Fulfillment of Prophecy in Early Jewish History
The Exile of the Jews from Judah and the Jewish experience in their places of Exile in the Diaspora were all prophesied in detail in Scripture.
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The Exile and Dispersion of Judah was Prophesied:
63 And it shall be, that just as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good and multiply you, so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you and bring you to nothing; and you shall be plucked from off the land which you go to possess.
Here we see that the Israelites were warned that if they did not go in the right path they would be exiled. The Lost Ten Tribes were exiled first of all. It had been prophesied however that the Ten Tribes would be outcast but by implication found gathered together in the same places whereas Judah would be dispersed.
12 He will set up a banner for the nations,
And will assemble the outcasts of Israel,
And gather together the dispersed of Judah
From the four corners of the earth.
13 Also the envy of Ephraim shall depart,
And the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off;
Ephraim shall not envy Judah,
And Judah shall not harass Ephraim.
Here we have Israel (paralleled by Ephraim in the next verse) meaning the Ten Tribe described as Outcasts.
Judah is not referred to as outcast but rather as Dispersed. Judah was destined to be scattered. Judah will return before the Ten Tribes and prefer the way for them.
8 The LORD God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says,
'Yet I will gather to him
Others besides those who are gathered to him.'
Here the Outcasts of Israel are the Ten Tribes who will be gathered to he (i.e. Judah) who has already began to be gathered (Kalischer).
This process has begun. About half the members of Judah now alive at present live in the State of Israel. More will come. Eventually the Ten Tribes will also return and begin to colonize the areas around such as Lebanon, Jordan, Cyprus, and Syria. The end of the exile of Judah may be in sight and that of the ten Tribes could transpire shortly afterwards. We shall see. Both Judah and Joseph have each played their roles in history. The climactic finales are drawing closer. Judah was exiled, dispersed, and suffered. Now he is returning. The Exile of Jodah had been predicted.
64 Then the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known, wood and stone.
This prophecy depicts scattering and is referring to Judah who was indeed destined to be scattered. In the Diaspora the Jews did not on the whole worship other gods. They were however subject to heathen and heathen-type peoples and had to conform or otherwise allow themselves to be influenced by the host nations. The Sages explained that in some ways this de facto subservience was tantamount to idolatry.
65 And among those nations you shall find no rest, nor shall the sole of your foot have a resting place; but there the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and anguish of soul. 66 Your life shall hang in doubt before you; you shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life. 67 In the morning you shall say, 'Oh, that it were evening!' And at evening you shall say, 'Oh, that it were morning!' because of the fear which terrifies your heart, and because of the sight which your eyes see.
This describes the Jews in the Diaspora. They were often persecuted and subject to the constant caprices of the peoples they lived amongst. They were at times killed , robbed, assaulted , raped, for no reason at all. The Jews were also often obliged to live in fear. This too had been prophesied.
cf. Leviticus 26:
36 And as for those of you who are left, I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies;
the sound of a shaken leaf shall cause them to flee;
they shall flee as though fleeing from a sword, and they shall fall when no one pursues.
37 They shall stumble over one another, as it were before a sword, when no one pursues;
and you shall have no power to stand before your enemies.
38 You shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.
39 And those of you who are left shall waste away in their iniquity in your enemies lands;
also in their fathers iniquities, which are with them, they shall waste away.
The Jews in the Diaspora were usually unable to defend themselves even if they had have wanted to. This situation along with the constant persecution and tormenting may have caused the development of negative psychological traits. Jews in the Diaspora were often described as cowards. This was not entirely true. Jews are not different from anyone else. Often they can be extremely brave and gallant, even more so than others. They actually have an aptitude for military matters. Nevertheless, when they were in Exile the circumstances of their situation did have negative effects on them.
It had also been prophesied that the Kings of the Jews would be exiled:
36 The LORD will bring you and the king whom you set over you to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone.
The Kings of the Jews were taken into exile by the Babylonians during the Time of the Fall of the First Temple.
