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The History of the Hellenized Jew - Part One

(333 - 168 BC) Alexander - Antiochus Epiphanes

  1. Alexander, Charging the East

- The pigmy threatened the giant

- He wanted to link the West (cultural unity) to the East (grandeur and wealth)

- He built new cities (enlarged old ones) populated them with Greeks (esp. his soldiers)

- New: ideas, gods, methods of administration, language, military tactics, markets for trade, etc.

- The Jews were surrounded by a new world

  1. Alexander and the Jewish People

- He made a big impression on the Jews

- He showed hostility to the Samaritans and kindness to the Jews (granted them self-govt.)

- He didn't compel Jewish men to join his army (respected their Sabbaths, etc.)

  1. Dividing Alexander's New Found Kingdom

- Right when he died his general's quarreled for control over the conquered lands

- Many long and complicated wars followed with the Jews caught in the middle

- Two generals (Ptolemy and Seleucus) established a dynasty (important in Jewish history)

- Ptolemy gained control of Egypt (descendants were called "the Ptolomies")

- Seleucus won for himself all the Asian lands that were conquered (the Seleucids)

  1. The Fate of Palestine

- Both Ptolemy and Seleucus claimed Palestine as part of their kingdoms

- Finally Ptolemy seized it and Seleucus let the matter go (though his des. never really let go)

  • Interesting note: Though Ptolemy did not expect Jerusalem to be an easy city to conquer, it was on a Sabbath and the Jews did not defend themselves (though they were considered foolish it showed how well the scribes had done their work and the deep reverence for Judaism)

Hellenization Outside of Palestine

  1. Emigration

- Jews around the eastern world now looked to the west (trade, government was there)

- Jewish settlements began emerging along the Mediterranean and al the areas

- These Jewish emigrants had to learn Greek language, customs, and ideas (Hellenization)

  • Hellas was the Greek name for Greece

  1. The Jews and the Founding of Alexandria

- The community of Alexandria is probably the best example of what happened to the Jews under the influence of Greek or Hellenistic culture.

- The port of Alexandria became one of the most active commercial centers of the world. With many Jews there they formed an important part of the community.

-Citizenship depended upon for the most part your religion (each city had a patron god/goddess) City festivities involved sacrificing to various deities especially if one held an office.

- Jews could not participate so they were not full citizens (yet they could not be called foreigners because they helped found Alexandria and made it prosperous and important)

- The Ptolemies allowed for separate communities for Jews (courts, religion, diet, Synagogue, etc.) They could not lead in festivals or hold a public office (unless they converted to paganism).

- In spite of all this the Jews and Alexandrians were friendly to one another.

7. Cultural Adjustment

- As Alexandria prospered their was more learning and philosophy than in Greece itself

- The Jews were hospitable and also spoke Greek and were somewhat cultured yet they remained Jews

- Eventually very few Jews spoke Hebrew or Aramaic (dangerous to their Jewish roots)

- This is how they dealt with it, first, they began teaching their children Hebrew and second, they translates the Pentateuch and other Jewish literature into Greek to preserve the Jewish spirit

8. The Legend of the Septuagint

- The Jews of Egypt surrounded the translating of the Bible with legend and miracles.

  • See section on the Septuagint .

Greeks and Jews in Palestine

9. The New Greek Cities

- Greek influence was also spreading in Palestine

- Old cities assumed new Greek names and esp. the non-Jewish cities practiced the Greek way of life

- Greek buildings, gymnasiums, and forms of government

10. Prosperity and Migration

- Non-Jewish cities became very prosperous cause they were heavy into commerce (east and west)

- The Jews were big exporters of grain, wine, olive oil, cheese, fruit, and fish

- Jewish population increased heavily and many became artisans and merchants and farmers

11. Hellenization in Judea

  • Note: Almost every ancient people of the Bible disappeared except the Jews

- They maintained their Judaism and were not at all attracted to the gods of Olympus

- They rejected the philosophy and culture as inferior to Judaism though respecting it

- The Jews stood more than ever before as a different and unique people

- The priests of Jerusalem and upper class wanted it to be the great trade center. They wanted to externally resemble the people around them and yet maintain there Judaism and not indulge in (barbarianism)

12. The Sons of Tobias (Tax Collectors)

- The chief advocates of Hellenism in Judea were members of a family who were believed to have descended from Tobias the Ammonite who had hassled Nehemiah so much. Though they were not Jewish they had intermarried with the family of the high priest and being important in politics and government

- About 230 BC Joseph Ben Tobias bought from the king of Egypt the right to collect the taxes from the entire district of Syria (Judea and all its neighbors).

