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3 Jewish Diasporas


INTRODUCTION:  The Jewish "diaspora" (Hebrew: Tfutza, תפוצה) or "Exile" (Hebrew: Galut, גלות; Yiddish: Golus) refers to the dispersion of Israelites, Judahites, and later Jews out of what is considered their ancestral homeland (the Land of Israel) and the communities built by them across the world.  In the context of the OT, the term "Exile" denotes the fate of the Israelites who were forcibly removed from the Kingdom of Israel during the 8th century B.C. and the Judahites from the Kingdom of Judah during the 6th century B.C.   While in exile, the Judahites became known as "Jews" (יְהוּדִים, or Yehudim)-"Mordecai the Jew" from the Book of Esther 2:5-7 being the first biblical reference to the term Jew.


ASSYRIAN EXILE (722 B.C.):  The first was the Assyrian exile, the expulsion of the northern tribes from the Kingdom of Israel (Samaria) by Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria in 733 B.C., and its completion by Sargon II with the destruction of the kingdom in 722 B.C., after the end of the three-year siege that Shalmaneser V started in Samaria.  [Bible Ref.:  2 Kings 17:1-23.; 1 Chron. 5:26.]


BABYLONIAN EXILE (597 B.C.):  It continued with the exile of a portion of the population of the Kingdom of Judah in 597 B.C. following the Babylonian conquest.  This exile ended after 70 years with a declaration by King Cyrus of Persia (who had defeated the Babylonian Empire) that exiled Jews would be allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple on the foundation the old one in what was now Yehud Medinata, an autonomous province of the Persian Empire.  [Bible Ref:  2 Kings 25:1ff; 2 Chron. 36:11-20; Jer. 39:1-10.; Ezra 1:1-11; Dan. 1:1-7.]


ROMAN EXILE (70 A.D.):  Following the Siege of Jerusalem in 63 B.C, the Hasmonean kingdom became a protectorate of Rome, and in 6 A.D. was organized as the Roman province of Judea. The Jews revolted against the Roman Empire in 66 A.D. during the period known as the First Jewish-Roman War which culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.  During the siege, the Romans destroyed the Second Temple and most of Jerusalem. This event marked the beginning of the Roman exile, also called Edom exile. Jewish leaders and elite were exiled, killed or sold into slavery.  Finally, in 132 A.D., the Jews under Bar Kokhba rebelled against Hadrian, and in 135 A.D., Hadrian's army defeated the Jewish armies and Jewish independence was lost. As punishment Hadrian changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina, turned it into a pagan city and banned the Jews from living there. Finally, Judea and Samaria were renamed Syria Palaestina by Hadrian.  [Ref.:  Apocrypha, 1 and 2 Maccabees; Josephus Hist. Book VI.]