#122 Exilic Period

#122 History of Israel: Exilic Period

In this lesson you will study the history of the Jewish Exile. Exile is a term that means “being banned from one’s native country” and this is what happened to the Jewish people for many centuries. At different times and during different eras, the Jewish People were banned from living in Israel and were forced to live in other places. This experience is called the Jewish Exile. Today, Jews are free to live in Israel and most countries and therefore, this is not a period of Jewish exile.

In this lesson, you will learn about three important periods of exile: Babylonian Exile, Roman exile and the Post-Roman Exile (Spanish Inquisition).


In the year 605 BCE, Nebuchadnezzer, the King of Babylonia, sent away all the Israelites that were living in Jerusalem and Israel and were forced to flee to Babylonia. The city of Jerusalem was destroyed and the 75,000 Israelites were forced to flee the city (there are approximately 75,000 people that live south of Canal Street in NYC to give you a sense of the size of population). Five years later, Cyrus the Great captured Jerusalem back from Nebuchadnezzar and the Israelites were allowed to return.



For about 500 years after the Babylonian Exile, the Jewish people lived in Jerusalem. This came to an end in 63 BCE when the Roman Empire led by Ceasar destroyed Jerusalem and once again, the Jews were forced to leave. This time, the Jews fled to Persia and to Egypt and to other lands near the Mediterranean sea.




1000 years after the Roman Exile, the Jewish community lived mostly outside of Israel in two distinct areas. One are was in the Polish Commonwealth (Eastern Europe) and the other was in Spain (Southern Europe). But, again, there was another exile of the Jewish people called the Spanish Inquisition in 1497 when all the Jews were forced to leave Spain.



  1. As you can tell, there were many exiles in Jewish history. What are the three periods discussed in this lesson?
  2. What do you think it is like to have to move from one place to another because of an exile?
  3. If you lived 2000 years ago in Jerusalem and were forced to flee, what would you take with you?
  4. Are there benefits to moving from place to place and starting over?

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