|The Consequences of the 2 Exiles of the Jews|
721BC : The first deportation of the kingdom of Israel from Samaria to Assyria
The first Exodus, (alas with no hope of return for many Jews), meant that they settled abroad in several countries to the East to escape slavery by the Assyrians. This "forced DIASPORA" (a word that can be interpreted as the scattering of the Jews) was to dramatically influence the culture of these primitive peoples. Their example, their way of life and their prayers showed them a new kind of spirituality and a new reason for living.
To these oppressed primitive people, who were in search of hope and values which would lift them above the abuse to which they were subjected, the discovery of a new way, a path of LIGHT, based on mutual support and trust, made their suffering bearable, and transformed sickness and old age into spiritual strength. It gave them a RIGHT to a better life.
Even if the path is different, the smallest and weakest can lead a new kind of life which will lead them to the Father Creator, the Source of Light which gave life to every being on earth, no matter what their origins or colour.
The name of the god does not matter. It is the state of the soul and the devotion of the seeker that is important to the god whose protection he seeks.
The main result was not the spreading of Judaism, which remained almost exclusively reserved for the circumcised and those chosen by Yahweh, but the birth of new forms of religion in these countries. (The Jewish people had learned many of these inspiring fundamental principals during their long captivity in Egypt.)
Zarathustra was born around the year 650BC in the region of Herat, north of present day Afghanistan.
From 640 to 600BC, Cyrus I was the first king to rule over Anshan.
Cambyses I succeeded his father and ruled from 600 to 559BC. He was the father of Cyrus II (the Great). He became the vassal of the Mede Cyxare, then of Astyage whose daughter he married : Mandane.
In 600BC Zarathustra made his predictions in Media (later Persia).
597BC and 587BC : The second and third deportations of the Jewish people
In 597BC, Nebuchadnezzar II took Jerusalem and ordered the deportation of 3,000 Jewish upper classes of the Kingdom of Judah.
In 587BC, the Babylonian army organized a second siege of Jerusalem. It lasted 2 years. The temple was demolished and many Jews fled (again) to several countries around, to escape slavery and a third deportation which was imposed on them by the tyrannical Nebuchadnezzar II.
Tradition dictates that the prophet Zarathustra died in 583BC, where he had lived in the region of Herat, north of the present day Afghanistan. His disciples continued his work.
Nebuchadnezzar II died in 562BC. Several kings succeeded him on the Babylonian throne.
In 556BC, Cyrus II the Great revolted, and became the first King of the Persians. He deposed Astyage, the lord of the Medes in 550BC. The Median kingdom of Persia was integrated with the kingdom of Persia.
BUDDHA (Siddharta Gautama) was born in 555BC in SE Nepal, the inspirer of Buddhism.
CONFUCIUS, (Kung Izu) the philanthropist was born in China in 551BC. He was the author of a form of philosophy called Confucianism. He died in 479BC.
Cyrus II conquered Asia Minor in 546BC and defeated king Cresus of Lydia, annexing his kingdom. Cresus was a wealthy king, as nuggets of gold had been found in the river Pactole which ran through his capital, Sardis. This was why so many powerful nobles surrounded him in his court and he was visited by philosophers like Aesop and Solon. As Cyrus condemned Cresus to death he said :
"Many people have made me the happiest man in the world but no one can be happy knowing he has lived his last." Then Cyrus gave him his reprieve and they became great friends.
In 539BC, Cyrus II took Babylon, liberating the Jews, and allowing 40,000 Jewish people to return home and reconstruct their temple.
In 530BC, Cyrus II died and Cambyses II became king of Persia (530 to 522 BC).
Around 528BC, VARHAMANA preached in the region of Benares. He was better known as MAHAVIRA (the Great Hero), the founder of Jainism in India. This is a dissident branch of Hinduism.
During 527BC, Buddha preached with his disciples throughout the region of Benares.
In 525BC, Cambyses II led a campaign into Egypt and crowned himself king (or pharaoh), thus founding the XXVIIth dynasty. His brother Bardiya (who had usurped the throne of Darius 1st), had him assassinated.
From 522BC to 486BC Darius I held power and had to quell numerous revolts in vassal countries, right from the time of his accession.
NOTE : We compiled this list to show how the great people of the Orient each took a different path leading them to enlightenment and their own destiny.
Just as one good grain out of a million sterile seeds can produce a tree, only a few Jewish refugees in a foreign land were able to encourage reflection in those people who worked beside them each day and watched their rituals and prayers. The ways of divine providence, even when they puzzle us, often have a motive which we understand only with the passage of time.
The Reign of CYRUS II (the GREAT)
Cyrus was greatly respected for his wisdom among people in foreign countries. This reputation preceded him before his conquest of Babylon. Thus Gobryas, governor of Gutium , the leader of NABONIDE, on receiving the command to stop the advance of the Persians, simply placed his army at the disposal of Cyrus the Great.
