Chapter 2 – Judaism in first-century Palestine

Messianic hopes texts (p 41)

‘Behold, O Lord, and raise up to them their king, the son of David, at the time in which you see, O God, that he may reign over Israel your servant. And gird him with strength, that he may shatter unrighteous rulers, and that he may purge Jerusalem from nations that trample her down to destruction.’ Psalms of Solomon 17:23f

‘They shall depart from none of the counsels of the law to walk in the stubbornness of their hearts, but shall be ruled by the primitive precepts in which the men of the Community were first instructed until there shall come the Prophet and the Messiahs of Aaron and Israel.’ 1QS (= the Community Rule from Qumran) 9:10f

‘In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea, wise men from the east cam to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?…When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.…Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.”…When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men.’ Matthew 2:1-4, 7f., 16

‘And as for the lion that you saw rousing up out of the forest and roaring and speaking to the eagle and reproving him for his unrighteousness, and as for all his words that you have heard, this is the Messiah whom the Most High has kept until the end of days, who will arise from the posterity of David, and will come and speak to them; he will denounce them for their ungodliness and for their wickedness, and will cast up before them their contemptuous dealings. For first he will set them living before his judgement seat, and when he has reproved them, then he will destroy them. But he will deliver in mercy the remnant of my people, those who have been saved throughout my borders, and he will make them joyful until the end comes, the day of judgement, of which I spoke to you at the beginning.’ 4 Ezra 12:31-34

‘And they said to me, “Levi, your posterity shall be divided into three offices as a sign of the glory of the Lord who is coming. The first lot shall be great; no other shall be greater than it. The second shall be in the priestly role. But the third shall be granted a new name, because from Judah a king will arise and should found a new priesthood in accord the with gentile model and for all nations. His presence is beloved, as a prophet of the Most High, a descendant of Abraham, our father.”’ Testament of Levi 8:11-15

Josephus on the Jewish parties (p 43)

Here is a link to Antiquities 18 online:

The Temple Mount AD 70 (elevation viewed from the south-west)
The Temple Mount AD 70 (elevation viewed from the south-west)
Herodian Temple area
Herodian Temple area (p 35, vol 1)
A statue of the emperor Augustus
The emperor Augustus, Roman emperor at the time of Jesus’ birth, portrayed as a military victor (20 BC) – found in Prima Porta, a northern suburb of Rome, in 1863.
Judean desert
The Judean desert. This area, where there is virtually no vegetation except in spring, was the location of the temptations of Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11).
Model of Herod's temple 2
Model (located at the Israel Museum) of the temple built by Herod the Great. This magnificent building was begun about 20 BC, and some work was still going on 46 years later (John 2:20).
Western wall, Passover
Prayer at the Western Wall during Passover. This is a sacred place for Jews, the one place where remains of the first century temple can still easily be accessed today.
Western wall prayer
Prayer at the Western Wall, a closer view. A male worshipper wears a prayer shawl, a yarmulke or kippah on his head, and on his forehead tefillin (small black boxes containing texts from Exodus and Deuteronomy). Women also pray here, in an adjoining enclosure.
Inscription forbidding entry to Temple (in Citadel)
Inscription forbidding non-Jews to enter the temple on pain of death (replica in the Citadel Museum).
Jerusalem, old city thoroughfare
Jerusalem Old city thoroughfare. Main streets would often be similarly crowded in Jesus’ time.
Street commissioned by Pilate
A Street in Jerusalem thought to have been constructed at the direction of Pontius Pilate between AD 30 and 40. It leads from the Siloam pool to the Temple.
Inside the Citadel, Herod's palace-fortress
The Citadel, as it is known today, was the palace in which Herod’s family lived when they were in Jerusalem. After the Romans assumed direct control in AD 6, Roman governors such as Pontius Pilate (who lived mostly in Caesarea on the coast) would stay here in times of tension. This was the location of Jesus’ ‘trial’ by Pilate.
Arch of Titus in Rome
The Arch of Titus in Rome, showing treasures from the temple being brought to Rome as spoils of war.
Dome of the rock, Jerusalem
The Dome of the Rock – the first major sanctuary built by Islam (AD 688-691) now stands where the Jewish temple once stood.
Qumran Cave 4
Qumran, cave 4. In 1947 a chance find by a Bedouin boy led to the discovery that several caves near the Dead Sea contained leather scrolls nearly 2000 years old. They proved to be the work of a community of devout Jews committed to worship and study of Hebrew Scriptures. The caves are numbered according to the order in which they were found to contain scrolls.
Qumran, wider view
Qumran and the surrounding challenging terrain.
Qumran, cistern (water storage)
A cistern for water storage. Water played an important role not only in the community’s survival in the harsh terrain, but also in their rituals of purification.
Qumran, Mikveh (for ritual washing)
Qumran, a mikveh (pool for Jewish ritual washing).
Scriptorium area
The ‘scriptorium’ at Qumran where scrolls were written and copied.
Qumran 1279 scroll jar
One of the pottery jars from Qumran in which scrolls were kept safe.
Qumran 1QS Facsimile ('The Community Rule')
A facsimile of ‘The Community Rule’ which sets out the pattern of life required of the community members.
Temple Scroll (11QTemple)
Part of ‘The Temple Scroll’, which describes detailed regulations about sacrifices and temple rituals. Nine metres long, it is the longest of all the scrolls.
Qumran, entrance to Cave 11
Qumran, entrance to Cave 11