In 586 BC, the king of Babylon invades Jerusalem, the capital of the kingdom of Judah, and takes many of the Jews captive to his capitol city in Babylon. In the midst of this turmoil, God raises up and speaks through prophets to lead His people.
Among the captives of Babylon, Ezekiel prophesies about God's return to His people.
In the royal courts of Babylon and, later, Persia, Daniel prophesies about the Son of Man who will rule in Heaven.
In Judah, Jeremiah prophesies that God's people will return to their land after 70 years. He calls the people to trust God and not to run away to Egypt. Jeremiah tells the people that God has plans of peace for them rather than calamity, to give them a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11). They are to go willingly into captivity. Sadly, King Zedekiah and those in Jerusalem ignore Jeremiah to their own destruction. Those remaining after the temple's destruction flee to Egypt.
Ezekiel prophesies against Egypt for their arrogance and for their embracing the remnant of Israelites who fled from the Babylonians. God promises to "diminish them so that they will not rule over the nations anymore" (Ez. 29:15) and to give them over to the Babylonians, "I have given him the land of Egypt for his labor, because they worked for Me" (29:20). His rule over the nations will demonstrate to Israel that Yahweh is the LORD (30:8).
What does the captivity of Judah reveal about God?
Out of the darkest days of Israel's history come some of the brightest promises of redemption and restoration. Jeremiah speaks of Judah's return. Ezekiel speaks of the new covenant. Daniel speaks of the destruction of the nations and lives to see the demise of Babylon and the return of a remnant of the Jews to their land.
Throughout Ezekiel's ministry the LORD instructs him to use visuals as teaching tools. What do the death of Ezekiel's wife and his response reveal to Israel?
Review Exodus 21:2, 3, 7-8. Ezekiel reminds Israel of God's command regarding enslaving their brethren for longer than seven years. What does their disobedience cost them?
What does the LORD do to prevent Zedekiah from avoiding captivity by aligning Judah with Egypt?
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