03.02 First Temple Period And Exile (1040 – 515 B.C.)

03.02 First Temple Period And Exile

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Unit 03

Historical Background

Chapter 02

First Temple Period And Exile (1040 – 515 B.C.)


03.02.00A. SAMUEL ANOINTS DAVID by Godfrey Durand. 1896. (2)

03.02.00A. SAMUEL ANOINTS DAVID by Godfrey Durand. 1896. King David was, without question, the most important person in Jewish history, second only to Moses. First century Jews in Israel believed that the messiah (small “m” because they did not consider him as deity) would be like King David and restore the lost Davidic Empire. That perception made accepting Jesus as their “Anointed One” extremely difficult.

03.02.01 The United Monarchy

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03.02.01 1049-931 B.C. The United Monarchy

The term “United Monarchy” refers to the reigns of Kings Saul (reigned 1049-1009 B.C.), David (reigned 1009-969 B.C.), and Solomon (reigned 969-931 B.C.).  A few short years after Solomon’s reign, the empire was divided.[1]  

King Saul

The first king was Saul who united the twelve unfaithful, bickering, individualistic Israelite tribes into a single nation (1 Sam. 11:12-15).  At the time, the land was still filled with idol-worshiping Canaanites who practiced child sacrifice and other horrible acts. He and his armies were, in effect, instruments of God to bring justice upon those who destroyed young innocent lives and practiced idolatry. These Canaanite tribes included the Amorites, Amalekites, the nomadic Midianites, and several others.  But the most powerful enemies were the Philistines who lived in the modern-day Gaza Strip. Saul strengthened the confederacy and defeated nearly all of them, but failed to drive them out of the land.

However, sometimes too much success breeds failure, and he soon found himself with some moral failures.  As a result, God began to raise David as his replacement.  When Saul became aware of this, a civil war broke out.  As was the custom of the time, kings normally asked their prophets to inquire of God for any directives they should follow. Ironically, while his name Sa ‘uli means ask insistently, as if asking Yahweh (God), he soon was asking counsel from the witch at Endor. Saul was a man whose life began with great promise and opportunity, but ended with a marked decline of his own spiritual and moral values, and finally, suicide.  In contrast, David very frequently consulted God, but Saul rarely did. Their lives and the results of their leadership clearly reflect this significant difference.

King David

King Saul was followed by David, yet neither one was a pillar of moral strength, but David did have a repentant heart for which God honored him. His name in Hebrew is Dawid which means doubtful.[2] For whatever reason he was given that name, he certainly rose above it to become the champion of military commanders in Israel’s history. At a time when there was little or no change within any culture, he introduced massive radical changes to the benefit of the Israelites.  He instilled a sense of nationalism and began the establishment of an international super-power which was completed by his son Solomon. So powerful was Judaea in ancient history that future generations, even in the time of Christ, reflected upon its history.  In four military phases, David transformed his people from a dozen squabbling tribes to an international superpower and empire.

  1. The Israelites gave him loyalty and men for military strength. He combined all the tribes into a national kingdom. He conquered the Jebusite citadel of Jerusalem, made it his personal capital (1004 B.C.), and purchased the threshing floor where he constructed a sacrificial altar to honor God (1 Ch. 21:23). This was the same site where Abraham had offered his son to God centuries earlier.
  1. He consolidated neighboring territories. Since his hostile neighbors were the Philistines and Canaanites, he made a treaty with the Phoenicians of Tyre who were the world’s leading naval power.
  1. He defeated the tribes of Ammon, Moab, and Edom in the Trans-Jordan (western areas of modern Jordan).
  1. He established a multi-national empire.

As a result of his incredible victories, King David controlled all of the international trade that crossed his kingdom; a land bridge between the continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe. To the east was the great northern section of the Arabian Desert and to the west was the Mediterranean Sea.  The major routes were the north-south route of the King’s Highway located east of the Jordan River; the Spice Route that went from Southern Arabia north along the eastern side of the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea to David’s shipping fleet; and the “Way of the land of the Philistines” (Ex. 13:17; Num. 20:17), an international highway that went from Damascus to Capernaum and southward on to Egypt.[3] Since bandits were numerous, caravans paid huge taxes for the protection of their goods, camels, and men.

Military success translated into economic success, not only for himself, but also for his people.  David transported copper from Egyptian mines, silver from the Taurus Mountains in Asia Minor, silver and gold from East Africa, spices from Arabia, and purple dyes[4] from nearby Phoenicia.  He utilized existing trade routes that had been established centuries before.  The king simply conquered and took control of this existing wealthy enterprise.[5] The kingship of David also resulted in exceptional cultural changes, freedom, and wealth for the Israelites.  No longer did they have to pay taxes, or tribute, to any foreign pagan king. Never in ancient history had a group experienced such a dramatic change within the short time frame of a single generation, as did the Israelites.  Generally, sudden and dramatic social changes were extremely negative, usually resulting from a military conquest in which the defeated people were either killed or enslaved.  Victors of any nation never accomplished what David created in a mere forty years.[6]


03.02.01.A. THE “KING DAVID FRAGMENT.”  This inscription, known by archaeologists as the “Tel Dan Stele,” (a/k/a “Tel Dan Stela”) mentions the House of David on line 9.  It consists of three fragments (discovered in 1993 and 1994) that refer to an unnamed king who boasts of his victories over the king of Judaea and his ally, the king of the “House of David.” It is the first artifact to be found in Israel that mentions the name David. Photo by Wikipedia Commons.


Translation of the “King David Fragment” inscription is as follows:

1.[ ]…[ ] and cut [ ]
2. [ ] my father went up [ ] he fought at […]
3. And my father lay down; he went to his [fathers]. Now the king of I[s]/rael had penetrated
4. into my father’s land before. [But then] Hadad made me king,
5. And Hadad marched before me. So I went forth from [the] seven[…]/s
6. of my rule, and I killed [seve]nty kin[gs] who had harnessed thou[sands of cha]/riots
7. and thousands of cavalry. [And I killed …]ram son of […]
8. the king of Israel, and I killed […]yahu son of [… the ki]/ng of
9. the House of David. And I made [their towns into ruins and turned]
10. their land into [a desolation …]
11. others and […Then…became ki]/ng
12. over Is[rael…And I laid]
13. siege against […]

King David Fragment Inscription[7]


The name “Hadad” is a pagan deity.[8] It should be noted that not all boastings by kings reflected truthful events.   Amazingly, since the 18th century, critical scholarship has perpetuated the myth that King David never existed; that he is an imaginative figure of creative biblical writers.[9]  However, they were silenced in 1993 and 1994 when a ninth century B.C. stele was discovered with the king’s name inscribed on it.[10] He was just as the biblical narrative describes.  This inscription discredits critics who have stated that King David was a mythical figure who never existed.[11]

More importantly, in the ancient Middle East dignity was a sacred honor. King David established dignity and honor for God’s Chosen People.  No longer were they recipients of degrading jokes. The Jewish people of the first century, who were reduced to economic slavery,[12]  were expecting a Messiah who would to re-establish the David Empire as a wealthy international superpower and restore their dignity.