- The way it worked was one man would pay the royal treasury a lump sum for the privilege of collecting as much as he could from the inhabitants of a district. (Got rich at his neighbors expense...hated).

- Joseph, his family, and his co-workers became a great economic power in Palestine.

- They adopted the customs and ways of the Greeks the most and angered even the gentiles around.

You can learn it in Torah

13. A Scribes Advice

- The Jews had no idea what was coming soon (major struggles) as a result of Greek influences.

- At this time a man named Joshua ben Sirach (from Jerusalem) wrote a book on philosophy but his philosophy differed greatly from that of the Greeks. He ignored subjects like the physical universe, government, and society and was primarily interested in giving people practical advice on how to live.

- According to him Moses and the prophets, and Proverbs and Eccesiastes give us all of the answers. The wise man was the one who had no ambition and served God faithfully. He will avoid friendship with the ambitious and wealth seekers.

- Little did he know that tragedy would follow. The poor were dividing from the rich, things were hot.

The Maccabees Fight for Survival (The Jews fight a war against astronomical odds)

The Maccabean Age

  • The next 50 years (200-150 BC) were very important and filled with stirring events. These events forever changed the Jewish people and Judaism even to the present day. Since all that happened, happened outside of Judea we must make mention of the ambitions and fortunes of the empires and kingdoms that controlled the world and their powerful rulers.

Judea Becomes a Syrian Province

14. Syria's Ambition

- The Syrians desired to reunite all of Alexander's conquests.

- By 198 BC Antiochus III, called "the Great" took the first step when he forced Egypt to give up Palestine

- Only one obstacle lay in the path of the Seleucid's march to world dominion----Rome

- Rome had just destroyed the power of Carthage and was gradually dominating the Mediterranean lands

- Antiochus was forced to give up Egypt and give hostages (his royal family) plus large sums of money (which they exacted from the peoples subject to them) as security against any Roman invasions.

- But Antiochus and his successor, Seleucus IV, continued to plan conquests.

- Seleucid empire began to crack when most of Asia would no longer submit to the tyranny (esp. Israel)

15. Factions Among the Jews

- Differences of opinion and many factions developed within Judaism. (Some were for the Syrian ambitions and some were against them)

- The family of Tobias and Hyrcanus, son of Joseph, were on the side of Egypt (obviously) and others were on the side of Syria because they thought Syria was too powerful

- The common people didn't really get involved (they knew they would be taxed by either side) until it involved their religion and then real political parties began to develop

The Attack on Judaism

16. The Sanctity of the Temple

- The pro-Syrian group wanting the favor of Seleucus revealed that there was much wealth in the Temple

- In those days (having no banks) all Temples were used for storing treasures. A thief would not dare arouse the anger of a god by taking what the god protected.

- Seleucus dispatched Heliodorus (an official) to confiscate the money in the Temple

- Heliodorus left without taking any of the money (legend tells that a certain Jew beat him to a pulp)

- The Syrian plan was thwarted and the true intent of the Hellenized Jews was revealed

17. The High Priest is Removed and Antiochus Epiphanes

- The pro-Syrian group decided to remove the high priest. (Hoping to control the government)

- They did this because of the change in the government of Syria

- Seleucus IV had died and had been succeeded by his brother Antiochus IV (who usurped the throne)

- Antiochus IV also wanted to conquer Egypt like the others and unite his empire

  • He gave himself the surname "Epiphanes" which means "the visible god" (he and Zeus were identical) jesus00000019.gif

