The map of Palestine in the time of Jesus, allows us to appreciate the changes that have occurred since the time in which the son of God was on earth, learn more about this interesting story by reading this article.
Map of Palestine at the time of Jesus
Palestine at the beginning of our era, was called Judea, and it was the Romans who changed its name to the Palestinian Syrian province in 135 AD, the idea was to erase all Jewish history and memory in the region.
This happened after the victory of the Romans against the rebellion and the Bar Kokhba army. But let’s go from the beginning, Palestine was a colony of the Roman Empire, which Herod took possession of in 37 BC, who was named dependent King of Rome, later called “Herod the Great”.
During his reign the temple of Jerusalem was rebuilt approximately in the year 19 BC, demolishing the old temple and raising a new one, when Herod died in the year 4 BC, the kingdom of Judea was divided into three parts, where each of its three sons ruled each region.
These rulers were Archelaus who ruled from 4 BC to 6 AD Who was appointed King of the provinces of Judea, Samaria and Idumea, Antipas Ruling Galilee and Perea between 4 BC and 39 AD, and finally Philip, who was appointed to govern the most distant provinces such as Batanea, Gaulanitide, Traconítide and Auranítide.
The various maps of the region for the year 0 show little change over 70 years or so: Judea was the northernmost region, with a dry climate and a prominent height relative to other regions.
In the south and east there were various mountain lines in combination with many desert areas, the terrain is very rugged, the settlers grew vegetables, olives, grapes, dates and figs.
90% of the livestock raised in all of Judea was sacrificed in the temple, most of the people were poor, and the basic diet was based on fish and meat; The capital of Judea was Jerusalem, which was not a major center of commerce but rather a city where the most important religious and political activities in the region were concentrated.
In fact, in Jerusalem there was the only Jewish temple in the world, so that every Jew went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, receiving people from many places, it served as a concentration epicenter for the Jewish hierarchy and authorities.
At the time of Jesus, Jerusalem had various towns such as Bethany, which was at the foot of the Mount of Olives, which represented a sacred and important place for Christian history, Bethlehem, located 8 km from Jerusalem, was the small city of the Jesus birth.
Emmaus was 12 km from the capital, a little further the town of Jericho, which communicated with Jerusalem through the desert of Judah, by means of a very commercial route but at the same time very rough, there various events occurred. theft and criminal activities.
Samaria, was a region that was located between Galilee and Judea further south, in it cohabit various ethnic groups with different beliefs, among which were the Israelites and the Assyrians, there were also the Jews and the Samaritans who maintain a hatred between them naturally for many years.
The area that the map of Palestine reveals to us in the time of Jesus allows us to appreciate the difficulties in which Jesus had to navigate, due to the variety and diversity of beliefs and races of people who had totally contrary traditions and cultures.
How was the territory divided?
According to some scriptures, the area was divided into four main regions, Galilee, Samaria, Judea and Perea, Jesus was born in Judea, specifically in Bethlehem, current Palestine, over the years it has been named as: Canaan, Israel, Holy Land and Palestine.
Roman-style life in Judea began in 64 BC, and the entire region was part of the Roman Empire, with an area greater than 30,000 km2, consisting of a system of mountains surrounding the Jordan River, which contains a length of more than 118 km of extension, the translation of the Jordán is: “The one that descends”, which indicates that its descending trajectory is directed towards the Mediterranean Sea.
Located north of Judea bordering Naim and Cana, with the region of Nazareth between them and is about 100 km from Jerusalem. Galilee is located around the Lake or Sea of Tiberias, also called Sea of Galilee or Lake of Genesaret.
This lake was very rich in marine fauna and Jesus frequented it a lot during his youth, near the lake the largest population is accumulated, located in the town of Capernaum, where Pedro and Andrés were from.
In the plain near the sea, Jesus spent his great moments, the roads received various caravans that came from Damascus and went to the Caesarea region, so that in that area there was a Roman military garrison that controlled and watched the passage of the caravans.
The Tabor mountain is located on the edge of the lake to the southwest, and very close to it lived peasants who worked on small estates, which in turn were properties of the King, his relatives or wealthy merchants. The Galileans, as the inhabitants of Galilee were called, were Jews and lived in a kind of social fence where they were surrounded by various pagan peoples.
The passage of the various caravans allowed interracial and cultural relationships, so that the Galileans were more religiously and culturally open than the Jews of central Judea or the capital, in fact they were called pagan Galileans and hence the contempt that Jesus received among the Jews. scholars and Pharisees of Jerusalem.
The residents of Galilee were mostly artisans, farmers and fishermen, which allowed Jesus to elaborate his parables based on a very small-town and rural way of life, the Galileans had a reputation for being uneducated and rude, but they were very loyal and sincere.
Among the most important characteristics of Galilee that the map of Palestine shows us in the time of Jesus we have:
- Located to the north of Palestine, covered in its mountainous part by the cities of Naim, Cana, and Nazareth.
