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The Bible

Israelites in exile

 Jeroboam encourages the Israelites to worship a... Jeroboam encourages the Israelites to worship a...After Solomon’s death, his son Rehoboam became the new king of Israel. But he was a bad ruler, and relations with his people, already angered at the taxes they were forced to pay, reached breaking point. Ten of the twelve tribes of Israel broke away and formed a new kingdom of their own, with Jeroboam—once a high-ranking official in Solomon's government—as their ruler. Only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained loyal to Rehoboam. So Solomon's kingdom was once again divided into two parts: Israel in the north and Judah in the south.


Elijah on Mount CarmelElijah on Mount Carmel

Elijah

Under Jeroboam, the Israelites turned to pagan gods. One of these was the god Baal. The prophet Elijah arranged a contest to bring the people back to God. On top of Mount Carmel, he challenged the priests of Baal to command fire from heaven. They failed. But when Elijah prayed to God, he sent a bolt of lightning. The people were amazed and returned to God.

 
 

Foreign invasion

Route followed by the Israelites to BabylonRoute followed by the Israelites to BabylonBecause the land was divided, it became weak and vulnerable to attack from hostile neighbours. First the Egyptians raided Judah's treasures. Then Israel was invaded and ruled over by a succession of foreign powers, one after the other: the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians and Alexander the Great. The Israelites were forced out of their land and exiled during Babylonian rule. It was not until King Cyrus of Persia came to power in 539 BC that the Israelites were allowed to return to their homeland.
 
 

In the 8th century BC, Nineveh in Assyria was the largest city in the world with over 100,000 inhabitants.

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