Jewish History: From Assyrian Occupation to the Hasmonean Dynasty

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Assyrian Occupation and Rebellion

The Assyrian army conquered nations, torturing and exiling those who posed a threat. The Jews in the south prepared for an attack by building a water tunnel to bring water into Jerusalem.

Assyrian Conquest and Jewish Salvation

The Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom of Israel, exiling many of its people. The Jews in the south were saved from an attack by a plague that killed the Assyrian army.

Babylonian Exile

The Babylonians conquered Assyria and expanded their empire. The wealthy and skilled Jews were exiled to Babylonia.

Life in Babylonia

Despite the exile, the Jews maintained their faith and did not assimilate with the Babylonians.

Life in Judea vs. Babylonia

The Jews in Judea were poor, while those in Babylonia lived well.

King Cyrus and the Return to Judea

King Cyrus of Persia allowed the Jews to return to Judea. However, less than half chose to do so, as life in Babylonia was comfortable.

Zerubavel and Ezra

Zerubavel led the Jews back to Judea, where they found a barren country and destroyed buildings. Ezra, a scribe, made several decisions to strengthen Jewish identity.


Nehemiah, a cupbearer to the Persian king, became governor of Judea. He rebuilt the city walls, closed the gates on Shabbat, and canceled debts for the poor.

Rebuilding the Beit Hamikdash

The Jews initially faced opposition from the Samaritans in rebuilding the Beit Hamikdash.

The Purim Story

The historicity of the Purim story is debated due to the lack of historical evidence.

Greek Conquest and Jewish Treatment

The Greeks conquered the Persian Empire and initially treated the Jews well.

Antiochus and Jewish Oppression

Antiochus, a Seleucid ruler, restricted Jewish rights and sold the position of high priest for profit.

The Septuagint and the Library at Alexandria

The Septuagint was a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. The Library at Alexandria housed every book except for the Torah and Tanakh.

Hasmonean Dynasty

The Hasmonean dynasty began with Mattathias, who killed a Jew who tried to offer a sacrifice. His descendants became future rulers.

Sanhedrin and Simon bet Shetah

The Sanhedrin was a Jewish court that ruled on religious and civil laws. Simon bet Shetah became its head.

Maccabeus and the Revolt

Judah Maccabee led a revolt against the Greeks. His nickname was"The Hammer"

Role of Hasmonean Leaders

Jonathan and Simon made pacts with Rome, leading to the growth of Israel.

Lost Tribes

The Assyrian invasion of the northern kingdom led to the exile of many Jews, leaving only a few behind. These Jews intermarried with the new inhabitants, resulting in the period of the lost tribes.

Alexander Jania and Salome

Alexander Jania married Salome and enjoyed 30 years of prosperity.

Hezekiah and the Parthians

Hezekiah attempted a revolt against Herod but was killed. The Parthians helped Hezekiah overthrow Herod for three years, but Herod returned and drove them out.

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