Politics and economics in the rabbinic period

Authored by: Gary G. Porton

The Routledge Companion to Jewish History and Historiography

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138193611
eBook ISBN: 9780429458927
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780429458927-6

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Abstract

In 597 bce, Jerusalem surrendered to the Babylonians. Nebuchadnezzar took King Jehoiachin, who was 18; his mother; Judea’s high officials; the leading citizens of Jerusalem; and a large booty to Babylonia. This was the beginning of what, over the next decade, would evolve into the Babylonian exile. Mattaniah/Zedekiah replaced Jehoiachin as king but was a weak ruler because many Judeans and the Babylonians considered that Jehoiachin remained the true ruler of Judea. Unrest in Babylonia emboldened the Judeans, who had engaged in a full-scale revolt in Judea by 589. In 587, the Babylonians entered Jerusalem, and Zedekiah fled. He was captured and brought before Nebuchadnezzar, witnessed his sons’ executions, was blinded, and was carried off to Babylonia. Jerusalem was torched, and much of the remaining upper class was deported to Mesopotamia. The Babylonians made Jerusalem part of their empire and appointed Gedaliah as governor. He was soon assassinated by a Judean for being a Babylonian collaborator.

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