A Table of Dates and Rulers Related to Palestine
During the Inter-biblical Period
PTOLEMID EMPIRE (EGYPT)
(Confusion with rival claimants for the next 30 years)
RULERS OF JUDEA FROM B.C. 4 TO FALL OF JERUSALEM A.D. 70
The Interbiblical Period (400-5 B.C.)
A. Persian Rule (539/538-332 B.C.)
B. Greek Rule (322-167 B.C.)
1. Alexander the Great (332-323 B.C.) Succeeded Philip of Macedon, his father in 336 B.C. Upon his death, Alexander’s Empire divided among his generals—two of whom really concern us: Ptolemy and Seleucus
2. Ptolemaic Rule (232-198 B.C.) Ptolemy and his dynasty ruled Palestine from Egypt
a. Ptolemy I (“Soter,” 323-285 B.C.) Built Lighthouse on Island of Paphos
b. Ptolemy II (“Philadelphus,” 285-245 B.C.) Built or rebuilt many cities in Palestine as centers of Greek culture: Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gaza and Joppa, Gezer, Strato’s Tower, Sidon, Ptolemais, Samaria, Beth-shan, now renamed Scythopolis.
c. Ptolemy V (a child) Lost Palestine to the Seleucids in 198 B.C.
3. Seleucid rule (198-167 B.C.)
Seleucus I (“Nicator,” 281 B.C.)
Antiochus I (Seleucus’ son, 281-261 B.C.)
Antiochus II (married Bernice, daughter of Ptolemy II, 261-246 B.C.)
Antiochus III (brother of Seleucus III, 223-187 B.C.)
Seleucus II (246-226 B.C.)
Seleucus III (226-223 B.C.)
Antiochus III (called “Antiochus the Great”) He took Palestine away from the Ptolemies.
The Jewish High Priest and Simon II (His family often called the Onaids) were against Hellenizing influences.
Another Jewish family, the Tobiad, was for Hellenization.
The Hasidim “the pious people” of Jerusalem who deplored and rejected Hellenization.
Rome defeated Antiochus in 188 B.C. and laid heavy tribute on him.
Seleucus IV — 187-175 B.C.
Antiochus IV — 175-163 B.C. “Epiphanes” (Brother of Seleucus IV) Antiochus Epiphanes removed the high priest, Onias III, and appointed his brother in his place — Jason, a Hellenized Jew. The Hasidim strongly opposed him. He later replaced Jason with Menelaus as high priest (and with his help Antiochus later robbed the Temple of 1800 talents of gold!) After a rumor that he had been killed spread in Jerusalem causing a Jewish uprising, Antiochus stopped the Temple ritual, ordered their Scriptures destroyed and Sabbaths not to be observed. He demanded that Zeus be worshipped. An altar to Zeus was set up in the Temple! The Jews were not allowed to circumcise their children and they were forced to eat pork.
C. Maccabean Rule or Hebrew Independence 167-63 B.C.
1. Mattathias — priest at Modin; father of five sons — his family was called Hasmonean, from Hasmon an ancestor of Mattathias.
2. Judas — called “Maccabeus” or “The Hammer”
Gained religious freedom for Jews by means of guerilla warfare over the Seleucids. Cleansed the Temple and rededicated it, Dec. 25— either 165 or 164 B.C. (Hanukkah or Festival of Lights); Onias IV (sons of the deceased legitimate Jewish High Priest) built a Jewish Temple in Egypt at Leontopolis and duplicated the Jerusalem ritual. This priestly lineage lasted 230 years.
3. Jonathan succeeded Judas — 160 B.C. - 143 B.C.
4. Simon gained power upon Jonathan’s death and in either 143 or 142 B.C. gained Seleucid recognition of political independence. He was made hereditary high priest and was assassinated by his son-in-law in 134 B.C. or 135 B.C.
5. John Hyrcanus (Simon’s son) succeeded him — 135-105 B.C. Destroyed Samaritan Temple. The Sadducees and Pharisees now appear in history according to Josephus.
6. Aristobulus I — 105-104 B.C. For one year, son of John, called himself “king.” He was supported by the Sadducees.
7. Alexander Jannaeus, 104-103 B.C. — 78-77 B.C. or 76
Half-brother of Aristobulus. He became king and high priest after marrying the widow Salome Alexandra. He was supported by the Sadducees. He appointed Antipater as governor of Idumea. This was the zenith of power and greatness of the Maccabean kingdom.
8. Salome Alexandra — ruled nine years as queen, making her son, Hyrcanus II (who was a Pharisee), high priest and her other son, Aristobulus II (who was a Sadducee), military commander. This caused a civil war between them. Antipater of Idumea and Artas, King of Nabatea at Petra, helped Hyrcanus II. Pompey, a Roman general, arrived in Damascus in 63 B.C. and both Hyrcanus and Aristobulus II appealed for support.
D. Roman Rule — 63 B.C.
1. Pompey — supported Hyrcanus II with Antipater as advisor.
2. Julius Caesar — gave Antipater great power as procurator of Judea and Antipater made his two sons, Herod and Phasael, military prefects over Galilee and Judea respectively.
3. Mark Anthony appointed Herod and Phasael “tetrarchs” jointly over Judea in 41 B.C.
4. Parthia overran and controlled Judea from 40-39 B.C. and a high priest ruled as king. Phasael committed suicide but Herod escaped to Rome and, with help of Antony and Octavius, the Senate made him King of the Jews. It took two or three years of war to take full control of Palestine. When Octavius and Antony (and Cleopatra) had a showdown in 31 B.C. at Actium, Octavius emerged as ruler of the Roman world and Herod secured his support.
5. Rule of Herod — 37-4 B.C. : in theory, an independent king in alliance with Rome.
a. An Idumean (or Edomite)
b. Had overthrown a Hasmonean ruler — so he married an Hasmonean Princess, Marianne. Murder, intrigue, etc. followed.
c. Expanded his territory considerably
d. Great builder
(1) Caesarea by the Sea
(2) Temple started in 20 or 19 B.C. and took until 64 A.D. to complete
(3) Samaria became Sebaste in honor of Augustus.
(4) so too, Antipatris northeast of Joppa
(5) so too, Phasaelis north of Jericho
(6) and fortresses were built such as Machaerus and Masada
e. His family who ruled:
(1) Archelaus — 4 B.C. - 6 A.D. ruled Judea, but he was removed and procurators were instituted in his place (cf. Matt. 2:20-22)
(2) Herod Antipas — ruled Perea and Galilee; executed John the Baptist. Built city of Tiberius on Sea of Galilee in A.D.. 22. Became the center of Jewish learning after Jerusalem destroyed in A.D. 70.
(3) Philip the Tetrarch — ruled Northeast of Palestine. Capitol city of Panion rebuilt. (He is not the husband of Herodias.) Called capitol city Caesarea, hence Caesarea Philippi. Rebuilt Bethsaida and called it Bethsaida Julius in honor of Julia, the daughter of Augustus Caesar.
(4) Antiochus IV — 175-163 B.C. “Epiphanes” (brother of Seleucus IV). Antiochus Epiphanes removed the high priest, Onias III, and appointed his brother in his place — Jason, a Hellenized Jew. The Hasidim strongly opposed him. He later replaced Jason with Menelaus as high priest (and with his help Antiochus later robbed the Temple of 1800 talent of gold!) After a rumor that he had been killed spread in Jerusalem, causing a Jewish uprising, Antiochus stopped the Temple ritual, ordered their Scriptures destroyed and Sabbaths not to be observed. He demanded that Zeus be worshiped. An altar to Zeus was set up in the Temple! The Jews were not allowed to circumcise their children and they were forced to eat pork.
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