David was known not only for his administrative skills in forging twelve semi-disassociated tribes into an empire, but also for his many Messianic Psalms.  For example, in Psalm 2 and 89 he wrote of a “Messiah” who would be the subject of much discussion.  This occurred as predicted. He also described the death of Jesus in Psalm 22:14-18.   Note the repeating themes or ideas of poetic Hebrew parallelisms.

14 I am poured out like water,

and all my bones are disjointed; 

My heart is like wax,

melting within me.

15 My strength is dried up like baked clay;

           and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;

You put me into the dust of death.


16 For dogs[13] have surrounded me;

            a gang of evildoers has closed in on me;[14]

They pierced my hands and my feet.

            17 I can count all my bones;[15]

people stare and gloat over me.

            18 They divided my garments among themselves,

            and they cast lots for my clothing.[16]

 Psalm 22:14-18


David’s literary works portray a man who rose from being a shepherd to a powerful monarch, yet one who experienced some horrific failures which were followed by the discovery of God’s love.  He may not have realized that some of his words were “messianic.” In fact, not all of the messianic psalms were recognized in the first century as “messianic.” Some, such as the first line of Psalm 16:10 greatly perplexed the rabbis. Only after the resurrection of Jesus did this passage find fulfillment and understanding.

            For You will not abandon me to Sheol;

            You will not allow Your Faithful One see decay.           

 Psalm 16:10


The significance of King David to first century Jews and the identity of Jesus cannot be overstated. They were expecting the messianic Son of David to repeat all the great things King David had done. This was especially influential in first century Jewish thinking in light of the Davidic Covenant.[17] That covenant was similar to the Abrahamic Covenant, with the exception that it contained the additional clause of 2 Samuel 7:13-15, which promised dominion over alien people (2 Sam. 22:44-51; Ps. 2).[18]  David was God’s anointed one (Ps. 2:2) and, as such, he was both priest and king (cf. Ps. 110); foreshadowing the function Jesus would hold in the future.[19]  In essence, first century Jewish people expected a messiah, who would,

  1. Overthrow the oppressive Roman Empire
  1. Restore the Davidic Kingdom and make the Jewish nation an international super-power as King David had done.
  1. Although King David never performed miracles, in the course of time Jewish people came to believe that the messiah would perform three types of miracles known as “messianic miracles”[20] (to be discussed later).[21]
  1. Fulfill the Davidic Covenant, although there was considerable debate among various Jewish factions as to how that would materialize. His covenant featured four significant elements: [22]
  1. House
  1. Throne
  1. Kingdom
  1. Descendants


With four divine promises like these, no wonder that the Jews were anxious for their “son of David.” The history of Israel was never as glorious as it was during the reign of its three major monarchs.  King Saul forged the birth of a great nation, but David completed the task.  David instilled a sense of nationalism and began the establishment of an empire which was completed by Solomon. Yet while the ancient empire covered an enormous land mass, neither David nor Solomon encompassed all the land God promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Ironically, a few years before Jesus was born, Herod’s Kingdom became close in size to the Davidic Empire.  This increased the speculation that the son of David would soon come and take control of the kingdom. But it was not to be.

In the first century, the Jews carefully observed Jesus and attempted to reconcile Him with their preconceived ideas of the son of David. But Jesus obviously did not fit those ideas of a military-messiah, and they certainly did not expect a Messiah would come to redeem them from their sins.


03.02.01 (3)


Once the military actions ceased and the Davidic Empire was established, God made a covenant with David that established his dynasty as God’s choice to rule His people forever (2 Sam. 7:4-17). This covenant, known as the Davidic Covenant, has three features.

  1. The dynasty of David would rule over the Promised Land forever (2 Sam. 7:10)
  2. David’s dynasty would be permanent (2 Sam. 7:11, 16).
  3. The kingdom established by the covenant would also be permanent (2 Sam. 7:13, 16).


03.02.01B (2)


In summary, there were two incredibly events that occurred at this time that were important to the Jewish people of the first century.

  1. The establishment of the Davidic Empire that was one of the most powerful empires of the ancient world and, more importantly,
  1. The establishment of the Davidic Covenant. This covenant contains the promise of an eternal king from the Davidic Dynasty. That king is Jesus.

King Solomon                                                                                                                               

The third king of the united monarchy was David’s son, King Solomon, who ruled during the golden age of Israel.  His was a time of great prosperity and peace.  He is best remembered for building the temple in Jerusalem that carried his name (2 Chron. 3:1).  He enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, a huge army, and many building projects, all of which cost more than he earned from international trade and taxes from traveling caravans. He, therefore, imposed high taxes on his people and drove the nation into debt.  That national debt became the primary reason his nation split into two independent sovereign states after his death. While the Lord gave him great wisdom, his decisions concerning high debt, and multiple wives and concubines clearly indicate that he failed to use that wisdom.

He expanded international trade that included a partnership with Hiram, the Phoenician king of Tyre. Together they operated a fleet of merchant ships in the Red Sea and along east Africa.  Archaeological discoveries indicate that Solomon operated copper mines, which explains his close ties with Hiram.  The Phoenicians were the world’s best craftsmen at copper smelting and refining as well as seamanship. Little wonder then, that the writer of First Kings said that the chief metalworker of bronze objects in the temple was a Tyrian by the name of Hiram (not related to the king of Tyre; 1 Kgs. 7:13-45).

