Division of empire directly affected Jews, Christianity

After Alexander died, his Macedonian generals carved up his vast empire. Some of the actions of these generals had a direct effect upon the Jews and, later, upon Christianity.

Antignus Cyclops seized Palestine, which was occupied by a mixture of Jews, Syrians and Greeks.Ptolemy I seized Egypt and founded a dynasty that lasted 300 years; 12 others kings bore his name. He seized Palestine after the death of Antignus Cyclops.

Ptolemy II, interested in the sacred literature of the Jews, made arrangements to have Jewish scholars go to Egypt and translate their holy writings, or Torah, into Greek. The translated version of the Old Testament came to be called the Septuagint, which was significant because the scriptures could be read by the entire Greek-speaking world. Of the hundreds of quotes from the Old Testament found in the New Testament, more than half were derived from the Septuagint.

About 50 years after the Septuagint was made, Antiochus III (Antiochus the Great), became king of Syria. He attempted to wrest control of lower Syria, Phoenicia and Palestine from Egypt, whose monarch was Ptolemy IV (also called Philopator).

After Philopator defeated Antiochus' troops near Gaza in 217 B.C., he entered Palestine. In Jerusalem, he insisted on offering sacrifices in the temple. The Jews viewed this as an abomination and prevented him from entering the temple.

After Philopator's death in 203 B.C., Antiochus invaded the Holy Land, and, in 198 B.C., was victorious in battle at Panias, adding Palestine to the Selecuid Empire.

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed