The Second Temple Period

Introduction The Second Temple period is a remarkable time in history. To gain a full understanding of the New Testament, one must thoroughly explore the political and religious background of this time period. Prior to the Second Temple period, the Hebrews were in captivity under Babylonian rule. This captivity dispersed the Hebrews among many locations with major effects upon the people, including social, cultural, and religious. Although the majority of the Hebrews would never return to the land of Israel, the Second Temple period records significant historical facts that shaped the future of the Jewish people. This discussion will provide a brief history of the Second Temple period, beginning with the Persian period and ending with …show more content…
At the beginning of this period, Babylon was conquered by Cyrus, the King of Persia. Previously, the Jewish community had been exiled to Babylon and required to intersperse with other ethnic and national groups. Cyrus made changes and allowed them to return to Jerusalem. Under the leadership of Sheshbazzar, Zerubbabel, and Jeshua the priest, the Jews began the process of rebuilding the temple. When the project was finished in 516, the ceremonial worship was …show more content…
With the fall of Persian Empire and the death of Alexander, the Jewish nation had to endure a long line of Greek kings who believed their culture and beliefs were greater than any others. With Greek rule, the Hellenistic culture remained as a prominent influence throughout many of these lands.
With Israel’s strategic location between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies, Israel became a place of battle for the two kingdoms. Both powers had much interest in the land of Israel due to its significance and influence in trade. During one of the battles in Jerusalem, Ptolemy took 120,000 Jews captive and brought them to Alexandria where they stayed for many years. Some Jews probably remained as slaves to Alexandria. However, for many Jews this led to opportunity and prosperity. In addition, it led to the infusion of the Greek culture. The Hebrew Scriptures were even translated into the Septuagint, which is a Greek rendering. This rendering was actually beneficial to some Jews who now knew Greek better than the Hebrew language. It, evidently, was all part of God’s plan to prepare the scriptures for infusion of the Gospel into the entire

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