- He acted as though he really were Zeus and the people called him "Epimanes" meaning "the madman"

- Since Palestine bordered Egypt he needed a loyal Hellenized population there

- Then a group of Jews came to him and devised a plan. The high priest Onias III should be removed and his Hellenized brother Jason was to take his place. (set up a Greek Constitution and coin Greek money)

- The plan was followed and all the Jews were outraged. It was the first time since the Babylonian Captivity that a non-Jewish government had interfered with the priesthood (treating the sacred office as though it were nothing other than a governmental office)

- But worse was to come. Now the Hellenizers had full control of the government in Jerusalem and they began to build gymnasiums within the city and encouraged the young to spent all their time there.

- The young priests engaged in sports. Jerusalem was filled with Greek styles, clothes, names, language and worst of all, its religion and loose morals.

- The most radical Hellenizers felt that things were not moving fast enough so they convinced Antiochus to remove Jason (Jason fled) and replace him with Menelaus (not a member of the priestly family)

- Menelaus had no sympathy for the Jewish traditions whatsoever and was only concerned about power

- The Temple treasury did not contain enough money to pay Antiochus what he had promised so he sold some of the holy vessels of the Temple to raise the money he needed.

18. Judaism was to be Destroyed

- To Antiochus to be un-Hellenized was stiff-necked nonsense

- If Judaism stood in the way then Judaism was to be destroyed so he gave the orders

- The Syrian army marched into Jerusalem and many of the people were killed and others escaped to the hills. Only the known Hellenists were allowed to remain

- Orders were given: NO Sabbath, NO Holy Days, and NO Circumcision

- A Statue of Zeus/Antiochus was placed in the Temple above the altar

- The most detestable animals (the pig) were brought and sacrificed on the altar

- An abominable act was perpetrated on Kislev 25, 168 BC according to the Book of Maccabees that "left the Jewish people desolate." (They call this the Abomination of Desolation in Daniel) but Jesus taught that this was a prelimary of the secondary and greater fulfillment coming in the last days and seventieth week of Daniel.

An Outline of The Life of Jesus in Harmony


"I marvel that whereas the ambitious dreams of myself, Caesar, and Alexander should have vanished into thin air, a Judean peasant - Jesus should be able to stretch his hands across the centuries and control the destinies of men and nations."  - Napoleon I Bonaparte (1809)

The Life of Jesus Map

The Birth of John the Baptist


Gabriel Announces John's Birth (Lk 1:5-25)

The History of the Birth of Jesus

The Genealogy of Jesus (Mat 1:1-17; Lk 3:23-38).


Gabriel Announces to Mary (Lk 1:26-38).

Mary Visits Elizabeth (Lk 1:39-56).

An Angel Comes to Joseph (Mat 1:18-25)


The Decree of Augustus Caesar and the Birth of Christ (Lk 2:1-7). jesus00000019.gif

The First Visitors - Shepherds (Lk 2:8-20).

The Second Visitors - Magi (Mat 2:1-12).


Jesus is Circumcised and Presented in the Temple (Lk 2:21-38). jesus00000019.gif


Out of Egypt (Mat 2:13-23).



Jesus' Early Years


The Boy Jesus at the Temple (Lk 2:41-52). jesus00000019.gif

The Beginning of His Ministry

The Jordan

Jesus is Baptized in the Jordan (Mat 3:13-17; Mk 1:9-11; Lk 3:21-23).

The Wilderness

The Temptation in the Wilderness (Mat 4:1-11; Mk 1:12, 13; Lk 4:1-13).

The Eternal Word (Jn 1:1-18).

The Testimony of John (Jn 1:19-34). jesus00000019.gif

The First Disciples (Jn 1:35-51).


Turning Water to Wine (Jn 2:1-12).

Jesus Visits Jerusalem jesus00000019.gif

The First Passover



A House of Merchandise (Jn 2:13-25).

Unless One is Born Again (Jn 3:1-21).

Jesus Baptizes (Jn 3:22, with 4:2).


