From Babylon to Bethlehem – Hasmonean Dynasty, continued

December 7, 2009

Out of the Maccabean revolt, three rulers rise successively, Judah
Maccabee, Jonathan, and then Simon. Simon and two of his his sons were
murdered, and only John Hyrcanus was left to rule. Various other rulers
rise and fall, but Salome Alexandra is the only woman in antiquity to
rule Judea and be praised for it.

During this time, Israel was consolidating power and various cities
were breaking from Seleucid empire. John Hyrcanus rules as high priest
and ethnarch, annexing Samaria and the remnants of Edom (now the
Idumeans), forcing the people to become Jewish and be circumcised. The
leading families of the Idumeans would become important, including the
family of Herod.

During the later times leading up to Roman rule, the Jewish rulers
start calling themselves kings, and their courts populated by
Hellenized Jews. Several factions emerge, including the Pharisees and
Essenes who react against these rulers. The Pharisees have a number of
beliefs, such as belief in the resurrection and in oral tradition, that
mark them as very different from the beliefs of the ruling class, which
would include the Sadducees.

The Pharisees also had leaders who were not priests, but rather what
would become the modern-day rabbi. The tension between the Pharisees
and the Sadducees reached a head when the Pharisees demanded that the
king choose between being a king or being high priest. The king sided
with the Sadducees, which led to a civil war and suppression of the

Be sure to look at the image embedded in the MP3, which will make it much easier to follow.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian’s Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees.

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