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In 586 BCE the neo-Babylonian armies of Nebuchadnezzar raided and destroyed the city of Jerusalem forcing its people to flee The majority of the Judean leaders and aristocracy were relocated in Babylon and lived in relative isolation from even their captors The Exile robbed them of their wealth their homes their nation and even their king religion offered the only seed of identity for this uprooted people So it was during this time of Exile that a flourishing of religious texts were written and compiled in an attempt to explain the causes of their misfortune and enable the people to comprehend their suffering Meyers Haggai xxxviii In general the Psalter reflects the true emotions of the ancient Israelites more so than do most Biblical texts as it is a compilation of their troubles and fears their hopes aspirations and reasons for confidence Metzger and Murphy 674 OT In Psalm 137 an Exilic text a wide range of emotions are shown longing and mourning for their lost nation Ps 1371-3 the sadness and confusion they felt while in the foreign land Ps 1374-6 and even the desire for a violent revenge Ps 1377-9 The same range of emotions can be seen in Second Isaiah though this work was written immediately before the fall of Babylon October 29 539BCE and displays more of the Judeans thoughts on their future It is a compilation of passages of hope promises of God to fulfill His covenant and threats of violence for the unbelievers The majority of the Exilic and Post-Exilic texts call for a bloody and merciless revenge on their captors and it would be easy to assign this outlook for all of the Jewish people of the time Upon close inspection however it becomes apparent that not all Jews cared about a bloody justice and that some just wanted to go home and be done with it Both of these views both
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