Isaiah 5:13-17 (NASB)
13 Therefore My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge;
And their honorable men are famished,
And their multitude is parched with thirst.
14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged its throat and opened its mouth without measure;
And Jerusalem’s splendor, her multitude, her din of revelry and the jubilant within her, descend into it.
15 So the common man will be humbled and the man of importance abased,
The eyes of the proud also will be abased.
16 But the Lord of hosts will be exalted in judgment,
And the holy God will show Himself holy in righteousness.
17 Then the lambs will graze as in their pasture,
And strangers will eat in the waste places of the wealthy.
Because of their repentance, Anna’s ancestors were spared the Assyrian exile and its massive dispersion.
But they received the Babylonian one.
After good King Hezekiah came Manasseh, the worst Judean king ever. He introduced the country to idols and atrocities that they had only looked at from afar. He brought horrors like these even into the temple and sacrificed his own children.
Though he did repent near the end of his life and turned to God, the nation never fully recovered from the depths of depravity he had pulled it under.
The godly King Josiah brought about several years of revival—a period of reform and renewal of the covenants.
But after his death, Judah quickly went through a series of bad or wimpy kings. Those who weren’t trying out and out to be evil, had no backbone. They would try to follow the advice of the prophet Jeremiah and the leadings of the populace, priests, or allies. This unfortunately meant that they carried Judah along to the demise promised by God.
As Babylon besieged the city, Jeremiah told the people that all who willingly entered captivity would be well-treated and their descendants would return.
I would like to believe that having so narrowly escaped an earlier captivity because of national disobedience to God, that Anna’s family listened to the prophet. The fact that they could maintain their lineage with such certainty could mean they did take Jeremiah seriously and lived through the captivity as easily as possible.
I would also like to imagine that Anna’s family came back with Ezra… some of the first to return to Jerusalem and put God’s priorities of rebuilding into play. Since some of the family names listed in the return are similar to the names of towns in Asher, it might just be true.
Whatever the case, we know they came back to Jerusalem and eventually Anna was born in the land of Judah.
A Sixty-Day Countdown to Christmas