In this Brief Account of Israel’s History, From David to Alexander the Great, we will try to make a summary of life and historical events during this time. we shall make a brief study of King David through both Israel’s and Judah’s exile, the Pharisees, Sadducees, Maccabees, Ezra, down to the time of the Herods, etc.
A Brief Account of Israel’s History: From David to Alexander the Great
the son of Jesse in about 1000 B.C., founded the Kingdom of Israel. He reigned until about 960 B.C. The reign of David was such that placed a stamp on the Kingdom and upon his kingly office that he become a symbol of Israel’s later Messianic hopes.
The Northern Kingdom called Israel was taken into Assyrian exile in 721 B.C. This was never restored. This was scattered all over the world. These scattered Jews were said to be found in Egypt, Syria, and Asia Minor in pursuit of trade.
These areas were their favorite areas.
By the mid-second century B.C. the Jews were significant enough is warrant friendly letters on their behalf from the Roman Senate to Ptolemy of Egypt and the Kings of various Asiatic places Notice that the Southern Kingdom, Judah, which had a long history, also went into exile in about 586 R.C. to Babylon. In 539 B.C. Cyrus King of Persia, conquered Babylon. He allowed any exile who wished to go back to Jerusalem. The following year a good number returned.
Those who returned in time rebuilt the Temple, which Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed. After the first return ‘Zerubbabel’ and others, other groups also went back to Palestine. One of their leaders was Ezra a priest and a devoted one in the law of Moses and under the supervision of an appointed governor ‘Jeremiah’. To Ezra, he desired to, make the Torah, the state law, a living part of the Jewish Religion again.
SECTS AND PARTIES – PHARISEES AND SADDUCEES
The Pharisees grew at the movement to restore the law that Ezra had begun. they were leaders from the time of the Maccabees
onward; the Sadducees came from priestly families and were lawyers. They
favored the Old ways and were opposed to change. Nevertheless, they supported
the effort of the later Maccabees to stop the seleucid rulers from introducing Greek ideas into the Jewish way of life and society.
In Religion, they are chiefly known for denying the doctrine of the resurrection and the existence of angels and Spirits. They also believe that the soul perishes with the body, for them no future life. The Pharisees opposed the Sadducees these were
not a priestly class but they were laymen. They too were lawyers, but they believed that the law should be opened to new interpretation. They were ardent nationalists and therefore opposed foreign influences whether Greek or Roman.
They believed in resurrection and in the future life with rewards and punishments. They were chiefly concerned will the outward observance of the law, it, was perhaps this religious attitude that brought them into conflict with Jesus.
The Pharisees had right doctrines while the Sadducees had wrong doctrines, but their lives contradicted their teachings. (Matt. 23:2-3). The Sadducees lost influence and gradually disappeared after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The
Pharisees carried on for a time, but they too disappeared from the scene with
the destruction of the Jewish State.
scriptural quotations on the Pharisees
A party among the Jews that laid great stress upon the observance of its ceremonies. They made a pretense of superior piety and separated themselves from the common people. They were believers in the totality of the soul,
the resurrection of the body, and the existence of the angels and spirits. (Malt. 3:7, 15:1, 16:1, 19:3, 23:2, Lk, 7:30, 18: 10, Acts 5:34, 23:6).
scriptural quotations on the Sadducees:
A materialistic party among the Jews, that denied the resurrection and the existence of angels and spirits, they also rejected the traditions of the elders, Matt. 3:7, 16:6, 22:23,34, Acts 4:1, 5:17, 23:8.
Alexander the Great
Philip left behind his son Alexander the Great to become one of the most powerful individuals in history. To avoid becoming a haughty and harsh Macedonian, Philip appointed Aristotle as his instructor. Aristotle imparted the Greek philosophic principles to Alexander, believing in a Creator who exists, referred to as the “First Cause.”Philip did not want Alexander to become a haughty and harsh Macedonian when he grew up. So he appointed the well-known philosopher Aristotle as his instructor. The Greek philosophic principles were imparted to Alexander by Aristotle.
Because Aristotle was not a pagan, neither was Alexander. According to Aristotle, there is a Creator who exists. God was referred to by the Greek philosophers as the “First Cause.” In a sense, he pushed the button. But after doing so, He stopped acting in such a way. What occurred on Earth didn’t stick.
Therefore, there was no interference from Heaven as to what happened on Earth. It was another way of unburdening themselves of conscience – except now with the stamp of belief in God.
