web analytics
January 26, 2015 / 6 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


The Painful Path To Destruction

The period that preceded the destruction of the first Jerusalem Temple was one of the most tumultuous in our nation’s history. It was a time of quick, decisive change, as the nation shifted from a period of morass and idol worship under the wicked Menasheh to an era of widespread repentance inspired by his grandson Yoshiyahu.

However, even the great prophet Yirmiyahu could not keep the people and their leaders on the proper path. Just a few years after Yoshiyahu’s untimely death, the embattled prophet would watch helplessly as the magnificent Temple burned at the hands of Nevuchadnezzar’s Babylonian forces.

Of the six rulers who reigned following Menasheh’s death, the greatest was his grandson Yoshiyahu, son of Amoz. Like his great-grandfather Chizkiyahu, Yoshiyahu made tremendous strides in uprooting pagan behavior in Judah, almost managing to undo Menasheh’s destructive inroads.

Toward the end of Yoshiyahu’s reign, the Babylonians emerged as the world’s new power. For centuries an ongoing struggle had raged in the Fertile Crescent between the Assyrians in the north and the Babylonians in the south. The latter finally gained the upper hand, with some assistance from the Medes, who sacked and looted the once powerful Assyrian city of Nineveh.

At the same time, there was a rising force to the south of Judah: the Twenty-sixth Egyptian Dynasty. Earlier, the Assyrians had formed an alliance with Egypt in the hope of strengthening their position against invading Babylonian and Mede armies. In the year 445 BCE, Pharaoh Necho II marched a large Egyptian force through Israel in an attempt to reach Assyria and assist his ally in battle. Yoshiyahu tried to stop him but was killed.

The Egyptians arrived at Carchemish in northwest Syria where the Assyrians joined them. The two armies then marched on the Babylonian city Harran. Nevuchadnezzar, son of king Nabopolassar, led the Babylonians and achieved a decisive victory. As the Egyptian army returned home, Necho marched his armies back through Judah, setting up a puppet king, Yehoyakim, who had displayed loyalty to Egypt. Necho then imposed a heavy tax on Judah, which the Jewish vassal king passed on to the people.

In 442 BCE Nevuchadnezzar, now the Babylonian king, campaigned throughout most of Philistia and Judah, destroying every city in his path. Despite the Babylonian triumph at Carchemish, Yehoyakim continued to remain in alliance with Egypt. That proved to be a costly error. Despite several pleas for help, the Egyptians never responded. Yehoyakim surrendered to Babylon in 441 BCE, sparing Jerusalem for the time being.

This submission would prove short lived. Two years later Nevuchadnezzar attacked Egypt proper. During this campaign both sides incurred heavy losses. Nevuchadnezzar retreated empty-handed. Encouraged by this turn of events, Yehoyakim rebelled, again joining with the Egyptians.

In response to Yehoyakim’s defiance, Nevudachdnezzar marched on Jerusalem in Yehoyakim’s fourth year.

 

[He took with him] some of the vessels of the house of God…[and] certain of the children of Israel, and of the royal seed, and of the nobles, youths in whom was no blemish, but fair to look on, and skilful in all wisdom, and skilful in knowledge, and discerning in thought, and such as had ability to stand in the king’s palace; and that he should teach them the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. [Daniel 1:1-4]

 

These youths would later become some of the most prominent advisers to Babylonian kings and leaders of Babylonian Jewry. The best known include Daniel, Chananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.

Seven years later, the Babylonians returned to the area and again marched on Jerusalem. Yehoyakim died shortly thereafter. His eighteen-year-old son Yechanya was raised to the throne in his place. Three months later Yechanya wisely surrendered to Nevuchadnezzar, thus temporarily saving Judah from destruction. He was exiled together with members of the royal family, other heads of state, the Judean military, and many artisans.

About the Author: Rabbi Naphtali Hoff is an executive coach and president of Impactful Coaching & Consulting (www.ImpactfulCoaching.com). He can be reached at President@ImpactfulCoaching.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “The Painful Path To Destruction”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ilana Medar, 18, of Paris, made Aliyah last year.
Jewish Agency Planning for Massive Aliyah of 120,000 French Jews
Latest Indepth Stories
Golan map

Obama’s Syrian policy failures created the current situation in the Golan Heights.

Social Media pic

Our journey begins by attempting to see things differently, only then can we be open to change.

Middle-East-map

Despite Western ‘Conventional Wisdom&PC,’ the Arab/Israeli conflict was never about the Palestinians

Salamon-012315

Confrontation & accountability, proven techniques, might also help dealing with religious terrorists

In fact, wherever you see soldiers in Paris today, you pretty much know you’re near Jewish site

Inspired by the Perek Shira pasuk for “small non-kosher animals” we named the bunny “Rebbetzin Tova”

The abuse following publication proved a cautionary tale: no one followed in Peters’s footsteps

Plainly, there is no guiding hand dictating choices across the board.

How many sites that tell you to check your politics at the door have 10,000 likes?

In this particular case, the issue was whether the Arkansas prison system could prohibit, for security reasons, a devout Muslim’s maintaining a beard of a certain length as a matter of religious practice.

While we recognize the Republican Jewish Coalition is hardly a non-partisan outfit, a snippet from a statement the group released is worthy of note:

“These are good matzah balls,” my aunt Robertine would say, but her sister Irma would counter “No, not compared to Mama’s. They were always so light yet they never fell apart.”

Despite the 2005 Koby Mandell Act no Palestinian implicated in harming an American has been charged

The NY Times suggestion that HaMavesar cropping women from a photo is Israeli censorship is absurd.

More Articles from Rabbi Naphtali Hoff
Front-Page-122614

He ruthlessly crushed the revolt, and, despite lacking official Roman sanction, ordered the rebel leaders put to death without trial.

Where did this incredible strength come from? What drove these Jews, who had nearly lost all of their national identity and spiritual connectivity, to risk their lives by standing up against one of the strongest and most fearsome governments of its time?

Of all the Jewish holidays, I would say Sukkos is far and away the least appreciated.

While there is no formula that will work for everyone, there are some strategies that if followed carefully and consistently can help our children – and us – gain the most from the upcoming school year.

“If Israel’s offering of land, economic improvements, and even autonomy will not help, what will?”

For breaking his oath of allegiance, Tzidkiyahu was forced to witness the death of his sons before he himself was blinded and exiled to Babylon.

It’s as if Hamas has pulled a page out of Pharaoh’s handbook.

As a guide to others and a foremost member of the Great Assembly, Ezra provided strong leadership and a moral conscience to a people that had lost its way.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/the-painful-path-to-destruction/2014/07/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: