Exile: a life changing experience



Photographed by Oren J. Turner (1947)


Most people have lived in more than one home.  Typically this is referred to as moving.
Hopefully “moving” is a willful choice possibly due to a better job or closer to family,
friends, school or Church.  In the Old Testament God’s people were exiled many times. 
What is the difference of moving compared to exile?  Exile sometimes is not by choice,
sometimes it is by force.  Sometimes exile means going into some form of slavery or


Let’s take a look at some of the definitions found on www.dictionary.com


Move, moved, mov·ing:

–verb (used without object)



to go from one place of residence to another:










–verb (used with object)    


to change from one place or position to another.













a change of location or residence.


Dictionary.com defines exile as:



expulsion from one's native land by authoritative decree.




a person banished from his or her native land.



prolonged separation from one's country or home, as by force of circumstances: wartime exile.



anyone separated from his or her country or home voluntarily or by force of circumstances.



the Exile, the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, 597–538 b.c.

–verb (used with object)


to expel or banish (a person) from his or her country; expatriate.



to separate from country, home, etc.: Disagreements exiled him from his family.


Per Wikipedia: Some Famous people who have been in exile

Now, let’s look at some examples of exiles found in the Bible . . .

Matthew 1  (NIV) - The Genealogy of Jesus:

1 A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:

2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah
    and his brothers . . .

11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12 After the exile to Babylon:   Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father
     of Zerubbabel  . . .
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is
     called Christ.
17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from
      David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ


Ezekiel 12  (NIV) - The Exile Symbolized:

1 The word of the LORD came to me:

2 "Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do
     not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.
3 "Therefore, son of man, pack your belongings for exile and in the daytime, as they
    watch, set out and go from where you are to another place. Perhaps they will
    understand, though they are a rebellious house.
4 During the daytime, while they watch, bring out your belongings packed for exile. Then
    in the evening, while they are watching, go out like those who go into exile.
5 While they watch, dig through the wall and take your belongings out through it.
6 Put them on your shoulder as they are watching and carry them out at dusk. Cover your
   face so that you cannot see the land, for I have made you a sign to the house of Israel."
7 So I did as I was commanded. During the day I brought out my things packed for exile.
   Then in the evening I dug through the wall with my hands. I took my belongings out at
    dusk, carrying them on my shoulders while they watched.
8 In the morning the word of the LORD came to me:
9 "Son of man, did not that rebellious house of Israel ask you, 'What are you doing?'
10 "Say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: This oracle concerns the prince
       in Jerusalem and the whole house of Israel who are there.'  
11 Say to them, 'I am a sign to you.'   "As I have done, so it will be done to them. They
     will go into exile as captives.   
12 "The prince among them will put his things on his shoulder at dusk and leave, and a
      hole will be dug in the wall for him to go through. He will cover his face so that he
       cannot see the land.   
13 I will spread my net for him, and he will be caught in my snare; I will bring him to
     Babylonia, the land of the Chaldeans, but he will not see it, and there he will die.   
14 I will scatter to the winds all those around him—his staff and all his troops—and I will
     pursue them with drawn sword.    
15 "They will know that I am the LORD, when I disperse them among the nations and
      scatter them through the countries.
16 But I will spare a few of them from the sword, famine and plague, so that in the
     nations where they go they may acknowledge all their detestable practices. Then they
     will know that I am the LORD."    
17 The word of the LORD came to me:     
18 "Son of man, tremble as you eat your food, and shudder in fear as you drink your
19 Say to the people of the land: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says about those
     living in Jerusalem and in the land of Israel: They will eat their food in anxiety and
     drink their water in despair, for their land will be stripped of everything in it because
     of the violence of all who live there.     
20 The inhabited towns will be laid waste and the land will be desolate. Then you will
     know that I am the LORD.' "      
21 The word of the LORD came to me:     
22 "Son of man, what is this proverb you have in the land of Israel: 'The days go by and
      every vision comes to nothing'?     
23 Say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to put an end to this
     proverb, and they will no longer quote it in Israel.' Say to them, 'The days are near
     when every vision will be fulfilled.
24 For there will be no more false visions or flattering divinations among the people of
25 But I the LORD will speak what I will, and it shall be fulfilled without delay. For in
     your days, you rebellious house, I will fulfill whatever I say, declares the Sovereign
     LORD.' "         
26 The word of the LORD came to me:           
27 "Son of man, the house of Israel is saying, 'The vision he sees is for many years from
      now, and he prophesies about the distant future.'        
28 "Therefore say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: None of my
      words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the
      Sovereign LORD.' "



- What is the difference between self-exile and the exile described in the Bible?

- Was there a benefit to the U.S. that Einstein was self-exiled to the U.S.?
- Did you know that Christ’s family line included an exile?

- What do you think happened after Ezekiel 12:28?

- Paul in Romans 1:1 refers to himself as a bondservant (a servant of Christ
      Jesus), what would be the difference?


Now the tough question – do you serve God by choice, by force, or by fear?



Optional reading:

The books of Genesis-Exodus, Judges, and Daniel contain more about exile.



The following websites were referenced on March 8, 2007: