The Persian and Hellenistic period(517b.c-167b.c)
586b.c-538b.c the babilonian peiord.
It is appeared that the vacuum that the Jews left in the center of Israel-Syria,Was filed with the Edomin expending to Hevron and even to the Phlishtim areas,While the Phoenicians expend all over the coastal area, Even until Gaza.It seemed that the Samaritans,That were borough there by the Assyrians stayed passive for now,While a Small Jewish presence remained in the east bank of the Jordan,What was called the Tuviya house,And that will be very influential in the area up until the rise of the Hashmonahin in second century b.c:
Other tribes either immigrated to the area or were brought to the area by the Assyrians and Babylonians, Like the Nabatines.
But if we read the description that Herodotues give during the 5 century,It seems that while Arab tribes settled between Gaza to El arish, Jews and remnants of the Northern Israelis that weren't exiled by the Assyrians,And ancient tribes that after 700 years of living under Israeli rule assimilated to the Jews ,Lived from Lebanon to Gaza.Though Herodotus call them Syrians,Or the Syrian in Palestine(the Greek word for Israel)his report that only the Syrians in that area practice circumcision,Leave no doubt that he is referring to the Jews.He also report about *Syrians* in north Sinai,Which comply with the story about the escape of Jews to Egypt after the murder of Gedalia.
538b.c-516 the return of Zion:
The Persian empire inherited the near east after the Babylonians,And its king Cyrus allowed enslaved nations to worshiped their gods as they believed and allowed exiled population to return to their homelands,Including the Jews:
The Jews were allowed to return to Judea, To live autonomicly, And to restore its temple in Jerusalem.
Cyrus appointed Zerubabel, A descended from the house Yehoyachin,To lead the Jews to return to Judea. Around 40,000 Jews returned and until 516 b.c they completed the rebuilding of the temple.
The returning Jews resettled 19 cities in Judea.Though,The neighboring nations,like the semeretans, wanted to practice in the Reconstruction of the temple, the Jews refused.
The Jews were led by the pacha,Which was appointed by the Persian kings,And also by the Kneset gedola,Which had 120 man parlement,Which were mainly the Kohanim (priests) ,The kohen gadol,Which was in charge of the temple,Was a descended of the Tsadok family,That served in the Kohen gadol position in the first temple period as well.
Before that,In 472b.c, Jews in the empire were threatened with elimination by an evil minister to the Persian king , Name Haman.Mordechai the Jew, That saved the king from assassination in the past,Send his niece Ester to the king without reviling her origin. She married the king, And after reveling the king the minister evil intentions, The king (Xerxes I)that already approved the order to eliminate all the Jews in the empire,Allow the Jews to armed them self and to attack the people that were suppose to carry out the order,And this is how the Jews were save.The Jews celebrate that event every year with great drinking, gift sharing, wearing costumes,its the festival of Purim.
Ezra, Was appointed the pacha of medinat Yehud in 457,He change the Hebrew letters to the square Assyrian letters,And change the names of the months to Babylonians names.
Ezra was from the Kohanim Tsadok family,and after gaining a very respectfull position in the Persian administration,was appointed to lead all the Jews in the Syria-Israel area,he even had the right to decreat capital punishment.
he returned to Jerusalem with a big wave of Jewish returness from Bablyonia.he recived a speical allawence from the king to run the province/
From Ezra's time,the tradition to read the Torah scroll infront of the praying audience started,along side the worship and the sacrifice in the temple.600 years later when the temple would be destroied by the Roman,the worship of the Torah scrolls and constant reading of it infront of the praying audience would come instead of the dystroyed temple.
In his time , Medinat Yehud had also its own dimes:
He was a minister of the markets for the king.and before that one of the Persian king most trusted persons.
he was incharge as the pacha of medinat yehud.
He was given permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, And that upset the Sameratens that complain to the king.
to nechamias project of rebuilding the walls and to nechamia high position had three main opponest:sanblat,the samaretans pacha of samaria,tuviya,the head a of the rich family from transjordan,and gasham,the head of the Arab merchants that setteled in Gaza.
they formed an alliance and tried to atack the Jews while they rebuild the walls.
In 52 days :The Jews finished the work, And Nechemia renewed the pact between the Israelis to God.
in the the gathering of all the people in Jerusalen in 444bc he convince the rich land lords,that many of them were kohanim and other nobel families that enjoyed tax examption ,to eraes all the debts that the Jewish farmers and workers had and to return any confiscated land and crops that was seised from them if their debt wasnt payed,or to set free people that were inslaved because of their unpayed debts.
