REBUILDING THE CITY
After the people of Jerusalem were conquered by Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon, the Temple was sacked and the people deported to Babylon. The long Exile began.
This might have been the end of it. The Jewish people might have disappeared forever.
But in 538BC Cyrus II of Persia reversed the orders of Nebuchadnezzar and allowed the Jewish population to return to their homeland, and to Jerusalem.
The once magnificent city was a sorry sight.
Where once there had been a Temple, palaces, houses and commercial buildings, now there were ruins. Nothing remained except a few small buildings and a demoralized peasantry living in huts. They must start again.
Bit by bit the people began to rebuild Jerusalem, determined to re-establish their sacred city.
By 515BC they had restored the Temple, though it was a more modest building than Solomon's.
There is no exact description of it, but we know it was surrounded by two courtyards with chambers, gates and a public square.
At least it had some of the ritual objects of the First Temple. Nebuchadnezzar had returned the sacred vessels looted from the First Temple. But apart from that, it cannot have been as grand as Solomon's Temple - and money was short.
To compensate for this ritual became even more elaborate, and was conducted by hereditary families of Levites.
Jerusalem once more became the center of the Jewish world.
THE STRUGGLE TO STAY JEWISH
Centuries passed, and the world saw the brilliance of Alexander the Great.
In this tumultuous period Jerusalem was a cautious bystander.
After Alexander's death, Palestine was ruled by his marshal Ptolemy I, who occupied Egypt and made Alexandria his capital.
In 198 BC Jerusalem was taken over by the dynasty descended from Seleucus I, another of Alexander's marshals.
The new rulers promoted Greek culture and religious ideas and tried to suppress Jewish practices.
The Jewish people vigorously resisted.
In retaliation, Antiochus IV deliberately desecrated the Temple by offering a sacrifice to Zeus on the High Altar. A revolt broke out, led by the Maccabees, who expelled the Seleucids. Judas Maccabaeus cleansed and rededicated the Temple, an event celebrated in the annual Jewish festival of Hanukkah.
Jerusalem regained its position as the capital of an independent state, now ruled by the priestly Hasmonean family.
But the power of Rome was growing, and Roman eyes turned towards Jerusalem.
See HEROD'S JERUSALEM at the time of Jesus........
Photos of Jerusalem at GALLERY PAGE
Other Online Bible Websites
Study famous and historical people, places, artwork and archaelogy of the Holy Bible online.
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www.bible-people.info - stories of the Bible's most famous men and women - Moses, Judas, John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene and more
www.womeninthebible.net - all about Bible women, good and bad: Ruth, Deborah, Mary of Nazareth, Jezebel
www.bible-archaeology.info - archaeological evidence and the Bible - what can we prove?
http://www.bible-art.info/ - Bible paintings and artworks: Nativity, Resurrection, Esther, Martha and Mary
http://www.bible-topten.com/ - Top Ten heroes, bad women, ways to hell, young people, villains, murders, films
http://www.bible-architecture.info/ - more about houses, palaces, temples and fortresses
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