Captivity

Concise Bible Dictionary:

This principally refers in the Old Testament to the “carrying away” of Israel and Judah. The order in which Israel was carried into captivity is not very clear. It appears however that the events recorded in 1 Chronicles 5:2626And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day. (1 Chronicles 5:26) occurred first, because of Pul, king of Assyria, being mentioned, for he reigned before Tiglath-pileser: here the latter is named as carrying away the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh: showing that the Israelites who stopped short of their privileges, and did not cross the Jordan, were the first to be carried into captivity. There is nothing in the passage to fix the date, but in 2 Kings 15:2929In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abel-beth-maachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria. (2 Kings 15:29) is another reference to Israel when Tiglath-pileser took Ijon, Abel-beth-maachah, Janoah, Kedesh, and Hazor, which are all in the north on the west of the Jordan; but then is added Gilead, which is on the east, and this may be intended to embrace the two and a half tribes; then Galilee with all the land of Naphtali is added, which is again in the north on the west. So that this may be a summary of all that this king carried away captive to Assyria. It was “in the days of Pekah,” and Pekah reigned 20 years: the date is generally reckoned as B.C. 740 for the captivity of the two and a half tribes.
A more definite date is given for the captivity of the remaining portion of Israel in 2 Kings 18:10-1110And at the end of three years they took it: even in the sixth year of Hezekiah, that is the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken. 11And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes: (2 Kings 18:10‑11). It was in the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel and the sixth of Hezekiah that Samaria was taken by the Assyrians after a three years’ siege: this would be B.C. 722. The captives were carried to Halah and Habor by the river of Gozan (these same names being mentioned in 1 Chronicles 5:2626And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day. (1 Chronicles 5:26), with Hara added there). These places are supposed to be in the north of Assyria; but in the above passage in Kings the words are added “and in the cities of the Medes.” This is a region much farther east, where they would be far removed from their brethren in Assyria and from Judah, who were afterward carried to Babylon.
The captivity of Judah followed in four detachments. Nebuchadnezzar (B.C. 606) carried away the sacred vessels and captives, among whom were Daniel and his companions. This formed the commencement of the “times of the Gentiles” (2 Chron. 36:6-76Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon. 7Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of the Lord to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon. (2 Chronicles 36:6‑7)). The second captivity was in B.C. 599, when Jehoiachin had reigned three months. It is called the great captivity. Zedekiah was left as a vassal of Babylon (2 Kings 24:1414And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valor, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land. (2 Kings 24:14); 2 Chron. 36:1010And when the year was expired, king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of the Lord, and made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem. (2 Chronicles 36:10)). The third captivity was in B.C. 588 (2 Chron. 36:2020And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: (2 Chronicles 36:20)). The fourth was in B.C. 584 under Nebuzar-adan (Jer. 52:12, 3012Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzar-adan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem, (Jeremiah 52:12)
30In the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadrezzar Nebuzar-adan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred forty and five persons: all the persons were four thousand and six hundred. (Jeremiah 52:30)
). The 70 years of captivity foretold by Jeremiah (25:11-12) commenced B.C. 606 and expired B.C. 536 when the Jews returned to Judaea by the proclamation of Cyrus king of Persia (Jer. 29:1010For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. (Jeremiah 29:10); Ezra 1). The captivity is referred to in Matthew 1:11, 1711And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: (Matthew 1:11)
17So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations. (Matthew 1:17)
as “the carrying away.” The places to which Israel and Judah were carried are considered under their respective names.
Those who returned from exile were the two tribes, Judah and Benjamin (unless any few of the ten tribes may have accompanied them; Compare Luke 2:3636And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; (Luke 2:36)). They retained possession of the land, under many changes and vicissitudes, until their Messiah appeared. His rejection and crucifixion resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans A.D. 70, and the scattering of the Jews to all parts of the world.