Alexander was able to tolerate the Jewish religion, due to his belief in God and the stories of the gods. Aristotle also believed that the ideas of the Jews were more acceptable to Alexander. Persian emperors were not.
Between 356 and 323 B.C., Alexander the Great young Macedonian king, conquered all lands east of Greece up to India and as far as South as Egypt.
When he died in 323 B.C. his generals divided among themselves the empire he had created after the battle among the strong generals.
Alexander’s Encounter with the Jews
When he was still a teenager, Alexander succeeded his father as the family’s head. By the time he turned 29, he would be gone. He dominated the entire civilized globe in that brief time.
The Land of Israel was the location of one of his campaigns. He arrived during Simon the Just’s rule as Great High Priest, the final member of the Great Assembly. He arrived, according to the majority of historians, around 329 BCE. He passed away in 323 BCE.
Because they had backed Persia in the conflict, the now-victorious Greeks were feared by the Jews. Two options were available. In the days of the Second Temple, this narrative will be told repeatedly. One was to fight, which is what the Jews did later with the Romans. The second was to somehow come to an accommodation with the enemy.
Simon Just chose the second course. The Jews were not about to defeat Alexander in battle; therefore, the correct way to deal with the matter was to come to an accommodation with him.
The drama of that initial meeting is described in the Talmud (Yoma 69a). Alexander rode in on his renowned white horse, which he rode all over the world in his conquests, and Simon the Just, together with other priests and scholars from the Sanhedrin, came out to meet him at the gates of Jerusalem. The historians of the time claimed that both the horse and Alexander themselves were incredibly tall. Additionally, his helmet was always decorated. Alexander and the horse were roughly 13 feet tall in total. He was a sight to behold, inspiring.
Alexander dismounted and bowed to Simon when he saw him. When his advisers questioned him, he admitted that every time he engaged in combat, he had dreams about an angel guiding him to victory. He claimed that the Jewish High Priest’s visage resembled the angel he had seen in his dreams. He bowed down to him because of this.
Alexander the Great and the Jews
Alexander had a favorable attitude toward the Jews as a result of Aristotle. He negotiated a deal with them as opposed to slaughtering and enslaving them. They could maintain their independence as long as they remained obedient vassals and paid their taxes. The fact that Alexander was so accommodating to everyone was a huge concession.
The Jews made a few gestures of gratitude to Alexander. They first decided to give every child born the following year the name “Alexander.” Because of this, Alexander—or Sender for short—became a popular Jewish name that has persisted to this day.
The opportunity to give their children other Greek names, like Antigonus Tarphon and other names of Greek origin found in the Talmud, was also made available to Jews at the same time. Ironically, by honoring Alexander by naming their children after him, the ancient Greeks unknowingly helped to popularize the Greek language. Greek culture also naturally developed alongside the Greek language.
The Jews also consented to the implementation of a tax collection system that would result in appalling corruption. In fact, it was so fundamentally corrupt that according to the Talmud, everyone who collected taxes was assumed to be a thief. Long after Alexander was defeated, during the time of the Greeks, this dreadfully evil system undermined the Jewish community’s spirit.
Alexander did not plan to die at an early age, but his death left the world in chaos. The man who had controlled it was suddenly not there.
His entire empire could have fallen apart at that moment but split into two. The northern empire was ruled by Seleucus and became known as the Seleucid Dynasty. He was headquartered in the city that is today Damascus. The southern empire was ruled by Ptolemy and was headquartered in the city of Alexandria, which had been renamed in honor of Alexander.
The two generals agreed upon virtually everything — except the line that divided the northern empire from the southern. That put the Land of Israel smack in the middle of their disagreement. The Jews were caught in this tremendous power struggle. The story of the next 130 years would be the balancing act of the Jewish people between the two giants. Sometimes the Jews teetered to the south and sometimes to the north. The South attempted to win the Jewish people by persuasion and culture. The North attempted to do so by force. Both would fail.
On His Death Bed
On his deathbed, Alexander the Great summoned his generals and told them his three ultimate wishes:
>The best doctors should carry his coffin;
>The wealth he has accumulated (money, gold, precious stones, etc.) should be scattered along the procession to the cemetery;
>His hands should be let loose, hanging outside the coffin for all to see!
One of his generals, who was surprised by these unusual requests, asked Alexander to explain.
