Ruins to Restoration -Monday, 25th week in ordinary time Ezra 1: 1-6

Starting from today and spanning the next three weeks, our first readings on weekdays will cover a galaxy of eight prophets; Ezra, Haggai, Zechariah, Baruch, Jonah, Malachi, and Joel. These prophets cover the period of what has come to be known as post exilic prophecy.

Let me explain this briefly. Israel consisted of two kingdoms, the Northern kingdom called Israel or Samaria and consisted of ten tribes and the Southern kingdom called Judah consisting of two. The Northern kingdom fell to the Assyrian invasion in 722 BC.  The Southern Kingdom of Judah survived for another 134 years and fell to the Babylonians in 586 B.C.  Significant, was the loss of the temple which was razed to the ground by the Babylonians. The Prophet Jeremiah had predicted that this exile would last  for seventy years.

The Assyrian and Babylonian captivities meant that a whole nation was moved from their homeland and scattered across the lands of the conquerors so that they could not regroup. More than fifty thousand citizens of the Southern Kingdom were taken into captivity in Babylon. Only the very poorest people remained in Judah, hidden in the hills and they later fled to Egypt .

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