Mon, 14 December 2009
The Romans came to rule Judea in 63 BC. Leading up to that, the high priests of the Hasmonean Dynasty were the de facto kings in Israel, though their official title was Ethnarch. This dynasty began from the Maccabees, and lasted roughly eighty years. They did not want to be seen as usurping the rightful place of the line of David, since they were dependent on the pious Jews. The line of David was still known through this period, but it had fallen into obscurity. In this sense, the Hasmonean state is a biblical anomaly, lacking any leaders truly chosen by God. These rulers tended to be despots of a sort similar to Oriental and Hellenistic despots. These rulers were also expansionist, reacting to the rising birth rates of the neighboring countries. These circumstances give rise to a large upsurge in Messianic hope.
Salome Alexandra instituted a number of changes that pleased the Pharisees, and was fondly remembered by them for this. Her sons, Aristobulus II and Hyrcanus, fought for the high priesthood. At this point, Pompey comes to Israel and seeks an alliance with Hyrcanus, since Israel had sought such an alliance before. Hyrcanus was confirmed as high priest, but the position of king was saved for Rome, with local political authority resting in Hyrcanus' minister, Antipater the Idumean. Antipater made his son Phasael governor of Jerusalem and his other son Herod, who would be called the Great, was made governor of Galilee. Then, in 43 BC, Antipater was poisoned and the two sons battled for control of Judea.Messianic hope in the days of the Maccabees; the rise of the Pharisees and Salome Alexandra; Roman History.
The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com