King Jeconiah and his court and other prominent citizens and craftsmen was taken to Babylonia by Nebuchadnessar (ca. 597 BCE). Jeconiah was replaced by his uncle, King Zedekiah. In his turn Zedekiah rebelled. Nebuchadnessar captured Jerusalem, destroyed the Temple (ca. 586 BCE) , killed all of Zedekiah's sons, blinded Zedekiah and then took him also to Babylon, putting an end to the independent Kingdom of Judah.
Cyrus king of Persia allowed the Jews to return and some did so in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. Eventually they set up their own kingdom once more under the Hasmoneans.
The Roman official and Triumvirator (one of three members of the ruling Triumvirate) Pompey, took possession of Syria in 63 BCE. He then made Judea (Judah) a Protectorate of the Roman Empire.
The King of Judah, Aristobolus, together with his heir and family were taken to Rome along with the High Priest and compelled to march in front of the chariot of the Pompey in a triumphal procession. Aristobolus was later poisoned by the Romans who also killed his sons.
In 57-55 BCE, Aulus Gabinius, the Roman ruler (proconsul) of Syria, split the former Hasmonean Kingdom into Galilee, Samaria, and Judea. Meanwhile Julius Caesar defeated Pompey in a Civil War and took control. Caesar turned the rule of Judea over to the Edomite Antipater who was the father of Herod.
We thus see the Prophecy fulfilled both in the time of the Babylonians and in that of the Romans when the Kings of Judah were taken into Exile.
It had been prophesied that alien residents would take control of the Kingdom shortly before the Exile.
43 The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. 44 He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.
This happened with Antipater the Edomite servant and counsellor of Hyrcanus the brother of Aristobolus the Hasomonean king. Antipater caused the brothers to quarrel, brought about the downfall of the Kingdom and then became ruler of Judah himself. His son, Herod, continued the tyranny.
49 The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, 50 a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favor to the young.
Eventually the Romans from Italy with mercenaries from Germany, Spain, and elsewhere destroyed the Second Temple and exiled the Jews. The symbol of Rome was an eagle. Each Roman Legion bore a standard, known as an aquila, in the shape of an eagle.
Aquila (Roman) [The Roman Eage]
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
# An aquila was the standard of a Roman legion formed in the shape of an eagle, which was carried by a special grade legionary known as an Aquilifer (aquila-bearer). One eagle standard was carried by each legion.
# The eagle standard was extremely important to the Roman military, beyond merely being a symbol of a legion. A lost standard was considered an extremely grave occurrence, and the Roman military often went to great lengths to both protect a standard and to recover it if lost...
The forces of Rome came from the ends of the earth, they spoke strange languages, were known for their swiftness of movement and for the eagle symbol they carried with them. This was all just as had been prophesied.
Eventually the Jews rebelled against the Romans. Roman armies invaded the Land, siezed control of local resources, and beseiged the Jews who were barraged up in forts.
51 And they shall eat the increase of your livestock and the produce of your land, until you are destroyed; they shall not leave you grain or new wine or oil, or the increase of your cattle or the offspring of your flocks, until they have destroyed you.
52 They shall besiege you at all your gates until your high and fortified walls, in which you trust, come down throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you at all your gates throughout all your land which the LORD your God has given you. 53 You shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and your daughters whom the LORD your God has given you, in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you. 54 The sensitive and very refined man among you will be hostile toward his brother, toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the rest of his children whom he leaves behind, 55 so that he will not give any of them the flesh of his children whom he will eat, because he has nothing left in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you at all your gates. 56 The tender and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because of her delicateness and sensitivity, will refuse to the husband of her bosom, and to her son and her daughter, 57 her placenta which comes out from between her feet and her children whom she bears; for she will eat them secretly for lack of everything in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you at all your gates.
All these events occurred as described above and as recorded in the records of Josephus ("The Jewish Wars") and Rabbinical Literature. The Romans took all the food supplies and besieged the Jews who resisted fiercely behind fortified walls throughout the country. Every fortified place was eventually taken often after the ravages of famine had already taken their toll. The description in Deuteronomy 28:51-57 in all its gory details was actualized.
The Romans in a series of wars destroyed the Kingdom of Judea and killed many of its its inhabitants. Numerous others were sold as slaves. After the Roman destruction of the Temple there were still some Jews who remained in the area. These reconsolidated and under Bar Kokhba again rebelled but we defeated in ca. 135 BCE.
