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The Babylonian Captivity Timeline

The Babylonian Captivity Timeline
  The Babylonian Captivity Timeline*
  • The Northern Kingdom of Israel is destroyed by the Assyrian Empire and its inhabitants dispersed throughout the Assyrian Empire.
  • Led by Mushezib-Marduk, the city of Babylon is completely destroyed by the Assyrians.1
  • Josiah becomes king of Judah 2
  • Death of Judah's king Josiah during battle with Egyptian Pharaoh, Necho II (2 Kings 23:29).4
  • The people make Jehoahaz,  son of Josiah, who was 23, king . He reigned only 3 months (2 Kings 23:31).5
  • Pharaohnechoh6 Necho II takes Jehoahaz off the thrown and makes Eliakim the son of Josiah king and changes his name to Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:33-36 ).
  • Jehoiakim forms an alliance between Judah and Egypt.
605 The First Babylonian Deportation
  • Nebuchadnezzar II becomes king of Babylon.
  • Nebuchadnezzar defeated Egypt at Carchemish in Syria in the spring of 605 B.C. at the beginning of the 4th year of Jehoiakim's rule (Jer. 46:2). Daniel says it is the 3rd year (Dan. 1:1) because he is using the civil calendar.6
  • The Babylonians invade Judah. Judah becomes a tribute state to Babylon (2 Kings 24:1).
  • Jehoiakim rebels against Babylonian rule (2 Kings 24:1).
  • First wave of deportation of Jews to Babylon takes place in the eighth year of Jehoiakim's reign (2 Kings 24:12) . Nebuchadnezzar takes Jehoiakim and certain sons of the Jewish nobility hostage including Daniel (Dan. 1:1-3, 1:6; II Kings 24:14).
  • Daniel is taken captive and begins to prophesy.
  • After taking captives, Nebuchadnezzar returns to Babylon were is is crowned king after his father's (Nabopolassar) death.7
  • Babylonians battle Egypt, both sides suffer losses.
  • Judah decides to realign itself with Egypt, the prophet Jeremiah warns not to rebel against the Babylonians.
  • Jehoiakim died and was succeeded by Jehoiachin (also known as Jeconiah and Coniah. See 2Kings 24:6, 2Chron 36:8) Jehoiachin was 18 when he became king and reigned only 3 months (2 King 24:8).
597 The Second Babylonian Deportation
  • After Jehoiachin rebels against Babylonian rule, Nebuchadnezzar returned to bring Judah back into subjection. Among those taken captive (16 March 597)8 were Jehoiachin, Ezekiel, and "all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives" Mattaniah, Johoiachin’s uncle,  who is renamed Zedekiah by Nebuchadnezzar was made governor of Judea by Nebuchadnezzar (2Kings 24:10-17). The most valuable treasures of the temple and the royal palace were carried away along with the captives. Zedekiah is 21 years old, "and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem" (2Kings 24:18).
  • Ezekiel was called as a prophet (Ezek. 1:1-2).
  • Ezekiel saw the vision of idolatry in Jerusalem (Ezek. 8:1ff).
  • Certain of the elders of Israel came to Ezekiel to inquire of Jehovah (Ezek. 20:1).
  • King Zedekiah, encouraged by Nebuchadnezzar's absence from the region, and probably bolstered by Pharoah Psammetichus II, rebelled against Babylon (2 Kings 24:20).
  • In the ninth year of Zedekiah's reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem. (2Kings 25:1,. Ezekiel 24:1)
  • Ezekiel was told, "The king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very day," and the parable of the boiling pot was given (Ezek. 24:1 ff).
  • Ezekiel received the word of the Lord concerning Egypt (Ezek. 29:1ff).
  • The Lord told Ezekiel, "I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt" (Ezek. 30:20-26).
  • The word of the Lord concerning Pharaoh came to Ezekiel (Ezek. 31:1ff).
586 The Third Babylonian Deportation
  • The word of the Lord concerning Tyre came to Ezekiel (Ezek. 26:1ff).
  • On the ninth day of the fourth month, there was no longer any food in Jerusalem, as a result of the famine brought on by the Babylonian two year siege. (2 Kings 25:3)
  • In the fifth month, Jerusalem fell. The temple, the king's house, and every great house were burned, and the walls were broken down. Zedekiah's sons are killed in his sight, his eyes are put out, and he is taken to Babylon. (2Kings 25:4-10)
  • The Babylonians destroy Jerusalem and the Temple (9th of Av (July-Aug.))9  
  • Jerusalem’s walls and gates are burned with fire. 100,000 Jews were slaughtered and millions more exiled.10
  • Third wave of Jews deported to Babylon. Enough people remained to maintain the harvest.11
  • Third Babylonian Exile12 begins
  • Nebuchadnezzar begins his thirteen year long attack on the city of Tyre13
  • "The city has been taken," was the message that came to Ezekiel in Babylon (Ezek. 33:2118).
  • Ezekiel took up a lamentation over Pharaoh (Ezek. 32:l ff).
  • The word of the Lord came to Ezekiel describing Pharaoh in Sheol14 (Ezek. 32:17-32).
  • Ezekiel saw the vision of the New Jerusalem (Ezek. 40:1ff).
  • Nebuchadnezzar finally succeeds in capturing the mainland city of Tyre after a 13 year siege (585–572 BC).15
  •  The fate of the land of Egypt was revealed to Ezekiel. It would be given to Nebuchadnezzar because "he and his army had no wages from Tyre for the labor that he had performed against it," (Ezek. 29:17-21).
  • Cyrus becomes king of Persia.16
  • Cyrus conquers the Medes.16
  • Cyrus conquers Babylon beginning of the Persian Period to 33216
538/7 Judah's captivity comes to an end:

