Why doesn't Herodotus mention Israel or Judah?

3. The Kingdom of Judah until the conquest of Jerusalem in 587/86 BC. Numerous extra-biblical sources are available for the history of Judas from the conquest of Samaria to the capture of Jerusalem in 587/86. In addition to the Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions, these include the Babylonian Chronicle, Egyptian inscriptions and extensive archaeological material. The reason for this is the changeful political history of southern Le vante in the 7th and 6th centuries. The expansion of the New Syrian sphere of influence to Egypt was followed by the attack of the New Babylonians in the Assyrian heartland, which the pharaohs of the 26th Dynasty used to penetrate the southern Levant. After the conquest of Assyria (614) and Nineveh (612) by the neo-Babylonian ruler Nabopolassar, his successor Nebuchadnezzar II raised claims to the area that was previously controlled by the Assyrians and now by Egypt. This led to another change of rule on the Syro Palestinian Land Bridge (605/04). The kings of Judas largely watched this interplay of forces. While Hezekiah was still trying to play a significant role in foreign policy, Josiah, highly praised in the Bible, was completely on the sidelines in the conflicts in the southern Levant. Manasseh alone shows a skilful policy towards the Assyrians, but the Old Testament says nothing about it. Hezekiah and the expansion of Judah in the 8th and 7th centuries Biblical historiography connects King Hezekiah (725-697) with a cult reform, building work in Jerusalem and a leading role in the anti-Assyrian coalition of 713 (2nd Kings 18-20). Numerous stamp seals and clay bulls 3. The Kingdom of Judah up to the conquest of Jerusalem56 attest to a sharp increase in the written form and extensive economic administration in Judah. The seal impressions were provided with a two or four-winged sun disk and the inscription lmlk (“belonging to the king”) and were attached to transport or storage jars (HTAT 233-236). In the meantime, more than 1200 copies from over fifty locations are known. Sound analyzes showed that the four-handled storage jugs were produced in the Lachisch area. The site was expanded into a military and administrative center (Stratum III). The expansion of the Judean administration is explained by the politics of the Assyrians. Judah was a vassal of Assyria and part of the territory controlled by the Neo-Assyrian kings. The increase in written form in Judah, as evidenced by the ancient Hebrew inscriptions, the numerous stamps that indicate a well-organized administration, and the military expansion of the cities of Judah - none of this would have been possible without the New Assyrians. Its economic and administrative policy became the engine of the cultural development of the Kingdom of Judah. The place Ramat Rahel (Ḫirbet Ṣāliḥ) is of particular importance. Located just over 4.5 kilometers south of Jerusalem, halfway to Bethlehem, it was expanded into a Neo-Assyrian administrative center with administrative buildings in the late 8th or early 7th century. Ramat Rahel was visible from afar on the highest elevation in the southern outskirts of Jerusalem and strategically located on the two most important roads that connected Jerusalem with the outskirts. The place was an important transshipment point for agricultural products and at the same time the most important administrative center in the heartland of Judah. If you consider that Ramat Rahel existed well beyond the Persian period, the coexistence of Hezekiah's time that was to determine the next 350 years is evident: on the one hand, Jerusalem as the place of Yahweh worship with a school for writing Temple and on the other hand Ramat Rahel as the administrative center first controlled by the Assyrians and then The Anti-Assyrian Coalition of 713 57 by the Babylonians and Persians. Perhaps this “division of responsibilities” led to the fact that at the time of Hezekiah the importance of Jerusalem as a religious center grew. Although the summary note about a cult reform in 2 Kings 18.4 cannot be used historically, archaeological findings point to an increasing concentration of Yahweh worship on Jerusalem (cf. 2 Kings 18:22). In the fortress of Arad in the Negeb, about 56 kilometers southwest of Jerusalem, the small Yahweh temple with sacrificial altar and cult niche was covered with earth and thus made unusable (Stratum VIII). The same is documented for Tel Moẓa 7 kilometers northwest of Jerusalem. A temple was built there in the 9th century, which was part of the Syrian temple building tradition and on the altar of which animal sacrifices were offered. In the 8th century the sanctuary was abandoned and the remains of the altar and the cult inventory were covered with a thick layer of earth. An ancient Hebrew epitaph from the late 8th or early 7th century that was found near