The radical and successful transformation of the Israelite nation in such a short time came with a heavy price tag.  The massive building project required not only taxation, but slaves as well.  Solomon, to protect his new found wealth, enlarged his military which required more taxes and increased his national debt.  Any nation that follows this economic cycle soon fails, as did Solomon’s Empire. Like Saul, he too fell into a moral and spiritual free-fall; his life ended in apostasy and idolatry (1 Kg. 12:1-20).  He was blessed with God-given wisdom, but near the end of his reign he failed to use it. His life ended in tragedy and soon his empire would collapse.

Solomon’s influence in the days of Jesus was limited, unlike his popular father.  Nonetheless, there are two points in the gospels that are worthy of consideration.

  1. The first century rabbis taught their students under temple porches called “Solomon’s colonnade.” Legend said that these columns stood in the first temple, and the rabbis said that maybe some of Solomon’s wisdom might fall upon their students.
  1. The rabbis also believed that Solomon’s power and wisdom could help them discern and expel demonic spirits.[23] That is why Jesus once said that “someone greater than Solomon is here” (Mt. 12:27).


[1]. Historians disagree slightly on the reigning dates, but each king reigned 40 years.


[2]. Cullman, “David.” 1:364.


[3]. By Roman times, the “Way of the land of the Philistines” was known as the Via Maris, and it went through the evangelical triangle where Jesus did most of His teaching.


[4]. According to Josephus, large quantities of purple (or scarlet) fabric were required for the temple curtains which were replaced every few years (Wars 6.8.3; 390). Some scholars believe that the purple (or scarlet) robe placed on Jesus (Mt. 27:28) was a soldier’s cloak.


[5]. Keller, W. The Bible as History. 4.

[6]. Cullman, “David.” 1:364-69.


[7]. The line-by-line translation by Lawrence J. Mykytiuk (published 1994).


[8]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tel_Dan_Stele. Retrieved October 27, 2012; See also Bryant G. Wood, “New Inscriptions Mention House of David.” Bible and Spade. 119-21; and Avraham Biran and Joseph Naveh, “An Aramaic-Stele Fragment from Tel Dan.” Israel Exploration Journal.  43 (1993): 81-98.


[9]. King David is among fifty biblical names whose existence has been verified by archaeological studies in a published article by Lawrence Mykytiuk titled, “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible.” Biblical Archaeology Review. March/April, 2014 (40:2), pages 42-50, 68 (see 03.02.01.A below).  This archaeological evidence confirms the historical accuracy of the biblical timeline.  For further study see the website for Associates for Biblical Research, as well as Grisanti, “Recent Archaeological Discoveries that Lend Credence to the Historicity of the Scriptures.” 475-98.


[10]. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tel_dan_inscription.JPG, Retrieved October 27, 2012.  See also Gary A. Byers. “The Tell Dan Stela.” 121.


[11]. For an interesting article on the fallacies of deconstructionists approach to biblical traditions, see Anson Rainey, “The House of David and the House of Deconstructionists: Davies is an Amateur Who ‘Can Safely Be Ignored.’” Biblical Archaeology Review. 20:5 (Nov. Dec. 1994.) 47.


[12] The subject of high taxation that resulted in economic slavery is presented by Josephus, Antiquities 17.11.2 (307-308).  See also 02.03.03 “Economy” and 03.06.04 “4 B.C. The Death of Herod the Great.” God hates slavery, but it was part of the human predicament which is why He permitted slavery for a limited duration of seven years (Ex. 21:2 ff.; Deut. 15:12). In Amos 2:6 He brought judgment upon Israel for the enslavement or its own people. The way the Apostle Paul dealt with Philemon, demonstrates how God changed the slavery-based economy by changing the hearts of men. See also Sanders. “Jesus in Historical Context.” 430.


[13]. The term “dongs” or “Dogs” was a Hebrew nickname for non-Jewish people.  This theme is repeated on the next line.

[14]. The psalm writer recorded the emotions of his life, no doubt totally unaware of the fact that he was recording prophetic words that would later be ascribed to Jesus.

[15]. The agony of dying on a cross stretched the human body to the point that it felt as if the joints were coming apart.

[16]. Exact description of what happened to Jesus. See Mt. 27:35.

[17]. Cullman, “David.” 1:368-69; Rogers, “The Davidic Covenant in the Gospels.” 458-78.


[18]. Fruchtenbaum, Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology. 629-33; Wiseman, “Abraham.” 1:6.


[19]. Merrill, Kingdom of Priests. 276; Terrien, The Elusive Presence. 295-96.


[20]. Fruchtenbaum, Messianic Miracles. 4; Fischer, The Gospels in Their Jewish Context. (Lecture on CD/MP3). Week 10, Session 2.


[21]. Messiah is spelled with a lower case “m” because the Jewish people had not applied deity to the name. Messiah with an upper case “M” is a reference to Jesus as God.  For a description of the three messianic miracles, see the video link 06.03.08.V.


[22]. Fruchtenbaum, Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology. 632; Rogers, “The Davidic Covenant in the Gospels.” 458-78.

[23]. Josephus, Antiquities 8.2.5.


03.02.02 The Divided Monarchy

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03.02.02 931-586 B.C. The Divided Monarchy

Shortly after Solomon’s death, civil war broke out that resulted in division of the empire.  The ten northern tribes became an independent kingdom and maintained the name of Israel and, as previously mentioned, the tribes of Benjamin and Judah became the southern kingdom, known as Judea.  It should be noted, however, that the real reason civil war broke out was that God removed His hand of protection from the House of Solomon because the king married many foreign women in violation of Deuteronomy 7:1-4.  They, in turn, cause the ten northern tribes to worship foreign gods – a major reason for the civil war. In the course of time, animosity grew between the southern kingdom because it remained faithful to the laws of Moses, and the northern kingdom that accepted foreign deities.  For nearly two centuries, the northern kingdom[1] enjoyed its independence and prosperity in spite of its paganism.  Prophets such as Isaiah sounded the warning of pending divine judgment if the people did not change their ways.  They failed to listen and in 722 B.C., the Assyrians arose from the northeast and conquered them.  They relocated most of the Israelites hundreds of miles to the east and they soon became known as the “ten lost tribes.”[2]  But were they really “lost?”