He Departed Again to Galilee  (Mat 4:12; Mk 1:14; Lk 4:14; Jn 4:1-3).


The Woman at the Well (Jn 4:4-42).

Jesus' Ministry in Galilee jesus00000019.gif


He Taught in Their Synagogues (Mt 4:17; Mk 1:14,15; Lk 4:14,15; Jn 4:43-45).


A Certain Nobleman (Jn 4:46-54)

Physician, Heal Yourself! (Mat 4:13-16; Lk 4:16-31).

Sea of Galilee

Peter, Andrew, James, and John (Mat 4:18-22; Mk 1:16-20; Lk 5:1-11).


And Jesus Went About All Galilee . . Teaching (Mat 4:23-25; Mk 1:35-39, Lk 4:42-44).

A Man With an Unclean Spirit (Mk 1:21-28; Lk 4:31-37).


Simon's Wife's Mother Lay Sick (Mat 8:14-17; Mk 1:29-34; Lk 4:38-41).

Then a Leper Came to Him (Mat 8:2-4; Mk 1:40-45; Lk 5:12- 16).

They Brought to Him a Paralytic (Mat 9:2-8; Mk 2:1-12; Lk 5:17-26).


Matthew the Tax Collector (Mat 9:9; Mk 2:13, 14; Lk 5:27, 28).

The Second Passover


Healing at the Pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath Day (Jn 5:1-47). jesus00000019.gif

Healing in the Synagogue on the Sabbath Day (Mat 12:9-14; Mk 3:1-6, Lk 6:6-11).

And in His Name Gentiles Will Trust (Mat 12:15-21; Mk 3:7-12)

Then He Appointed Twelve (Mat 10:2-4; Mk 3:13-19; Lk 6: 12-19).

The Sermon on the Mount (Mat 5-7; Lk 6:20-49).

A Certain Centurion's Servant (Mat 8:5-13; Lk 7:1-10).


Jesus Raises the Dead Son at Nain (Lk 7:11-17).


Are You the Coming One? (Mat 11:2-19; Lk 7:18-35).

My Yoke is Easy and My Burden is Light (Mat 11:20-30).


The Woman With the Alabaster Flask (Lk 7:36-50).

Mary Called Magdalene (Lk 8:1-3).

The Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (Mat 12:22-37; Mk 3: 19-30; Lk 11:14-20).

Teacher, We Want to See a Sign From You (Mat 12:38-45; Lk 11:16-36).

Woe to You, Scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites (Lk 11:37-54).

He Began to Say to His Disciples (Lk 12:1-59).

Parable of the Fig Tree (Lk 13:6-9).

Parable of the Sower (Mat 13:1-23; Mk 4:1-25; Lk 8:4-18).

Many Such Parables (Mat 13:24-53; Mk 4:26-34).

Sea of Galilee

Jesus Rebukes the Storm (Mat 8:18-27; Mk 4:35-41; Lk 8:22-25).


The Herd of Many Swine (Mat 8:28-33; Mk 5:1-21; Lk 8:26-40).


He Came Again to His Own City (Mat 9:1; Mk 5:21 Lk 8:40).

The Parable of the Wineskins (Mat 9:10-17; Mk 2:15-22; Lk 5:29-39).

Jairus' Daughter and the Woman With the Flow of Blood (Mat 9:18-26; Mk 5:22-43; Lk 8:41-56).

The Blind and the Mute (Mat 9:27-34).

A Prophet is Not Without Honor Except in His Own Country (Mat 13:53-58; Mk 6:1-6).

He Was Moved With Compassion For Them (Mat 9:35-38)

Sent His Disciples Out With Power and Authority (Mat 10; Mk 6:6-13, Lk 9:1-6).


John the Baptist is Beheaded (Mat 14:1, 2, 6-12, Mk 6:14-16, 21-29; Lk 9:7-9).

Near Bethsaida

The Disciples Return, Feeding Five Thousand (Mat 14:13-21; Mk 6:30-44; Lk 9:10-17, Jn 6:1-14).

