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Why did God put Judah into exile for seventy years?

“This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,” declares the Lord, “and will make it desolate forever.” Jeremiah 25:11

            Seventy years is a long time.  It’s about the age someone lives to these days.

            In the Bible, a generation lasted about forty years.  The Israelites wandered the desert for forty years as punishment for not having faith in God.  God wanted an entire generation to die off before the next generation rose to power.

            Seventy is almost two generations and a more severe punishment for the people in Judah.  They should have known better than to worship other gods and invoke the anger of God.  But they did it anyway.

            During that time, God put Judah under the authority of Babylon, then had to shift the world’s power to Persians.  Persian leadership allowed the Jews to return and rebuild Jerusalem.

            This all takes time but seventy seems significant to make sure an entire generation of people would be wiped out so a new generation with a new devotion to God and a new dedication to rebuilding Israel the right way.

            There were people who lived in Jerusalem as a child and returned there after the exile.  They were very small children and probably were not guilty of worshiping other gods.  In the end, God determined the number and he is God.