3. From the Exile to the Birth of Jesus

The Exile and Restoration of Jerusalem     587BC - 445BC

587 BC                     Gedeliah is appointed Governor of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar

586 BC                     Gedeliah is assassinated. Jeremiah accompanies the rebels to Egypt

539 BC                     Babylon is captured by King Cyrus of Persia

537 BC                     The first group of exiles returns to Jerusalem under Sheshbazzar

536 BC                     Work begins on rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem

Haggai & Zechariah spur on the returned exiles to rebuild the Temple in c.520BC.


516 BC                     The Second Temple is completed

Malachi, writing after the completion of the Temple in 516BC, urges Israel to be faithful as God's people.


525 BC                     A second group of exiles returns under Zerubbabel and Joshua

522 BC                     Darius I becomes King of Persia

486 BC                     Xerxes I becomes King of Persia

483 BC                     Queen Vashti is deposed by Xerxes I

479 BC                     Esther becomes Queen of Persia

473 BC                     Haman’s plot to kill the Jews fails. The Festival of Purim established

465 BC                     Artaxerxes I becomes King of Persia

458 BC                     A third group of exiles returns to Jerusalem under Ezra

445 BC                     A fourth group of exiles returns under Nehemiah

445 BC                     The walls are completed and the Feast of Tabernacles is celebrated

Joel, writing some time after the exile in the 5th or 4th century BC, promises hope after a plague of locusts.


Between the Old and New Testaments     445BC - 6BC

333 BC                      Alexander the Great of Macedonia, defeats the Persian King Darius III at the Battle of Issus

332 BC                      Judaea is conquered by Alexander the Great.
                                        It becomes part of the Hellenic (Greek) world ruled by the Seleucid (Greek) kings of Syria
                                        and then by the Ptolemaic (Greek) kings of Egypt

201 BC                      Judaea comes under the control of the Seleucid kings again

167 BC                      Antiochus Epiphanes, the Seleucid (Greek) King of Syria, bans Jewish religious practices
                                       and dedicates the Jewish Temple to the Greek god Zeus. He establishes the
                                       ‘abomination of desolation’ (a stutue of Zeus) in the Temple in Jerusalem.
This prompts a Jewish rebellion led by Mattathias and Judas Maccabaeus

165 BC                      The Jewish rebels (the Maccabees) gain control and re-dedicate the Jewish Temple. 
                                       The festival of Hannukah celebrates this re-dedication of the Temple

152 BC                      Jonathan Maccabaeus establishes the Hasmonaean dynasty as rulers of Judaea

67 BC                        The Roman Emperor Pompey invades Syria and creates the Roman province of   
                                       Judaea. Hyrcanus is established as a ‘puppet’ king under Roman authority.

40 BC                       Herod defeats the Parthian (Persian) invaders with Roman assistance and is appointed
                                      Roman Governor of Galilee

37 BC                       Herod the Great is appointed ‘King of the Jews’ by the Romans

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