  • The Decree of Cyrus II allowing Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple.17
  • Some of the Jews returned to Jerusalem in the first year of Cyrus of Persia (see 2 Chr. 36:22-23, Ezra 1:1-4). Only fifty thousand availed themselves of the decree of Cyrus. They were led by Zerubbabel, grandson of Judah's king Jehoiachin, in the line of King David; and arrived on the site of their ancient capital just seventy years after its first humiliation under Nebuchadnezzar, and in the latter part of the year 538 B.C. No Hebrews from the other captivities seem to have taken any part in this revival.
  • The Jews rebuild their Temple (70 years)

1. Babylon. Wikipedia. See also Antiquities Of The Jews by Flavius Josephus, Book 10, Chapter 11

2. Josiah. Wikipedia.

3. Babylon.

4. Josiah. Wikipedia.; Fall of Judah. Free Essays. 7 January, 2011

5. Babylon. Wikipedia.

6. See this article for a description of the differences between the Jewish and civil calendars. 7 January, 2011

7. He is "Pharaohnechoh" in the King James Bible (2 Kings 23:29, 23:33, 23:34, 23:35). The English Standard Version has  "Pharaoh Neco." He is also known as Necho II.

8. Babylonian captivity,

9. Tisha B'Av.'Av



12. The Hebrew for 'exile" is Galut or Golus and classically refers to the exile of the Jewish people from the Land of Israel.

13. Nebuchadnezzar II.

14."translated as 'grave', 'pit', or 'abode of the dead', is the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible's underworld, a place of darkness to which those outside of faith in a coming Messiah go, a place of stillness and darkness cut off from God."

15 Nebuchadnezzar II.

16 Cyrus the Great

17 Cyrus Cylinder

18 Rather than "the twelfth year of our exile, on the fifth of the tenth month," some manuscripts have "the eleventh year . . ." at Ezekiel 33:21. If this alternate reading is correct, the message that the city had been taken would have come a year earlier.

* The actual date of this event varies from October 29, 540 BC (, 539 BCE, Oct 12, 539 B.C.  "Accordingly his first year, in which he made the proclamation, was 538/537 B.C.", the Handbook of Bible Chronology by Jack Finegan (Princeton University Press, 1964), p. 170. October 12-13, 539 B.C., Julian Calendar, or October 6-7, 539 B.C., according to our present Gregorian Calendar.