There were those in Israel who saw the proverbial “writing on the wall,” and they recognized the Assyrian threat. They may have even listened to words of warning from the prophet Hosea and observed their declining culture and they moved south into Judah (1 Kg. 12:16-20; 2 Chron. 11:16-17) and thereby, avoided the destruction. Therefore, Judah became the embodiment of all 12 tribes. The New Testament does not assume that the 10 tribes were lost.[3]

[1]. The Northern Kingdom was known by the following names in the Bible: 1). The House of Israel (1 Kgs. 12:21; Jer. 31:31). 2); the House of Jacob (1 Kgs. 11:28); 3). Samaria (Hosea 7:1, 8:5-6, 13:16); and 4). Ephraim (Hosea 4:17, 5:3, 7:1). Most books on Bible history today refer to the Northern Kingdom as the “House of Israel” or “Israel” and the Southern Kingdom as “Judah” or the “House of Judah.” In this eBook, the entire region is referred to as “Israel” since the ancient divisions were not recognized by the occupying Romans.


[2]. One often hears about the ten “lost tribes” as having left Assyria and that they wandered into Eastern and Western Europe, eventually settling in Britain where they became known as Anglo-Saxons. This teaching claims that the British are descendants from the tribe of Ephraim and Americans are from the tribe of Manasseh, and together they inherit the covenant promises God gave to Israel. This false doctrine is known as British-Israelism and has promoted, possibly without intention, anti-Semitism through various cults and churches worldwide.

[3].  See. Mt. 4:13, 15; Lk. 2:36; Acts 4:36; 26:27; Phil. 3:5; Jas. 1:1. It should be noted that in the past century, thousands of Jews from more than a hundred nations have returned to Palestine, later in 1948 known as Israel. They may have been lost in the eyes of many people, but not in the eyes of God. They have been returning in fulfilment of many prophecies (see Heinrich, William. The Hand of God: Ancient Prophecies – Mordern Miracles in Israel).

03.02.03 8th Century B.C. Isaiah

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03.02.03 8th Century B.C. Isaiah

The ministry of the prophet Isaiah began in the year 740 B.C., when King Uzziah died (Isa. 6:1).[1] He wrote his book during the Assyrian invasions and the decline of the northern kingdom.  At this time the Assyrians were expanding into Syria and Canaan (745-727 B.C.) under the reign of King Tiglath­ Pileser III.  Isaiah’s prophecies were not only for the immediate future, but also for the distant future, concerning the coming of the Messiah and centuries beyond.  Those prophecies of the immediate future were quickly and literally fulfilled, which established his credibility as a true prophet. Therefore, it was understood that futuristic prophecies would also be literally fulfilled one day.  For example, among the prophecies of interest to the 7th century B.C. people of Judea, was the prediction that stated the wealth of Jerusalem would be carried off to Babylon (Isa. 39:6).  At the time of his writing, Babylon was an insignificant military power, and yet his prediction was literally fulfilled a century later.  Isaiah also gave predictive words concerning the predecessor of the Messiah (40:3), which were later literally fulfilled, in the person of John the Baptist, who is more appropriately known as John the Baptizer (see Mt. 3:3; Lk. 3:4).

A voice of one calling out:

                        Prepare the way of the LORD

                                    In the wilderness;

                        Make a straight highway for our God

                                    In the desert.

Isaiah 40:3


When Matthew described Jesus as the chosen servant of God (12:18-­21), he quoted the prophet Isaiah:

1 “This is My Servant; I strengthen Him,
this is My Chosen One; I delight in Him.
I have put My Spirit on Him;
He will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not cry out or shout
or make His voice heard in the streets.
3 He will not break a bruised reed,
and He will not put out a smoldering wick;
He will faithfully bring justice.
                   4 He will not grow weak or be discouraged
until He has established justice on earth.
The islands will wait for His instruction.”

Isaiah 42:1-4


Concerning the future Messianic Figure, Isaiah described Him as having a supernatural nature (9:5-6), and restoring the relationship between man and God (49:6; 53:12). Chapter 53 is considered a classic description of Jesus.  Isaiah described Jesus when He was beaten and bruised (53:2-3) before Pilate, when He carried our infirmities, sins, and punishment (53:4-8), when He was buried (53:9), and when He arose from the grave (53:10).  Isaiah’s predictions concerning Jesus the Messiah have earned him the title of being the Gospel Writer of the Old Testament.[2] His favorite titles for the Messiah were “the servant of Jehovah” and “the servant of the Lord.” Prophets like Isaiah and Micah declared that the Messiah would be a descendant of King David and would personally fulfill the eternal requirements of the Davidic Covenant (Isa. 11:1-16; Mic. 5:2).  

 03.02.03 (2)

[1]. Uzziah is among fifty biblical names whose existence has been verified by archaeological studies in a published article by Lawrence Mykytiuk titled, “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible.” Biblical Archaeology Review. March/April, 2014 (40:2), pages 42-50, 68.  This archaeological evidence confirms the historical accuracy of the biblical timeline.  For further study, see the website for Associates for Biblical Research, as well as Grisanti, “Recent Archaeological Discoveries that Lend Credence to the Historicity of the Scriptures.” 475-98.


[2]. For the historical trail of the Davidic Covenant from David to Jesus, see the blue “Mystery Unveiled” boxes in 03.02.01, 03.02.03, 03.02.06, 03.03.01, 04.02.02, and 13.04.05.

03.02.04 Israel Falls to the Assyrians; Israelites Deported to the East; 723 B.C. Israel Ends

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03.02.04 733 B.C.  Israel Falls to the Assyrians; Israelites Deported to the East; 723 B.C. Israel Ends[1]

Because of Israel’s (the ten northern tribes) idolatry, God permitted His people to suffer under pagan rulers and religions.  The Assyrians (from modern Iraq), led by King Tiglath-Pileser III, became the international superpower and conquered Israel.[2]   In 733 B.C. Israel was required not only to pay huge taxes, but in the decade of 732-722 the Assyrians deported many Israelites to the east in an attempt to destroy their culture. By 721 B.C. the ten northern tribes known as the Kingdom of Israel ended. Religious and civic leaders as well as craftsmen and merchants were deported to insure that the remaining poor did not have the wealth or skill to revolt.[3]

As to the so-called “ten lost northern tribes,” according to the 2 Esdras 13:40-45, they went to a region beyond the Euphrates River known as Arsareth, or Arzareth. This was in the upper Tigris-Euphrates River Valley.[4] Josephus said there were countless Jews who would return from there to their homeland in the last days.[5] Second Esdras, a/k/a 4 Ezra, states the following:

40 Those are the ten tribes, which were carried away prisoners out of their own land in the time of Osea the king, whom Salmanasar the king of Assyria led away captive, and he carried them over the waters, and so came they into another land. 41 But they took this counsel among themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen, and go forth into a further country, where never mankind dwelt, 42 That they might there keep their statutes, which they never kept in their own land. 43 And they entered into Euphrates by the narrow places of the river.  44 For the most High then showed signs for them, and held still the flood, till they were passed over.  45 For through that country there was a great way to go, namely, of a year and a half: and the same region is called Arsareth. 46 Then dwelt they there until the latter time.

