a field in the city of Jerusalem just before the fall of the city as a sign that the people will return to their land
Jeremiah 43:8-13 The Large Stones The stones marked the place where the Babylonian king will set his throne when God allows him to conquer Egypt.
Jeremiah 51:59-64 The Scroll sunk in the river Babylon will also be judged by Yahweh and will sink and rise no more.

Jeremiah 19:7-9 Jeremiah predicts the terrible consequences of the siege of Jerusalem. During the siege food became so scarce that the people became cannibals, even eating their own children.  2 Kings 6:28, 29; Lamentations 2:20; and 4:10 contain accounts of this occurrence.

Question:  What part of the Covenant Curses of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 were fulfilled in this event?
Answer: The prediction that the people would eat their own children in Leviticus 26:29 and Deuteronomy 28:53-57. Actually this horrible carnage that Jeremiah predicted happened twice.  It happened in 586BC during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem and again in 70AD when Roman General Titus laid siege to Jerusalem for 3 1/2 months.

Jeremiah took the representatives of the people to account for their failures, including the priests who failed to "shepherd" the people.  In Jeremiah chapter 23 he condemns the unfaithful priesthood and promises a future restoration. 

Question: What reassuring promise does he make and of what future restoration?
Answer: In 23:3 Yahweh promises to preserve a faithful remnant that He will restore to the land and for whom He will provide "shepherds" when the exile is over.

Question: Read Jeremiah 28:10-14. For how many years will Judah be condemned to spend in exile and for what reason?
Answer: "For Yahweh says this: 'When the seventy years granted to Babylon are over, I shall intervene on your behalf and fulfil my favorable promise to you by bringing you back to this place.  Yes, I know what plans I have in mind for you, Yahweh declares, plans for peace, not for disaster, plans to give you a future and a hope.  When you call to me and come and pray to me, I shall listen to you. When you search for me, you will find me; when you search wholeheartedly for me, I shall let you find me. Yahweh declares, I shall restore your fortunes and gather you in from all the nations and wherever I have driven you, Yahweh declares.  I shall bring you back to the palace from which I exiled you.' "   Jeremiah 28:10-14.  After the time of the Conquest of Canaan, Israel failed to keep the land's "Sabbath rest" commanded by God see Exodus 23:2-7; Leviticus 25:1-7; Deuteronomy 24:19].  Israel owed Yahweh 70 years of Sabbath rests during the time of the 490 years Israel had failed in that Covenant obligation.

Chapter 30 is the beginning of what has come to be called Jeremiah's "Book of Consolation." Contained in these passages are the promises of a future restoration to the Land, to the Nation, to the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and to a future New Covenant. All the prophets based their accusations and appeals on Israel's (&Judah's) covenant relationship with God, but it is Jeremiah's task in these chapters to prophesize the coming of a NEW Covenant – a covenant that must be internalized if it is to be lived out – a covenant that will be written on the hearts of God's people. 

Chapter 31 is a message of love, hope, and promise. Jeremiah begins with a promise to the "faithful remnant" of Israel in Jeremiah 31:7"For Yahweh says this: Shout for joy Jacob!  Hail the chief of nations!  Proclaim! Praise!  Shout, 'Yahweh has saved his people, the remnant of Israel!' "  Yahweh promised to bring the people back from the north and "gather them from the far ends of the earth." [Jeremiah 31:8]  And then in 31:21-22 Jeremiah makes the prophecy of a "sign" of this future restoration. 

Please read Jeremiah 31:21-22.  The New Jerusalem Bible does not do justice to the translation when it reads in verse 22 "For Yahweh is creating something new on earth: the Woman sets out to find her Husband again." A literal translation is "Yahweh will create a new thing on earth--a Woman will surround [or encompass] a man."

Question: What is significant about this passage?  What is "new" about a woman encompassing a man?  When a woman carries a boy-child in her womb she encompasses a man but when in Salvation History will that be a unique sign of restoration?  Hint: see Isaiah 7:14 and Luke 1:26-38.
Answer: The sign of restoration will come when the Virgin Mary encompasses the man-child Jesus in her womb.  There is an interesting parallel to the creation of Eve when a man, Adam, encompassed a woman in his body when Eve was taken from his rib.  Now, to undo the harm a man and a virgin brought on the world through the Fall, another virgin and a man who is God/man will answer the sin of Adam and Eve with self-sacrificing love that leads to complete restoration of mankind back into full communion with God.

