During the time of the Babylonian exile, when they defeated the Jews in Jerusalem in 587
B.C., the Jews did not lose faith in their God and strongly believed they would be
delivered by God’s emissary on earth, an Anointed Messiah who would restore the Jews to their rightful home in Israel. Not all Jews chose to return to Israel after the Babylonians were conquered by Cyrus the Persian and Babylonia continued to have a vibrant Jewish culture for several centuries. The Persian Empire was overthrown by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. and gave the Jews greater freedom of movement and they settled in Palestine, Syria, Egypt and Asia Minor.
This gave rise to a diluted form of Judaism, especially among the Maccabees in Greek society. However, even the Hellenized Maccabees had their limits on departure from God’s Law and they revolted against the Syrian rulers in 166 B.C.. For the Jews, the ruler Antiochus pushed too hard to change Jewish culture. The revolt continued until 142 B.C. with the Jews ultimately prevailing. The revolt was a ferocious display of Jewish commitment to worship according to their laws and forever colored affairs between Jews and Greeks. During the last century B.C. the Maccabees amassed a far-reaching kingdom of oppressed Gentiles. ...