Here is what Alexander the Great had to say:
1. I want the best doctors to carry my coffin to demonstrate that, in the face of death, even the best doctors in the world have no power to heal.
2. I want the road to be covered with my treasure so that everybody sees that material wealth acquired on earth, stays on earth.
3. I want my hands to swing in the wind, so that people understand that we come to this world empty-handed and we leave this world empty-handed after the most precious treasure of all is exhausted, and that is TIME.
4. We do not take to our grave any material wealth, although our good deeds can be our travelers’ cheques. TIME is our most precious treasure because it is LIMITED. We can produce more wealth, but we cannot produce more time.
5. When we give someone our time, we actually give a portion of our life that we will never take back. Our time is our life!
6. So my dear, the best present that you can give to your family and friends, is your TIME. May God grant you plenty of TIME and may you have the wisdom to give it away so that you can LIVE, LOVE, and DIE in peace.
The Battle Of The Greatest To Succeed Alexander The Great.
The Wars of the Diodochi or Successors, also known as the Macedonian Wars of Succession, can be divided into four phases:
the First War of Structor (322–319),
Second War of Saleion (318–315),
Third War of Successraction (314–311), and
Fourth War of Triumph (308–309).
The conflict is thought to have been fought over two distinct time periods: the wars to succeed Alexander as emperor and the races to divide the empire into distinct realms (306-279 BC).
Stage I. 323-311/306, Wars to succeed Alexander as Emperor.
The joint succession of Philip and Alexander IV, son of Roxane and Alexander, was established in 323 following Alexander’s death. Antipater remained in command of Macedonia, Craterus became the guardian of King Philip III Arrhidaeus and treasury director, and Perdiccas bearing Alexander’s signet ring became regent to the two kings and supreme commander of the imperial armies. The first crisis was the rebellion in 325 of 23000 Greek/Macedonian colonists settled by Alexander in Bactria and beyond. Leonnatus died in Lamian War, 322, instigated by Alexander’s various decrees insisting that he be referred to as a god and that the Greek states accept back some 20,000 exiles he supported. Adipater successfully suppressed this rebellion, dispanded the League of Corinth, and began the precedent of imposing Macedonian garrisons in Greece.
Percy diDiccas attempted to exert supreme authority over all other satraps, summoned those he distrusted to appear at his court for investigations, and in Cappadocia killed Meleager and ordered the arrest of Antigonus, satrap of Lycia, who resisted and fled to Antipeter. Olympias, however, widened the gap between Antipate and Peridiccas by offering her daughter Cleopatra’s hand to PerdICcas. Antitater and the other generals believed that Perdicicas intended on assuming Alexander’s throne, and invaded Asia Minor in 322. Ptolemy, governor of Egypt, persuaded Philip III to let him “kidnap” the body of Alexander, en route to the Macedonian royal tombs in Aegae, and convey it to Egypt.
Antipater replaced Perdiccas as regent to the two kings of Syria after a failed invasion of Ptolemy’s province in 321. He and his officers, Peithon, Antigenes, and Seleucus, assembled the army at Triparadisos in Syria to reorganize the empire. Antipater brought Macedonian royalty back to Pella and killed Alexander, leading to his death in 319. His son Cassander, a veteran of India, left for Antigonus in Asia Minor with the help of Polyperchon, who then withdrew to the Peloponnesus and became irrelevant. Eumenes of Cardia, formerly Alexander’s secretary, killed Craterus and was pursued eastward by AntigonUS.
In a two-year campaign, Antimentus pursued Eumene across the Middle East and killed him at the Battle of Parataecene in 316, assuming command of the eastern provinces. Antipater and Alexander IV were two of the most important figures in the Roman Empire. Antipater killed Peithon and had Antigenes burned alive, while Cassander captured and executed Olympias and Alex IV, who had previously eliminated Philip Arrhidaeus and his wife. Antigonus then withdrew to the Mediterranean coast with the entire stored treasury of the Persian Empire and constructed the largest naval fleet in the Mediterranean. His son, Demetrius, rose to the command of Macedonia’s first amphibious military force and forced the transport of 20,000 men and 8000 horses from Phoenicia to Greece, besieging dozens of harbor cities along the route. This led to the establishment of the City Besieger.