Please read Jeremiah 31: 31-34

Question: What unique promise is made in 31:31-34?  Also read Matthew 26:26-28.
Answer: We are promised a New Covenant and a transformed life.  No longer will it be necessary to circumcise our bodies as a sign of the covenant because God will transform us by circumcision of the heart of the faithful believer.  This is the gift that Jesus offers the Apostles at the Last Supper in Matthew 26:26-28.   If your translation does not include the word "new" Covenant you may want to add it. Some of the oldest MSS (handwritten manuscripts) and Jerome's Latin Vulgate translations composed of the best Hebrew and Greek Bible texts available during the 4th century have "New Covenant." When Jesus spoke these words at the Last Supper the Apostles surely immediately thought of Jeremiah's prophesy of the NEW Covenant!

The Book of Consolation continues with prophecies of the coming of the Messiah: "Look, the days are coming. Yahweh declares, when I shall fulfil the promise of happiness I made to the House of Israel and the House of Judah: In those days and at that time, I shall make an upright Branch grow for David, who will do what is just and upright in the country.  In those days Judah will triumph and Israel live in safety.  And this is the name the city will be called: Yahweh-is-our-Saving-Justice.  For Yahweh says this, 'David will never lack a male descendant to occupy the throne of the House of Israel.'" [Jeremiah 33:14-17]. Note: in the lists of the Kings of Judah and Israel the kings of Judah were all from the family of David while the kings of Israel came from 9 different ruling families.

Question: Who is this "branch" who will come from the house of David?
Answer: Jesus the Messiah. "The branch" is a favored title for the Messiah in the books of the Prophets [see for example Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15; Zechariah 3:8; 6:12].  Three different words are used in Hebrew for "branch" but in Isaiah 11:1 Isaiah uses the word "netzer".  Many scholars believe netzer is the Hebrew root for "Nazareth", the city which became Jesus' home.


Please read Ezekiel 1:1-44:31:
This is the point where we should turn to the great prophet Ezekiel in the unfolding drama of the Fall of Jerusalem.  While Jeremiah was prophesying in Jerusalem that the city would soon fall to the Babylonian army Ezekiel was giving the same message to the captives who were already in Babylon.  Ezekiel, whose name means "God is strong", was Jeremiah's younger contemporary, a priest who served Yahweh's people taken in the earlier deportations.  He was commissioned as "a watchman for the house of Israel" [Ezekiel chapters 1-3] after he was taken into exile in 597BC.  His first prophecy to the exiles occurred about 4-5 years after his captivity.  He dates all his prophecies from the date he was taken captive. 


Biblical Period # 8 THE EXILE
Focus Call of Ezekiel Judgment of the Covenant People Judgment of the nations Promised restoration of Israel
Scripture 1:1--------4:1-------------------25:1--------------33:1--------------------48:35
Division Of Text Ezekiel's vision of the heavenly court/a covenant lawsuit called Ezekiel's mission
Judgment on 7 gentile nations Ezekiel's Mission
Topic Before the siege of Jerusalem During the siege After the destruction and fall of Jerusalem
Location Bablyon
Time 592 BC – 587/6
c. 586
c. 585 BC – 570 BC

The book of Ezekiel is his personal account of his mission to the Exiles in Babylon. He served as the prophet of the Exile for 22 years, preaching on the streets in Babylon telling everyone about God's judgment and salvation and calling them to repentance and obedience.  His ministry was similar to the priest-prophet Jeremiah in that he lived what he preached by performing a prophetic act, an ot in Hebrew, to illustrate his messages as dramatic object lessons.  Some of these acts included:

While in exile he predicted the approaching siege and destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by Babylon. His ministry can be divided into 4 stages:

Like the Judeans still in their homeland who discounted the messages of Jeremiah, the captives in Babylon stubbornly believed that Jerusalem would not fall and that they would soon return to their land.  After all, they were the "chosen people" and God's personal possession; Yahweh would never allow the destruction of His "called out ones" , the kahal in Hebrew, ekklesia in Greek and the meaning of our English word "church".  Ezekiel warned them that Yahweh's punishment was certain because their sins were great and that God was purifying His people from their sins in their suffering. 

Question: Do you believe that God will never bring judgment on the New Covenant Church because we are His "chosen"?
Answer: Jesus has given us the promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against His church but that does not mean He won't purify His people when they need it, just as he purged and purified the Old Covenant Church, redeeming and preserving a faithful remnant.

In passages similar to the promises of Jeremiah 31-31-34 Ezekiel also promises restoration and salvation.  Read Ezekiel 36:24-26.

Question: What are the promises of future restoration?

