The story of Judah,the southern kingdom,is some what different though equally tragic.Both kingdom quickly
abandoned the true God and sank into moral and spiritual depravity.While the northern kingdom never once had a righteous king,Judah at least handful who turn to God and institued religious reforms aimed at turning the people to proper worship of God.
These righteous kings were somewhat successful, at least for a while.As a result, the kingdom of Judah outlasted its northern neighbor by more than a century .Yet eventually those in Judah,too would pay a heavy price for rejecting their Creator.They should have learn a lesson from the captivity of the 10 northern tribes,especially since some of the same Assyrian invasions devastated much of Judah.In Hezekiah day virtually all of Judah except for its capital,Jerusalem,was conquered by the Assyrian and Jerusalem, too, would have fallen had God
not supernaturally delivered the city. The Prophet Isaiah,speaking to Hezekiah,was the first to reveal the specific
enemy that would subjugate Judah if they, too,refused to change:"Behold the days are coming when all that in your house,and what your fathers have accumulated until this day,shall be carried to Babylon;nothing shall be left,'says the Lord."And they shall take away some of your sons who will descend from you, whom you will be beget;and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.God sent many other prophets including Micah,Zephaniah,Habakkuk and Jeremiah to warn Judah,but to no avail.As the Assyrians vanquished the Israelis in several wave of invasions and deportations,so the Babylonians took away the Jews in several deportations before and after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C .Many details of the biblical accounts of the downfalls of Israel and Judah are confirmed by Assyrian and Babylonian records from the time,demonstrating again the accuracy of the biblical record.
JUDAH EXILE AND RETURN;
The outcome of Judah exile, however was far different from that of northern kingdom.Israel was deported to the far reaches of the Assyrian Empire and its people lost their national and ethnic identity but God gave Judah an encouraging promised through this prophecy from Jeremiah: "For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform my good word toward you and cause you to return to this place,For I know the thought that I think toward you,said the Lord,thought of peace not of evil to give you a future an hope.Then you call upon me and go and pray to me,and I will listen to you.And you will seek me and find me,when you search for me with all your heart.I will be found by you.,said the Lord and I will bring you back from your captivity.Here, too, we find a remarkable prophecy that was fulfilled to the later.70 years period appears to have begun with the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of Solomon temple the center of Jewish worship in 586 B.C.And to have concluded with the completion of a new Jerusalem temple in 516B.C.The biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah record the return of many of Jewish exiles from Babylon.