Continuation of the period in which the House of Judah returned from Babylon 538 B.C. to the Roman exile of the Jews in the first century.
Alexander the Great around 331 BC with his conquests came the rise of Greece one of the four world powers. The conquest of the Mediterranean world by Alexander the Great ended the Persian control of Israel starting in 538 and lasting for some 200 years.
The Hellenistic period lasted from around 331 B.C. to 63 B.C. when it was conquered by the Roman Empire. People in the Greek conquered lands learned the Greek language of the time which became dominant. The Jews became so familiar with Greek only, that’s what they spoke and read.
Interestingly Koine Greek was the Greek language spoken at that time, but down through the centuries it became a dead language and fortunately so definitions of words stayed the same. It was a simplified version of classical Greek and was spread by Alexander the Great throughout the Mediterranean world.
Around 285 BC the Septuagint a Greek translation of the old testament was being used by the Jews. It was based on Hebrew manuscripts that had been lost. The Septuagint consisted of all thirty nine of the Old Testament books. The Jews used this collection of books for hundreds of years, but being criticized for what was used in it they came up with only using the first five books of the Old Testament which they call the Torah and we call them the Pentateuch.
The Roman Empire took control of Israel in 63 B.C. installing their own governor, but had much trouble controlling the population eventually destroying the temple in 70 A.D.. King Herod of Israel put in power by the Roman government initiated a massive rebuilding project, the aim of which was to restore the splendor of Solomon’s Temple in this magnificently rebuilt temple one of King Herod’s achievement.
Herod had been appointed King of Israel by the Roman Senate. He was known as Herod the Great and ruled for about 37 years, Herod died at Jericho about 4 B.C.. With his secret police they were told to keep under surveillance the general population and report their belief towards him. He sought to prohibit protests and if any resistance they’d be taken away by force. Sources say he had a bodyguard of 2,000 soldiers.
Herod executed several members of his own family including his second wife Mariamne I. He banish his first wife, Doris and a three-year-old son.At the time of Christs birth an angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him and was there until the death of Herod, from Matthew 2:13-15.
When Herod heard a child would be born that would be King of the Jews he became enraged and concerned when the child grew up he would take his place. So he sent out soldiers to slaughter all male children two years old and under in the surrounding area, note Matthew 2:1-4, 7, 16.
The Following List of Verses is From Matthew 27 on the Jews selecting Christs for Execution
Matthew 27:1-2, 11-26 (KJV)
- 1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death
- 2 And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
- 11 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.
- 12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
- 13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?
- 14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marveled greatly.
- 15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.
- 16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.
- 17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?
- 18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
- 19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.
- 20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.
- 21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.
- 22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.
- 23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.
- 24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
- 25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
- 26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.