Babylon Destroys Judah and Jerusalem/The Exile Begins.

2 Kings 25:1-30: Now the final judgment falls on Judah.
In the second wave of exiles in 597 BC the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar had taken King Jehoiachin of Judah into exile and had made his 21 year old uncle Mattaniah the king, changing his name to Zedekiah.  Zedekiah, son of Josiah of the house of David was the last king of Judah.  He ruled 11 years from 597 to 586 BC.  In one final attempt to be free from the Babylonians, and against Jeremiah's advice, Zedekiah rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar.  The Babylonians responded by destroying Jerusalem and the Temple on the 9th of Av [Ab] 586BC. The Babylonians captured Zedekiah, killed his sons in front of him, and then blinding the king took him back to Babylon with the last of the 3 waves of the exiles.

2 Chronicles also gives an account of the fall of Jerusalem:
"So against them he summoned the king of the Chaldeans and he put their young men to the sword within the very building of their Temple, not sparing young man or girl, or the old and infirm; he put them all at his mercy.  All the things belonging to the Temple of God, whether large or small, the treasures of the Temple of Yahweh, the treasures of the king and his officials, everything he took to Babylon.  He burned down the Temple of God, demolishing the walls of Jerusalem, burned all its palaces to the ground and destroyed everything of value in it.  And those who had escaped the sword he deported to Babylon, where they were enslaved by him and his descendants until the time of the kingdom of Persia--to fulfil Yahweh's prophecy through Jeremiah: 'Until the country has paid off its Sabbaths, it will lie fallow for all the days of its desolation--until the seventy years are complete." 2Chronicles 36:17-21

All the sacred furniture and other items from Solomon's Temple were destroyed or were taken back to Babylon with the exception of the Ark of the Covenant.

Question: What became of the Ark of the Covenant?  Hint: 2 Maccabees 2:1-12
Answer: Jeremiah removed the Ark from the Temple in Jerusalem before the destruction of the city.  He hid the Ark and the tent of the desert Tabernacle in a cave on Mount Nebo and it has never been found to this day [no matter what Indiana Jones claims]!

Question: On what day was the Temple of Solomon destroyed?  What else is significant about this date?
Answer: On the 9th of Av [Ab] 586 BC.  This is the same day and month when Roman General Titus will destroy Herod's Temple in Jerusalem in 70AD, 40 years after Jesus' Resurrection and Ascension.  The Temple will never be rebuilt after that destruction and scattering of the people of Judea into exile across the face of the earth. See Hebrews 9:6-10 for the significance of that final destruction and the link to the establishment of the New Covenant Church.

Returning to the Book of Jeremiah:

Question: In Jeremiah 39:11 what does Nebuchadnezzar order his commander to do with Jeremiah?  Why?
Answer: God had promised to rescue Jeremiah from disaster.  One reason he was protected may be because the very superstitious Babylonians had great respect for magicians, fortunetellers and seers [prophets], and they regarded Jeremiah as a seer or diviner.   They knew he had accurately predicted their victory and had counseled the king of Judah to submit to them. 

Question: What is ironic about the way the Babylonians treat the prophet of God?
Answer: It is ironic that Jeremiah's own people and leaders persecuted him repeatedly for faithfully proclaiming God's messages and only the foreign court official Ebed-Melech and the Babylonians showed him respect. 

Read Jeremiah 40:1-6: The Babylonian general releases Jeremiah.

Question: To what or who does the Babylonian general credit his victory?
Answer: To the God of Israel.  Isn't it ironic that this Babylonian general, who did not know Yahweh, acknowledged that the God of Israel had given his army victory? 

Question: Is it possible to recognize that God exists and does miracles but still not personally accept Him as Savior and Lord?
Answer: Yes.  Knowing God is more than knowing about Him.  In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus will say that many will prophesy and do works in His name: "It is not anyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,"' who will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. When the day comes many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord,  did we not prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?'  Then I shall tell them to their faces: 'I have never known you; away from me all evil doers!'"  The word "to know", ginosko in the Greek, indicates intimate Covenant knowledge, not simply ordinary human understanding.

Jeremiah was freed to stay in Judah or to go where he desired.  Babylon's policy toward conquered peoples was to deport the rich and powerful, leaving only the very poor behind to take possession of the land. This policy assured that the remaining conquered population would be too weak and too grateful to revolt. 

Chapters 46:-51:64 contain Jeremiah's prophecies against the foreign nations.  Just as Jerusalem and Judah received punishment, these nations were certain to receive their just punishment as well.  It is well to remember Yahweh is merciful but He is also just and justice demands accountability for sin. 