# After the defeat of Bar Kokhba (132-135 CE) the Roman Emperor Hadrian was determined to wipe out the identity of Israel-Judah-Judea, and renamed it Philistina (Syria Palaestina, after the ancient enemy of the Israelites; the Philistines). Until that time the area had been called "province of Judea" (Roman Judea) by the Romans. At the same time, he changed the name of the city of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina. The Romans killed many Jews and sold many more into slavery; many Jews departed into the Jewish diaspora, ... #
It had been prophesied that they would be defeated and sold as slaves to Egypt.
68 And the LORD will take you back to Egypt in ships, by the way of which I said to you, You shall never see it again. And there you shall be offered for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.
The selling of Judaeans as salves including their being taken to Egypt has been described in historical accounts.
After the Fall of the Second Temple (70 CE) Josephus reports:
# Because the soldiers were now growing weary of bloodshed, and survivors appeared constantly, Caesar orders to kill only those who offered armed resistance and to take alive all the rest. (415) The troops, in addition to those covered by their orders, slaughtered the aged and infirm; people to their prime who might be useful they herded into the Temple area and shut up in the Court of the Women ...All those who had taken part in sedition and brigandage (they informed against each other) he executed. He picked out the tallest and handsomest of the lot and reserved them for the Triumph (418). Of the rest, those who were over seventeen he put in chains and sent to hard labor in Egypt while greet numbers were presented by Titus to the provinces to perish in the theaters by sword or by wild beasts; those under seventeen were sold. # Josephus, "The Jewish Wars"; Book vi 9:2.
After the Fall of Betar in the Bar Kokhba Revolt (135 CE):
Cassius (150-235 C.E.), a Roman historian, tells us,
"Few Jews remained alive, 50 of their strongest fortified cities and 985 of the best towns and villages were demolished; 580,000 died on the battlefield, besides countless others who perished of hunger and pestilence .. the entire land of Judea was almost transformed into a barren wasteland."
Munter -- Roman Historian
# Now that Betar had been captured, everything came under Human control, while Palestine [Judah] was reduced to a desolate mound. Captives were sold into slavery in numbers too great to count. First they were brought to the grand annual market at the Terebinth-Eloh tree in Hebron, or in the words of Hyranumous, to the Tent-Ohel of Abraham near Hebron. Each slave sold for the price of a horse. Those captives who were not sold there were brought to the market place in Azza [Gaza] which, because of the great multitudes of slaves who were sold there, was called Hadrian's market place. And those who were still not sold there were herded into ships and were taken to Egypt. Many died in transit, whether by starvation or by shipwreck, while many also were killed by cruel masters.
Munter, Primordia Eccl. Africanae, pp. 85f.,113.
# The toll of the Bar Kochba uprising was devastating both on the population and on the places of habitation. The numbers of dead were awesome, while multitudes of Jews were taken captive to fill the slave markets near and far. The slave market of the Terebinth of Hebron was particuIarly famous as a center where Jewish slaves, sent into captivity by Hadrian were sold. So many Jewish slaves were available that, recording to one report, a Jew was sold for as little as the price of a portion of horse feed. #
History of Am Yisrael in Ancient Days (Hebrew, Devir), 1971, p.321.
Jews in the Diaspora were often treated with contempt.
37 And you shall become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword among all nations where the LORD will drive you.
Nevertheless even in the midst of their suffering they survived. God looked after them. Compared to their Gentile neighbors they usually had happy family lives, vibrant communities wherein the members helped each it, intellectual pursuits, religious experiences, and so on. In terms of economic well being and physical health their conditions were in line with those of their neighbors but on the whole better than theirs.
This too had been prophesied:
44 Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, nor shall I abhor them, to utterly destroy them and break My covenant with them;
for I am the LORD their God.
In the End Times Judah shall be vindicated:
14 Also the sons of those who afflicted you
Shall come bowing to you,
And all those who despised you shall fall prostrate at the soles of your feet;
And they shall call you The City of the LORD,
Zion of the Holy One of Israel.