4 Ezra 13:40-46[6]


Some concluding thoughts are these: the problem is that no one today knows where Arsareth, or Arzareth, is located.  What is known is that Anna, who saw the infant Jesus, was from the tribe of Asher – one of the so-called lost tribes. Yet when James wrote his letter, he addressed it to the twelve tribes in the dispersion (James 1:1-3). Finally, it appears that after the 722/21 destruction, the prophetic voice of God could be heard only in Judah; no longer in northern Israel.

Ancients believed that cultures could be destroyed by forcibly integrating people groups, which in turn would diminish the possibilities of a revolt.[7]  So many people were deported that Galilee became a Gentile province for the next six centuries (2 Kgs. 15:29; Isa. 8:23), which is why Isaiah called the area the “Galilee of the Gentiles” (Isa. 9:1). Tiglath-Pileser’s son Shalmaneser V conquered Samaria in 723 B.C. (2 Kg. 17:1-6). His successor, Sargon II, reconquered the city in 720 B.C,[8]  and deported 27,900 Israelites to the upper Tigris-Euphrates Valley and repopulated the Israelite area with Gentiles from that valley.[9]

In Sargon’s palace in Khorsabad, stone inscriptions commemorate his victory over Israel.  One inscription found near his palace gate reads:

(Property of Sargon, etc.  King of Assyria, etc.)

Conqueror of Samaria (Sa-mir-i-na) and of the entire

country of) Israel (Bit Hu-um-ri-a).

Sargon Pavement Inscription[10]


A second inscription was found inside his palace, which may have been part of Sargon II’s royal library. It reads:

I conquered and sacked the towns Shinuhtu (and) Samaria, and all Israel (Bit Hu-um-ri-ia).

Sargon Room XIV Inscription[11]


The Assyrians also imported other captured people from the east into Syria and northern Israel.[12] These people eventually intermarried with the few remaining Israelites and their descendants became known as the Samaritans.  The account is recorded in Second Kings.

24 Then the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim and settled them in place of the Israelites in the cities of Samaria. The settlers took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities. 25 When they first lived there, they did not fear Yahweh. So the Lord sent lions among them, which killed some of them. 26 The settlers spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, “The nations that you have deported and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the requirements of the God of the land. Therefore He has sent lions among them that are killing them because the people don’t know the requirements of the God of the land.”

27 Then the king of Assyria issued a command: “Send back one of the priests you deported. Have him go and live there so he can teach them the requirements of the God of the land.” 28 So one of the priests they had deported came and lived in Bethel, and he began to teach them how they should fear Yahweh.

29 But the people of each nation were still making their own gods in the cities where they lived and putting them in the shrines of the high places that the people of Samaria had made. 30 The men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the men of Cuth made Nergal, the men of Hamath made Ashima, 31 the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of the Sepharvaim. 32 They feared the Lord, but they also appointed from their number priests to serve them in the shrines of the high places. 33 They feared the Lord, but they also worshiped their own gods according to the custom of the nations where they had been deported from.

2 Kings 17:24-33


The ancients believed that each area of land was controlled by a territorial spirit or god.  In this case, since the people of Samaria were dying, the Assyrians said that an Israelite priest of that land ought to return home and tell the new immigrants, who had five gods in their homelands, how to worship the existing God of the land.  It is ironic the pagan Assyrians would send an Israelite priest to tell the new residents and remaining poor Israelites how the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob should be worshiped.  However, the new residents refused to listen to the priest and continued to worship their own pagan deities (v. 29).[13]

This historical background of the Samaritans is critical to understanding the cultural environment in which Jesus ministered, especially when in or near Samaria. As was previously mentioned, the Samaritans were an ethnically mixed group; offspring of intermarriage between the ten northern Israelite tribes and the five pagan tribes (each tribe with its own gods)[14] that were relocated into northern Israel by the Assyrians.  When Jesus met the woman at the well (Jn. 4) she symbolized her people.  She had a marriage covenant with five husbands just as her people (from five tribes) had at one time been in a spiritual covenant with their gods (2 Kg. 17:30-31).

By the first century there was intense hatred and rivalry between the Samaritans and Jews.  The Samaritan faith was, and still is, a form of basic Judaism with several notable similarities and differences.[15]  Differences and anger grew over the centuries, and by the first century each group considered the other sacrilegious, impure, unholy, and detestable.  Into this hateful, explosive, and hostile environment Jesus came to bring the Kingdom of God.

Finally, the reputation of the Assyrians, and especially that of Tiglath-Pileser III, as being extremely cruel to his captives was remembered for centuries. He and his successors brought unimaginable suffering, death, and destruction to Phoenicia and Israel – especially to the tribal areas of Zebulun and Naphtali. Yet these horrific actions were not forgotten by God; some seven centuries later Jesus retraced the route of Tiglath-Pileser III[16] and taught the Kingdom of God, demonstrated His power by the performance of miracles, and brought life and hope to the descendants of those who suffered in the past.[17]


[1]. For centuries scholars have been unable to reconcile the so-called biblical errors concerning the dates of reign of various kings. Many saw this as clear evidence for the unreliability of the Bible and concluded that it was written for a theological point and is historically inaccurate. Then, in the early 1950s, E. R. Thiele discovered that Judah used the Jewish calendar while northern Israel, under the influence of the Assyrians, naturally used the Assyrian calendar. For further study, see E. R. Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983.


[2]. An excellent resource for further study is Rainey and Notley. The Sacred Bridge: Carta’s Atlas of the Biblical World. 229-33.


[3]. Malamat, “Caught Between the Great Powers.” 34.


[4].  Levy, The Ruin and Restoration of Israel. 21.

[5]. Josephus, Antiquities 11.5.2.


