Dear Rabbi Simon
I wonder if you can help. I am writing a children’s book about the life of Daniel and the exile in Babylon. In the book of Jeremiah Ch. 29 the prophet urges the Jewish exiles in Babylon to marry and have sons and daughters. My question is – who did the men marry? I would have thought if they married Babylonians they would have assimilated and disappeared from history. But I can’t find any record of women being transported from Judah to Babylon. Do you think some did go with Daniel & Co? or would they have gone later? Ezekiel had a wife, didn’t he, but where did she come from? All very confusing. I would be glad of your opinion.
Thank you for your question and best of luck with your book.
I think we can presume that the Judean exiles to Babylon included women as well as men. Jeremiah’s exhortation to the men of the exile was to urge them, on the one hand, not to despair, and on the other hand, not to expect an imminent return to their land. Rather, they should put down roots in the lands of their exile and make the best of a tragic situation. The Redemption will come, but life must go on in the meantime.
The same advice is not out of place for subsequent generations of exiles (of which there have been a great many, sad to say). Yet we do not despair!
Rabbi Rashi Simon