Second Temple Judaism: A Brief Historical Outline

Part One

Bruce N. Fisk

(To Part Two)

1. From Israel's Exile to the Death of Alexander the Great

1.1. Assyrian and Babylonian Rule [722-539 BCE]

722 Samaria, capital of Northern kingdom, falls to Assyria (2K 17:5-6).

701 Sennacherib of Assyria surrounds Jerusalem during the reign of Hezekiah but the city is spared through Isaiah's intercession (2K 18:17-19:37).

621 Josiah's reforms begin in the 18th year of his reign (640-609).

612 Nineveh, capital of Assyria, is destroyed by Babylon.

609 Battle of Megiddo: Josiah is killed.

605-562Nebuchadnezzar reigns in Babylonia.

605 Battle of Carchemish: Nebuchadnezzar defeats Pharaoh Necho of Egypt.

602 Jehoiakim rebels against Nebuchadnezzar (2K 24:1).

597 Babylon attacks and Jerusalem, under Jehoiachin, surrenders (2K 24:10-14).

587/86 Zedekiah rebels (2K 24:20).

1.2. Persian Rule [539-334 BCE]

550-530 Cyrus II the Great reigns in Persia.

539/38 Cyrus conquers Babylon on Oct. 13.

529-522 Cambyses

522-486 Darius I

520-15 Haggai and Zechariah call for resumption of temple construction (Ezra 5:1-2; 6:14; Hag. 1:8; Zech.8:9)

516 Darius I gives help to get the temple finished (Ezra 6:1-12).

490 Darius defeated by the Greeks at Marathon.

485-465 Xerxes I

480 Xerxes is defeated by the Greek city states at Salamis.

464-424 Artaxerxes I

444 Nehemiah, in Persia, weeps over Jerusalem's condition.

423-404 Darius II

404-359 Artaxerxes II

398? Ezra comes to Jerusalem, with the blessing of Artaxerxes II and leads the people in reforming their worship.

359-338 Artaxerxes III

338-331 Darius III, the last king of Persia.

1.3. Hellenistic Rule [334-323 BCE]

359-336 Philip II

356 Birth of Alexander

338 Philip II of Macedon consolidates his power over the Greek states.

336 Philip II assassinated. His son, Alexander, a student of Aristotle, becomes king of the Macedonians at age 20.

334 Alexander the Great begins his eastward trek, beginning in Asia Minor.

See Plutarch, Alexander, §23.

333 Battle of Issus (n.e. corner of Mediterranean Sea): Alexander defeats Darius III and the Persians. [Plutarch, Alexander, §20]

332 Alexander sweeps south through Palestine.

331 Battle of Arbela: Alexander defeats the Persians at Guagemela, south of Nineveh.

330 Darius III murdered by his own troops.

326 Alexander's conquests are complete.

323 Alexander dies in Babylon at age 32.

1.4. Hellenization and the Legacy of Alexander

How did Alexander's conquests shape Western civilization?
How did Hellenization shape emerging Judaism, and the first generations of Christians?

City-states

Democracy

Language

Syncretism

Instability

(To Part Two)