Saturday, January 21, 2017

A Time Between Testaments- The Wimpy Brother's Choice

By Mary Vee
Between the Old and New Testament
Around 64 BC

From the Historical records

The time in between time. 

Four hundred years are in the process of passing since God last spoke through a prophet to His people.

Remember we are counting backwards to year 0. The year is around 63 BC. (before Christ)

    400 BC                           300 BC                        200 BC                        100 BC                          Birth of Christ

Two brothers, Hrycanus and Aristobulus did not get along. The younger, stronger brother wanted to rule the Jews, but his mother, Queen Salome gave the throne to his older brother on her death bed.

Their fighting knew no bounds. Aristobulus, the younger one, conquered his older brother's army and took the throne.

Hrycanus' advisor set up a counter attack months later, giving him the throne back for all the Jewish land except the mighty Temple fortress where Aristobulus hid.

In the meantime, two Roman generals set out to make Rome the leader of the world: Julius Caesar and Pompey. General Pompey conquered Spain and took his army east conquering what is now Turkey then he went farther east toward Iran in the name of Rome. He turned south and stopped for a time in Damascus.

While General Pompey stopped in Damascus, Hrycanus had a bright idea. He went to Damascus and asked to meet with the General. "You must understand, General. My mother, Queen Solome, decreed that I should have the throne and rule the Jews. My brother, though, has brought an army against me, and has fought since the day our mother died. If you would just back me on her decree, I'm sure we could live in peace."

The general agreed to think about it.

Days later, his brother, Aristobulus had the same idea. Aristobulus went to Damascus to visit the general. "Please believe me when I say my brother is weak. He is an incompetent leader. I am the stronger one with leadership skills. The country would be better off with me in charge. If I could get your support, I'm sure we could live in peace."

The general agreed to think about it.

A group of priests called Sanhedrin also went to visit general Pompey. "General, these brothers have been fighting since the day they were born. We know they have come to speak with you, each one wanting your support. We suggest you not listen to either one of them. We are happy to take over the leadership of the Jews."

The general agreed to think about it.

And the general did. For a whole year he thought about it. 

In 63 BC, General Pompey marched his army to Jerusalem. This was an important city. If he took control of this land, the Roman power would be strengthened. 

Amazingly enough, Aristobulus surrendered to the Roman troops. He and the fellow survivors were marched in shame to Rome. Hrycanus, though, pulled his army back and hid until they could regroup. Pompey continued to fight against Hrycanus until the Jewish king gave up.

General Pompey marched his troops into the temple. He walked back to the Holy of Holies and used his sword to slice the veil. Inside this inner room he looked around. No one really knows how he felt, only what he didn't do. Pompey left everything as it was. He took no booty even though there were valuable pieces in the temple. Pompey ordered his men to leave and not take or touch anything.

He allowed Hyrcanus to remain as high priest and even called him king, but Jerusalem and all Jews were placed under Roman rule at that point. Before he left the area, he ordered his army to knock down the city walls to take away the Jews defenses, and he ordered a heavy Roman tax on all Jews. 

Maybe Hyrcanus realized the Jews could lose their way of worshiping God so he refused to surrender like his brother. Maybe he thought they would lose the temple like they had when the Greeks came. Whatever the reason that made him fight instead of surrendering to Pompey, the Jews were allowed to continue worshiping God as the law of Moses instructed.

Pompey's work was done. The Roman empire now spread east and south to Jerusalem.

If these two brothers hadn'tt fought....if these Jewish men had gone to God for help instead of the Romans ... the history books would have a different story to tell.

So what happened next?

Come back next time.

This is the history, the events that happened to real people during the time between the Old and New Testaments. 


*New International Version, New King James Version. 
*My Bible College training.
*My notes and walk through classes I've taught in Children's church. Answers to student questions, etc.
*Pastoral sermons on this time
*Matthew Henry Commentary
*F. LaGard Smith Commentary
*The Hanukkah Book by Marilyn Burns, Four Winds Press, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1981
*Jewish Virtual
*The Hasmonean Dynasty

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