In Assyrias time of dominance it overran the House of Israel which was composed of the ten tribes and took them captive to Assyria. What had happened to the 10 lost tribes of Israel has been one long controversy.
Ancient Assyria in 722 BC. was known for their fierce warriors and their attacks on countries brutally annihilating them. Three theories exist of the ten lost tribes:
- they were eliminated,
- they settled in other countries and
- some may have returned to Israel.
The end of the Assyrian Empire took years to reach its demise, battles lost over time, aggressive countries capturing their territory, we see it took place over a span of time rather than all at once. King Josiah of Assyria with his death in 609 and Babylon coming into power, little of Assyria is left, leaving it vulnerable for attack.
The conquest of the Assyrian Empire allowed the conquerors, Babylon and the Medes to divide the empire amongst themselves. 609 B.C. is a date that came under the control of the area of the Babylonians. Babylon for 70 years was a formidable power capturing the House of Judah and caring them away to Babylon.
According to the Old Testament Babylon existed only 70 years, starting from Assyrian King, Ashur-uballit II, in 609, defeated in Harran, and ending in 539 BC when Cyrus King of Persia conquered Babylon. These dates 609 and 539 gives us somewhat 70 years, The 70 years agrees with Jeremiah 25:9-12 and Jeremiah 29:10.
After conquering the Babylonian Empire, in 539 B.C. Cyrus, king of Persia, a year later granted the Jews permission to return to their homeland and build a new temple. Upon the return of the Jews to their homeland one of the first important projects to get started on was the building of the second temple.
In 535 BC. the foundations of the Second Temple were laid. But delays came about and the construction of the temple was postponed. In 524 BC the work of rebuilding the temple was resumed and carried forward to its completion in 516 BC, some 24 years after return from captivity in Babylon.
The new temple was not as elegant or imposing as the first, King Solomon, but in King Herod time he rebuilt it into a magnificent structure, it was an imposing dominating structure on the Jerusalem skyline until it was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70.
The period in which the House of Judah returned from Babylon 538 B.C. to the beginning of the first century elapses a time period in which many changes occurred. among some are, second temple re-built, positions occurred, Sadducees and Pharisees came about, Synagogues and other things were introduced.
When under captivity by the Babylonians the Jews had no temple to worship in and synagogue came about. In the return to Israel synagogue came into play. There was no temple for some 24 years. The synagogue were a place to gather and study the law and teach.
These synagogue came to be a place in this reestablishing of Israel for meeting and studying the law and teaching. A person with the title of Rabbi (a teacher) became prominent in the synagogue introduced too into the priesthood were the Sadducees and the Pharisees, but some priests were Sadducees and many were Pharisees, and many were not members of any group at all.
Religious role of the Sadducees included the upkeep of the Temple and oversaw many official affairs of the state. Representing a more aristocratic elite. Pharisees Collected taxes and spoke on behalf of the mainstream Judaism representative of the classical Greek civilization.
Sadducees and Pharisees in the high Jewish court, Acts 23:8 (KJV)
- 8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.