Alexander IV, Ptolemy, Macedonia, and Demetrius Poliorketes were all important figures in the Wars of Antigonus (310 BC-307 BC). Cassander, son of Antipater, killed Roxane and Alexander IV, leading to the division of the empire into Separate principalities. In 306, Antimentus declared himself king and expanded the empire from the Aegean coast of Anatolia to Cilicia, Syria, and Mesopotamia. Lysimachus, an enfranchised Macedonian, invaded Antigonid Anatolia in 302 BC and, with the help of Seleucus’ elephant corps, victory at the Battle of Ipsus in 301 BC. At the Battle of Priam and Phrygia, Lysimusachus and Seleucius defeated Antigonanus and his son Demetrius PoliORKetrius.
Cassander died in 298 BC, leaving behind two warring sons, while Demetrius Politorketaes continued to maraud the Mediterranean coast as a “pirate king” and seized control of Athens. He was driven out by a disgruntled populace. Ptolemy I of Egypt surrendered to Seleucus in 358 BC, while Antigonus Gonatas had four sons and settled into a stable pattern of four sustained successor states until the intervention of Rome.
Maceda was a major component of the Hellenistic Succession, located in the eastern Mediterranean world. It was home to Antigonus Gonatas, the grandson of one of Alexander’s leading generals, and was able to secure control of Philip II’s bastion of Macedonia proper. Macedonia was a compact state well-defended by mountains and was known for its timber resources and silver mines, which provided significant revenues for the leading military establishment of the Greek world. The Antigonids posed a serious threat to all Greek states of the Aegean, and when commanded by aggressive kings such as Philip V, conducted razzias as far removed as the Peloponnesus, invading Laconia and besieging Eumenes II at Pergamum. The Roman Republic found the Antimentids exceedingly difficult adversaries, fighting them 3 times during the Hannibalic War, in 201-197, and a third time in 172-168 BC. The Romans attempted to reorganize Macedonia into a dismembered settlement of 4 small republics, but this failed in 148 BC, and the Roman forces again had to intervene to suppress Macedonian and wider.
Attalid Pergamum (270-133 BC) – capital at Pergamum
The Attalids were a Greek society founded by Philetairos, the Greek secretary of Alexander’s general Lysimachus. He gained royal recognition for his successful efforts at repulsing the Gallic invasion of western Anatolia in 270-269 BC and drove the Gauls into the Phrygian highlands. He was recognized as a liberator and savior and established his hegemony over the four sons of his brother, Attalus I. The Attalsids were celebrated for their cooperation at state-building and handing the royal authority from one to another in succession. They also managed to elevate their realm into the top echelon of Mediterranean states and were equipped with the resources to establish Pergamum as a leading cultural center, its library, sculptures, woven tapestries, and ceramics. The Asian school of sculpture set important trends in the Greek world and profoundly influenced artistic development in Rome.
The Attalids competed for control of the eastern luxury trade, and King Attalus III left his royal domain to the people of the Roman Republic in his will. This led to a dynastic dispute between Pergamum and Rome, which resulted in the Roman province of Asia. Abusive exploitation by Roman tax collectors caused a revolt in Asia in 88 BC, resulting in the massacre of 80,000 Romans, Italians, their families, and servants. L. Cornelius Sulla restored order in 84 BC, and the Roman orator and senator,
Tullius Cicero reported that 40% of the tribute raised by the Republican empire came from Asia alone. The merger of Greco-Roman culture was probably most successfully achieved here. In the imperial era, cities such as Pergamon, Ephesus, Sardis, and Miletus were renowned for their cultural centers.
Seleucid Syria (305-66 BC) – capital at Antioch
The Seleucid was a powerful Greek empire founded by Seveucus, which had its capital at Antioch but enjoyed numerous other Greek colonies in the Syrian territory. The heartland of the empire remained in coastal Syria, but its territories usually included Mesopotamia as well. Antiochus III conducted military operations to restore Seleucid authority, but his defeat by the army of the Roman Republic at the Battle of Magnesia in 188 BC forced him to restrict his authority to the Selecuid heartland and the Mediterranean theatre. The seleucids enjoyed significant wealth and their cities were prominent for their craft work, perfumes, incense, purple-dyed clothing, tapestries, and a highly polished red-slipped freeware known as Eastern Sigillata A. These artisans established several material trends for Mediterranean civilization. The Seleucids were ancient Greek colonizers who founded numerous cities in Anatolia, Syria, and Mesopotamia, largely responsible for the out-migration of Aegean Greek populations to non-Greek areas of the Mediterranean.
