The kingdom got divided after the death of Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him). Two independent Jewish kingdoms were established in Palestine after 930 BC, the ten northern tribes constituting the Kingdom of Israel were known as Israelites to distinguish them from Jews in the southern Kingdom of Judah. The northern kingdom was conquered by the Assyrians in 721 BC, which led to the partial dispersion of the 10 northern tribes and their gradual assimilation by other peoples. (Legends thus refer to them as the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel). Thereafter, the name Israelite referred to those who were still distinctively Jewish, namely, descendants of the Kingdom of Judah. Allah sent many prophets for their guidance, some are mentioned by name like; Elisha, (9th Century B.C), Elijah,(9th Century B.C), Isaiah, (8th Century B.C), Jonah, (flourished around 785 B.C at Nineveh), Jeremiah,(7-6th Century B.C), Job (Book of Job written around 6-4th Century B.C), Elias, Ezekiel, (6th Century B.C) and Daniel (6th Century B.C).
The history of the Israelites from 721 BC time forward is predominantly the history of the tribe of Judah (hence called Jews).
The southern Kingdom of Judah thrived until 587-586 BC, when it was overrun by the Babylonians, who destroyed the First Temple and carried off many of the inhabitants into exile, it was beginning of ‘Diaspora’(Greek “dispersion”). [ The dispersion of Jews among the Gentiles after the Babylonian Exile (586 BC), or the aggregate of Jews outside Palestine or present-day Israel is called ‘Diaspora’. Hebrew Galut (“Exile”) The term also carries religious, philosophical, political, and eschatological connotations, inasmuch as the Jews perceive a special relationship between the land of Israel and themselves. Interpretations of this relationship range from the messianic hope of traditional Judaism for the eventual “ingathering of the exiles” to the view of Reform Judaism that the dispersal of the Jews was providentially arranged by God to foster monotheism throughout the world.
During the Babylonian exile, the Jewish though , specially the oral traditions were influence by Zoroastrianism, the prevalent faith of Babylonian. Historically, Diaspora Jews outnumbered the Jews in Palestine even before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. Thereafter, the chief centers of Judaism shifted from country to country (e.g., Babylonia, Persia, Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Russia, and the U.S.), and Jewish communities gradually adopted distinctive languages, rituals, and cultures, some submerging themselves in non-Jewish environments more completely than others. While some lived in peace, others became victims of violent anti-Semitism. While the vast majority of Jews have supported Zionism [An organized movement of world Jewry that arose in Europe in the late 19th century with the aim of reconstituting a Jewish state in Palestine. Modern Zionism is concerned with the development and support of the state of Israel.], some Orthodox Jews go so far as to oppose the modern State of Israel on the grounds that it is a godless and secular state defying God’s will to send his messiah at the time he has preordained.
When the Persians conquered Babylonia in 538 BC, Cyrus the Great allowed the Jews to return to their homeland, where they soon set to work to replace the magnificent Temple of Jerusalem that the Babylonians had destroyed. The 2nd Temple was completed from 520-515 B.C. Ezra (Uzair, peace be upon him) returned to Jerusalem in 458 B.C to reform the society according to Mosaic law. Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in 440 B.C. Ezra has been called the father of Judaism; i.e., the specific form the Jewish religion took after the Babylonian Exile. It was he who restored and codified the Torah after it had been lost during the Babylonian Exile, and “edited” it in more or less the form which it has today; and thus “he promoted the establishment of an exclusive, legalistic type of religion that became dominant in later Judaism”. So important was he in the eyes of his people that later tradition regarded him as no less than a second Moses.
The 7th century C.E Jewish tribes in Arabia, even revered him by calling him son of God (Qur’an;9:30). In 331 BC, Greek culture was introduced into the Middle East with the conquests of Alexander the Great. Ptolemy I (367-283 B.C), a general in Alexander the Great’s army who succeeded him as ruler of Egypt, established an Egyptian dynasty of Macedonian kings (323-30 B.C). Palestine was ruled by the Ptolemaic kings of Egypt throughout the 2nd century B.C. In 198 B.C Palestine fell to the Seleucids (a Hellenistic dynasty founded by Seleucus I after the death of Alexander the Great. It ruled much of Asia Minor from 312 to 64 B.C.). Maccabean were a family of Jewish patriots of the second and first centuries B.C., who were active in the liberation of Judea from Syrian rule. The Maccabean revolt (165-142 B.C); ended as a successful war for Judean political independence from Syria. The Jews were ruled by the high priests like Alexander Jannaeus (103-76 B.C), Alexandra (76-67 B.C), Aristobulus II (67-63 B.C) and Hyrcanus (63-40 B.C) Pompey, conquered Palestine for Rome in 63 B.C. [Pompey (106-48. B.C.) was a Roman general and political leader, with Caesar and Crassus he formed a ruling triumvirate (60-50 B.C) but was later defeated by Caesar and murdered in Egypt.] Pompey, also seeing in Hyrcanus a means of controlling Judaea, restored him to the high priesthood and some semblance of civil authority. Herod was appointed king of Judaea (37-4 BC) by Romans. Hyrcanus was allowed by Herod to return to Jerusalem; six years later, he had him executed. Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him), the last messenger for the Israelites was born in 5 B.C. Herod Antipas became the ruler of Judea and tetrarch in Galilee (4 B.C.- 40 C.E).
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