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The Tribe of Judah


Judah is special. When Israel (the ten tribes) had long gone from the Northern area of Israel, (see 'Israel the lost ones') captured by the Assyrian Kings, Judah along with Benjamin and many of the priests remained in and around Jeruasalem. We read of how eventually Nebuchadnezzar conquered and carried them away to Babylon. "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yes, we wept when we remembered Zion......." (read Psalm 137:1) The first deportation happened in 597 BCE, and the last one was in 582 BCE. The forced exile ended in 538 BCE after the fall of Babylon to the Persian king Cyrus the Great, who gave the Jews permission to return to Jerusalem. This return meant a new beginning for the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
The Exile ended with the return under Zerubbabel the Prince (so-called because he was a descendant of the royal line of David) and Joshua the Priest (a descendant of the line of the former High Priests of the Temple) and their construction of the Second Temple in the period 520515 BCE. The stay in Babylon brought changes to the Jewish people and their observance of the Law. In order to preserve the Torah (first 5 books of the Bible) Scribes and Pharisees were delegated to protect, copy and teach the Books of the Law, thus preserving them for future generations.
There were some changes made to the calendar, and of various customs and practices. (wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylonian_captivity) Also, whereas before the exile they had been organised into Tribes, now they were in clans, apart from those of Levi who remained in their role as serving the people in a priestly role. Not all the tribes of Judah and Benjamin returned to Israel, and many became part of the 'diaspora' those Jews living outside of Israel.
Established once again in Israel, the Jews (including Benjamin) began to 'pick up the pieces of their lost heritage. Thankfully, the precious Torah Scrolls were protected and preserved for future generations. The world is indebted to them because of this, as had they been careless of the precious scrolls, the world would have been destitute - for it was YHWH's own Word to mankind, and still is. The world owes a great debt to the Jewish nation for this fact alone, and much more.
The Jewish nation has always struggled for survival, and there are many, many books written about their history, so I have no need of writing all of it in this short article. However, in 70 a.d. after the Romans had finished with Jerusalem and Israel, there was a much wider dispersion of YHWH's special people, and Israel itself has been dominated by Gentile nations for almost 2000 years. From the time of the Romans, Jews were barred from Jerusalem and Israel, their very own country, promised to their forefather Abraham with a Covenant which He will never forget or break.(Genesis 15:18 "In the same day YHWH made a covenant with Abram saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates") The Byzantine Empire (the Constantinople-based Christian version of the Roman Empire) continued the earlier policy, and Jews were not allowed into Jerusalem until the Muslims conquered the Byzantines in 638 CE. After that, many Rabbis and later other Jews began to dribble back until eventually, after many trials, Israel was made the homeland of the Jews in 1948.
This event is an unprecedented phenomenon. It has never been done before or since. That a people should be exiled and dispersed for two thousand years, and survive, has never been seen before. Not only did they survive, but they have re-established their homeland. This was a miracle of YHWH's goodness and faithfulness to His Covenant with Israel, and more precisely, to the father of all Israel, Abraham. A promise "to your seed forever" was not a light thing, and is a sign to the world that He alone could have performed such a thing, and that He is very much in charge of the affairs of His chosen nation and of the world.
Although since Israel was officially made a state in 1948 and they have been able to return to their homeland, there are still Jewish people scattering the globe today. There are only 43% (5.7 million ) of the world's Jews actually living in Jerusalem today. (2010 census) The Jewish nation has had a miraculous journey, and the fact that it still exists after all the crises they have been through from the days of their beginnings through the captivity, through dealings with people like Haman, and groups like the Crusaders until modern times is an epitaph of the power and love of YHWH. He loves them 'as the apple of His eye' and has a sure and secure future for them as His chosen people.
The Adversary has tried to annihilate the Jewish nation throughout history. This spirit has entered people like Antiochus Epiphanes, Haman, Hitler, and countless others. He hates the Jewish nation because from them the Messiah should come. The Messiah, Yahshua, defeated him on Calvary, taken away his authority and power, so much so that anyone who believes in Yahshua is able to procure their victory healing and deliverance. When He walked on this earth He demonstrated His power over the enemy of our souls by healing the sick, setting the captives free, and promising forgiveness and Eternal Life to all those who believe on Him. What a victory He procured for us all when He rose from the dead. No wonder the Adversary wanted to destroy the line from which He came. No wonder he continues to hate the Jew, for it was from that race that all nations have been and are being blessed.
Not only have the Jewish nation kept the Ancient Scrolls safe, observed the laws written in them, continued to observe them, including the correct Sabbath day showing the world a continuance of YHWH's will. They have suffered because they are of that special line from which Messiah would spring. Yes, mankind has a great debt to pay to the Jewish nation. Also, perhaps it should be mentioned and duly noted here that the seemingly 'great' nations and peoples who have come against Israel in the past appear to have either disappeared from the face of the earth, or lost their greatness. Where is the mighty Babylonian Empire today? What about the Persians? The Assyrians? What about the Romans? and where are the Hamans and the Hitlers? Is it because they have dared to touch the 'apple of His eye?' that they are no more, they are stripped of their might. History should teach us that there are consequences of our actions both for nations and individuals. There is a famous scripture we could quote here. It is to be found in Genesis 12:3 "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." This was spoken to Abraham, the Father of Israel, the Father of the Jewish nation. This world would do well to dwell on these words and take them to heart. We need to pray for the leaders in our day.