Palestine during the InterTestament times

RELB 116 Life and Teaching of Jesus

•! The territory controlled by a king or people varied from time to time, and was often disputed by other peoples. The coast-line has varied over the years, particularly in the Gulf of Persia. An approximation to the modern coastline is generally used in the maps

His descendents were generally named either Seleucis or Antiochus. India and much of the lands to the east of Persia revolted and returned to local rulership on the death of Alexander .The Break of Macedonian Empire •! The Seleucid Empire was founded by Alexander's general Seleucis.

who took Alexander's body with him to Egypt. The ruling men of his line were all named Ptolemy.•! The Ptolemaic Empire was founded by Alexander's general Ptolemy. and the women. Cleopatra .

•! Macedonia was claimed by members of Alexander's family. The land reverted to the status of a small kingdom until it was taken by the Romans . who were all eventually murdered.

•! Much of Greece had been virtually independent of Alexander even during his lifetime. .

•! On the break-up of the Empire. and there was a rather confused period which culminated in the take-over by the Romans . •! Some came under the control of several of the competing generals. Greek cities started forming leagues for defense.

C. his empire was divided by four of his generals.. .Setting the Stage •! Following the conquests of Alexander the Great and his early death in 323 B.


•! Palestine initially fell under the rule of Seleucus. who had gained authority over Egypt. who held authority over Syria. but soon passed to Ptolemy. .

However. was generally one of peace for the Jews. reconquered Palestine. also known as Antiochus the Great. the Seleucid king Antiochus III. in 198 B.C. .•! This period under the “Ptolemies” from 301 to 198 B.C.

. Antiochus IV Epiphanes (illustrious) rose to power in 175 B.C.•! At the death of Antiochus III. his son Seleucus IV took the Syrian throne for twelve years after which another son of Antiochus III.

.•! Besides believing strongly in the superiority of the Greek culture. having lived the past fifteen years as a hostage in Rome as part of a treaty made by his father. Antiochus Epiphanes had developed a taste for conquest.

Antiochus Epiphanes stripped the temple of its treasures and erected a statue of Jupiter in the Holy Place.•! He detested anything Jewish and set out to destroy anything associated with the Hebrew religion. •! Besides massacring forty thousand of the residents of Jerusalem. .

Along with this he made every effort to find and destroy all copies of Scripture .•! He ordered the offering of swine as sacrifices and prohibited the practice of circumcision.

The Maccabean Period RELB 116 Life and Teaching of Jesus .


..•! During this time. sometime in 167 B.C. an officer of Antiochus Epiphanes named Bacchides came to the village of Modin to impose upon the residents the decrees of Antiochus.

Simon.•! An elderly priest of the clan of Hasmon by the name of Mattathias stabbed Bacchides to death and fled with his fives sons (John. Judas. . Eleazar. and Jonathan) to the mountains.

.•! Many others joined them in the mountains to form a resistance movement that would eventually lead to Jewish independence. Among those joining were the Hasidim who had fervently resisted outside cultural influences in order to remain faithful to the Torah.

and the leadership of the rebellion he had begun fell to his son Judas (called Maccabeus.” hence the name Maccabean for the entire period under the leadership of the descendents of Mattathias).C.•! Mattathias died in 166 B. the “hammer. .

•! Judas proved to be an able man of war.C.. . cleansed and rededicated the temple in 164 B. for after a series of victories he reopened. re-establishing the daily sacrifice.

•! This rededication is commemorated to this day with the celebration of Hanukkah. also called the Feast of Dedication. . and was celebrated at the time of Christ as is recorded in John 10:22.

as described in John 10:24 .•! Since such a celebration would be a time of great patriotism one can well assume what the messianic expectations must have been when the Jews came to Jesus on that day asking if He was the Christ.

C.•! Though having succeeded in his fight for religious freedom. and the leadership passed to his brother Jonathan. He met his death in battle in 161 B. . Judas Maccabeus continued to fight for political freedom.

•! Their brother Eleazar had already died in battle. reported by Josephus as being crushed by an elephant that he stabbed with his weapon while mistakenly thinking Antiochus Eupator (the son of Antiochus Epiphanes and who reigned in Syria for two years following the death of Antiochus Epiphanes) to be mounted on said elephant. .

