The Threat of Hellenism

Today's Bible reading: Nehemiah 8:1-12

For 200 years (538-332 BC), the Jews of Judea were part of this huge Persian Empire.  However, this vast and powerful empire came to an end when Alexander the Great basically conquered the entire eastern world.  In 332 BC, Jerusalem surrendered to the invading Macedonian armies without a struggle.  After Alexander's death, his empire was divided between his generals … and Judea became part of the empire of the Ptolemies of Egypt (301-198 BC).

 The mixing of Greek and eastern culture produced a new civilization, which we now refer to as: Hellenism.  Hellenism posed a new threat to God's people.  Could they maintain their identity as a special people - worshiping the one true God - in a culture which demanded that people adopt Hellenistic ideals – including pagan worship with its many gods?  Baalism had been the great threat in the past.  Now Hellenism became the great threat to Jewish identity.

Prayer: O Savior, we eat, drink and take joy in Your holy reign, taking all comfort in Your Word.  Amen.