CAPTIVITY – Encyclopedic Dictionary of Bible and Theology

v. Captivity
Psa 53:6 God brings back his people from the c
Psa 85:1 earth, O LORD; you turned the c of Jacob
Psa 126:1 Yahweh brings back the c of Zion
Jer 29:14 I will return your c, and gather you from
Master 6:7 now they will go ahead of those who go
Eph 4:8 led the c captive, and gave gifts to the
Rev 13:10 if anyone leads in c, he goes in c; if any

The captivity of the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C. of JC and the captivity of Judá (or kingdom of the south) in 586 a. AD After the three-year siege of Samaria, Sargon conquered this capital city of Israel and deported the inhabitants to Assyria (2Ki 17:6-7; 2Ki 18:11-12). They left the very poor in Israel because they were not considered a threat (2Ki 25:12).

Later, Sargon’s grandson Esarhaddon and his great-grandson Ashurbanipal imported some conquered peoples from the East into the region of Samaria (2Ki 17:24). When the ten northern tribes were taken into captivity, some were undoubtedly absorbed into the surrounding pagan culture but the vast majority retained their identity. Some returned to Judah at the end of the exile; others remained to become part of the dispersion.

Judah’s captivity was foretold 150 years before it occurred (Isa 6:11-12; Isa 11:12). Isaiah (Isa 11:11; Isa 39:6) and Micah (Mic 4:10) predicted that the place of captivity would be Babylon; and Jeremiah announced that it would be for 70 years (Jer 25:1, Jer 25:11-12). Nebuchadnezzar went to Jerusalem in 605 and brought to Babylon the utensils of the house of God and members of the nobility of Judah, including Daniel the prophet (2Ch 36:2-7; Jer 45:1; Dan 1:1-3) . Jehoiakim was taken to Babylon in chains (2Ch 36:6). In 597, Nebuchadnezzar brought Joachim, his mother, his wives, 3,000 princes, 7,000 men of power, and 1,000 craftsmen (2Ki 24: 14-16). Among them was the prophet Ezekiel. This was the first large-scale deportation of the southern kingdom to Babylon. In 586 Nebuchadnezzar burned the temple, destroyed the city of Jerusalem, and deported all but the poorest of the land to Babylon (2Ki 25:2-21).

A third group was taken to Babylon five years after the city’s destruction (Jer 52:30).

The exiles were not severely oppressed by their conquerors. They engaged in business, built houses (Ezr 2:65; Jer 29:5-7), and even held high positions in the state (Neh 1:11; Dan 2:48). They could not continue their sacrificial system, but they had their priests and teachers with them (Ezr 1:5; Jer 29:1).

Ezekiel constantly encouraged them (Eze 1:1). In 539 BC AD, Babylon fell to Cyrus king of Persia, who issued a decree allowing the Israelites to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple (Ezr 1:1-4). The following year, about 43,000 returned to Zerubbabel (Ezr 2:64). The rest preferred to stay in Mesopotamia (Zec 6:10). In 458, 1,800 returned to Ezra.

Source: Hispanic World Bible Dictionary


Source: New Illustrated Bible Dictionary

It is the forced dependence on another for a time or for life. The opposite of captivity is freedom, and the breaking of the bonds of captivity is liberation. In the History of the People of God, captivity is alluded to when speaking of the time when the Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt, whose liberation is recounted in the sacred book of Exodus and which historically can be placed between 1250 and 1200 BC. c.

And above all, it alludes to the exile that the chosen people suffered when they were taken to Mesopotamia. The kings of the Assyrian empire in the north, with the capital at Nineveh, destroyed Samaria in 721 and the inhabitants were taken captive.

Other deportees settled in its territory and the “Samaritans”, their descendants, were henceforth considered enemies and foreigners until the time of Jesus.

Those of the South suffered the same fate a century later, when the Babylonians succeeded the Assyrians. Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, in 585, took Jerusalem, destroyed Solomon’s Temple and took the population captive.

The return of the captives from Babylon, prophesied by Jeremiah and Ezekiel, would be recounted in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. It was only possible 40 years later.

Only the “Jews” returned from this second captivity, those of the tribe of Judah, when the Persians dominated Babylon and Cyrus the Great in 538 and then Darius I authorized the restoration of national life. Those who returned, since many remained in their “banishment”, reorganized the Kingdom in a theocratic way, rebuilt the temple and the city of Jerusalem and remained tributary to the new rulers, but protected by them.

With the tribe of Judah came the tribe of Benjamin. The 10 northern tribes of Israel were lost in history, at least biblical history, although we know that they formed the basis of the Diaspora, or Judaic groups that later populated the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia.
But the consciousness of post-exilic Judaism was already oriented towards the second stage of its existence, the one that would later culminate with the Hellenistic Greeks and the Romans.

Many Israelites continued to outline their genealogies down to the present day according to the twelve historical tribes.

The captivity remained in the conscience of the people as a traumatic experience of punishment and forgiveness, in whose gestation the prophets acted efficiently. The Bible and the social foundations of Salvation History were configured in the ways we know today upon the return from captivity
In the Christian message, heir to Judaism, the idea of ​​Captivity has a certain specific prisoner in reference to sin, forgiveness, penance and divine justice and mercy.

