Bandits Prophets and Messiahs: Popular Movements at the Time - download pdf or read online

By Richard A. Horsley; John S. Hanson

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2:42) would hardly have been gained overnight. Even if the Hasidim should be understood as referring to the faithful rebels generally, it is at least clear that the Hasidim engaged in active rebellion included a con­ siderable number of scribes (1 Mace. 7:12-13). , from among the peasantry. Judas "the Hammer," the third of five sons of a priestly family, the Hasmoneans, soon emerged as the charismatic leader of the rebel forces. He and other fugitives subsisted for a time in the wilderness. From this base, by stealthily 8 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 21 working the byways to recruit from the villages, he and his henchmen eventually organized thousands of resisters into a fighting force.

20:2). In their very origins, the Israelites had escaped from servi­ tude to foreign rulers. , "Jericho") who then ruled the land of promise. According to one of the stories, Joshua had said to the people who, typically for peas­ ants, held their ruling class in awe, "Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings. . Do not be afraid or dismayed; be strong and of good courage" (Josh. 10:24-25). Not only did the early Israelites, under the leadership of Yahweh (and Moses, Joshua, Deborah, e t c ) , establish their independence as a peasantry free of any ruling class, they also formed a covenant with Yahweh and each other to main­ tain that freedom.

Pressures of resistance began to build, somewhat later, when Menelaus, leader of a radical Hellenizing faction, con­ spired to purchase the high priesthood for himself, outbid­ ding Jason by more than 300 talents and sending him into exile in the Transjordan. Raising such a tribute meant that the people were taxed at a rate that had more than doubled over four years—all to underwrite a reform that severely dis­ rupted their traditional way of life. Since there was still diffi­ culty in raising the promised tribute, Menelaus conspired with his brother Lysimachus to embezzle the temple treasures and vessels, which had accumulated over genera­ tions and were hardly the property of the powerful men and rulers of Jerusalem, but of the people as a whole and, ulti­ mately, of God.

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