The exile was one of the most significant events in the history of the Israelites. It’s hard for us to understand, but the Israelites might have felt a little like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz felt. They were plucked from everything they knew and plopped down in a land where they didn’t know the culture and had no freedom or ability to live their normal lives. To make it worse, they had lost what made them special, their unique connection with God.
In our current Old Testament book, Ezra, and the one following, Nehemiah, we get to read about the Israelites’ return from exile. If you imagine that it would be a rocky transition, you’d be right. If you imagine that the former captors would have trouble giving up control. You’d be right.
Take the time to read these less familiar books and try to put yourself in the position of the Israelites though it’s something very difficult for us to imagine.