Sea of Galilee

They Saw Him Walking on the Sea (Mat 14:22-36; Mk 6:45-56; Jn 6:15-21).



I Am the Bread of Life (Jn 6:22-65).

Do you also want to go away? (Jn 6:66-71).

Unwashed Hands (Mat 15:1-20; Mk 7:1-23).

A Woman of Canaan (Mat 15:21-28; Mk 7:24-30). jesus00000019.gif

Then Great Multitudes Came to Him (Mat 15:29-31, Mk 7:31-37).

Feeding Four Thousand (Mat 15:32-39; Mk 8:1-9).

Seeking From Him a Sign From Heaven (Mat 16:1-4; Mk 8:10-12).


The Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Mat 16:4-12; Mk 8:13-21).


Heals a Blind Man at Bethsaida (Mk 8:22-26).

Caesarea Philippi

Jesus Reveals Who He is at Caesarea Philippi (Mat 16:13-20; Mk 8:27-30; Lk 9:18-21).

He Must Go to Jerusalem and Be Killed (Mat 16:21-28; Mk 8:31-38; 9:1; Lk 9:21-27).

And He Was Transfigured (Mat 17:1-13; Mk 9:2-13; Lk 9:28-36).

And Jesus Rebuked the Demon (Mat 17:14-21; Mk 9:14-29; Lk 9:37-43).

Speaks Again of His Death (Mat 17:22, 23; Mk 9:30-32; Lk 9:43-45).


Miracle of the Coin in the Fish's Mouth (Mat 17:24-27).

Which One is the Greatest? (Mat 18:1-35; Mk 9:33-50; Lk 9:46-50).

He Who is Not Against Us is On Our Side (Mk 9:38, 39; Lk 9:49, 50).

The Feast of Tabernacles


Set His Face to Go to Jerusalem (Lk 9:51-62; Jn 7:2-11).

The Lord Appointed Seventy Others (Lk 10:1-16).

The Ten Lepers (Lk 17:11-19).

Teaches in the Temple at the Feast of Tabernacles (Jn 7:14-53; 8:1-59).

The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37). jesus00000019.gif

The Report of the Seventy (Lk 10:17-24).


The House of Mary and Martha (Lk 10:38-42).

Jesus Teaches His Disciples to Pray (Lk 11:1-13).

The Feast of Dedication


I Was Blind, Now I See (Jn 9:1-41).

My Sheep Hear My Voice (Jn 9:39-41; 10:1-21).

They Picked Up Stones To Stone Him (Jn 10:22-39).


Beyond the Jordan (Jn 10:40-42; 11:3-16).


Jesus Raises Lazarus from the Dead (Jn 11:1-46).


The Declaration of Caiaphas (Jn 11:47-54). jesus00000019.gif


The Woman Who Was Bent Over (Mat 19:1, 2; Mk 10:1; Lk 13:10-35).

Take the Lowest Seat (Lk 14:1-24).

Count the Cost (Lk 14:25-35).

More Parables, Prodigal Son (Lk 15:1-32; 16:1-13).

Exposes the Hypocrisy of the Pharisees (Lk 16:14-18).

The Rich Man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31).

Increase Our Faith (Lk 17:1-10).

Teaches the Pharisees About the Coming of the Kingdom (Lk 17:20-37).


The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Lk 18:1-14).

Marriage and Divorce (Mat 19:3-12; Mk 10:2-12).

Let the Little Children Come to Me (Mat 19:13-15; Mk 10:13-16; Lk 18:15-17).

Rich Young Ruler (Mat 19:16-22; Mk 10:17-22; Lk 18:18-24).

The Parable of the Vineyard (Mat 20:1-16).

Again Foretelling His Death (Mat 20:17-19; Mk 10:32-34; Lk 18:31-34).

Can I Sit at Your Right Hand? (Mat 20:20-28; Mk 10:35-45).


Blind Bartimaeus (Mat 20:29-34; Mk 10:46-50; Lk 18:35-43).

Zacchaeus who was a Chief Tax Collector (Lk 19:1-10).

The Parable of the Minas (Lk 19:11-28).


