Israel in the iron yoke for seven decades

A hetvenéves fogság kérdése Jeremiás próféta könyvében

In Jer 25 we read that God condemns his people for not obeying his voice, and so he brings the king of the north to punish Israel for their disobedience. We learn that God's instrument of punishment is the king of Babylon, but in Jer 25:11 we also read that the land will be destroyed and the people, including the people of Judah, will serve the king of Babylon for 70 years. This 70 years is usually identified with the Babylonian captivity. The subject of this essay is the issue of this 70-year captivity. Several theories can be identified in the research concerning the number 70, and the main question is whether the number has a symbolic meaning or whether it is specifically meant to express a period between two dates. In order to clarify this question, I will examine Jeremiah's statements on time intervals and the related chronological problems, as well as other OT occurrences of the 70-year captivity. After presenting the arguments, I will argue in favour of the most plausible theory, while at the same time articulating the message of the context of Jer 25.