- The Genesaret plain was a multicultural and multiethnic area. Caravans from Damascus to Caesarea passed by on their way. That is why there was a military garrison in Capernaum.
- Mount Tabor dominates the plain, located to the southwest of the lake, and is approximately 588 meters high.
- The houses of the peasants were very small and of a single room.
- The latifundia predominated.
- The Galileans were Jews,
- The Jews of Judea considered the Galileans semi-pagan and called the area Galilee of the pagans.
- The Galileans were for the most part peasants and fishermen,
- It had Hellenistic influences
- To the southwest of Galilee was the city of Caesarea, where the residence of the prefect was, who later became a Roman procurator.
- It also had other cities such as: Sepphoris, Tiberias, built by Antipas and whose name was a tribute to Emperor Tiberius, this city allowed Jesus to carry out various activities.
- In the rural environment it is made up of an impoverished peasantry,
- The peasants did not think well of the cities.
- The people of Galilee received large taxes, which makes it difficult for them to develop
Located near Mount Garizim, where the Samaritans had their own temple and were very detached and far from Jerusalem, this population was located between Galilee to the north and Judea to the south, the population was mostly pagan where a few were Jewish
Its inhabitants were called Samaritans, considered a very impure people, their blood according to the residents of the area was contaminated with other foreign peoples, they fervently believed in the descendants of the children of Israel, and preserved the archaic Hebrew writing.
Before the coming of Jesus, one of the members of the Sanhedrin described that the traditional Hebrew writing had been given to the peoples of Samaria, which the Jews called ordinary, since they were faithful to the law and considered the true Israelites, they were related to the prophet Jacob.
The Jews and the Samaritans hated each other due to a conflict that took place in the year 107 BC where the Jewish leader John Hyrcanus seized the capital of Samaria, destroying the temple of Garizim, hence Herod in the year 30 rebuilt it , but previously the Samaritans had desecrated the temple by throwing human bones on Easter night, creating the hostility that they maintained towards them at that time.
For the Samaritans, Jerusalem did not represent any religious reference, for their part the Jews considered them heretics and did not want to have dealings with them, so much was the hostility, that they were denied entry even in the areas or sites reserved for pagans, hatred was immense and said that they did not perform the worship of God as they should or follow the spiritual guidelines.
When a Jew described a person as a Samaritan, he considered it an insult, for the Jews it represented a way of isolating them and denying their existence, in fact many scribes limited themselves to naming the word Samaritan.
Among the most important characteristics of this city are:
- Located between the mountains of Galilee to the north and Judea to the south.
- Its population was a mixture of different ethnic groups and beliefs, between Syrians and Israelis.
- The Jews and Samaritans had developed a mutual hatred.
- The Samaritans were for the Jews an impure people with blood contaminated by that of other foreign peoples.
- They considered themselves the true children of Israel, they were the ones who preserved the archaic Hebrew script.
- They had their own temple on Mount Garizin and denied importance to the temple in Jerusalem.
- They denied the religious relevance of Jerusalem.
- They had limitations when they went to the capital.
Considered the farthest region of the entire area, it was made up of various mountainous massifs that were connected to various desert areas, farmers were dedicated to planting wheat, grapes, olives, dates, figs and legumes, they also had livestock production which was mostly sacrificed in the Temple.
This town generally fed on fish, grains and vegetables, its capital was Jerusalem, the holy city for the Jews, it had a mountainous area that over time would become famous, the Mount of Olives, where Jesus made various confessions of importance for Christianity.
Jerusalem was a purely religious city, in it was the Jewish temple, the only one in the world at that time, with the Jewish religious authorities as its headquarters, all the social activity of the capital revolved around the temple and its culture.
The importance of Judea in history and as one of the most important on the map of Palestine at the time of Jesus, is that there were towns that were visited by Jesus, so that after the death of the son of God, they took a great historical, cultural and religious importance.
Bethany, was a very small town, on the shores of the Mount of Olives and about three kilometers from Jerusalem, Bethlehem was very close but 8 kilometers from Jerusalem, it was called the “city of David”, since in Bethlehem David received the anointing and later Jesus was born, so that it was considered a sacred town for the Jews.
Then there is Emmaus, about 12 kilometers from the capital, and although it was visited a few times by Jesus, it is considered one of the least relevant in terms of religious history, followed by Jericho, where there is a kind of oasis more than 200 m above sea level.
There, there were settlers dedicated to agriculture, but with roads that led to Jerusalem that allow robbery and crime, it was considered a dangerous road, where many criminals take advantage to commit their misdeeds.
Among the most important characteristics that the map of Palestine in the time of Jesus shows us of Judea we have:
- It produced wheat in small quantities, also olives, grapes, dates, figs and legumes.
- The cattle produced were sacrificed in the Temple.
- Its inhabitants were poor, they ate smoked and salted fish, and little meat.
- The capital, Jerusalem, had a merely religious importance.