Nechamiya used his position to force labor to work in the building of the walls,he decreat that 10 % of the poppulation should live in Jerusalem.he also started the temple annual tax sysytem of 1/3 of the shekel in addition of log tax for the temple.
433b.c: Nechemia returned to Persia,But return again to Judea in 431b.c.
He dismisses the Tuviyas from the east bank of the Jordan from the temple, Restore order.
419B.C:Elyashive son of elyakim the great kohen dies after 43 years of service,from 462 b.c.his son,Yehoyada replace him up until 383b.c.
383B.C: after Yehoyada dies,his son ,Yochanan replace him as the great kohen of the tample in Jerusalem.
on that time,
The Persian general that control Israel,Bagoses,Imposed tributs and heavy taxes on the Jews,He also promise the Kohen gadol position to the brother of the present Kohen gadol.The two brothers argue in the temple and the Kohen gadol kill his brother in his anger.The Persian general use that as an excuses to impose more taxes on the Jews and to humiliate them for 7 years.
350B.C:Yochanan dies and his son,Yadua ,replace him.
343b.c:The Jews in Judea participate in local rebellion against the Persian empire,Toghter with Egypt and Phonicia. the rebelion failed,and thousands of Jews,Especially from Egypt,were exiled to the Caspian sea area.
The Jewish rebelion against the Persians at that time was actually mainlly becouse of Begesus or Begu,that oppresed the Jews and the other nations in the empire.
Begesus assaisnet the king in 339 b.c and crown a popet king under his control,and after kiling that king too in 336 b.c he crown another king,Darius,
that finaly finish Begsus and kill him,but the damage to the Persian empire was done.
332b.c:The Persian empire fall and replaced by the Hellenist-Greek empire.
But for the Jews in Judea this was a dangerous moment.
According to Jewish sources, Alexander the great send messengers to Judea,Informing the local leaders of his arriving and ask for their loyalty against then Persian.
But Yadua, the Kohen gadol, Refused to break his ought to the Persian king.
Alexander was very angry on that, And after he met the leader of the Sameretens, That promise their loyalty to Alexander, And that caused great fear in the Jews as the king arrive to Jerusalem.The Kohanim and the citizens open the gates of the city after a few days of praying, and surprisingly,Alexander wasn’t angry, But rather politely entered the temple and sacrifice at the alter a tribute to God.
Israel was between Syria and Egypt and was a battlefield between the Egyptian Ptolemies and Syrian Seleucid's.During the wars a 100,000 Jews are expelled from Judea to Egypt.
Meanwhile a great wave of Greek and Macadonian immigrants settled in Israel,And mixed with the population,Especially with the Semite remains of the Phoenician,Philishitim and Canaanite,While assimilating their Greek gods with eastern gods.
Greek cities,a polis, were established especially in the coastal area,Like Acre,Gaza,Yafo and also in trans Jordan,But the Hellenism inside the country, On the Jews, Took much longer then that,And hardly.
330b.c: Hunyo(onias) I Kohen gadol, Ruled until 310 b.c.
According to Josefus plavius, Hunyo used to be in connections with the king of Sparta.
In 323 b.c Alexander the great died with no heirs,his generals batteled each other over the control.first,Perdix controled Israel but a year after Ptolemai I assassinat him and invaded Israel,he entered Jerusalem during the Shabat when the Jews are busy in their praying.he pretented to come in peace but when entered the city he captured 100,000 Jews and brought them as slaves to Egypt.in Egypt he change his attitude and setteled the Jews to guard important forts and also in Alexandria,where those Jews trade provided much economic oppurtunitis to their brothers in Israel and they trade Israeli olive oil with Egyptian wheet.he also setteled Jews in north Africa.
in 314 b.c Antigonus conqured the area until 312 b.c when both Ptolemai and Selecus defeated him.Selecus also setteled many Jews from Babylon and Syria in Asia minor.
310B.C:Onio I dies,his son,Shimon I,replace him up until 291 b.c.during his time the population of Jerusalem was counted as 120,000 people.
301b.c: After the battle of Epsus,The traditional partition between the Seleucid's and the Ptolemies dynasty was decided, And Israel would be under Egyptian rule for a long time.
291B.C:after Shimon I dies,his son,Elazar,replace him,up until 272 b.c.
during his time the Ptolemai king was Ptolemai II,that released all the Israeli slaves that were captured by his father.
he also ask Elazar to translet the Hebrew bible to Greek.this would be the first translation of the Hebrew bible,and it made the bible avalabe for all people.
272B.C:after Elazar,his uncle Menashe replace him up until 250 b.c.
in his time,the second Syrian war started from 260 b.c to 253 b.c.