Lachish (Ḫirbet Bēt Lay) fits the concentration of the Yahweh cult on Jerusalem: «Yahweh is the God of the whole land, the mountains of Judas belong to the God of Jerusalem. " (HAE: BLay [7]: 1) The formulation refers to an orientation towards Yahweh as the city god of Jerusalem. The equation of the "mountains of Judah" with the "whole country" could allude to the political situation after 701, when Judah had lost much of its territory. The anti-Assyrian coalition of 713 and the siege of Jerusalem in 701. The loss of sovereignty is related to the foreign policy of King Hezekiah (725–697). Like his father Ahaz, he was initially a loyal vassal of the Assyrians and, for example, did not take part in the uprising of the Chanunu of Gaza in 720 (HTAT 154). However, Hezekiah's policy changed a few years later. When the Assyrians were involved in fighting with the kingdom of Urartu in the north, the little 3. The kingdom of Judah until the conquest of Jerusalem58 city-states and kingdoms of the southern Levant became active again. Jamani, the city prince of Ashdod, formed an anti-Assyrian coalition around 713, which in addition to the Transjordan states Moab and Edom as well as the Philistine region and Judah also included Egypt for the first time (HTAT 160-163). With the pharaohs of the 25th Dynasty, Egypt again had a central power that was willing to become active in the southern Levant. The reason for this lay in the importance of the Philistine area for land trade, in which Egypt was more involved from the 8th century. In addition, the Philistines were an important buffer for Egypt against the expanding Assyrians. The anti-Assyrian coalition of 713 resulted in an Assyrian punitive expedition (HTAT 160-163). Sargon II conquered Ashdod and Gath in 711 and converted the Philistine territory into an Assyrian province. After the throne change from Sargon to Sennacherib (705-681), however, a new, much larger anti-Assyrian coalition was formed a short time later. It encompassed almost the entire area of ​​the southern Levant, from the Phoenician cities in the north (Byblos, Sidon, Tire) through Judah in central Palestine and Philistine in the south to the trans-Jordanian states of Ammon, Moab and Edom. If Hezekiah was actually the spiritus rector of the coalition (H. Don ner), then for the second time after Omri a ruler of Israel was active in foreign policy on an equal footing with the ancient oriental kings. However, this was short-lived. When Sennacherib (705–681) took action against the coalition, it broke up quickly, and Hezekiah was on his own. Numerous cities of Judah were destroyed, including Lachish. Sennacherib included Hezekiah, if one follows the neo-Assyrian king's inscriptions, “like a cage bird” in Jerusalem (HTAT 181, III / 27-29). It is unclear whether Sennacherib really besieged the city (W. Mayer), because it was not about Hezekiah, but about the city prince Padi von Ekron. This was deposed by anti-Assyrian forces and handed over to Hezekiah. When Sennacherib appeared at the gates of Jerusalem, Hezekiah released Padi. The Assyrians withdrew and Padi was reinstated as city prince in Ekron. The kingdom of Manasseh 59 Sennacherib thus fulfilled his duty as the Assyrian lord of a vassal, whom he offered military protection in exchange for taxes and loyalty. According to the annals of Sennacherib, Hezekiah paid heavy tribute. This indicates that he submitted to Sennacherib (HTAT 181, III / 37-49). With that Hezekiah was again what he had been at the beginning of his rule: a vassal of Assyrian who had to pay his taxes and to stay out of all political matters as much as possible. However, there was one crucial difference: The territory of Judah was considerably reduced and the area of ​​settlement in the Schefela shrank by a third. The Old Testament presents the end of the "siege" of Jerusalem by Sennacherib differently. The fact that the Assyrians did not conquer the city, but withdrew it again, was designed as a miraculous salvation and broadly processed in literary terms (2 Kings 18.17–19.37; Isa 36.2–37.38). Perhaps the historical core of Zion theology is to be sought in the events of the year 701 with the motif of the "impregnable city" (O. Keel). The Kingdom of Manasseh and the Neo-Assyrian conquest of Egypt (7th century) While Hezekiah relied on a confrontational foreign policy, his successor Manasseh (696–642) cooperated with the Assyrians. At fifty-five, he was not only the longest reigning king in the history of Israel and Jude, but also one of the most successful. However, the Old Testament does not say anything about it. Rather, the Book of Kings wants to represent Manasseh in 2 Kings 21: 1-18 as a negative foil for King Josiah (cf. 2 Kings 23:26; 24: 3-4). What Hezekiah had built up in terms of religious policy was - so the story goes - by Ma nasse torn down again, so that a Josiah was needed to create what is required in Deuteronomy: a unified and “pure” »State cult for the God Yahweh in Jerusalem. Many of the new buildings and developments connected with Hezekiah by the earlier research actually fall into the long reign of Manasseh. 