History of Palestine: Babylonian Captivity

History of Palestine: Babylonian Captivity Last updated on Thursday 22nd April 2010

During their exile in Babylon and the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews were allowed to maintain their national and religious identity. They did not allow themselves to forget the land of Israel and when the Persians under Cyrus the Great conquered Babylonia in 539BC, the Jews were allowed to return to Judaea, a district in Palestine.

Under Persian control, they were allowed considerable freedom. They rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem and codified their system of social life and religious observance into the Torah. The Jews worshipped a single God, Yahweh, to whom they were bound; indeed Judaism's most important contribution to civilization is perhaps their concept of one ethical God.

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