253b.c: The end of the second Syrian war:Which ended up in marriage between the princes of each side:Which will cause the start of the third Syrian war in 246 b.c.
The Jews in Judea supported the Seleucid,And the Kohen gadol,Hunyo II,Refused to pay its taxes to the Ptolemies.
The relation between Judea and Egypt went cold,But as soon as the war ended,The Tuviya clan from trans Jordan used the opportunity to condem the Kohen gadol in front of the people,And to received the appointment from the people to go to Egypt and to appeased the Egyptians.
yosef ben tuviya was incharge of colecting the tax not just from Judea,but from all of Israel.in Ashkelon and Bet shaan for example,he punished the population for not paying him.
But the Tuviya clan, That wanted nothing but their own profit, Appeased the Egyptians kings with promise to pay triple the tax:And for 20 years the Tuviya used their positions as the tax collector to plunder Judea,up until 222b.c.
223b.c-217 b.c:The forth Syrian war.The Seleucid's king,Antiocus III try to conquer Israel with no success,After the greatest battle ever thought in Israel,The battle of Rafha.After the Ptolemaic victory,The king was accepted in Jerusalem and Yaffo by the Jews.
221b.c:Onio II dies,and his son,Shimon II,or Shimon the pius,replace him for 40 years.this is cosider to be the end of the Kneset gedola period that started in Babylonian exile in 586 b.c,and the begining of the Zugot period that last until Hillel the wise.
Shimon was active in pubilc work already before his father death,since his father Onio II was appointed to the kohen gadol position in his old age and was very disliked by the Ptolemai kings.
202b.c--198 b.c The fifth Syrian war. Antiocus III conquer Israel,That survived a big Ptolemy counter attack.This time ,The Jews help the Seleucid's to conquer Jerusalem.
in the Ptolemai counter attack Shimon the pius orginaises the defence of the city but the Ptolemai found an open in the wall and invade the city,they dystroyed the wall,captured many Jews to slavery and even entered the holly temple.this is why the Jews were happy to accept the Selecuds.
Many Jews suffered both in Israel and in Egypt from the great prosecution by the Ptolemies , Massacres and exile to Asia minor during the war:
But once the war was over,
The king granted the Jews their rights ,As it recorded in Josefus plavius writings,And in the Cheftsiva inscriptions. The transfer to the Seleucid rule, Weaken the influence of the Tuviya clan,And the Kohanim had once again gain their traditional power.
189b.c: The Seleucid lose in the battle of Magnesia to the Roman republic,And heavy taxes and fines is imposed on the empire. The Romans will start to interfile with the Seleucid affairs.
175b.c:The Kohen gadol,Honyo III have an argument with Shimon ben bilga,That belong to a family that assimilate itself to the Hellenists about the control on the markets,An argument that bilga take to the Seleucid's to decide.
But ben bilga also told the Seleucid Governor that beside the great amount of money that is coming from annual and daily donations to the temple, There is also the money of the Tuviya clan,That were pro-Ptolemy.The Seleucid Governor entered the temple in order to confiscate the money, And immediately died in a mysterious way, according to makkabim 2.
Meanwhile, The rumor about the violation of the temple Holiness and the betrail of Ben bilga stirred riots in Jerusalem,And Honiyo III was arrested by the Seleucid new king,Antiocus VI.
Honiyo III brother,Yehoshua,Or as he called himself yasun(Jason)Offered the king a great amount of money,In exchange for his brother position, And the building of a gimnasion in Jerusalem.Yason was a pro Hellenist,And wish to make all of Judea,Under his control and with the Seleucid protection ,A Hellenist polis.
The appointment of a new Kohen gadol while the old one is stile alive, With the appointment of a foreign empire and for money was un thinkable in Israel.
Yasun controlled Jerusalem for 3 years.
172b.c:Menalaus,The brother of shimon ben bilga,was appointed by Yasun to go to Antiocus to pay the bribe money,Menelaus offered Antiocus an even bigger bribe to replace Yasun with himself, And was accepted immediately.
170b.c: Menelaus corruptness upset the people.He wasn’t even from the great Kohanim family, But using the Tuviya clan and the Seleucid army ,He controlled every Resistance and put heavy taxes on the people.
Menelaus even tried to bribe the king to kill Honiyo with stolen money from the temple.
His brother, Lisimacus ,Rob the temple while Menelaus went to see the king, And was killed by the people.The elders of Jerusalem went to Tyre to complain to the king about Menelaus,But Menelaus had the king execute them.
169b.c:Antiocus VI plunder the temple in Jerusalem,Without any provocation from the Jews.Antiocus is said to plunder and clean up many other temples in Egypt as well.The king stole the main worship tools including the alter.
