The Captives of Babylon
The nation of Israel was once a great and united kingdom under King David and Solomon. Internal pressures caused the kingdom to split, with the 10 northern tribes calling themselves Israel and the 2 southern tribes going by Judah. Israel revolted against Assyrian rule, and was conquered in 722 B.C.E., when it is said that the tribes of Israel were so scattered and their numbers so diminished that they vanished from the face of the earth and became known as the Ten Lost Tribes. Judah, however, did not revolt, so they existed as a territory of Assyria until Assyria was overthrown by Babylon around 600 B.C.E.
The First Rebellion
Unfortunately, Judah did not learn a lesson from Israel's destruction and revolted against Babylonian rule, a rebellion which was put down in 597B.C.E.. A large number of people were deported - close to 7,000 soldiers and 1,000 craftsmen - and the king was taken captive.
In addition, the Babylonians carried off the gold of the Temple and some sacred artifacts and texts.
"And he (Nebuchadnezzar) carried out from there all the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king's house and he cut in pieces all the articles of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the Lord, as the Lord had said. Also he carried into captivity all Jerusalem: all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths. None remained except the poorest people of the land. And he carried Jehoiachin captive to Babylon. The king's mother, the king's wives, his officers, and the mighty of the land he carried into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon ."
The Second Revolution
Zedekiah was placed as head of...