Desperation of Diaspora?
I've just been thinking a little about the dispersion and return of the Jews to and from Babylon.
I couldn't help notice, too, that the Jews were not the only tribe to be dispersed - after confusion of Babel, every nation was far-flung to four corners of God's earth.
It struck me forcibly, also, how while Jews later returned with their feet, most had yet to return with heart - there we some pious folk, but not, it seems, a lot.
No doubt, that explains why Haggai and Zechariah, to name but two, protest at the lethargic state of the church which remained largely, it seems, Pharisaic or Sadduceeic in spirit.
In light of all, in Biblical Theological terms, in the purposes of God there were several reasons, at least, for the outcast of the Jews:
First, this was a punishment for their idolatry, immorality, infidelity and injustice that riddled the original Kingdom and post-schism northern and southern church.
Secondly, exile also fulfilled the Word, uttered centuries before by Moses (a threat later repeated, on record, by Joshua and Solomon) that sin would lead to curse.
Third, sanctifying imprisonment in Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and far-flung parts of Empires, kindled spiritual desire, fueled penitent prayer and created idol disgust.
Fourth, the hearts of the faithful- of men like Daniel - studied the Scriptures, saw the time was near, and interceded for return, after the completion of 70 years.
Fifth, an Israelite diaspora to many distant lands - the full extent of which was only fully seen (and heard) in the multilingual preaching-outburst at Pentecost - served as a sign to the entire fallen race, of the native, alienated, sinful, state of man, exiled from paradise, and cut off from eternal life, which is true fellowship with the One True God.
Sixth, a scattering of the Jews was necessary to bring them back to God - it was this away-and-home-again drama, acted out before all earth, that held before the eyes of nations the prospect of final salvation of all people-groups and the ingathering promised to Abraham.
Seventh, being marched out of Canaan unceremoniously, after the heady days of Kingdom power under David and Solomon, allowed dismantling of the cardboard cutout, pop-up picture, Kingdom-of-God, model, prototype - the throne was vacated and the priesthood was devalued, to make way for the Priest-King who would be of an entirely different, indestructible, heavenly, and ultimate, eternal, total, definitively-saving, order (of Melchizedek - Psalm 110).
Eighth, jail for the Jews meant the end of 1st Temple worship, the erecting of Synagogue worship, translation and meditation on the Sacred Scrolls of Scripture, which, at the time of Christ, were read in every city all over the Roman Empire - the Law was taught, and the Gospel (in a measure) held out: the Word was given wings as the Spirit was outpoured - apostles gave the true, full, sense of Christ after their dullness was rebuked by Jesus near Emmaus.
Ninth, the winnowing of the Jews to the four winds of the world, was a vital, necessary, prelude movement, and spiritual antecedent to the announcement of the Good News of Jesus - so that when the Gospel of God, sealed in the blood of Christ, was declared in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and more distantly round all earth, both Jew and Greek, by the Power of the Gospel, might be brought to return and rest in the One who procured peace to unite both.
Finally, and tenth, by the curse of exile, the paradigm was set - for us who believe, Christ became a curse, the true object of lament, so that as we pass his Cross, if we are ever asked "does it mean nothing to you" our response is this: "HIS PANGS AND WRATH ARE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT EVENT TO AND FOR US" - the impaling of God's Son means a permanent end to exile for the penitent believer-by-grace, who can never be cast out. Hallelujah!
I'm sure there are other reasons why we should celebrate the casting out of the Gentiles from Babel and the Jews to Babel - let us worship the God of Sovereign grace, who had done all things well, that all men might repent and believe: particularly in our case, let us rejoice, as recipients of saving grace.