What Do We Know About the Israelite Priests and Levites?

There were three basic classes of religious personnel in ancient Israel: prophets, wise men, and priests, and Levites. The priests and Levites fulfilled a variety of essentially religious duties and were equivalent approximately to the clergy in modern times. They were professional men and were supported for their full-time religious work.

Who Were the Essenes?

[es-senz', (Essenoi, Essaioi)] When Josephus describes the sects of the Jews, he devotes most of his time and attention to the third of these sects, the Essenes. Strangely enough, although there are frequent references in the New Testament to the other two sects, the Sadducees and Pharisees, no reference has been found to the Essenes.... Continue Reading →

Who Were the Maccabees?

  The name Maccabeus was first applied to Judas, one of the sons of Mattathias generally called in English the Maccabees, a celebrated family who defended Jewish rights and customs in the 2nd century B.C.E. (1 Macc 2:1-3). The word has been variously derived (e.g. as the initial letters of Mi Khamokha, Ba-'elim Jehovah! "Who... Continue Reading →

The Hasmonaeans and Their Legacy

Hasmoneans: A remarkable priestly family of Modin, in Judea, also called Asmoneans or Maccabees. They belonged to that portion of the Jewish nation which under all trials and temptations remained loyal to Jehovah, even when the national life and religion seemed at their lowest ebb, and they succeeded, for a while at least, in restoring... Continue Reading →

The Qumran Residents: Were they Essenes?

Now that we have determined that, the Dead Sea Scrolls were the library of Qumran community, who were its people? Early on, in 1947 Professor Eleazar Sukenik obtained three scrolls from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; after that, suggesting that these scrolls had belonged to the Essene Community. The Essenes were a sect, mentioned by first-century writers Josephus,... Continue Reading →

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