3. The Kingdom of Judah up to the conquest of Jerusalem60. This begins with the fortification of Jerusalem with a broad wall and extends through the demographic development of the city to the construction of a new water supply. Even if the latter was easily started under Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:20; Isa 22,9), the other measures point to the middle of the 7th century and not to the time before. So far, only a short piece of the monumental broad wall has been excavated, so that the course of the 6.40 to 7.2 meter wide wall remains unclear. It is certain that the area between the southeast hill with the city of David and the Temple Mount, the so-called Ofel, has now been expanded and protected by a 2 meter wide wall (cf. 2. Chr 33:14). Presumably this went hand in hand with a further expansion of Jerusalem to the west, so that the city increasingly expanded into the area of ​​today's Old City of Jerusalem (Map 3). Depending on the assumed area and the assumed density of settlement, between 8,000 (H. Geva) and 25,000 people (O. Lipschits) lived in Jerusalem. In the course of the construction work, the water supply was changed. After the Bronze Age water basin had already been filled in in the 8th century and a house was built over it (p. 48), a 533 meter long tunnel was now dug from the Gihon spring to a basin at the southwest end of the city with an inscription was («Siloam inscription», HTAT 180). In addition, numerous smaller farms and villages were built around Jerusalem. In the Neo-Assyrian administrative center of Ramat Rahel, a monumental palace complex measuring 120 x 90 meters was built in the 7th century, which existed until the Persian era. The Assyrians conquered Egypt during the long reign of Manasseh. The pharaohs of the 25th Dynasty acted essentially the same as Hezekiah of Judah. They had become active in an area claimed by the Assyrians. An Egyptian troop contingent had already participated in the Battle of Eltheke in 701 (HTAT 181, III / 3–4). However, while the Kushite kings Schabaka and Shebitku avoided an open conflict, Pharaoh Taharqa (690–664) proceeded differently. He intensified contacts in the Philistine region and with the Phoenician coastal cities and evidently concluded alliances with individual cities. Sennacherib's successor, Asarhaddon (681-669), mentions in his annals that Baal, king of Tire, “trusted in Taharqa, king of Cush, his friend, shook off the yoke of Assur, my lord, and repeated insolences replied." (TUAT I / 4, p. 398) The result was a punitive action by the Assyrians. Asarhaddon went first against Tire and then against Egypt. Between 674/73 and 664/63 he and his successor Assur banipal (669–630) undertook five campaigns that led to the conquest of Thebes in 664. The Old Testament makes no mention of the Assyrian campaigns against Egypt, but there is a literary echo of the conquest of Thebes in the book of the prophet Nahum. There the city of Nineveh is threatened with the same fate as Thebes (referred to in the text as “City of Amuns”, No-Amon): It is conquered and the population is exiled (Nah 3: 8-10). In an inscription by Assurbanipal from the year 667, twenty-two rulers are named who took part in the campaign against Egypt with contingent troops, among them "Manasseh of Judah" (HTAT 191, II / 39). The information is interesting in three respects: (1) In contrast to Baal of Tire, Mitini of Ashdod or Sil Bel of Gaza, Manasseh is not referred to as the city king (for example, "Manasseh of Jerusalem"), but as the ruler of a kingdom. He stands in a row with the kings of Moab and Edom, who are named immediately after him (HTAT 191, II / 40–41). (2) In a list from the time of Azarhaddon, twenty-two rulers are named as suppliers of timber for the armory in Nineveh, among them again in second place "Manasseh of Judah" (HTAT 188, V / 55). This refers to trading contacts. And finally (3) one will have to assume that the kings and city princes of Syria / Palestine, as explicitly documented in the case of Baal of Tire (HTAT 189), with 3. The Kingdom of Judah up to the conquest of Jerusalem62 an oath of loyalty (adê swearing) were committed to the Assyrian king. They were vassals of the Neo-Assyrian kings. This also applies to Manasseh, who was able to rule for fifty-five years because he fulfilled his obligations as a vassal. The economic upswing of Judah in the 7th century and the expansion of Jerusalem can be explained on the one hand by the close ties to the Assyrians and on the other hand by the new geopolitical situation. Due to the destruction of Sennacherib in the Shefela and the allocation of parts of the area to the city kings