THE WORST DAY IN JEWISH HISTORY, some Jews say, is the day Jerusalem died – July 17, 586 BC.
Babylonian invaders from what is now Iraq slaughtered most of the defenders. Then they ripped Jerusalem apart, stone by stone. Israel’s Holy City became Rock City.
The last surviving Jewish nation – with every notable town destroyed – became the invisible nation, erased from the world map. No capital. No King. No people but scattered survivors – many banished as refugees, forced to live in what are now Iraq and Iran.
Some of those Jews must have thought God lied to their ancestor Abraham: “I will give you the whole land of Canaan. You will own it forever. So will your children after you” (Genesis 17:8). Others probably knew better. They had read the fine print: “Abraham, you and all future members of your family must promise to obey me” (Genesis 17:9).
As the prophets tell it, Jews did everything but obey God.
Scenes from a siege
It’s a horror show inside the walled city of Jerusalem during Babylon’s two-and-a-half year siege. Cut off from all supplies, life is a slow death. The saddest book in the Bible, Lamentations, paints the picture.
- Kid’s meal. “Loving mothers have boiled and eaten their own children” (Lamentations 4:10).
- Cotton mouth. “Babies are so thirsty that their tongues are stuck to the roof of the mouth” (Lamentations 4:4).
- Bone bags. “Leaders of Jerusalem… Their skin clings to their bones” (Lamentations 4:7-8).
Excerpt from A Quick Guided Tour Through the Bible, page 123, 127
For more about the siege of Jerusalem
- A Quick Guided Tour Through the Bible, pages 118-129
- Complete Guide to the Bible, pages 113-117; 129; 202-210