St. Irenaeus Ministries
Scripture Studies brought to you by the St. Irenaeus Center.
St. Irenaeus Ministries - a center of orthodox Catholic mission and renewal in Rochester, NY
The period between the Maccabean Revolt and Roman rule of Judea is not represented by any writings in the Scriptures, but like all things that touch the history of Israel and Christ, it is worth studying. The Hasmoneans, named after the house of Hasmon, are not related to David, but are a priestly family from the tribe of Levi.

The Maccabean Revolt started when Mattathias, a Hasmonean, refused to offer sacrifice to pagan gods, with the eventual result that the Temple was purged and rededicated an event the Jews celebrate at Hanukkah for eight days.

After the fighting had ended and Roman and Spartan rulers had expressed their support for Simon Maccabeus as high priest, and King Demetrius confirmed Simon as high priest and afforded him most of the traditional effects of a king, though Simon was not granted that title.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: FBTB_4a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:22am EST

At the time of the Greeks, the Davidic line passes into obscurity, and the political power in Israel is held by the high priests. One such high priest, Onias II, refuses to pay taxes to the Ptolemaic empire. The Tobiad family steps in to cover the debt, and winds up becoming responsible for the tax collection in Israel. The Seleucid Empire takes over Israel, and gives the Jews certain concessions for their assistance.

Onias III becomes high priest, and owing to a dispute with the governor of the Temple, receives a favorable preliminary ruling from the Seleucid Empire. Onias tries to confirm the ruling, but while he seeks out this confirmation, a new emperor takes power, Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

In Jerusalem, a new group of rulers also takes over, and a man named Jason becomes high priest. Jason was not a particularly pious man, and allows certain Hellenistic influences into Israel, most notably a gymnasium. In this gymnasium, the men exercise naked, and in order to appear more like the Greeks whom they exercise with, some Jews begin to have cosmetic surgery to reverse their circumcisions.

Meanwhile, a man named Menelaus convinces the Seleucids to assassinate Onias III and remove Jason to have himself named high priest. Menelaus starts selling off temple vessels, and the people riot. Menelaus seeks help from the Seleucids, who put down the riots bloodily. To keep the peace, the Seleucids conscript some Jews to build a garrison near the temple, and decide to begin construction on a Sabbath to prevent riots. This backfires and there are even more riots. The pro-Greek populace moved into the garrison and only left to enforce the edicts of the empire. People fled Jerusalem, since it was not safe for either orthodox or liberal.

Antiochus wages a preemptive war on Egypt and wins, but the cost of the war causes him to despoil the Temple. As Antiochus attempts to completely conquer Egypt, Rome intervenes and turns Antiochus back, who now places the blame for this failure on the disunity in the empire caused by the nonconforming Jews.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: FBTB_3b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:30am EST

After the Persian period, the Greeks conquered a vast empire, spreading Hellenistic Greek culture throughout the area from Rome to India. Alexander the Great conquered the area from Rome and Egypt to India, including Israel. This land would be divided after Alexander's death, and the area including Israel was known as the Seleucid Empire, ruled by Ptolemy. The Jews found themselves increasingly in opposition to these new Greek rulers in Israel. This sets up the conditions which will result in the Maccabean revolt.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: FBTB_3a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:12am EST

Period history up to the beginning of 1 Maccabees.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: FBTB_2b.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:35am EST

The return to the land of Israel was an event which really broadened the world of the Israelites. When Jews began forming a Diaspora, it clarified the concept that God was not just a local deity, but rather the God of the universe. Babylon, in particular, appears as a true cosmopolis until the time when Revelation was written.

As previously stated, the Persians, unlike the Babylonians, allowed a moderate amount of home rule, which was eventually exploited to build a second temple around 522BC, after prodding by Haggai and Zechariah. This second temple was much smaller than the temple built by Solomon, and those who had seen the first temple were struck by the difference between the two.

Zechariah and Haggai prophesy that Zerubbabel will see the completion of the temple, and for that, he is part of the earthly lineage of the Christ. While the people set about funding the rebuilding of their own homes, they do not do all they can to fund the rebuilding of the temple. God, through Haggai, chastises the people for not funding the process and afflicts the land with a drought as punishment. The rebuilding of the temple takes seven years, and then 50 years after that, Nehemiah, the governor arrives in the land. Ezra proclaims the law to the people, and for the Jews, this triumphant echo of Moses forms the end of the historical books of the Hebrew Scriptures.

The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com
Direct download: FBTB_2a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:14am EST