of Ashdod, Ekron and Gaza, there was increased settlement in the Judas Mountains and the expansion of individual cities such as Gibeon and Mizpah. Judah concentrated on the south and east, which is evident from the construction work in a number of fortresses (including Arad, Ḥorvat ʿUzzā, Ḥorvat Raddum, Tel ʿĪrā and En Gedi). In addition, the peripheral zones on the west bank of the Dead Sea and the Beersheba Basin were closed. Judah thus became an important supplier of grain in the Neo-Assyrian economic area. This concentration on one product corresponded to the economic policy of the Assyrians and is also evident in the Philistine area: Ekron specialized in olive oil production and Ashkelon in viticulture. The integration of Jude into the Neo-Assyrian economic empire led to a cultural influence and the increase in Aramaic Assyrian symbols in the visual art of Jude. The moon god of Haran, the queen of heaven and astral symbols such as heaven and stars penetrated the religious symbol system and presumably also influenced the official cult in Jerusalem. Josiah, the Egyptian Intermezzo and the “Cult Reform” Josiah (639–609) is the most important king of Judah in the portrayal of the Kings Books. He is said to have carried out a cult reform with religious political measures throughout the country (cf. 2 Kings 22-23). Historically, Josiah's rule falls at a time when conditions in southern Le Josia, the Egyptian Intermezzo and the "cult reform" 63 vante began to move. The massive expansion of the new Assyrian sphere of influence as far as Egypt was used by the Babylonians to attack the central area of ​​Assyria. In addition, there was a conflict between the Assyrian kings and Elam in the south and the conflict with the Scythians in the north. This started a development that led to the capture of the cities of Assur (614) and Nineveh (612) by the new Baby Ionian ruler Nabopolassar (625–605) and, under his successor Nebuchadnezzar II (605–562), to the conquest of Syria / Palestine and Jerusalem (598/97 and 587/86). As part of this interplay of forces, the Egyptian pharaohs succeeded in regaining control of the southern Levant for a good twenty-five years. Psam metich I.(664–610) had founded a new dynasty as early as the year of the conquest of Theben by Ashurbanipal (664), the 26th according to Egyptian counting. He used the help of Greek mercenaries (Herodotus, Hist. II, 152) who came into the country through trade contacts in order to assert themselves against the other rulers of Egypt who were ruling at the same time. In the following years Psammetich I extended his rule over all of Egypt and expanded into southern Syria / Palestine (HTAT 256). Archaeological material, ancient Hebrew inscriptions and Egyptian texts suggest that Judah probably became dependent on the Egyptians under Josiah. The archeology of Ashkelon and Ekrons shows that the Egyptians took over the administrative system of the Assyrians. There were also officials who acted as emissaries between Egypt and southern Syria / Palestine (statue of Pe die, HTAT 104). In the coastal plain, Meṣad Ḫăšavjāhū, a fortress was built for which Judeans, among others, had to work in agriculture (HTAT 225). According to the archaeological findings, Psammetich I brought the Philistine territory and the coastal plain under his control with the help of Greek mercenaries. Greek imports in Ashkelon, Ekron, Timna, el Kabri, Meṣad Ḫăšavjāhū and in Phoenician Dor, including everyday dishes, testify to the Greek influence. A note in ancient Hebrew letters from Arad 3. The Kingdom of Judah up to the conquest of Jerusalem64 suggests that the Negeb fortresses were controlled by Greek soldiers in the service of Egypt at the end of the 7th century (HAE Arad [6] 11.14). The Egyptians, like the Assyrians, were interested in the control of trade. This can be seen in the use of hieratic script, a script related to hieroglyphics, and an Egyptian influence in material culture (New Year's bottles, seal amulets). A papyrus from the year 604 gives an insight into the form of organization. In the letter, the city king of Ekron turns to the Egyptian Pharaoh with a request for help. He introduces himself as a loyal "servant" and asks the Pharaoh to send an army in view of the approaching Babylonians (HTAT 260). Apparently the Egyptians adopted not only the Assyrian administrative system, but also the practice of entering into contracts with the vassals. As before, what was already shown in the events surrounding Padi von Ekron (p. 58) was still valid: the vassal had to pay taxes to his master and in return received military protection. The Kingdom of Judah played no role under Josiah in the power political conflicts of the years 625 to 601. According to a brief note in 2 Kings 23: 29-30, Josiah was killed in 609 at Megiddo by Necho II. Some researchers have made a military conflict between Judah and