New evidence for Jewish exiles found in clay tablets

Here’s a brief article by Mark Chavalas (University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse) about some clay tablets that reveal what life was like for Judeans exiled from their homeland by the Babylonians in the sixth century BC.

A snippet:

The texts were written by professional Babylonian scribes on behalf of their Jewish lower middle-class clients, who engaged in the cultivation of grains and date palms, bought and sold cattle, rented houses, loaned silver, sold slaves, and engaged in marriage alliances. Though some even prospered economically, most were settled in state-owned land in return for military service for Babylon, By a cursory study of the personal names in the tablets, it appears that at least three generations of Jews lived in Al-Yahudu and surrounding towns.

Read more here: Mark Chavalas: New evidence for Jewish exiles found in clay tablets.

You’ll even discover the origin of Zumba!

A clay tablet from 572 BCE, the earliest known text documenting the Judean exile in Babylonia, now on display at the Bible Lands Museum (photo credit: Ardon Bar-Hama courtesy of The Bible Lands Museum, care of The Times of Israel)


3 thoughts on “New evidence for Jewish exiles found in clay tablets

  1. Reblogged this on firstthreequarters and commented:
    Just about to check out the Chavalas article, but was pleasantly surprised to learn in recent years that there are direct references in Babylonian records to Jehoiachin and his sons as held in exile from Judah. These references appear in food ration lists. See Becking, Bob, Alex Cannegieter, Wilfred van de Poll, and Anne-Marieke Wetter. “In Babylon: The Exile as Historical (Re)Construction,” in From Babylon to Eternity: The Exile Remembered and Constructed in Text and Tradition (BibleWorld; London: Equinox, 2009), 4–33, @14-15.

    • Yes, Andrew, Jehoiachin and sons are definitely mentioned in the archives of Amel-Marduk (biblical Evil-Merodach). Interestingly, Jehoiachin receives double the pension that all other captive kings receive from the royal provisions. No reason for this is given, but it raises the question of why Jehoiachin seems to be so favoured above others.

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