The Origins of the Second Temple: Persian Imperial Policy & Rebuilding of Jerusalem

Persians Imperial Policy in Israel 2

Based on what I presented about Israel under Persians’ rule in one of my previous posts, “The Symbolic Value of Aleph“, some of my friends asked me questions about good references for further detailed readings regarding this particular historical period which is a turning point in the history of middle East too.

Here I would like to introduce an interesting book of Diana Edelman, The Origins of the Second Temple: Persian Imperial Policy and the Rebuilding of Jerusalem, which investigates the political situation of the Kingdom of Judah or what was called Yehud Medinata or simply Yehud during Persian Empire around 500 B.C. through an archaeological approach and with some interesting references to Biblical evidences. I hope it will be useful for those who are interested in this topic. It was a quite nice reading for me. I wish you may like it as well.

Let me quote a part of the book about the special period when an Egyptian named Amyrtaeus of Sais, successfully leads a revolt against the Persian Empire’s control of the Egyptian delta. He becomes the first (and only) pharaoh of the Twenty-eighth Dynasty. After this revolt Iranians temporarily lose their control on the Egypt province (Satrapy) in the Western borders of empire, and so Beer Sheva becomes a strategically important border city located between Persian Empire and Egypt and Iranians begin building military facilities and some fortresses around it to launch their counterattacks for retaking the control of the Egypt once again.

Political developments in the first quarter of the fourth century may have led the ruling Persian king to decide that the southern territory of Yehud needed much fuller development and would be best administered as an independent unit. Specifically, the loss of Egypt from the empire after its successful revolt in 401 BCE now placed the southern boundary of the Persian empire at the Beersheva Valley. This would have been a logical time to establish Idumea as a separate province, with its own seat of power and internal administration, which could build additional forts in the Beersheva Valley to secure the new southern border of the empire. The traditional southern border of Yehud could then have been moved north to Bet-Zur at this point. [Edelman, pp 271] 

Here is the list of Persian kings in Achaemenid Empire and their dates. See also their family tree here. Below are some maps and a detailed table of historical sites founded in Israel during Persian Empire, all quoted from this book except the modern map of Israel.

Table of Persian sites in Israel

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