Question: What is Yahweh's judgment on Babylon?  See Jeremiah 50:1-58
Answer: Babylon will be destroyed and Judah will be restored.  This prophecy was fulfilled in Cyrus II [shepherd in Persian], founder of the Persian Empire, who attacked Babylon and overthrew the empire in 539 BC.   About 3 centuries earlier God's prophet Isaiah [Isaiah 44:28; 45:1, 13] named him as Judah's liberator, calling him the "shepherd of Yahweh" and "anointed of Yahweh" who would accomplish Yahweh's will.  God granted Cyrus of Persia his victories in order for Cyrus to restore Yahweh's people to their homeland [Isaiah 45:1ff].  This hope was fulfilled in 538 BC when Cyrus permitted the Jews residing in Babylon and Persia to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and its Temple [see 2 Chronicles 36:22ff; Daniel 1:21; 6:28; 10:1; Ezra 1:1-8; 3:7; 4:3-5; 5:13-17; 6:3-5, 14].

(*Bible book attributed to the prophet)
(all dates approximate)

ELIJAH 873-853BC Pre-Exile Israel Assyria 1 Kings 17 -
2 Kings 2:15
ELISHA 853-793BC Pre-Exile Israel Assyria 1 Kings 19:1–
2 Kings 13:21
OBADIAH ?848-841BC Pre-Exile Edom Assyria 2 Kings 8:16-24;
2 Chronicles 21:1-20;
Book of Obadiah
JONAH 782-753BC Pre-Exile Assyria Assyria 2 Kings 13:10-25;
Book of Jonah
AMOS 783-743BC Pre-Exile Israel Assyria 2 Kings 14:23 -15:7;
Book of Amos
HOSEA 783-732BC Pre-Exile Israel Assyria 2 Kings 14:23-18:12;
Book of Hosea
ISAIAH 740-680BC Pre-Exile Judah Assyria 2 Kings 15:1-20:21;
2 Chronicles 26:16 – 32:22;
Book of Isaiah
MICAH 735-700BC Pre-Exile Judah Assyria 2 Kings 15:32 – 19:37;
2 Chronicles 27:1 –32:23;
Book of Micah
ZEPHANIAH 640-609BC Pre-Exile Judah Assyria 2 Kings 22:1-2;
2 Chronicles 34:1-7;
Book of Zephaniah
NAHUM 614BC Pre-Exile Assyria Assyria 2 Kings 21:1-18;
2 Chronicles 33:1-20;
Book of Nahum
JEREMIAH 626-605BC Pre-Post Exile Judah Assyria/Babylon 2 Kings 22:3 – 25:30;
2 Chronicles 34:1 – 36:21;
Book of Jeremiah
HABAKKUK 605-597BC Pre-Exile Judah Babylon 2 Kings 23:31 – 24:7;
2 Chronicles 36:1-8;
Book of Habakkuk
BARUCH 582BC Exile Judah Babylon 2 Kings 24:8-25:30;
2 Chronicles 36:9-21;
Book of Baruch
DANIEL 605-535BC Exile Exiles in Babylon & Persia Babylon 2 Kings 23:34-25:30;
2 Chronicles 36:4-23;
Book of Daniel
EZEKIEL 593-571BC Exile Exiles in Babylon Babylon 2 Kings 24:8-25:30;
2 Chronicles 36:9-21;
Book of Ezekiel
HAGGAI 520BC Post-Exile Judah Persia Ezra 5:1-6:16;
Book of Haggai
ZECHARIAH 519-480BC Post-Exile Judah Persia Ezra 5:1-6:15;
Book of Zechariah
MALACHI 450BC Post-Exile Judah Persia Nehemiah 13:1-31;
Book of Malachi
JOEL ?400 BC Post-Exile Judah Persia Book of Joel;
Acts 2:16-21
YEHOHANAN ben Zechariahs (the Baptist) 28AD -29AD Post-Exile Judah Rome Luke 1-9:9
Matthew 3:1-14:12;
Mark 1:4-6:28

Scripture mentions 7 Prophetess: 6 True and 1 False

Prophetess Scripture Reference
Miriam, sister of Moses Exodus 15:20
Hulda 2 Kings 22:14; 2 Chronicles 34:22
Isaiah's wife Isaiah 8:3
Judge and Prophetess of Israel
Judges 4:4
Noadiah Nehemiah 6:14
Anna Luke 2:36
"Jezebel" the False Prophetess Revelation 2:20

Questions for group discussion:

Question: If you were writing a job description for the position of Prophet to Yahweh what would you list concerning job benefits, chances for advancement, retirement benefits, and job satisfaction?