The Roman Empire reaped the benefit of their work by colonizing work, but their weakness was due to the high diversity of their subject peoples. Dynastic disputes caused the dynasty to implode c. 160-140 BC, leading to a century of civil war and chaos. Pompey the Great absorbed the remaining vestiges of the empire into the Roman empire as provinces in 66 BC, viewing them as a viable military threat. The creative genius of the dynasty’s craftsmen remained unrivaled.
Ptolemaic Egypt (305-27 BC) – capital at Alexandria
Ptolemy and Seleucids were two of the most important figures in the Roman era, both of which managed to harness the grain production of the Nile and convert Egypt into the “bread basket to the Mediterranean.” Ptolemaic Egypt was the most spectacular of successor states to Alexander and quickly supplanted Athens as the most cosmopolitan urban center of the world. The Ptolemies established reputations as architectural innovators, such as the Roman building form, the basilica, imitating an Alexandrian prototype known as the stoa basilica. They also commanded an extensive eastern Mediterranean naval empire and earned the reputation of being the “paymasters of the Mediterranean” for their high-paying recruitment of mercenaries. However, they suffered from political and military decline during the second century BC due to dynastic disputes and military losses to the neighboring provinces. In the last dynasty, Cleopatra attempted to exploit personal relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony to revitalize Ptolemaic influence.
The Roman Empire served as the “bread basket” during the time, providing grain for the population in Rome. To resist the pressure of Hellenistic dynasts, traditional Greek city-states had to organize themselves into loosely constructed federations. The Aetolian League emerged in central mainland Greece, while the Achaean League in the Peloponnesus was independent. Certain states, Rhodes, Athens, and Sparta, remained independent due to their importance to Mediterranean trade and its naval power, while others, such as Athens, were forced to migrate eastward to join the Greek-speaking intelligentsia or participate in colonizing enterprises. The common denominator to membership in the Hellenistic hierarchy was the Greek language and Greek culture, obtained exclusively through educational training in the Greek gymnasium.
The emerging international community that ran the Hellenistic world assumed a confident new attitude that transcended traditional loyalties to the Greek polis, perceiving themselves as “cosmopolitan” or citizens of the world. This new attitude had a profound effect on society, arts, and philosophy.
AFTER THE WAR OF THE GREAT TO SUCCEED ALEXANDER
Ptolemy became a ruler of the Egypt area of authority, including Palestine, and it remained under the authority of his house until 198 B.C. In that year another King that descended from another general, the Seleucids, gained control of Palestine.
The Seleucids, governed Syria, much of Asia Minor, and all of Persia. This change in the Government of Palestine had very great consequences for the Jewish people.
The Ptolemaic Kings had permitted the Jewish people to practice their religion freely. For more than two hundred and fifty years after their return from exile, the Jews had observed the Mosaic Law as Ezra had taught them. Now their new masters pressed them to surrender their ancient religion and follow Greek ways. Antiochus the Forth was the leader of this movement. Antiochus the 4th was the Seleucid King of Syria. He came to the throne in 175 B.C. When the Jews resisted his policies, riots, and Massacres resulted. The Jewish religion was forbidden, Greek religion was enforced, prostitutes were brought into the temple, and Jewish ceremony was prohibited especially circumcision. Most offensive of all, the Torah was openly burnt.
The rebellion against the Seleucid rule that now broke out in full strength was led by an aged priest named Mattathias and his four sons (163 B.C.) of these Judas was their leader. Together they are known as the Maccabees that are men who fight violently. In 141 the Jews gained a complete victory over their Seleucid enemies and for the first time since 586 B.C. Israel again became an Independent nation, She kept her freedom for only eight years. In 63 B.C., the civil war in Palestine gave occasion to Rome to establish her authority there, And so for the next sixty years, Israel lived semi-independent, her rulers being appointed by Rome.
In 37 B.C. Herod (known as Herod the Great during whose reign Jesus was born) became king with Rome’s approval. After the death of Herod, the Kingdom was divided among his sons; Archelaus received Judea, Samaria, and Idumea. Herod Antipas received Galilee and Philip received the area northeast of Galilee. 1a A.D, 6, Archelaus was deposed because of misconduct and sent into exile. His area became Roman procurators. From A.D. 26-36, the Procurators of Judah were a Roman named Pontius Pilate.