DESTRUCTION AND RECONSTRUCTION
A Time of Invasion and Exile
In 722 BCE, Samaria, capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, fell to Sargon II, King of Assyria.
Then, in 587-586 BCE, Jerusalem, capital of the southern Kingdom of Judah, was taken by Nebuchadnezzar II, King of Babylonia.
The city was laid waste. The Temple, reduced to ruins. The royal line of David came to a fiery, bloody end
Much of the population of Judah was deported to Babylon. Against all expectations, though, this Exile actually strengthened people's faith. They maintained and even developed their ritual traditions and monotheism.
Half a century later, in 539 BCE, Babylon itself was captured by Cyrus, the Persian King. He allowed the Judeans, now known as Jews, to return from exile and build a Second Temple on the ruins of the first.