[6]. Scholars debate on the classification of 3rd Ezra (a/k/a 1 Esdras) and 4th Ezra (a/k/a 2nd Esdras). Sometimes these are listed in the Apocrypha (see 02.02.03) and other times they are listed in the Pseudepigrapha (see 02.02.24). The reader is reminded that quotations from non-biblical sources are not to be understood as being of equal authority with the biblical narratives. See 01.02.04.


[7]. Golub, In the Days. 10-12.


[8].  The Assyrian kings Tiglath-Pileser II, Shalmaneser V, Sargon II, Sennacherib, Adrammelech and Esarhaddon, are among fifty biblical names whose existence has been verified by archaeological studies in a published article by Lawrence Mykytiuk titled, “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible.” Biblical Archaeology Review. March/April, 2014 (40:2), pages 42-50, 68.  This archaeological evidence confirms the historical accuracy of the biblical timeline. For further study, see the website for Associates for Biblical Research, as well as Grisanti, “Recent Archaeological Discoveries that Lend Credence to the Historicity of the Scriptures.” 475-98.


[9].  Levy, The Ruin and Restoration of Israel. 21.

[10]. Pritchard, Ancient Near East Texts, 284; Lewis, Historical Backgrounds of Bible History. 40.

[11]. Pritchard, Ancient Near East Texts, 285; The transliterated name of Bit Hu-um-ri-ia literally means “House of Omri,” a king of Israel after the monarchy divided.  Under his guidance the country became an economic power, and as a result, the other nations referred to Israel as “The Land or The House of Omri,” for more than a century after his death; See also Jack Lewis, Historical Backgrounds of Bible History. 40; King Omri is among fifty biblical names whose existence has been verified by archaeological studies in a published article by Lawrence Mykytiuk titled, “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible.” Biblical Archaeology Review. March/April, 2014 (40:2), pages 42-50, 68.  This archaeological evidence confirms the historical accuracy of the biblical timeline.   For further study, see the website for Associates for Biblical Research, as well as Grisanti, “Recent Archaeological Discoveries that Lend Credence to the Historicity of the Scriptures.” 475-98.


[12]. Kelso, “Samaria, Territory of.” 5:242.


[13]. New International Version Study Bible footnote for 2 Kings 17:29.

[14]. Geikie, The Life and Words of Christ. 1:522.


[15]. See 02.01.17 “Samaritans.”


[16]. See 10.01.23.Q1 “Why did Jesus go to the regions of Tyre and Sidon and later to the Decapolis cities (Mt. 15:22-28; Mk. 7:24-26)?”


[17] Franz. “Jesus at Hazor.” http://www.lifeandland.org/2010/10/jesus-at-hazor/ Retrieved October 5, 2015.

03.02.05 Another Assyrians Attack Again

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03.02.05 701 B.C. Another Assyrians Attack Again

Sennacherib (reigned 705-681 B.C.), the second son of Sargon II, in 701 B.C.,  led the Assyrian army against forty-two towns and villages of Benjamin and Judah, including the major city of Lachish, destroying all of them but did not relocate the people.  As they were preparing their attack against Jerusalem in 701 B.C., Hezekiah,[1] King of Judah and Jerusalem, had a tunnel dug to bring water into the city during the siege.  This water flows into the Pool of Siloam, the site of a healing miracle by Jesus. At this point, Sennacherib attacked Jerusalem (Isa. 36:1-37:38). Miraculously, the city was not captured, although it suffered greatly.[2]

The Assyrians were an extremely vicious and destructive enemy who were best known for their torture of captured people and the development of military machines such as the battering ram.  They had multiple gods, including Lakhmv, their god of war.  They were a fearsome enemy of any non-Assyrians in antiquity.

There are three major points of the Assyrian activities that influenced the cultural events at the time of Jesus:

  1. They deported the ten northern Israelite tribes, who in turn told their overlords and neighbors that one day a powerful messiah would come.
  1. They brought in five eastern tribes, who eventually intermarried with the few remaining Israelites and their descendants became known as the Samaritans.
  1. The horror of being banished from their Promised Land meant – as they understood it at the time – their covenant with God was broken; their fellowship with their Creator was broken, the One who gave them a reason for their existence.[3] However, the words of the prophets that followed years later, and then the arrival of Jesus, confirmed that their opinions were wrong and that God still had a plan for them (Jer. 29:11).


03.02.05.A. CAPTURED ISRAELITES HONOR KING SENNACHERIB.  Carved in a stone relief in his palace in Nineveh, the Assyrian King Sennacherib is shown seated as he reviews the plunder surrendered by the Jewish people of Lachish.  Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.


God’s judgment upon Sennacherib for his actions against the Israelites finally came when he returned home to Nineveh.  He was killed by his own sons as he worshiped in the house of his god, Nisroch.

Finally, as the result of the Assyrian destruction and population transfer, Galilee was for the most part, abandoned and became known as the “Galilee of the Gentiles” (who destroyed it).[4] To confirm the absence of Gentiles living in this area, it is significant that archaeologists have uncovered numerous villages that had no evidence of pig bones – a sure sign of Jewish occupation.[5] In fact, the Jewish population was not restored until after the Maccabean Revolt when thousands migrated from Babylon.[6] So many  came in the second century that Josephus said that a “countless multitude” came from Galilee and other areas to Jerusalem at Pentecost,[7]  and that they did so by going through Samaria.[8] This underscores the influence of the Assyrian domination, which ended in 609 B.C. with the rise of the Babylonian Empire. However, it should be noted that a growing number of scholars believe that in spite of the political, military, and economic crises in “Eretz Israel” (the land of Israel), the Jewish people maintained a majority over Gentile and Samaritan populations in the first centuries B.C. and A.D.[9]     


03.02.05.B. SENNACHERIB’S RECORD OF HIS SIEGE AGAINST JERUSALEM 03.02.05.B. SENNACHERIB’S RECORD OF HIS SIEGE AGAINST JERUSALEM. The Assyrian king had his siege against King Hezekiah recorded on three clay prisms, known today as the Taylor Prism (shown above) and two Sennacherib Prisms. Other records include writings by Herodotus and Isaiah 36-37; 2 Kings 18 and 2 Chronicles 32.  Photo by David Castor/Wikipedia Commons.

