Land of Israel and Jewish heritage – 36

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Land of Israel and Jewish heritage

A series from the book written by Naveed Anjum

Jewish Life in the Land of Canaan, cont’d

The Promised Land, cont’d

The Kingdoms of Judah and Israel, cont’d

Under the Hasmonean Dynasty, Israel gradually was restored. There were additional Hasmonean victories (147 BCE), the Seleucids relinquished rule over Judea, as the Land of Israel was now called, thus allowing restoration of its autonomy, and, following collapse of the Seleucid kingdom (129 BCE), there was a return of Jewish independence. During the approximately 80 year Hasmonean dynasty, the kingdom’s boundaries were expanded back to almost those of Solomon’s realm, Jewish political rule was achieved, and Jewish life flourished.

Then, politics again brought destruction and subjugation. The Romans crushed the Hasmonean Dynasty. First, Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II fought over it as pawns of Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great in a proxy war. Following that, the people decided they did not want a king to govern them but, rather, a theocratic clergy, whereupon they made that appeal to the Roman authorities. Soon after, Pompey led a Roman campaign of conquest and annexation against them.

Under Roman rule, Judah was at first an independent Jewish kingdom, but gradually rule over Judah became less and less Jewish until it was under the direct rule of Roman administration. Romans renamed it the Iudaea Province and were often callous and brutal in their treatment of Judean subjects. In 66 CE, Judeans began to revolt against their Roman rulers. However, the Roman emperors Vespasian and Titus defeated the Judeans’ revolt. In addition, the Romans destroyed much of the Temple in Jerusalem. According to some accounts, they stole artifacts such as the Menorah from the temple. Altogether, 1,100,000 Jews perished during the revolt, and the Romans took another 97,000 captive.

(To be continued…)

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