The town of Sippar (or Nabonide) had its main center taken on the fourth day "without resistance" and 2 days later Babylon was similarly taken "without spilling a drop of blood".
Then Cyrus ordered a guard around the doors of the temples so that there would be no interruption of the celebration and prayers inside.
This is emphasized on tablets from that time :"Cyrus entered Babylon, where the people waited with anticipation for him in the streets. Everything was peaceful in the city and Cyrus was welcomed by the crowds in Babylon."
On a cylinder about Cyrus written in cuneiform writing :"When I entered Babylon, all was peaceful, and I established my royal residence in the palace of the princes amid acclamations and shouts of joy
I liberated those whom the yoke had imprisoned in Babylon (we find this echoed in the words of the prophet Isaiah .). I am Cyrus, the king of everything on earth "
He made himself king, but did not annex the country. He let the people keep their gods and allowed 40,000 heads of Jewish families return home with their wives and children. This was the reason that the Jewish people considered him to be a Messiah.
In fact, we do find in Cyrus some of the prophecies given by the prophet Zarathustra. In Jewish teaching there is great emphasis on the search for the light, justice, balance, truth and above all the spirit of tolerance, which had during one reign changed a cruel and decadent world. Thousands of exiles of several countries returned to their country of origin to see once again the country that God had promised them.
Thus spoke Zarathustra :
- Who was at the birth of this first father of justice ?
- Who gave the sun and the stars their path ?
- Who is the creator of great thought ?
- Which artist designed the light and shadow ?
- I have known you Great Lord of Wisdom.
At the same time two new religions were starting in India: Buddhism and Jainism (a strict sect).
Trying to destroy Israel, Salmanazar V in 721BC forced many Jews into exile. Without realizing it, these exiles became missionaries in Persia, China and India. Their influence encouraged the birth of new religions.
Given though this Messiah was not Jewish, this remarkably peaceful conqueror was a champion of the freedom of conscience and the spirit of tolerance.
Tomb of Cyrus II in Iran
General Gobryas (who had betrayed Nabonide), was installed by Cyrus as governor of Babylon. But he died a year later and Cyrus named his son Cambyses viceroy of Babylon, and installed him at Sippar.
According to Herodotus, Cyrus died in 530BC, during a campaign against the queen of the Massagetae, a small country near Lake Oxian (now the Sea of Aral). This was his first defeat.
His son Cambyses II retrieved his father's body from the field of battle, and with 10 survivors went back over the Oxus to take possession of the whole empire. However, the spirit of greatness and generosity died with Cyrus the Great...
In 525BC, Cambyses II led his campaign against Egypt, was crowned at Sais, and consecrated as pharaoh at Heliopolis. (He claimed this title from his mother's line). He founded the XXVII (Saite) dynasty of pharaohs. But according to Herodotus, he was troubled in spirit. He became very violent during his reign of 2 years and murdered his sister Rosane. He lost 2 battles : the first in the oasis of Ammon and the second against Ethiopia. When he learnt that his brother had usurped his power, he killed himself on the road back towards Persia.
The Reign of King DARIUS 1st
The reign of DARIUS lst (522 to 486BC) began with the revolts of Nebuchadnezzar III, who was king for only 3 months before being executed. Then an Armenian (Oroetean in origin) took the title of Nebuchadnesor IV.
The rebellion was crushed by Vindaparna, Darius' general in chief, who established the classic methods of punishment by publicly impaling him and all the nobles who had followed him. Thus Nebuchadnezzar IV also reigned only 3 months in Babylon.
Around 520BC, Darius had subdued all unrest, and began to reconstruct and restructure his empire into 20 regions called satrapies. In each he appointed a governor, or satrap.
An archer in the time of Darius 1st - (Louvre-Paris)
The reign of XERXES 1st
From 486 to 465BC, Xerxes 1st succeeded his father as king. When the death of Darius was announced, Egypt rebelled, and then in 482BC, Babylon rose up for the last time. Xerxes sent his brother-in-law Megabyses to quell the uprising.
Babylon was once more sacked, the prisoners cruelly tortured and put to death. The temples were pillaged, the statue of Marduk taken and the tower of Babel this time completely destroyed. Babylon was made into 2 satropies: Syria and Babylon.
Xerxes also wanted to avenge his father's defeat against the Greeks at Marathon, so he caused great destruction in Attica and Athens, despite the fact that the people did not expect the attack and had just finished building their beautiful city.
His fleet was finally defeated At Salamis in 480BC, and his army at Plataea the following year. Thrace, Cyprus and the coastal provinces obtained their independence. Returning to Persia, Xerxes devoted his energy to building Persepolis (which Alexander had destroyed in 331BC).
Xerxes was assassinated at Susa by one of his courtiers and his son Artaxerxes 1st succeeded him.
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