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The First Jewish Diaspora Essay

1966 words - 8 pages

The word Diaspora in Greek means dispersion. The Jewish Diaspora had three main periods to it: the Babylonian exile, the Hellenistic dispersion, and the Roman War (R. Sands, 1). The Jewish Diaspora began in 586 BCE when the Jews were deported from their motherland, Judea, as a result of shifts of power and war (R. Sands, 1). After this came the Hellenistic part of the Diaspora which was the voluntary movement of the Jews. In the Roman War, Jews were again forced to leave their homeland after the Romans destroyed their temple again for a second time. Despite these hardships, however, the Jewish people never forgot about God and His promises for His people. They believed that these things had to happen because they had been prophesized. The Diaspora as a whole did change the religion as the traveled, and it also impacted the places they went to. Although the Jewish Diaspora created hardships for the Jews, it was ultimately a beneficial thing for the Jews because they were able to spread throughout the world and grow in numbers.
This first Jewish Diaspora happened when the kingdom of Judea was conquered by the Babylonians who destroyed the temple in Jerusalem and exiled the Jewish population to Babylonia ("Jews Around"). Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon at that time, and was the one who had the Jewish temple destroyed. Nebuchadnezzar then had the Jews deported to Babylon and kept captive. The Jews tried hard to keep their culture and religion alive while in Babylon which was when the Torah was created (R. Sands, 1). The Torah is the Jewish Bible. They made it because Jews have a sense of community and connection to each other and to God. Now that they were dispersed, they needed a mean of connecting to God and the Torah could give them that portable mean of connecting to God. This first exile of the Jews is what actually started the Jewish Diaspora because it meant that the Jewish people were not only in Judea, their homeland, but were now in another place. The Babylonian exile is what started the spread of the Jews around the world, and this period of the Diaspora occurred over 598-538 BCE (R. Sands, 1). When King Cyrus took the throne in 538 BCE, he freed all the Jews that had been held captive. Some of these Jews stayed in their new home of Babylon, some moved to places like Persia, Alexandria and Egypt, while others returned to Jerusalem to begin the construction of the 2nd temple (R. Sands, 1). Some of these Jews may have decided to stay in their new home in Babylonia because as new generations were born during the time period of this first Diaspora, these newer Jews did not know another home apart from Babylon. The rest that migrated to nearby countries were who started the next part of the Diaspora, which is the Hellenistic Diaspora.
Following the Babylonian exile of the Jews was the Hellenistic dispersion. In the Hellenistic dispersion, some Jewish people voluntarily moved to Egypt, under Greek power and rule (R. Sands, 1). This...

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