•! Jonathan gained great advantage in that there was a dispute going on over the throne of Syria at the time of his rise to leadership. . •! Demetrius (who was the nephew of Antiochus Epiphanes) and Alexander Balas (who claimed to be Antiochus’s illegitimate son) both sought the support of Jonathan by giving him concessions.

. •! Jonathan threw his support to Alexander and from that time on the High Priest was a Hasmonean. while Alexander promised him the High Priesthood.•! Demetrius allowed Jonathan to freely march his army into Jerusalem.

. who were not of High Priestly lineage. would hold the office.•! Fiensy observes that this was probably the time that marks the beginning of the Essene sect since many of the orthodox Jews were infuriated that the Hasmoneans.

Nevertheless. he was captured and killed by Tryphon. . a Syrian general who also coveted Syria’s throne.•! Jonathan was successful in forming treaties with Sparta and Rome and in reinforcing the wall of Jerusalem. in 142 B.C.

.•! Simon. Simon made a treaty with Demetrius II who was contending with Tryphon for Syria. the remaining son of Mattathias (John having also died in battle shortly before this time) ascended to power.

.•! Through this treaty Simon procured political independence for Judea for the first time since the Babylonian exile. Simon also became the High Priest. As was Jonathan.

•! In 134 B.C. Simon was assassinated by his son-in-law Ptolemy, who also imprisoned and eventually killed Simon’s wife and two of his sons. •! Despite the efforts of Ptolemy to assassinate him also, another son, John Hyrcanus entered the power void left by Simon

•! As well as being High Priest, John made political gains by conquering Samaria and destroying the temple built on Mount Gerizim. •! John also succeeded in conquering and converting the Idumeans who in years to come would become the most patriotic of the Jews.

•! During this time his politics alienated him from the Pharisees and he began to align himself with the Sadducees, who favored the efforts toward Hellenization.

.C.•! Upon the death of John Hyrcanus in 105 B. assuming the title of king for the first time since before the Babylonian exile. . his son Aristobulus came to power.

Aristobulus starved his own mother to death in prison and killed one of his brothers. Aristobulus only reigned a year before dying of disease .•! Ambitious and without scruples. Though he was able to increase his influence with the annexation of Galilee.

Alexander’s rule was marked by violence.•! Alexander Jannaeus. assumed power and reigned until 77 B. . •! Though at one point the territory of Judea actually surpassed the ancient boundaries of the twelve tribes. and civil war. brother of Aristobulus.C. cruelty.

•! While enjoying the support of the Sadducees. he was detested by the Pharisees. executing their wives and children before their eyes as they hung on the crosses . •! During the civil conflict he had 800 of the principle Pharisees of Jerusalem crucified.

the Pharisees gained considerable influence and began to hold such positions in the government that Josephus wrote that “the Pharisees governed her. During the reign of Alexandra from 78 to 69 B.•! When Alexander Janaeus died.” .C. his wife Alexandra assumed the throne.

Hyrcanus II was Alexandra’s rightful heir at her death. who first defeated the Seleucids in Syria and then conquered Palestine with much bloodshed. but his younger brother Aristobulus II incited a civil war and seized power. . which he held until 63 B.•! Already appointed High Priest by his mother.C. at the coming of the Roman general Pompey.

reinstalling him as High priest while leading Aristobulus away to Rome as a trophy of war. Hyrcanus was a mere puppet in the hands of his Idumean advisor Antipater. .•! Both Hyrcanus and Aristobulus appealed to Pompey for arbitration in their quest for power. •! Though High Priest. •! Pompey sided with Hyrcanus.



The Reign of Herods RELB 116 Life and Teaching of Jesus .

who bestowed upon Antipater the title of procurator of Judea . Antipater proved himself a faithful supporter of Julius Caesar.•! At the death of Pompey.

.. •! After the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B. Antipater and Herod gave aid to the forces of the conspirators Brutus and Cassius. Phasael and Herod. were given authority over Jerusalem and Galilee respectively.•! Two of Antipater’s sons.C.