Egypt based on 2 Chr 35: 20-25, up to a great battle in the Jezreel plain. Presumably it will simply have been the case that the va sall Josiah had to pay his respects to the new pharaoh - Necho came to power in 610 - perhaps to swear an oath of allegiance. But how do we then imagine the reign of Josiah? In contrast to what the Bible, and with it older Old Testament science, saw, Josiah's kingship only had local significance. Perhaps there was a slight expansion to the north in his time, so that the former northern Reich shrine Bethel now also belonged to Judah. Should Jericho also be included in the rulership of Josiah, the Egyptian Intermezzo and the "cult reform" 65, Josiah would have controlled a territory that roughly corresponded to the later Persian province of Jehud. This raises the question of the historical core of the "Reform of Josiah". If the Yahweh cult was oriented towards Jerusalem as early as the end of the 8th century and other Yahweh shrines were abandoned (Arad, Tel Moẓa, p. 57), the cult reform broadly presented in 2 Kings 22-23 is reduced to Measures in Jerusalem. It was evidently about a cult purification at the Yahweh Temple, during which elements of the Aramaic Assyrian astral religion such as horses and sun chariots and their divination practices were removed (Šamaš cult). In doing so, Josiah implemented internally what had applied externally since Psammetich I. The Assyrians were no longer the benchmark, but Egypt, only that the Pharaohs, unlike the Assyrians, had no interest in the Judean core land. Therefore, the reform of Josiah was just as little anti-Assyrian as it was pro-Egyptian. Rather, a development that had already begun under Hezekiah was continued, which must be seen in the opposite of the Ramat Rahel administrative center. Jerusalem was not a political and economic center, but a religious center, in which forces increasingly gained the upper hand that stood for a Yahweh cult without practices, symbols or deities of other religions. In the pictorial program of the local seal amulets, this corresponds to a new "orthodoxy" with a consistent focus on Yahweh (O. Keel). The introduction of the sole veneration of Yahweh in the Jerusalem temple was an important step in the religious history of Israel towards the development of an explicit belief in one god to the exclusion of other gods (monotheism). Here are examples of the effects of political conditions on the religious development of Israel. The policy of the Assyrians with the control of the important cities of Judah and the administrative center Ramat Rahel at the gates of the city led in religious and political terms to a concentration on Jerusalem as a place of worship of Yahweh. The fact that the city was significantly smaller than other cities of the time, such as Ashkelon 3. The Kingdom of Judah up to the conquest of Jerusalem66 on the coast or Ekron in the Shefela, played no role here, because the importance of Jerusalem was not on a political and economic level, but on More religious: The city had a temple and an elite of writers who began to write literature in the 7th century, a revised version of which can still be found in the Old Testament today. Nebuchadnezzar II and the conquests of Jerusalem (598/97 and 587/86) From the death of Josiah in 609 to the conquest of Jerusalem in 587/86, events turned out to be very tumultuous. After Pharaoh Necho II moved further north after Josiah was killed in Megiddo to support the Assyrians in their fight against the New Babylonians, the Judean landed gentry made Jehoahaz, Josiah's younger son, king (in Jer 22:11 Called Schallum). However, three months later he was summoned to the army camp Nechos II in Ribla on the Orontes, deposed as king and deported to Egypt (2. Kings 23: 33-34). Necho II now appointed the older son Josias, Eljakim, who had been passed over by the Judeans, to be king and changed his name to Jojakim (608-598). The mere fact that the Judean succession to the throne was settled in an Egyptian encampment in Syria, a good 500 kilometers north of Jerusalem, shows that Necho II viewed the Kingdom of Judah as a political lightweight. Who ruled there was ultimately unimportant as long as the city king was set up in the proa-typical manner and paid his taxes. According to 2 Kings 23:33, 35 Necho paid high tribute to the new king Jehoiakim before he was allowed to travel to Jerusalem again. In 605 the Babylonian Crown Prince Nebuchad nezar defeated the Egyptian army at Carchemish on the Euphrates. With the accession to the throne after the death of his father Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar II subsequently brought the land of Hamat (northern Syria) and Syria / Palestine under control. Like the other local rulers, Jehoiakim of Judah became the Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar II and the conquests of Jerusalem 67 vassal (604). After the