[b-hebrew] Deportation of Judea and Samaria

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sat Oct 27 12:50:25 EDT 2007

On 10/26/07, K Randolph wrote:

> In looking up 2 Kings 25:26 it says that all the people went to Egypt.
> Jeremiah 43:4–7 expands on the kings verse to emphasize the totality
> of the Jewish abandonment of the land at that time.
> Later, during the return under Cyrus, there were no Jews in Judea to
> greet the returnies.
> As far as modern researchers, who is more trustworthy: those who were
> there at that time, or those who try to reconstruct events later?

If you haven't read the modern research, how do you know what their
claims are?  What their arguments are?  How do you know how much
they reconstruct and how well they use the ancient sources?

Let us take the Bible for example.  It is agreed by everyone (in this
discussion anyway...) that the Bible, and specifically the book of
Kings, dates no later than the Greek period, because that is when
we first find it attested in the archaeological record (DSS).  How much
earlier than that is a matter of faith.  In much the same way you
expect us to view Biblical Hebrew, then, we should look at the Bible
as a product of the Greek period only, because anything more than
that has no evidence (short of assumptions of faith).  A slightly more
involved answer would suggest that the book of Kings dates from the
Exile because it mentions events up to part of the Exile but not
further.  This opinion is not accepted by all modern researchers,
however.  Furthermore, it involves analysis and interpretation of the
book's content rather than simply analyzing it according to the
historical record.

The historical record is more varied.  We have evidence from Assyria
and Babylon and can analyze what types of deportations were or were
not practiced.  We can also analyze the slight written evidence from
Judea proper.  And we also have the Bible.  All of these are ancient
records.  All claim to speak of the same period.  A critical analysis
should evaluate the weight of the claims as to whether they are in
fact from this time period (easier for the Assyria/Babylon/Judea
evidence, because they are archaeologically attested), and then
analyze a complete picture based on all of these.  This is what
modern research has done.  Modern research is not in contrast
to ancient records.  It is a more complete analysis of ancient records.

The book of Kings says that Assyria deported all Israelites from
Samaria.  This takes place in 2 Kings 17:6 and 2 Kings 17:23.
Significantly 2 Kings 17:7-22 provide a theological explanation
for this complete deportation.  But then in 2 Chronicles 30:6,25
makes a different claim.  It claims that the Israelites remained
using words such as ply+h and n$?rt and gr.  gr = convert is
Rabbinic Hebrew.  In Biblical Hebrew gr means (taking the
definition from HALOT), "a man who (alone or with his family)
leaves village and tribe because of war 2 Sam 4:3, Isaiah 16:4,
famine Ruth 1:1, epidemic, blood guilt, etc. and seeks
shelter and residence at another place, where his right of
landed property, marriage, and taking part in jurisdiction, cult
and war has been curtailed."  For convert, Biblical Hebrew
has nbdl (Yonina Dor's analysis of Ezra/Nehemiah) and
mtyhd (Esther).  Thus 2 Chron 30:25 speaks of those who
were displaced by Assyria from Samaria and sought refuge
in Judea.  2 Chron 30:6 speaks of those who remained
after Assyria's conquests.  It is clear that not everyone
was deported, according to Chronicles, anyway.  Chronicles
and Kings are at odds on this point, and, among other things,
the theological explanation that Kings attaches to the
deportation is highly suggestive that it is trying to make a
theological point while generalizing historical facts.  A few
were deported, but Kings makes it seem like everyone was
deported to make a theological point.

But we weren't discussing Samaria, we were discussing
Judea.  But here, Kings itself already suggests that some
remained -- 2 Kings 25:12, 22.  Now, 2 Kings 25:25
suggests that those remaining ones ran away of their
own choice because the king was killed.  Jeremiah 24:5-
10 suggests, however, that alongside those who
remained in Egypt, also those who remained in Israel,
but God prefers those who were in Babylon.  The ending
of Kings in Babylon suggests that it too represents this
view of the Babylon Jewry.  Those who remained in
Israel were bound to suffer.  Those who had accepted
God's judgement and went to Babylon, were eventually
redeemed.  This is further underscored by Ezekiel 11:15
where people -- it doesn't say who -- claim that the land
was given to them as an inheritance to serve God.  It
seems most reasonable to assume that it too is speaking
of those who remained after some deportations.  Jeremiah
and Kings portray a theological point, just like in the case
of Assyria.  This is further corroborated by archaeological
evidence as well as evidence from Assyria and Babylon

Therefore, it's not "modern scholarship vs. ancient sources,"
but rather a "modern complete analysis of all ancient
sources, Biblical or otherwise, as against a very limited
view of some of the Biblical evidence to the exclusion of
other contrary evidence, Biblicla and otherwise, in order
to make a theological point."

Yitzhak Sapir

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