of Israel. 'Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh ... And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A City not forsaken. ... And ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. ... And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem.' 'For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall he found therein.' The conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar led to a further deportation; and many of the remaining two tribes were exiled to Babylon in three batches in 606, 599, and 588. The number of actual exiles does not seem to have been very large, but it included 'all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land." Most went eastward to Mesopotamia with Jeremiah and Baruch and Ezekiel, but some fled southward to Egypt.
After seventy years, a partial return took place. The resettlement of Palestine, started by Cyrus and continued by Darius, is of peculiar interest at the present time.
§2. Home Rule in Palestine under the Persians and Greeks
The Persian Empire, towards the end of the sixth century B. C., was mighty and enlightened, and therefore tolerant. The return from Babylon was never more than partial: the Persian Jews were prosperous and contented, and many of them highly placed. Cyrus in 536 called upon God's people—'his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord ... And whoso-
- Isaiah lxii. 11–12.
- Ibid. lxvi. 13.
- Ibid. lxvi. 20.
- Ibid. li. 3.
- Kings xxiv. 10–16.