New Assyrians and the Egyptians, there was thus the third hegemonic power in the southern Levant within three decades. Again, the administration system was not changed, only its management level was replaced. Like the Egyptians before, the New Babylonians did not have the time to set up a new administration for the controlled areas; the Assyrian system, which worked well, was simply continued to be used. The rapid change of the hegemonic powers and the change on the throne of Jerusalem brought about by Necho II led to the politicization of Jerusalem. If one may follow the information in the book of Jeremiah, there was a pro-Egyptian and a probabylonian party in Jerusalem at the transition from the 7th to the 6th century (Jer 38). When the New Babylonians were unable to prevail against the Egyptians in a decisive battle on the Egyptian border in 601/600, Jojakim stopped paying tribute. Although the Egyptians were subsequently able to conquer Gaza, Syria / Palestine remained in new Babylonian hands. Nebuchadnezzar II's punitive action against Jerusalem was delayed, but all the more severe. According to the Babylonian Chronicle, he went against Jerusalem in his seventh year (598/97) (HTAT 258). Since Jehoiakim died (2 Kings 24: 6), it was his son Jehoiachin who pronounced the surrender and thus prevented the destruction of Jerusalem. Jojachin was exiled to Babylon, where, according to Babylonian archive notes, he lived as a political prisoner at the royal court (HTAT 265-267). The Babylonian Chronicle states that Nebuchadnezzar "appointed a king after his heart" and took "heavy duties" with him to Babylon (HTAT 258 [11ʹ], line 13). The spoils of war included temple implements (2 Kings 24:13; cf. Jer 27: 18-22) and part of the Jerusalem elite, including members of the royal family. Another son of Josiah, Mattaniah, was made king in Jerusalem. Under the name Zedekia (597 / 96– 587/86) he initially acted as a Babylonian vassal until 594/93 3. The Kingdom of Judah appeared weakened to Nebuchadnezzar due to a rebellion in Babylon until the conquest of Jerusalem68. At about the same time, the Egyptian Pharaoh Psammetich II (595-589) intensified his contacts in southern Le Vante and, after a campaign against Nubia in 591, carried out a show of power in the Philistine region (HTAT 257). Ze dekia believed she was supported by the Egyptians, especially Pharaoh Apries (589-570) (Jer 44:30) and stopped paying tribute to Babylon again. In the Lachish Ostraka he is mentioned that «the commander in chief of the army, Konyahu, the son of Elnatan» descended «to go to Egypt» (HTAT 262). Regardless of whether it was an official request for help or the senior military wanted to withdraw in the face of the hopeless situation - neither Apries nor his predecessor Psammetich II had an interest in Judah. They concentrated their activities on the trading cities of the coastal plain (cf. Jer 37,5.7; 44,30 as well as Herodotus, Hist. II, 161). This was followed by another punitive action by Nebuchadnezzar II against Jerusalem, in which the king himself did not take part. Like Necho II at the time, he stayed in Ribla on the Orontes and sent his general Nebusaradan. He besieged Jerusalem in 588 and conquered the city in 587. Zedekiah tried to flee, but was caught near Jericho and brought to Nebuchadnezzar in Ribla. There he had to watch the murder of his sons, was blinded and led into exile in Babylon (2 Kings 25: 7; Jer 52:11). Probably only afterwards did Nebuchadnezzar II order the city to be destroyed. It is unclear whether this also affected the temple. The destruction of a sanctuary did not correspond to the customary Babylonian war practice, but is documented in sources from an earlier period (8th century). However, Jer 39: 8 does not mention the destruction of the temple. If anything, one must assume a partial destruction, because according to the books Jeremiah (41.5) and Zechariah (7.3) there was a temple cult in Jerusalem even after 587/86. Archaeologists have found traces of destruction both on the southeast hill (House of Ahiel, "Burned House", "House of Bullae") and on the north wall of Jerusalem. Contrary to Nebuchadnezzar II and the conquests of Jerusalem 69 the older scholarship can no longer assume a comprehensive destruction in Judah. Nebuchadnezzar's measures primarily applied to Jerusalem and some cities in the southwest, such as Lachish and perhaps Aseka / Tell Zakarīye (cf. Jer 34: 7). The north with the Benjamin region remained almost intact (mizpah). In the south, some Negeb fortresses were destroyed in the 6th century (including Arad IV; Ḥorvat ʿUzzā, Ḥorvat Raddum, Tel ʿĪrā, Tell el Milḥ), but this can neither be assigned to the events of 587/86 nor to the New Babylonians. Presumably the Edo Miter took advantage of the situation to bring the trade route to the Arabah under their control, unless they even cooperated with the New