BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY, the name generally given to the deportation of the Jews to Babylon by Nebuchadrezzar. Three separate occasions are mentioned (Jer. lii. 28-30). The first was in the time of Jehoiachin in 597 B.C., when the temple of Jerusalem was partially despoiled and a number of the leading citizens removed. After eleven years (in the reign of Zedekiah) a fresh rising of the Judaeans occurred; the city was razed to the ground, and a further deportation ensued. Finally, five years later, Jeremiah (loc. cit.) records a third captivity. After the overthrow of Babylonia by the Persians, Cyrus gave the Jews permission to return to their native land (537 B.C.), and more then forty thousand are said to have availed themselves of the privilege. (See JEHOIAKIM; JEHOIACHIN; ZEDEKIAH; EZRANEHEMIAH and JEWS: History.)
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