From 400 – 333 B. C. Persian rule continued after the close of the Old Testament until Greece conquered Persia in 333 B. C. under Alexander the Great. Rule by Persia had been mild and tolerant compared to Babylon and Greece. During this period Palestine suffered by being caught between warring Persia an Egypt.

While Alexander lived, the Jews were treated fairly. After his death in 323 B. C. Palestine was ruled by the Greek Ptolemies of Egypt who constantly battled the Greek Seleucids of Syria.

From 320 – 198 B. C. many Jews migrated to Egypt and the Hebrew Bible was translated into the Greek Septuagint (LXX) approximately 285 B. C.

In 198 Syrian Antiochus the Great conquered Palestine from Egypt and divided it into its New Testament names of Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Perea and Trachonitis. The high priest was allowed to rule with a council.

In 180 B. C. Seleucid Queen Cleopatra I Syra married Ptolemy V, the King of Egypt, and Palestinian rule reverted to Egypt until she died.

In 170 B. C. Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) (the little horn of Daniel 8) reclaimed Palestine after war with Egypt. He then profaned the temple, inteferred with the priesthood and enslaved many. On December 25, 168 B. C. he defiled the temple by offering a sow on the great altar (compare Matthew 24:15). Temple worship was forbidden and Jews were compelled to eat pork.

This began war between Palestine and Syria with Mattathias as the Jewish leader. Palestine gained independence in 160 B. C. for the first time since 609 B. C. Mattathias was the first brother of the Maccabeans to rule as priest-kings. After signing a protection treaty with Rome in 161 B. C., the war ended. The festival of Hanukkah celebrates the victory and independence.

In 154 B. C. high priest Onias IV, with the permission of Ptolemy VI. (Philometor), built a temple at Leontopolis, Egypt which, though comparatively small, was modeled on that of Jerusalem.

Onias IV., who enjoyed the favor of the Egyptian court, succeeded in elevating Egyptian Judaism to a position of dignity and importance. A large number of able-bodied Judeans accompanied Onias to Egypt.

In 143 B. C. John Hyrcannus established the Hasmodean priest-king rule in Judea. A long civil-war followed.

In 125 B. C. the Hasmodeans conquered Edom and forced its citizens to accept Judaism. This included the family of Herod.

In 63 B. C. Pompey of Rome conquered Judea and allowed puppet rule by Herod’s father Antipater.

In 47 B. C. troops under Judean King Hyrcannus II led by Idumean Antipater rescued Julius Caesar and Cleopatra VII. With Caesar’s approval Antipater appointed his son Herod governor of Galilee. After disorder followed, Herod fled to Rome and returned as King of the Jews. Herod the Great married Marianne, grand-daughter of Hyrcannus.

From 37 B. C. until 6 B. C. Herodian kings ruled the Judean territory for Rome. Rabbi Hillel became more influential than the priesthood. The Jerusalem Temple became the only religious structure in the Roman Empire which was not required to display the emperor’s statue. Also their religious taxes stayed in their own temple.

In 30 B. C. Cleopatra VII died after losing a battle to Octavian and Egypt became a Roman province.

In 6 B. C. Judea became a Roman province.

Between the testaments the Mishna, Gemara, Halachoth, and Kabala originated and, in practice, replaced the Law with their tradtion.

The “second canon” (deuteron-canonical) books are the books and passages of the Old Testament that are not part of the Hebrew Bible Masoretic Text). Although part of the 1611 King James Bible, the deuterocanonical books are considered canonical (that is, authoritative parts of the Bible) by Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox, but they are considered non-canonical by most Protestants mainly because Jews never accepted them and they contain many errors.

The Apocrypha contains both “second-canon” and non-canonical books called “false-writings” (pseudo-pigrypha).

Although the Catholic Church first approved the Deutero-Canonical books in 393 A. D., they were all written between the Old and New Testaments: Tobit, Judith, Esther 10:4 to 16:24, Wisdom of Solomon, Baruch, Daniel Prayer of Azariah, Daniel Susanna, Daniel Bel and the Dragon, 1 Macabees, 2 Maccabees.

PSEUDOPIGRAPHA: 3 & 4 Maccabees, Assumption of Moses, 1 Enoch, 2 Enoch, Jubilees, 2 & 3 Baruch, Letter of Aristeqas, Life of Adam and Eve, Ascension of Isaiah, Psalms of Solomon, Sibylline Oracles, Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs Perhaps the worst feature of Greek rule for the Jews was the attempts to impose Greek culture upon conquered nations. This included the language, political structure and gods of Greece along with the gymnasium where nude exercise and games were the norm.

This period saw the creation of the Pharisees (resurrection), Sadducees (priests-no resurrectdion), Herodians (politicians) and Essenes (separated ascetic monastery scribes) as religious and political groups. Pharisee-rabbis built synagogues with schools to combat Greek influence. Great and small Sanhedrin were rabbinical institutions which had more authority than the high priests.

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