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The Children's Return

The people of Judah (see The Southern Kingdom) were sent by the LORD into their Babylonian exile for a specified period of seventy years. While in Babylon, they were to live a "normal" life of marriage and family, as instructed by the LORD - and not allow any false prophet to mislead them into believing that they would return sooner.

"29:4 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon; 29:5 Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; 29:6 Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished. 29:7 And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.

29:8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. 29:9 For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD. 29:10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place." (Jeremiah 29:4-10 KJV)

Exactly as decreed by the LORD, the nation of Judah were given to return after seventy years, by which time the Babylonian empire (see Ancient Empires - Babylon), that had taken them away, had collapsed and was replaced as the "superpower" of the world by the Persians (known today as Iran). The Persian king Cyrus accommodated their return (see Ancient Empires - Persia).

"1:1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled [see Jeremiah's Field], the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,

1:2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 1:3 Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, he is the God, which is in Jerusalem. 1:4 And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem." (Ezra 1:1-4 KJV)

"They may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished"

The reason and purpose of the LORD's command "29:6 Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished" (quoted above) was that it would be the children and grandchildren of the exiles that would do the "return" seventy years later. It would be a return of the nation, not of the people that originally left - almost all of those that "returned" had never been "home" before.

They nevertheless responded to what they were given to do in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. It was to be a new beginning based on God's pure Law (see also The Origin Of The Essenes, Sadducees And Pharisees).

The Middle East

"8:1 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate [see also The Gates Of Old Jerusalem]; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel.

8:2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. 8:3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.

8:4 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam.

8:5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; for he was above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up: 8:6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground.

8:7 Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. 8:8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading." (Nehemiah 8:1-8 KJV)

They were also taught at that time to regard God's Law with joy, "for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

"8:9 And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.

8:10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

8:11 So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved.

8:12 And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them." (Nehemiah 8:9-12 KJV)

The event occurred in the seventh month of God's calendar (early autumn in the northern hemisphere) so they observed the Christian Feast of Tabernacles (see The True Christian Holy Days: Lesson 6) and the Christian Eighth Day (see The True Christian Holy Days: Lesson 7) at that time.

"8:13 And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law. 8:14 And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: 8:15 And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written.

8:16 So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim. 8:17 And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness.

8:18 Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner." (Nehemiah 8:13-18 KJV)

Fact Finder: Was the Exodus also a matter of the children returning to a "home" that they had never been before, not only because the return was after 400 years in Egypt, but also because those who left Egypt in the Exodus never arrived?
See A Journey Without A Destination; see also The Exodus Prophecy

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