Question: Was the Old Testament's job description for a prophet any better than the one Jesus outlined for His Apostles in Matthew 5:11-12; 24:9; Luke 11:49; 21:12; John 15:20?
Answer: I guess you would have to say the earthly mission does have hazards, but the eternal benefits are outstanding!

Question: What is the major difference between the blessings and the judgments of the Old Covenant vs. the New Covenant?  See the list of blessings and curses under the Sinai Covenant in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28.
Answer: In the Old Covenant the blessings and the judgments were temporal.  Blessings were health, prosperity, and fertility.  There was no entrance way into heaven because animal sacrifice for sin was an imperfect sacrifice, neither did God consign the unrighteous to eternal judgment in Gehanna, the fiery pit of Satan, since they had not had the opportunity to receive the gift of true salvation [see the Parable of the Ungrateful Servant in Matthew chapter 18 who will be consigned to punishment until reparation is made and then will be released'there is no release from hell]. The dead'righteous and unrighteous-- were consigned to the grave; Sheol in Hebrew [also known as "Abraham's Bosom", or Hades in Greek].  That is not to say that a very few people of extraordinary holiness would not be taken directly into heaven'Enoch and Elijah are two examples. 

However, in the New Covenant the blessings are eternal'Jesus in death descended to the abode of the dead, Sheol-Abraham's Bosom-Hades [not the fiery pit of Satan known as Gehenna] and preached to the people imprisoned there including those unrighteous souls who had died in the Great Flood [see 1 Peter 3:18-22] and having preached the Gospel to them Christ opened the gates of heaven and led all who accepted Him into the presence of God.  Another example of the abode of the dead holding both the righteous and the less than righteous would be the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich man found in Luke 16:22-26.  Most scholars interpret from this passage that the rich man is in hell but if we know from Scripture that in the Old Covenant punishments were temporal and not eternal this seems unlikely.  The rich man who is suffering for his sins is concerned for his brothers and he calls across the river that divides the righteous from the unrighteous to Abraham. He begs father Abraham to send righteous poor beggar Lazarus to warn his brothers to live righteous lives to avoid his fate-- he is surely not any less guilty than the population of the flood who rejected God's offer of salvation through the ark and yet it is these people of the Flood who St. Peter tells us [1 Peter 3:18-20] Jesus led out of Abraham's Bosom and into heaven.  After Christ's release of the righteous dead from Sheol and opened the Gates of Heaven the function of that place out of time has changed.  From that time until now, what was once the abode of the dead has become a place of purification [in Latin Purgatory] for those destined for heaven but who are not yet in a state of perfection [see CCC #633]. However, a word of caution, just as the blessings are eternal in the New Covenant, so too are the judgments eternal and what was once the abode of the dead no longer holds the wicked unrighteous!  They are consigned to an eternal death'complete separation from God for all eternity.  See CCC# 633; 1030-37; 1886;

Question: The office of prophet was one of the three holy offices.  How does the office of prophet differ from that of High Priest or King? How are they the same?
Answer: Each office holder had to be anointed by God as a covenant mediator and therefore each was a messiah / "anointed one", but while the High Priest, as a symbol of perfectly redeemed man, and the king, reigning in God's place over the people, held their offices as the people's representative to Yahweh, the prophet belonged entirely to God and spoke to the people as the "mouth" of God.  Perhaps this plan will help to explain the prophet's unique role:







---> KING --->

 ---> HIGH PRIEST --->

<--- PROPHET <---






Question: Who was the first Old Testament prophet and who was the last?
Answer: Moses was the first and the last Old Testament Prophet Jesus called the greatest ever born of woman.  Consult the Chart of the Prophets for the answer to this last part of the question!

Resources and Recommended Reading:

  1. The Navarre Bible Commentaries: 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings
  2. Anchor Bible Commentaries: 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, 1 Chronicles
  3. "Is the Temple Scroll the Sixth Book of the Torah?", Hartmut Stegemann
  4. Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls, edited by Hershel Shanks
  5. Bible History: Old Testament, Alfred Edersheim
  6. Dictionary of the Bible, John McKenzie, S.J.
  7. The Book of Isaiah, Edward J. Young, vol. I-III, [  William Eerdmans Publishing,   1997].
  8. God's Prophet, God's Servant, John Goldingay, [Paternoster Press, Carlisle, UK, 1994].

Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2008 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.