There's no place like home. That wasn't just good advice for Dorothy, it's true for just about everyone. But folks who find themselves in exile are forced from their homes. That's exactly what happened to the people living in Jerusalem when the Babylonian Empire destroyed the city. Sure, not everyone in the city was actually evicted and marched to Babylon. It was mostly the elite who were forced to relocate. Everyone else was left to starve in piles of rubble. Hmm... this whole exile thing is starting to look pretty good by comparison.
Exile is kind of the life story of the Jewish people throughout history—they were thrown out of one country after another, from the Garden of Eden all the way to Germany in the 20th century. You can see why the prospect of returning to a modern national homeland in the land of Israel seemed so miraculous.
Questions About Exile
Did God break a promise allowing the Jews to be exiled from the Promised Land?
The Babylonians only forced the most important people out of Jerusalem and left everyone else to pretty much fend for themselves. Why do you think that was?
Was the exile to Babylon really as bad as the Poet is making it out to be? How did the Jewish people fare in their new country?