Intertestamental period

Intertestamental period

The intertestamental period is term that Protestant Christians use to refer to a period of prophetic "silence" between the Old and New Testaments. Traditionally, it is considered to be a roughly four hundred year period, spanning the ministry of Malachi, the last of the Old Testament prophets, and the ministry of John the Baptist.

Several of the deuterocanonical books, accepted as Scripture by Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, were written during this time. In addition, modern Protestant scholarship believes that several Old Testament books were in fact composed much later than 400 B.C. including Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles.

Political history of Levant

Persian rule

400-330 B.C., Persian rule under Artaxerxes I, Darius II, Artaxerxes II, Artaxerxes III, Arses and Darius III.

Hellenistic Period

330-328 B.C., Greek Conquest of Alexander the Great; spread of the Greek language.

The conquest of Alexander the Great in 330 B.C. not only brought the Jews under Grecian domination, but also introduced the Greek language and ideas throughout the ancient world.

Ptolemaic and Seleucid dynasties, 323-166 B.C.

After the death of Alexander, his kingdom was divided, and a struggle between the Ptolemies of Egypt and the monarchs of Syria, resulting first in Egyptian, then in Syrian, rule over Judea.

The latter was a dark period in Jewish history, especially during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Syrian king, who committed many outrages against the Jews, sought to establish idolatry in Jerusalem (abomination of desolation), and defiled the temple.

Jewish Independence

Under Maccabees and Hasmonean dynasty 166 B.C. - 63 B.C., spreading teaching of unity of God, messianic hope and Scriptures.

Antiochus' activity led to the Maccabean revolt, 166 B.C. in which the priest Matthias and his sons defeated the Syrians in a series of battles, which secured the independence of the providence of Judea.

This was the foundation of the Hasmonean dynasty, which reigned from 166 - 63 B.C.

Roman Rule

Roman establishment of stable government, uniform laws, and Roman roads.

Significant events

Development of Jewish sects

Events Immediately Preceding Jesus

Announcement to Zechariah of the forerunner of Jesus (Luke 1:5-17);

Annunciation to Mary of the coming Messiah (Luke 1:26-35);

Preaching of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:1-6);


See also

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