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  The Great Bible Story #75
Years of captivity

Jacob Ninan
Even though there were a few kings in the kingdom of Judah who followed the Lord and tried to bring reforms among the people, most of the kings of Israel were wicked people given over to idol worship and following the practices of the nations around them. God would allow some other kings to oppress these two nations as a warning when they began to go astray, and He would send prophets one after the other to correct them. When calamity struck them, they would occasionally turn back to God, but they would soon go back to their old ways when there was peace. This seems to be a universal principle for all people.

The prophet Isaiah spoke about the coming of the Messiah, His birth in Bethlehem, His betrayal and His death for the sins of all people. He also prophesied about what would happen to the different nations that fought against Israel.

God began to warn the two kingdoms that unless they repented they would be taken into captivity by enemy nations. But false prophets began to proclaim 'peace' and convince them that the true prophets of God were taking the side of the enemies! The people did not pay any heed nor try to repent. Several prophets of God were imprisoned and even put to death in cruel ways. Finally the army of Assyria came and carried off the people of the kingdom of Israel to their country. Hoshea was the last king of Israel.

The focus now turned to the kingdom of Judah. God was hoping that the people of Judah who heard about what happened to the sister kingdom of Israel would at least repent now. But they continued their backsliding. God warned them through prophets that they would be taken into captivity, but they did not repent. God felt that they were becoming more wanton than Israel. Finally the Babylonian army came and carried off most of the people in Judah to Babylon. However they left a few back in Jerusalem and appointed someone to rule them on behalf of Babylon. The last king of Judah, Zedekiah, was taken to Babylon, his sons killed before him, and had his eyes gouged out.

The Babylonians destroyed the temple of God in Jerusalem and took away all the precious things of gold and silver to Babylon. The ark of the covenant has not been seen since, and all the glory of the people in their magnificent temple came down. As the Babylonian empire expanded, it conquered Assyria too. After God took the children of Israel from captivity in Egypt, they were all back in captivity now.

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Comfort & Counsel