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The Hebrew Exiles at Babylon When Jerusalem fell to the conquering Babylonians in 587 BC, the majority of what was significant to the Hebrew people had been gone. They lost their holy city, the Temple has been destroyed, along with the Davidic monarchy ended (Beasley 221). Following the destruction of Jerusalem, the Babylonian king, Nebuchadrezzar, deported most of the population to other towns, such as Babylon. These exiles stayed there for approximately fifty years before the Persian powers, below king Cyrus, took the town of Babylon in 539 BC. The Persian policies about caught and ancestral individuals were quite different than those of the Babylonians, and as a result of the King Cyrus allowed the exiles to return to Jerusalem in 538 BC to reconstruct the town and the Temple. But, although the exiles were permitted to return to their ancestral homeland of Judah, a number of the folks decided not to return but to stay in the recently conquered city of Babylon. There are many contributing factors concerning why these Hebrew exiles chose to remain. Even so, it is hard to understand why a people, who were situated in Palestine for over a millennium and that had such strong religious beliefs and practices, could decide to abandon the place of the now ruined sacred Temple and ancestral home after being exiled for just fifty decadesago One contributing factor for the exileвЂ™s choice to stay at Babylon was that the caliber and amount of social life which they experienced while in Babylon. Many of them claimed their reputation and standing within the Babylonian settlements. This implies a well-developed social structure among the Hebrew exiles (Blenkinsopp 152). In addition they had the benefit of private liberty and the ability to manage their own neighborhood life. An example of this are the вЂњelders of the diasporaвЂќ, who helped the chief of the exiles, '' ex-king Jehoiachin, in conducting community affairs. The existence of elders among the Hebrew exiles suggests that the settlements within Babylon regulated themselves equally to pre-exilic urban existence, even to the purpose of keeping gatherings for decisions and the hearing of prophets (Smith 97). The exiles were also allowed to live according to their own customs, managed to buy property, and might even possess slaves (Hayes 483). A few of the exiles may have actually experienced other Hebrews as slaves since the their legislation allowed them to...