The period before the Babylonian captivity was the age of prosperity in the kingdom of Judah. The weakening of Assyria was followed by a temporary power vacuum which raised illusory hopes in Judah’s leaders. In such tumultuous times, it was hard to believe the oracles of judgment, namely the prophecies of Jeremiah about the destruction of Jerusalem and Judah as a result of the faithlessness of God’s people. Finally, the tragedy was inevitable, and it not only stopped Judah’s political games, but also put an end to the kingdom, and so to the independence of Israel. Israel always thought about its history from the standpoint of the community, and from this viewpoint, dispersion, which now became reality, was equal to hell itself.