Jeremiah 29:6, Does Captivity Stimulate Population Growth?

Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished.

//Today’s words were written by the prophet Jeremiah to encourage the Jews who were taken captive in Babylon. Included in the letter of encouragement is the instruction to procreate.

You may remember that while the Children of Israel were kept as slaves in Egypt, they grew strong and prospered by the help of God, becoming a great nation. No such claim is made about their later exile to Babylon, but it seems God was with them there, as well. Perhaps captivity stimulates procreation? Here are the details:

The Bible tells us that when Jerusalem was sacked in 586 BCE, a total of 4600 people were taken into exile in Babylon.

When they returned from exile in 538 BCE, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah tell us that the number of returnees counted “42,360, plus 7,337 slaves and 200 singers, in addition to all their livestock.”

We’re talking about a 820% increase in population in less than 50 years, and this doesn’t include all the deportees who remained in Babylon! These guys took Jeremiah seriously!

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