Jewish Expulsions from Jerusalem: Examining the Events of 70 A.D. and the Bar Kokhba Revolt

The history of the Jewish population in Jerusalem is marked by significant upheavals, including the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD and the later Bar Kokhba Revolt in the early 2nd century AD. These events have often been associated with the expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem. In this article, we will delve into the historical context and examine whether the Jewish population was actually expelled from Jerusalem after the siege of 70 AD or after the Bar Kokhba revolt.

The Siege of 70 AD and the Destruction of the Second Temple

In 70 AD, the Roman Empire, under the command of Titus, laid siege to Jerusalem during the First Jewish-Roman War. The siege culminated in the destruction of the Second Temple, the epicenter of Jewish worship. While the city was devastated and many Jews were killed or taken captive, historical sources provide limited evidence of a widespread expulsion of the Jewish population from Jerusalem at this time.

Jewish Presence in Jerusalem After 70 CE

After the destruction of the Second Temple, the Roman authorities took control of Jerusalem and turned it into a Roman city called Aelia Capitolina. Despite the loss of the Temple, Jewish life in Jerusalem continued, but with significant changes. Jews were allowed to live in the city, although their religious practices and political autonomy were restricted.

The Bar Kokhba Revolt and its Aftermath

The Bar Kokhba revolt, which took place from 132 to 136 AD, was a major Jewish uprising against Roman rule. Led by Simon Bar Kokhba, the revolt initially achieved some success, leading to the establishment of an independent Jewish state. However, the revolt was eventually crushed by the Romans, resulting in widespread destruction and loss of life. Nevertheless, the historical record provides no conclusive evidence of a mass expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem following the Bar Kokhba revolt.

Changing Population Dynamics and the Jewish Diaspora

While there is no definitive evidence of a complete expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem following either the Siege of 70 CE or the Bar Kokhba Revolt, it is important to recognize the shifting population dynamics and dispersion of Jewish communities throughout the Roman Empire. The destruction of the Temple and the political changes imposed by the Romans likely led to significant demographic shifts and the spread of Jewish Diaspora communities beyond Jerusalem.

Jewish Reconnection with Jerusalem

Despite the challenges and changes faced by the Jewish population in Jerusalem, the city continued to hold immense religious and cultural significance for Jews worldwide. Throughout the centuries, Jewish communities maintained a strong connection to Jerusalem and sought to preserve their religious and historical ties to the city, even during periods of limited Jewish presence.

Roman Rule and Jewish Identity

Under Roman rule, Jerusalem experienced significant changes in its governmental and religious landscape. The Romans established Aelia Capitolina on the ruins of Jerusalem and introduced new structures, including a temple dedicated to Jupiter Capitolinus. This transformation was aimed at suppressing Jewish identity and asserting Roman authority over the city. Jews faced restrictions on their religious practices and were prohibited from openly observing certain traditions associated with the Temple.

Rabbinic Judaism and the Preservation of Jewish Identity

After the destruction of the Second Temple, rabbinic Judaism emerged as the dominant form of Jewish religious expression. Rabbis and scholars played an important role in preserving Jewish traditions and adapting them to changing circumstances. The focus shifted from Temple worship to the study of Torah and the development of Jewish law and doctrine. Rabbinical academies, such as those in Yavne and later Tiberias, became centers of Jewish learning and intellectual growth.

Pilgrimage and Spiritual Connection

Despite the restrictions placed on Jewish religious practice, Jews from various parts of the Roman Empire continued to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem. By visiting the remains of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall (known as the Western Wall), they sought to maintain a spiritual connection to their historical and religious heritage. These pilgrimages served as a testament to the enduring importance of Jerusalem in Jewish culture and identity.

The Byzantine Period and Jewish Restrictions

The Byzantine Empire, which succeeded Roman rule, imposed further restrictions on the Jewish presence in Jerusalem. Byzantine authorities continued to discourage Jewish settlement and limited Jewish access to certain holy sites. Christian pilgrimages and the growth of Christian institutions in Jerusalem further marginalized the Jewish community.

Islamic rule and Jewish return

In the 7th century, Jerusalem came under Islamic rule with the rise of the Arab caliphates. Islamic rulers such as Umar ibn al-Khattab and later Caliph Umar II allowed Jews to return to Jerusalem and worship freely. This period marked a significant shift, as Jews once again established a presence in Jerusalem and actively participated in the social and religious life of the city. Jewish communities flourished under Islamic rule, synagogues were built, and Jewish scholarship flourished.

Crusader Period and Jewish Exclusion

The Crusader period, beginning in the 11th century, witnessed the expulsion and exclusion of Jews from Jerusalem. The Crusaders, motivated by religious fervor, targeted not only Muslims but also Jews, whom they considered “infidels. Jewish communities were expelled and synagogues were converted into churches. It was not until the Muslim reconquest of Jerusalem in the 12th century that Jews were allowed to return.


While the events of 70 CE and the Bar Kokhba revolt had profound consequences for the Jewish population of Jerusalem, the historical evidence does not definitively support the notion of a complete expulsion following either event. Instead, these periods marked significant transformations in the political and religious landscape of Jerusalem, leading to changes in Jewish communal life and the dispersion of Jewish communities throughout the Roman Empire. Despite the challenges it faced, Jerusalem remained a deeply cherished city for Jews, and efforts were made to maintain a connection to its religious and historical heritage.