Pedro Chico González, Dictionary of Catechesis and Religious Pedagogy, Editorial Bruño, Lima, Peru 2006

Source: Dictionary of Catechesis and Religious Pedagogy

aicmalosia (aijcmalwsiva, 161), captivity, abstract name, in contrast to aicmalotos (see CAPTIVE, A, No. 1), which is the concrete name. It is found in Rev 13:10 and Eph 4:8, where “he led captivity captive” seems to be an allusion to the triumphal procession by which a victory was celebrated, the captives forming part of the procession. See Jdg 5:12: The quotation is from Psa 68:18, and is probably a strong expression of Christ’s victory, through his death, over the hostile powers of darkness. An alternative suggestion is that at his ascension Christ transferred the redeemed Old Testament saints from Sheol to his own presence in glory. one taken by the spear (from aicme, spear, and jalotos, verbal adjective, from jalonai, to be captured); hence it denotes a captive (Luk 4:18).¶ B. Verbs 1. aicmaloteuo (aijcmalwteuvw, 162) means: (a) to be a prisoner of war; (b) make a prisoner of war. This last meaning is the only one used in the NT (Eph 4:8). See TAKE.¶ 2. aicmalotizo (aijcmalwtivzw, 163), practically synonymous with No. 1. Denotes either to take captive (Luk 21:24), or to subjugate, to bring under control; said of the effect of the Law on one’s own members by bringing the person into captivity under the law of sin (Rom 7:23); or to captivate the thoughts to the obedience of Christ (2Co 10:5); or of those who led captive “little women laden with sins” (2Ti 3:6). See TAKE.¶ 3. zogreo (zwgrevw, 2221) (from zoos, alive, and agreuo, to hunt or catch) means, lit., to take living men (Luk 5:10), there being used of the effects of the work of the gospel; in 2Ti 2:26 it is said of the power of Satan to lead men to the crooked path. The verse should say: “and that they may recover themselves from the devil’s snare (having been taken captive by him), to dedicate themselves to the will of God.” This is the probable sense, and not that of taking alive or for life. See BE CAPTIVE, FISHERMAN.¶

Source: Vine New Testament Dictionary


From the beginning of its history Israel in Egypt passed through the experience of an “original captivity” when the land that had received the patriarchs became for their descendants a “house of servitude” (Ex 13,14; Dt 7,8 ). Strictly speaking, however, the Hebrews were *slaves of Pharaoh rather than captives or prisoners. From then on, the people of God experienced deportation more than once, a practice that Amos denounced as a crime (Am 1,6.9), even though it was common in the ancient East. Such was the fate of the northern tribes after the ruin of Samaria (2 Kings 17,6.23), then that of Judah at the beginning of the sixth century (2 Kings 24-25). In both cases it was about *punishments that sanctioned the infidelities of the people of God. In traditional parlance, the *Babylonian captivity, even though it was more like deportation or *exile, remained the quintessential captivity.

Alongside these collective trials, the Bible evokes in various contexts the fate of individual captives or prisoners. For some, detention is not a just punishment (cf. Mt 5,25; 18,30), but a providential test (cf. Ap 2,10). Such is the case of Joseph (Gen 39,20ss), whom the wisdom of God “did not abandon him in prison” (Wis 10, 14); it is also the fate of more than one prophet (cf. 1 Kings 22,26ss), that of Jeremiah (Jer 20,2; 32,2s; 37, 11-21; 38,6), of John the Baptist (Mt 14,3 ); finally that of Jesus, who was tied up (Jn 18,12; Mt 27,2) and without a doubt put in prison. In the Church the same fate awaits the apostles (Act 5,18; 12,3ss; 16,23s); and Paul, able to go voluntarily into captivity (Act 20,22), will be able to designate himself literally as “the prisoner of Christ” (Eph 3,1; 4,1; cf. 2Cor 11,23). However, “the word of God will not be chained)) (2Tim 2,9; cf. Phil 1,12ss), and marvelous deliverances (Act 5,19; 12, 7-11; 16,26) will demonstrate the powerlessness of prison to hold captive the Gospel.

It is that God cares for the captives. If he asks his faithful to “break the unjust chains” (Is 58,6) and if the visit of the imprisoned is part of the works of mercy (Mt 25,36.40; cf. Heb 10,34; 13, 3), he himself is full of concern for “his prisoners)) (Ps 69,34), even for those who had disdainfully defied his orders (Ps 107,10-16). Especially to the captive people he makes a promise of * freedom (Is 52,2), which is like a foretaste of the Gospel (Is 61,1).

II. THE SPIRITUAL CAPTIVITY OF THE SINNER. It is that, in effect, through the experience of temporal captivity, the people of God glimpses another, of which the first then becomes an expressive symbol: the captivity of sinners. Still on this plane there is interference between captivity and *slavery.

The decisive affirmation of Jesus Christ: “everyone who commits sin is a slave” (Jn 8,34) has antecedents in the OT: God abandoned the unfaithful people to their enemies (Jdg 2,14), “handed them over to the power of their crimes ” (Is 64,6 Lxx); according to the teaching of the sages, * sin constitutes a kind of alienation: “The wicked man remains imprisoned in his own iniquity and…

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