Baby Ionians in the capture of Jerusalem. If one looks for a historical reason for the negative image of Edom in the Old Testament, then this could be here (cf. Jer 49.20-22; Joel 4.19; Obd 1-2.8; Ps 137.7; Klgl 4.21– 22). With Gedalja, a Babylonian administrative officer was appointed who resided in Mizpah / Tell en-Naṣbe, which was in an undisturbed area a good 12 kilometers north of Jerusalem. The city was an important administrative center until the middle of the 5th century. Another deportation followed in 582 (Jer 52,30) after the murder of Gedaliah by anti-Babylonian forces. How many people were ultimately deported by the Babylonians is unclear. Jer 52 mentions the various statements in the Old Testament, starting with the "upper ten thousand" (2 Kings 24:14, 16) and leading all away (2 Kings 25: 11-12) and the myth of the "empty land" , 28–30 figures with concrete effect: 3023 Judeans in the year 598/97; 832 in 587/86 and 745 people in 582. No matter how literally the numbers are taken, they could indicate that the capture of 598/97 was more serious than that of 587/86. 3. The Kingdom of Judah to the Conquest of Jerusalem70 Summary The events of 587/86 marked an important turning point in the history of ancient Israel. After the Kingdom of Israel had already lost its independence in 722/20, that of the Kingdom of Judah now ended. Strictly speaking, only under Omri in the 9th century was there a brief period of political independence, which was followed by a long period of formal dependence on the Assyrians. The development of the two kingdoms must be seen in the context of the neo-Assyrian expansion to the west, which turned out to be the engine of a cultural development that first affected Israel and, with a delay of thirty to fifty years, Judah as well. The kings of Jeru Salem had been vassals of the New Assyrians since Ahaz (738) and were only successful if they accepted this vassal status. What Manasseh successfully implemented in his long reign of fifty-five years is completely different with his predecessor Hezekiah. Even if Old Testament historiography celebrates Hezekiah as an important king (cf. 2 Kings 18-20; 2 Chr 29-32 ), his foreign policy was wrong. He trusted Egypt's help and became part of an anti-Assyrian coalition that fell apart as quickly as it came into being. As a result, the Assyrians took measures against Jerusalem, so that Hezekiah had to give in and extradite the city king of Ekron, Padi, who had been imprisoned by him. The Neo-Assyrian King Sennacherib was content with paying tributes, which says something about the minor importance of Jerusalem at that time. Ultimately, the kings of Judah moved in the shadow of the political events of the ancient oriental world. Manasseh paid taxes, made mercenaries available for the Assyrian campaigns in Egypt and otherwise concentrated on the internal development of Judah. With his “cult reform” on the religious level, Josiah completed what Manasseh had begun with numerous building measures inside and outside Jerusalem on a political and social level and what was already evident in Hezekiah: the focus on Jerusalem as a religious center. Perhaps one must see the religious significance of Jerusalem as a place of the Judean writing culture as being due to the fact that the Neo-Assyrians never used the city as an administrative center. This was Ramat Rahel, from where the grain production developed under Manasseh in the Beersheba basin and southern Judah was controlled. Thus, in the shadow of political events, Jerusalem was able to gain in importance as the religious center of Judah. While Manasseh acted wisely as a vassal of the Assyrians, his successors' foreign policy was unsuccessful. Josiah was killed by the Egyptians in Megiddo, Jehoahaz - also by the Egyptians - deposed after three months and Jehoiachin and Zedekiah were defeated by the New Babylonians. The hoped-for help from Egypt failed to materialize, leaving Jerusalem on its own. At the end of this development stand the two conquests of the city, of which the first in 598/97 evidently resulted in a larger deportation than the second. However, the conquest of 587/86 with the partial destruction of the temple entered biblical historiography as the real turning point: from kingship to exile and from there to the return of the exiles and to the rebuilding of the temple. 4. The Persian period (550–333 BC)During the Persian period, different forms of the Yahweh religion emerged from which important characteristics of ancient Judaism emerged. With the Babylonian exiles, those who remained in Jerusalem and the surrounding area, the new Yahweh community in Elephantine, Egypt and the Yahweh sanctuary on the soil of the former kingdom of Israel (Garizim), various forms of the Yahweh religion, each with their own identity concepts, emerged. One should not regard the Babylonian exile as a place of tears and