Was the Jewish population expelled from the Jerusalem after the siege of 70 AD or after the Bar Kokhba revolt?

The Bar Kokhba revolt resulted in the extensive depopulation of Judean communities, more so than during the First Jewish–Roman WarFirst Jewish–Roman WarThe Great Revolt began in the year 66 CE, during the twelfth year of the reign of Nero, originating in Roman and Jewish religious tensions. The crisis escalated due to anti-taxation protests and attacks upon Roman citizens by the Jews.

What happened after the siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD?

Siege of Jerusalem, (70 ce), Roman military blockade of Jerusalem during the First Jewish Revolt. The fall of the city marked the effective conclusion of a four-year campaign against the Jewish insurgency in Judaea. The Romans destroyed much of the city, including the Second Temple.

What happened in the Bar Kokhba revolt?

The Bar Kochba Revolt (132–136 CE) was the third and final war between the Jewish people and the Roman Empire. It followed a long period of tension and violence, marked by the first Jewish uprising of 66-70 CE, which ended with the destruction of the Second Temple, and the Kitos War (115-117 CE).

What happened to the Jews after the Bar Kokhba revolt?

They note that, unlike the aftermath of the First Jewish–Roman War chronicled by Josephus, the Jewish population of Judea was devastated after the Bar Kokhba Revolt, being killed, exiled, or sold into slavery, with so many captives auctioned at “Hadrian’s Market” that the price of the Jews were as low as the price of a …

When did Romans ban Jews from Jerusalem?

Synagogues were classified as colleges to get around Roman laws banning secret societies and the temples were allowed to collect the yearly tax paid by all Jewish men for temple maintenance. There had been upsets: Jews had been banished from Rome in 139 BC, again in 19 AD and during the reign of Claudius.

What was the result of the rebellion in Judea in 70 CE quizlet?

During the revolt itself, the Jews gained enormous amounts of land, only to be pushed back and crushed in the final battle of Bethar.

When was the Bar Kokhba revolt?

Bar Kokhba Revolt, also called Second Jewish Revolt, (132–135 ce), Jewish rebellion against Roman rule in Judaea. The revolt was preceded by years of clashes between Jews and Romans in the area.

What happened to the Jews in 135 AD?

In A.D. 135, Hadrian banished the Jews from Jerusalem and Palestine, razed Jerusalem, and rebuilt the city as Aelia Capitolina (the basis of today’s Old City) with pagan shrines and a statue of Jupiter placed over the site of Jesus’s crucifixion.

Who destroyed Jerusalem in 135 AD?

Jewish–Roman wars

Date 66–135 CE (70 years)
Result Roman victory: Destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple Widespread destruction in Judea and diaspora of many survivors Schism between Judaism and early Christianity Consolidation of non-messianic Jewish sects into Rabbinic Judaism Consolidation of Jewish center in Galilee

How many times has Israel been exiled?

They experienced two exiles: after the destruction of the first temple, in the 6th century BC, and of the second temple, in 70 AD. Two thousand years of wandering brought the Jews to Yemen, Morocco, Spain, Germany, Poland and deep into Russia.

Where did Jews live before Israel?


Most of the Jewish population was exiled to Babylon, but some Jews remained. About 150 years later (539 BCE), the Persians conquered Babylon and permitted the Jews in exile to return to Israel and authorized the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Who took the Israelites into captivity?

The Assyrian captivity (or the Assyrian exile) is the period in the history of ancient Israel and Judah during which several thousand Israelites from the Kingdom of Israel were forcibly relocated by the Neo-Assyrian Empire.

Who are the Canaanites today?

The people of modern-day Lebanon can trace their genetic ancestry back to the Canaanites, new research finds. The Canaanites were residents of the Levant (modern-day Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine) during the Bronze Age, starting about 4,000 years ago.

Are Canaanites and Israelites the same?

Canaan, area variously defined in historical and biblical literature, but always centred on Palestine. Its original pre-Israelite inhabitants were called Canaanites. The names Canaan and Canaanite occur in cuneiform, Egyptian, and Phoenician writings from about the 15th century bce as well as in the Old Testament.

Who are the descendants of the Israelites today?

It is accepted that the Jews and the Samaritans are descendants of the ancient Israelites.

Was Noah’s wife a descendant of Cain?

The Naamah mentioned in the Bible is a Cainite, a descendant in the lineage of Cain. However, a Sethite Naamah is named as the wife of Noah, and a daughter of Enoch, Noah’s grandfather, in a medieval midrash.

Is Noah related to Cain?

The seventh generation Lamech descended from Cain is described as the father of Jabal and Jubal (from his first wife Adah) and Tubal-cain and Naamah (from his second wife, Zillah).
Seth and Cain.

Husband Wife
Noah Emzara

What did Cains mark look like?

22:12). Rashi comments on Genesis 4:15 by saying that the mark was one of the Hebrew letters of the Tetragrammaton: “He engraved a letter of His [God’s] Name onto his [Cain’s] forehead.”

Where is the Garden of Eden?

southern Mesopotamia

The location of Eden is described in the Book of Genesis as the source of four tributaries. Various suggestions have been made for its location: at the head of the Persian Gulf, in southern Mesopotamia (now Iraq) where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers run into the sea; and in Armenia.

Why does God reject Cain’s offering?

Cain’s premature offering from fruit trees symbolizes his rejection of God’s ownership of the earth and emphasizes the perception of him as a greedy individual.

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