Yehud (Babylonian province)

Judea
Yehud
Province of the Neo-Babylonian Empire

c. 586 BCE–c. 539 BCE
CapitalJerusalem
31°47′N 35°13′E / 31°47′N 35°13′E / 31.783; 35.217
Historical eraNeo-Babylonian Empire
 • Siege of Jerusalem (587 BC)c. 586 BCE
 • Cyrus's invasion of Babyloniac. 539 BCE

Yehud had been a province of the Neo-Babylonian Empire since the suppression of the Judean rebellion in 585/6 BCE. It first existed as a Jewish administrative division of the Neo-Babylonian Empire under Gedaliah, though it quickly became depopulated after his murder and another unsuccessful revolt around 581/2 BCE. The province was absorbed into the Achaemenid Empire with the collapse of the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 539 BCE.

Background

In the late 7th century BCE Judah became a vassal-kingdom of the Neo-Babylonian Empire; however, there were rival factions at the court in Jerusalem, some supporting loyalty to Babylon, others urging rebellion. In the early years of the 6th century, despite the strong remonstrances of the prophet Jeremiah and others, king Zedekiah revolted against Nebuchadrezzar and entered into an alliance with pharaoh Hophra of Egypt. The revolt failed, and in 597 BCE many Judahites, including the prophet Ezekiel, were exiled to Babylon. A few years later Judah revolted yet again. In 589 Nebuchadnezzar again besieged Jerusalem, and many Jews fled to Moab, Ammon, Edom and other countries to seek refuge. The city fell after an eighteen-month siege and Nebuchadnezzar again pillaged and destroyed Jerusalem and burned the Temple. Thus, by 586 BCE much of Judah was devastated, the royal family, the priesthood, and the scribes—the country's elite—were in exile in Babylon, and much of the population still in neighouring countries. the former kingdom suffered a steep decline of both economy and population.[1]