Expulsion from one’s own native land or home by authoritative decree; literally in Hebrew, “a departing.” Cain, who killed his brother Abel, was cursed in banishment from the ground to become a wanderer and a fugitive in the earth. He had been a farmer, but the ground thereafter would not respond to his cultivation.—Ge 4:2, 3, 11-14.
Israel was told that Jehovah would lead the nation away into exile if they became unfaithful to the covenant he made with them through Moses. (De 28:36, 37, 64; 29:28) So God was really the Authority who decreed the exile of his people in several instances, although he allowed the armies of other nations to be his instruments. These occasions are: (1) Israel’s exile by the hand of the Assyrians (2Ki 15:29; 18:9-12); (2) Judah’s exile in Babylon (2Ki 25:8-11, 21); (3) the Jewish exile at the hands of the Romans (Lu 21:20-24).
Israel. Tiglath-pileser III took inhabitants of Naphtali into exile in Assyria before Israelite King Pekah’s rule ended in about 759 B.C.E. Reubenites, Gadites, and those from the eastern half tribe of Manasseh were also carried off by the king of Assyria, apparently at the same time. (2Ki 15:29; 1Ch 5:4-6, 26) Shalmaneser V later besieged Samaria, and after three years, in 740 B.C.E., either he or his successor, Sargon II, deported great numbers of the inhabitants and “brought people from Babylon and Cuthah and Avva and Hamath and Sepharvaim and had them dwell in the cities of Samaria instead of the sons of Israel.”—2Ki 17:5, 6, 24.
Judah. In 617 B.C.E., King Nebuchadnezzar took the royal court and the foremost men of Judah into exile at Babylon. (2Ki 24:11-16) About ten years later, in 607 B.C.E., at the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon, Nebuzaradan, the chief of the Babylonian bodyguard, took most of the remaining ones and deserters of the Jews with him to Babylon, from which exile only a mere remnant returned 70 years later.—2Ki 25:11; Jer 39:9; Isa 10:21, 22; see CAPTIVITY.
After the fall of Babylon many Jews did not return to their homeland, and the dispersion therefore continued. In the time of Ahasuerus (Xerxes I, king of Persia, who ruled from India to Ethiopia, over 127 jurisdictional districts), Haman, in making an indictment of them, said: “There is one certain people scattered and separated among the peoples in all the jurisdictional districts of your realm.”—Es 1:1; 3:8.
In the First Century C.E. In the first century C.E. there were settlements of Jews in Thessalonica, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Rome, and Babylon, as well as in other cities. (Ac 17:1, 16, 17; 18:1, 4, 19) Many Jews lived in Babylon, where Peter preached. (1Pe 5:13) Josephus records that “a great number” of Jews were in Babylonia in the first century B.C.E. (Jewish Antiquities, XV, 14 [ii, 2]) In 49 or early 50 C.E. the Roman emperor Claudius banished all the Jews from Rome. This also affected Jews who had become Christians, among them Aquila and Priscilla (Prisca), whom Paul met in Corinth about 50 C.E., shortly after the edict by Claudius. (Ac 18:2) They accompanied Paul to Ephesus, and at the time he wrote from Corinth to fellow Christians in Rome (c. 56 C.E.), they were evidently back in Rome, for Claudius had died and Nero was then ruling. Many of the other Jews had also moved back to Rome.—Ac 18:18, 19; Ro 16:3, 7, 11.
In fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy at Luke 21:24, the Roman army under Titus, in 70 C.E., surrounded Jerusalem, which was then crowded with Jews from many lands assembled for the Festival of Unfermented Cakes. The Romans besieged and finally destroyed the city; 1,100,000 Jews perished and 97,000 were taken captive, to be scattered among the nations.