Mary Anoints the Feet of Jesus (Jn 12:1-9).


Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Mat 21:1-11; Mk 11:1-11; Lk 19:29-44; Jn 12:12-19).

Jesus Enters the Temple (Mat 21:12, Mk 11:11; Lk 19:45).

Drives the Vendors Out of the Temple (Mat 21:12, 13; Lk 19:45, 46).

The Blind and Lame Came to Him (Mat 21:14).

He Was Teaching Daily in the Temple (Lk 19:47, 48).

The Withered Fig Tree (Mat 21:17-22; Mk 11:12-14, 20-22).

The Parable of the Two Sons (Mat 21:28-31);

The Parable of the Vinedressers (Mat 21:33-46; Mk 12:1-12; Lk 20:9-19);


The Parable of the Great Supper (Mat 22:1-14; Lk 14:16-24).

Tested By the Pharisees (Mat 22:15-22; Mk 12:13-17; Lk 20:20-26). jesus00000019.gif

Tested By the Sadducees (Mat 22:23-33; Mk 12:18-27; Lk 20:27-40);

Tested By a Lawyer (Mat 22:34-40; Mk 12:28-34).

Beware of the Scribes and the Pharisees (Mat 23; Mk 12:38-40; Lk 20:45-47).

A Certain Poor Widow (Mk 12:41-44; Lk 21:1-4).

The Prophecy of Isaiah About their Blindness (Jn 12:37-50).

Foretells the Destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem (Mat 24; Mk 13; Lk 21:5-36).

He Saw the City and Wept Over It (Mat 23:37; Lk 19:41-44).

The Parables of the Ten Virgins and The Talents (Mat 25:1-30).

The Sheep and the Goats (Mat 25:31-46).

Anointed with the Flask of Spikenard (Mat 26:6-13; Mk 14:3-9; Jn 12:1-8).

The Last Passover


The Last Passover (Mat 26:17-30; Mk 14:12-25; Lk 22:7-20).

Began to Wash the Disciples' Feet (Jn 13:1-17).

The Hand of My Betrayer is With Me (Mat 26:23; Mk 14:18-21; Lk 22:21; Jn 13:18).


What You Do . . Do Quickly (Mat 26:21-25; Mk 14:18-21; Lk 22:21-23; Jn 13:21-30).

Teaches About the Holy Spirit (Jn 14; 15; 16).

Jesus' Intercession (Jn 17).

The Prayer in Gethsemane (Mat 26:30, 36-46; Mk 14:26, 32-42; Lk 22:39-46; Jn 18:1).

Betrayed and Taken (Mat 26:47-56; Mk 14:43-54, 66-72; Lk 22:47-53; Jn 18:2-12).

The Trial (Mat 26:57, 58, 69-75; Mk 14:53, 54, 66-72; Lk 22:54-62; Jn 18:13-18, 25-27).


Delivered to Pilate (Mat 27:1, 2, 11-14; Mk 15:1-5; Lk 23:1-5; Jn 18:28-38).

He Sent Him to Herod (Lk 23:6-12).

Tried Before Pilate (Mat 27:15-26; Mk 15:6-15; Lk 23:13-25; Jn 18:39, 40; 19:1-16).


Mocked by the Soldiers (Mat 27:27-31; Mk 15:16-20).


Led Him Away to be Crucified (Mat 27:31-34; Mk 15:20-23; Lk 23:26-32; Jn 19:16, 17).


Crucified (Mat 27:35-56; Mk 15:24-41; Lk 23:33-49; Jn 19:18-30). jesus00000019.gif

Joseph of Arimathea (Mat 27:57-66; Mk 15:42-47; Lk 23:50-56; Jn 19:31-42).

The Resurrection

He is Risen (Mat 28:2-15, Mk 16:1-11 Lk 24:1-12; Jn 20:1-18).

Has Appeared to Simon (Lk 24:34; 1Cor 15:5).

Road to Emmaus

Appears to Two Disciples on the Road to Emmaus (Mk 16:12, 13: Lk 24:13-35).




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