[1].  Hezekiah is among fifty biblical names whose existence has been verified by archaeological studies in a published article by Lawrence Mykytiuk titled, “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible.” Biblical Archaeology Review. March/April, 2014 (40:2), pages 42-50, 68.  This archaeological evidence confirms the historical accuracy of the biblical timeline.  For further study, see the website for Associates for Biblical Research, as well as Grisanti, “Recent Archaeological Discoveries that Lend Credence to the Historicity of the Scriptures.” 475-98.  Part of Hezekiah’s preparation to protect Jerusalem from the coming Assyrians was the construction of a city wall, part of which can be seen in the Old City of Jerusalem today.


[2]. Deliverance for King Hezekiah and Jerualem came when an angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrians in a single night. Such a near instant mass execution would not take place again until August 6, 1945, when 100,000 died in Hiroshima, Japan as the result of an atomic explosion. Critics often discredit the huge number of 185,000 killed in ancient warfare, yet they do not question that in 480 B.C. 110,000 Greeks attacked the Persians and killed 260,000 of them.  See Packer, Tenney, and White, eds., The Bible Almanac.165.


[3]. Link and Tuente, “Slave, Servant, Captive, Prisoner, Freeman.” 3:590.


[4]. Isa. 9:1; 1 Macc. 5:15; Mt. 4:15.


[5]. Reed, Archaeology. 47; Dunn, “Did Jesus Attend the Synagogue?” 208-10.


[6]. See “Galilee of the Gentiles” in 06.01.08.


[7]. Josephus, Antiquities 20.6.1 and Wars 2.12.3.


[8]. Josephus, Antiquities 17.10.2 and Wars 2.3.1.


[9]. Cohen, “The Attitude to the Gentile in the Halakhah and in Reality in the Tannaitic Period.” 35.

03.02.06 Jeremiah Begins His Ministry

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03.02.06 626 B.C. Jeremiah Begins His Ministry

By this time the people of Judea and Jerusalem had also fallen into idolatry as had their northern brothers a century earlier. Jeremiah was a young man when he received his commission to be a prophet. He recognized the coming of God’s judgment, and hence, most of his prophecies were written with a sorrowful heart.[1]  He scorned the people of Judea for their sins (Jer. 44:23) and idolatry [2] because their sin included the horrific sacrifice of live infants as burnt offerings to pagan gods (Jer. 7:30-34). He gave a prophecy predicting seventy-year captivity as follows:

8 “Therefore, this is what the Lord of Hosts says: ‘Because you have not obeyed My words, 9 I am going to send for all the families of the north’ — this is the Lord’s declaration — ‘and send for My servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and I will bring them against this land, against its residents, and against all these surrounding nations, and I will completely destroy them and make them a desolation, a derision, and ruins forever. 10 I will eliminate the sound of joy and gladness from them—the voice of the groom and the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp. 11 This whole land will become a desolate ruin, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon for 70 years.

Jeremiah 25:8-11


At the time Jeremiah said these words, Babylon was all but unknown.  Certainly it was not a world power, but that was about to change.  He also made promises of a great king like David.

5 “The days are coming” — this is the Lord’s declaration —
“when I will raise up a Righteous Branch of David.
He will reign wisely as king
and administer justice and righteousness in the land.
6 In His days Judah will be saved,
and Israel will dwell securely.
This is what He will be named:
Yahweh Our Righteousness.

Jeremiah 23:5-6


The fulfillment of some prophecies, such as the seventy years of captivity, was critical because Jeremiah also gave prophecies concerning the coming Messiah.  Since he had proven himself to be a true prophet whose words were literally fulfilled, there would be no misunderstanding that his words concerning a Messiah would also be literally fulfilled.[3]

[1]. Introduction to book of Jeremiah, New International Version Study Bible. 1115-16.

[2]. Jer. 16:10-13, 20; 22:9; 32:29; 44:2-3, 8, 17-19, 25.


[3]. For the historical trail of the Davidic Covenant from David to Jesus, see the blue “Mystery Unveiled” boxes in 03.02.01, 03.02.03, 03.02.06, 03.03.01, 04.02.02, and 13.04.05.

03.02.07 Assyrian Nineveh Falls to Babylon and Media

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03.02.07 612 B.C. Assyrian Nineveh Falls to Babylon and Media

The Assyrian army, which was believed to be invincible, was defeated by King Nabopolassar, founder of the Chaldean Empire, a/k/a Babylon.  Thus, the international stage was prepared for Jeremiah’s words to be fulfilled.  By the first century, the other prophetic words spoken by him were remembered as the Jews encountered Jesus and His disciples.

03.02.08 Judah Falls to the Babylonians; First Deportation of Jews to Babylon

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03.02.08 605 B.C. Judah Falls to the Babylonians; First Deportation of Jews to Babylon

King Nebuchadnezzar II (reigned 605-562 B.C.), the oldest son and successor of King Nabopolassar, destroyed the Egyptian army at the Battle of Carchemish and invaded Syria and Judah.[1] As news spread that he was coming toward Jerusalem, some of the wealthy aristocratic Jews fled to Egypt and Spain.[2]

At this point historians disagree on the dates of the deportation of leading Jews. Some scholars believe that Daniel and others were deported to Babylon in 605 B.C. (cf. Dan. 1:1-7), while others believe he and other prophets, like Ezekiel, were deported later in 597 or 586 B.C.[3]  The bulk of the people were taken in 586 B.C.  Cyrus permitted them to return in 536, meaning that the vast majority of people were in captivity for only 50 years, but the leadership was in captivity for 70 years.[4]

In weeping and deep mourning, the captive Jews were led to the Babylon where they resettled along the banks of the Euphrates River.  It was there where they hung their harps on the willow trees and cried – and it is from those trees that the name “weeping willow,” received its name (Ps. 137). [5] Yet it was in Babylon where they prospered and continued to grow in numbers, clear evidence that God had not forgotten them.

Nebuchadnezzar’s capture of Jerusalem was without difficulty. As the Assyrians had done previously, he directed influential Jewish families of the priesthood and government, including the prophet Daniel, as well as artisans, craftsmen, and skilled farmers, to be deported to the east (Babylon). This was done because he believed that without their leaders, the captive people would not have the ability to revolt and would therefore, remain faithful. They mourned the loss of their holy city and wrote Psalms 137.