Antipater had died by poisoning. .•! By 42 B.C. when Brutus and Cassius had been defeated by the forces of Octavian and Mark Antony. •! Mark Antony conferred on Phasael and Herod the title of tetrarch along with responsibility of Jewish politics.

•! Antigonas. . a surviving son of Aristobulus II managed to put this in a bad light and gained the support of the Parthians to lay siege to Jerusalem.

and upon capturing Jerusalem Antigonas cut off the ears of Hyrcanus (his uncle) so that he would no longer qualify as High Priest.•! Phasael committed suicide before he could be taken. . Herod managed to escape and sought out Antony in Alexandria.

. and Herod controlled of all of Palestine.•! In 37 B. •! Antigonas was executed. .C. three years after Antigonas had seized power. Herod retook Jerusalem with the support of the Romans.

was known for great cruelty. even among his own family. also called Herod the Great. •! During the period of his reign he had ten wives.•! Herod. .

.•! The first was Mariamne. •! Herod was always suspicious of the political ambitions of the surviving Hasmoneans. so one by one he had them murdered. including Mariamne. the granddaughter of Hyrcanus II.

•! As time went on he also murdered his two sons by Mariamne. •! Herod was being true to his character when he ordered the boy babies in Bethlehem killed as seen in the Gospel of Matthew. . Alexander and Aristobulus IV.

those orders were never carried out. . Fortunately.•! Just prior to his death he gave orders for the most distinguished men of Jerusalem to be executed upon his death so that the nation would be in mourning upon his demise.

Herod sought to gain political points through grandiose construction.•! Having ruined his popularity with the people through his own cruelty. Most notable of these constructions was the temple . in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Palestine.

and Philip. and was banished to Gaul. Antipas.C. . •! Archelaus. •! He only ruled for two years before falling out of favor with the emperor. Octavian.•! Upon his death in 4 B. ruled over Idumea. and Samaria. Judea. also noted for his cruelty. Herod left the majority of his kingdom to his three sons Archelaus..


the fifth procurator to hold authority. . As with procurators both before and after him.•! Roman procurators then ruled over the regions except for a short period when Agrippa I ruled. Pilate did much to cause the hostile feelings of the Jews toward Rome. The most notable of these was Pontius Pilate.

. the Herod who beheaded John the Baptist and before whom Jesus appeared before His crucifixion. was given the rule of Galilee and Perea.•! Antipas.

. who was half Samaritan (his mother being Malthace. the Samaritan wife of Herod the Great) and already looked upon with disdain by the Jews.•! Antipas. further scandalized the Jews by divorcing his first wife and marrying Herodias. the wife of his half-brother Philip.

Agrippa I.D.•! Herodias is characterized by one writer as being to Antipas what Jezebel was to Ahab. •! Her jealousy of her own half-brother. would push her husband into a play for power that would finally lead to his banishment to Gaul in A. 39. .

the third of Herod the Great’s sons to receive power was given authority over northeast Palestine.D.•! Philip. He reigned until his death in A. 34. .

the son of Aristobulus IV who Herod the Great had put to death. prompted Antipas to seek a higher title. whose husband Antipas was merely a tetrarch. was given the title of king over the territory formerly ruled by Philip at Philip’s death.•! Agrippa I. . Herodias. whereby he appealed to Emperor Caligula.

Caligula banished Antipas to Gaul and Agrippa was given his territory. At this word from Agrippa.•! Agrippa I was a personal friend of Caligula and wrote a letter to Caligula accusing Antipas of having formed a secret alliance with the Parthians. .

•! In A.D. Agrippa was ruling the same general area that Herod the Great had ruled. 6 to 41. 44. 41 Caligula also gave to Agrippa the territory that had once been ruled by Archelaus but had been under a Roman procurator from A. At his death in A. .D.D.

Agrippa II.D. was made king over Philip’s former territories. son of Agrippa I. . In A. Judea being through the intermediary of a procurator. 53. Palestine came under direct Roman rule.•! At the death of Agrippa I.

Agrippa II died in A. most notably the relationship he had with his sister Bernice. 93 and was the last of the Herods to rule. It was before this Agrippa that the Apostle Paul presented his case in Acts 26. .•! Like others before him. Agrippa II caused great scandal by his moral debauchery.D.

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