168b.c: Antiocus defeat the Ptolemy dynasty in Egypt, But the Roman empire denied him from the spoil.
A rumor that Antiocus died encourage Yasun to rebel and push Menelaus out of
Antiocus returned to Jerusalem,And Yasun fled the city.In his anger he massacre some of the Jews and enslaved them.He appointed a new governor, That very soon attacked the Jews on Shabat:And he built the Hakra,A castle inside Jerusalem near the temple,And putted heavy taxes on the Jews.
167b.c: The Jews are forced to observed foreign rules and are forbidden to observe their own rules,They are forced to worship idols,Eat non Kosher food.On 25/12 167 b.c a sacrifice for an idol was burned in the temple.Death penalty was imposed on anyone who follow the Torah.
Mothers that circumcised their sons were hanged.Small resistance occurred here and there but it all ended up in the brutal death of the Jews and their families.
Tacitus,The famous Roman historians that is famous for is hate for the Jews,report about that as well:
The Jewish rebellion:
In the town of Modiin, The Resistance started with the Hashmonai family, Which were a Kohanim family,And the father Matityau killed the Seleucid messenger that try to force him to worship an idol.The Hashmonaim fled to the woods and caves north and east of Jerusalem, And used garila warfare.They also allowed resistance on Shabat,And very fast become very popular among the people,And pro Hellenist couldn’t operate in the villages.
Matitayau third son,First he ambushed Apolonius near Lebuna.It was the first time that a Jewish force ever attack a big and strong Hellenist force ,And it was the time that it won.The Jews acquire many weapon then.
Soon after,Yehuda attacked a force led by Siron near Bet horon and won.
After that, Yehuda defeat the big Seleucid camp in Amaus.The victory in Amaus,Not only gain Yehuda many weapons as spoil, But also attracted thousands of Jews to join him and fight.
After that,Lisias, Which was in charge of the area,Try to appease the Jews with promising to stop the religious oppression,But without any comment about the temple,And was rejected by Yehuda.After that Lisias try to invade Judea form he south but was stooped in Beit zur.
After that there were some negotiations between the sides,And even the Romans took interest in the dispute.With the death of Antiocus in 164 b.c, Yehuda took control over Jerusalem and purified the temple from all idol worship,And build new worship tools.It was on the 25 of kislev(December)that the Temple renew its Jewish worship,And it become a great holiday up until today, Its called Hanuka.
Riots against Jews started in Israel,And Yehuda rush to help them.
First Yehuda help the Jews in trans-jordan while his brother help the Jews in the Galil.Yehuda’s sergeants failed to take Yavne,But when Yehuda returned from Trans Jordan he conquer Hevron,And burn the ports of Yaffo and Yavne.
Lisias couldn’t do much in 163-162 b.c,But when Yehuda siege the Hakra in Jerusalem,Lisias had to attack him.
A big army with Elephants was assembled near Beit zekaria, Near Jerusalem,And even the boy king was there.Eliezer,Yehuda’s brother died while killing an Elephant that he thought the king was on it.
Though Lisias won,And Yehuda fled to the woods,The situation in Syria demand a temporally peace in Judea,And lisias got to a short peace with Yehuda,And Menelaus was executed,And alkimus was appointed as Kohen.
162b.c:The control over the Seleucid empire was taken by Dimiteris, That got rid of Lisias and the boy king.But many parts of the Seleucid empire didn’t acknowledge Dimitries as the legit king, Including the Roman empire.
Though until 160 b.c the king had to deal with Babel, He send Bakhides to Judea and he was accepted in Jerusalem with no opposition's.But Bakhides, Revenge the Jews that supported Yehuda and now supported Alkimus and executed many Jews .
Bakhides,Thought that by doing that the Judea problem is over and went back to Babel,But his massacres of Jews had only isolated Alkimos and thousands of Jews supported Yehuda again.
After Bakhides, Nikanor,That was appointed on Judea,Tried to help Alkimus,And after a small battle against Shimon,Negotiate a peace deal with Yehuda,Just like Lisias before.
But the king demand Nikanor to cancel any promises to Yehuda and get rid of him.
Nikanor attacked Yehuda north of Jerusalem, And lost. He eventually run way to the Hakra.In the battle of Adesa,Yehuda defeat Nikanor.
After seeing that three is no hope for peace with the Selecids, Yehuda turned to Rome, And in 161 b.c a pact was signed between the two nations.
160a.d: Dimiteris defeated his opponents from Babel, And now had the time to move on Judea.Bakhides and Alkimus invaded Jerusalem and massacred many Jews on the way.The two armies met in Elasha, And Yehuda fall in the battle and his man fled to the woods and deserts