The captive Jews took with them the Torah and other prophetic scrolls of the coming messiah whom they expected would deliver them from political bondage and slavery. By the time of Jesus, all people groups in the Middle East were anticipating a messiah who would deliver them from oppressive rulers.  Some heard it from Assyrian captives, others from Babylonian captives, and others from those who chose to relocate in foreign countries for other reasons. So anticipatory were the eastern ancients, that magi searched the heavens for any possible clue of a coming king. Tradition says that the three eastern magi and their caravan came as the result of the Jews having been dispersed to that region centuries earlier.


[1]. The Babylonian kings Merodach-baladan II, Nebuchadnezzar II, Evil-merodach, Belshazzar, as well as an official of Nebuchadnezzar II, Nebo-sarsekim, are among fifty biblical names whose existence has been verified by archaeological studies in a published article by Lawrence Mykytiuk titled, “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible.” Biblical Archaeology Review. March/April, 2014 (40:2), pages 42-50, 68.  This archaeological evidence confirms the historical accuracy of the biblical timeline.  For further study, see the website for Associates for Biblical Research, as well as Grisanti, “Recent Archaeological Discoveries that Lend Credence to the Historicity of the Scriptures.” 475-98.


[2]. The terms “Jew” and “Jewish people” did not exist prior to the return of the Israelite people from Babylonian captivity to Jerusalem. It is used herein only for clarification.


[3]. Scott, Jr. Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament. 108.


[4]. Fischer, The Gospels in Their Jewish Context. (Lecture on CD/MP3). Week 3, Session 2.


[5]. Geikie, The Life and Words of Christ. 1:203. The same tree found in the Middle East is also found in various sections of the United States.

03.02.09 Second Deportation of Jews to Babylon with Daniel and Ezekiel

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03.02.09 597 B.C. Second Deportation of Jews to Babylon with Daniel and Ezekiel

Both Daniel and Ezekiel lived during times of international upheaval and strife.  Fortunately, Ezekiel linked his prophecies to a calendar, which archaeologists reckoned to the modern calendar. The discovery of Babylonian annals on cuneiform tablets became the tools allowing archaeologists to place these events into a modern time perspective.

The Israelites in Judah had no desire to remain under the domination of the Babylonians, and in 597 B.C., they rebelled. However, their zeal for political freedom was quickly crushed. Upon his return to Mesopotamia, Nebuchadnezzar again took the remaining priests, government officials, and approximately 10,000 leading men, including the prophet Ezekiel.  He and his countrymen were settled along the banks of the Chebar River, a tributary that flows into the Euphrates about three hundred miles above Babylon (1 Kg. 24:10-16; Ezek. 1:1-2; 40:1).



03.02.09.A. THE BABYLONIAN CHRONICLE FOR THE YEARS 605-595 B.C. This clay tablet from the royal Babylonian archives reports the accomplishments of King Nebuchadnezzar, including the capture of Judah (Jerusalem) on March 16, 597 B.C. It matches perfectly with the details of the Bible. Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.


It was a common opinion that when armies fought each other, the battle was really a contest between their gods and the winning army was said to have the stronger deity. To the Babylonians, their victory and the destruction of the temple symbolized that they had the stronger god.  Since the Israelites also believed this, they were greatly discouraged and depressed as they believed their God was defeated and possibly destroyed.  Hence, the words of promise by their prophets were profoundly significant and reassuring.  They spoke of restoration, a return to the land, and a Messiah, all of which gave the captured people great hope in the midst of despair.

In this setting, Daniel’s prophecies had a profound impact as his words were literally fulfilled.  Among his predictions was the rise of an evil man who would attempt to destroy the Jewish people.  He was not mentioned by name. However, his actions identified him to be none other than Antiochus IV Epiphanes (early 2nd century BC), who rose to power in Damascus and ruled 360 years after Daniel spoke these words (Ch. 11). The fulfillment of Daniel’s words gave him credibility as a true prophet indicating that his words concerning the Messiah would also be fulfilled in the same literal manner.

Possibly the most interesting prophecy by Daniel concerning the Messiah is that He would die before the destruction of the temple.  Notice that Daniel said this after the destruction of Solomon’s temple. That prophecy could only have meant that

  1. There would be a second temple.
  1. During the time of that second temple the Messiah would come. The prediction reads as follows,

After those 62 weeks the Messiah will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the coming prince will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come with a flood, and until the end there will be war; desolations are decreed.

Daniel 9:26


However, Daniel’s prophecy of the temple’s destruction was problematic for first century Jews.[1] At the time of Jesus, a number of Jews associated with the School of Hillel realized that one day their temple would be destroyed along with the Holy City. In addition, their temple did not fit the description of Ezekiel’s temple. Therefore, when Jesus said that He would rebuild the destroyed temple in three days, His words caused terror in light of Daniel’s prophecy.

Another significant prophet was Ezekiel.  He gave a series of interesting prophecies that pertain to the first and second comings of the Messiah.  The first advent of the Messiah describes Him as a servant and in the second coming He is described as a military leader.  These two descriptions were the cause for many heated debates, and have at times been known as the “messianic problem.”  The first century Essenes, for example, concluded that there would be two different Messiahs because they did not consider the possibility that one Messiah could come twice, or that the Messiah could be deity in human form.  Hence, their concept of a Messiah was of an extraordinary person (somewhat angelic), but not someone who was both God and man (i.e. Jesus).

The book of Ezekiel was among the most highly respected prophetic books in the days of Jesus.  Many of his words had been fulfilled with precision, thus leaving no doubt that his remaining prophecies would eventually be fulfilled in a similar manner.  As previously stated, therein lay the problem for first century Judaism.  A large section of his works (chapters 40-48) describes a new temple that clearly was not the beautiful monument Herod the Great had re-created out of the second temple.  Hence, the Sadducees and Pharisees realized that their sacred shrine that they so dearly loved, would eventually have to be destroyed to make way for Ezekiel’s temple.  The Romans destroyed it in A.D. 70, but the third temple has yet to be built.

Daniel’s messianic prophecies were the subject of great debate because he said that the messiah would be “one who looked like a man” (Dan 10:18). That led Jewish scholars to conclude that the messiah would be someone/something to the order of an angelic superman.  Therefore, because of the word “like,” the idea of a messiah coming in the form of a humble carpenter from Nazareth was thoroughly rejected. The word “messiah” is capitalized only when it is in reference to Jesus as deity, and is not capitalized when the understanding is of a non-deity entity.

[1]. See Appendix 15.

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