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C O U R S E 
The Bible's Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future
Dr. Jacob L. Wright, Emory University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
The Fall of Judah
Notes taken on December 18, 2014 by Edward Tanguay
Manasseh of Judah (697-643 BC)
son of Hezekiah
55 year reign
the Bible vilifies him
Judah had a steadfast loyalty to the Assyrian empire
resulted in remarkable prosperity
King Josiah (reign 640–609 BC)
properity changed under his reign
began reigning as a boy (age 8) in 640 BCE
father was King Amon
instituted major reforms
credited by most historians with having established or compiled important Hebrew Scriptures during the Deuteronomic reform
when he came of age, he wanted to prove himself as a king
the Assyrian Empire was subsiding so he had a lot of room to do this
according to the Bible, enacted religious reforms
2 Kings 22-23
historians suggest that he was attempting to consolidate his realm
would have affected the way the imperial palace expressed its loyalty to the Assyrian authorities and to the imperial gods
followed in the steps of Hezekiah
like him tried to rally his subjects around powerful symbols such as national deities
in the case of Judah this was Yahweh
did not die peacefully
executed by the Egyptian Pharaoh Necho II
Necho placed Joachim (joh-ah-KEEM) on the throne
609-597 BCE
the final years of the Kingdome of Judah
605 Nebuchanezzar had defeated the Assyrians
proceded to make his way down toward Egypt
601 BCE Necho II stops him
inspired Joachim to join forces with Egypt
a bad decision
597 BCE Nebuchanezzar
attacked Jerusalem
deported Jeconiah and elites from Jerusalem to Babylon
the Biblical account is supported by the Babylonia Chronicle
although it does not mention the names of the kings themselves
burnt Jerusalem to the ground
the reason was Judah's attempt to revolt
seen historically the attempt to rebel was foolish, inspired by a religious fervor
going back to the memories of divine salvation during the years of Hezekiah and Isiah
Biblical books had purported Hezekiah was saved by a divine miracle from the armies of Sennacherib (son of Sargon II)
in the Book of Jeremiah you can read about these events in legendary form
Jeremiah insists on bowing down to Babylon so that they could live and see another day
his opponents, some more respected prophets of Yahweh than he was, denied that Yahweh would allow Jerusalem to be conquered as during the days of Hezekiah
others believed there was a good chance of resisting if they joined with the forces of the neighbors
Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites, Phoenicians
archeological record contains firsthand witnesses to this period
Lachish letter
a letter which stated that one city could no longer see the signal fires from neighboring cities
a way they communicated with each other
"we see signal of Lachish but not Azekah"
Biblical account
the Babylonia armies destroyed Jerusalem and deported its population
King Zedekiah's eyes gouged out by the Babylonians
the final thing he is allowed to see is the execution of his own sons before he is deported
the formation of Israel and Judah as kingdoms
imperial centers in Mesopotamia and Egypt
evacuate the Levant
create breathing space for the states in the Levant to emerge and develop
this is the gap in time when Judah and Israel become states and kingdoms
also the time when most of the Biblical history unfolds
Israel, Judah and neighboring kingdoms enjoyed several centuries of existence
until Mesopotamia and Egypt reorganized themselves
slowly expanded their borders
met each other on the land bridge of the Levant
Egypt was no long able to make its presence felt in Canaan
the small kingdoms of the Levant were left in ruins
were not able to hold there own against the great civilization centers of the ancient world