- Judean life revolved around Jerusalem and its Temple.
In Palestine at the time of Jesus , a political division endorsed and structured in the form of self-government is observed, where the highest authority was exercised at the religious level by the high priest through the council or Sanhedrin, likewise the administrative part was governed by a Roman official , who had the title of prefect.
For the year 4 BC Herod, who was the son of Herod the Great, was the patriarch of the regions of Judea, Samaria and Idumea, he ruled until the year 6 AD, he was called the ethnarch of Judea and was characterized by stopping the rebellions of the Pharisees.
This aroused many suspicions and the Romans dismissed him that year, thus forming the merger of the three provinces into one, renamed Judea and administered by a Roman official, during which time Judea was governed by various officials.
After the year 34 BC, it began to be called procurator, where the figure of Pontius Pilate intervenes, who had his residence in Caesarea and traveled to the capital in special situations. Pilate had an army of more than 3,000 men.
The Roman Prosecutor of Judea had a supreme military power, but always dependent on the government of Syria, likewise they belong to the group of financial trust of the Roman emperor, where the taxes were sent to Rome, and were administered in that city.
Each procurator was in charge of a series of tax collectors, who were constantly seconded by soldiers, in the case of accusations and administration of justice, this was carried out solely by the Sanhedrin, however the procurator had execution reserved for the death penalty.
The Antonia Tower was called the place of residence of the procurator and was near the Temple, in turn also the Roman military garrison, everything was very close, because the crowd that came to the Temple could be strategically controlled.
The high priest was appointed by the Roman procurator}, from AD 6 to 41 when the Sanhedrin society itself began to appoint the priest. Pilate was considered corrupt, he was accused several times for theft and other crimes, he considered himself a cold and cruel president.
He demands that the Jews give him money collected in the Temple in order to build an aqueduct that would solve the water problem in the capital, this provoked a rebellion that was immediately dissolved when Pilate infiltrated soldiers in the ranks of civilians and allowed to know the plan.
These stories are even reflected in the Bible, specifically in Luke 13-1, the political activity of Judea was dictated by Pilate, and one of his decisions that cost him power, was when he ordered the murder of several Samaritans who were in the Mount Gerizim, at the request of the Jews.
He is sent to Rome in AD 36 to account to the emperor for all the abuses he was committing, which led to his suicide the following year. Pilate was responsible for many important situations during Jesus’ stay in Judea, the rest of the story is known to all Christians and is described in the Bible.
The capital of Judea had its importance because it was the main and only Jewish temple in the world, at the time, faithful and devout Jews came from various regions to pray at the temple and establish spiritual contact granted by God.
This allowed the generation of various religious and spiritual lines, where Sadducees, Priests, Scribes, Pharisees, Jews and Elders, among others, could cohabit, so that the spiritual mix was important, but each one had interesting characteristics, which allows us to establish a broad religious criterion regarding the map of palestine at the time of Jesus.
The map of Palestine at the time of Jesus, at the level of religion, shows us a priestly Theocratic line, where they did not have so much weight in the Temple or in the capital but a lot of influence in the population, they had organized the Jews, after they had been exiled of Babylon in the year 538 BC So they governed the spiritual and economic affairs of all of them.
In the time of Jesus they had political and social power, their rank was not vocational to God but granted by inheritance, according to the law, only those who had descendants of Aaron, who was the brother of Moses, could be priests, so that for to be a priest, one had to have a special lineage.
Upon meeting a person who contained the lineage, he had to be presented at the age of 20 in the temple, where he had to prove his race and legality of the lineage, later showing that he had no physical or mental defects. If his veracity was verified, he underwent a series of tests where he was officially authorized to make sacrifices, perform rites in the service of the Temple.
The priests were not in charge of teaching the Law, this activity was typical of the scribes, the priests were there to fulfill the mission of carrying out the practical actions of the Jews, administering justice, and controlling social actions.
The priests were organized in a group of 24, who were in charge of ensuring the stability and service of the Temple, their activities were aimed at the security, control and administration of the temple.
When a priest came to have an aristocratic line, he was called chief high priest of all the Jews of Judea and the world, he became a kind of president of the entire Jewish population.
Only He could enter the sacred area of the temple, called “Sancta Santorum”, three times and only one day a year on the “Day of Atonement”, called Yom Kippur or the day of penance that each Jew had to fulfill, granted by God.
The High Priests could be appointed by the Roman Procurator, so that by the year 37 AD. C. were not appointed by inheritance but by authorization of the Attorney. At the time of Jesus Christ Anas was the High Priest and he was the one who led the process of executing Jesus, he was a High Priest with a lot of power and influence.
Next to him were the rest of the priests of the Sanhedrin who are in charge of advising and promoting the ideas that should be carried out with the Jews, they carried the keys of the Temple and had custody of this structure.
Called the senators of the people, they were allied and closely linked to the high priests, and although today the elders are related to advanced age, at that time, they were composed of the richest and most influential heads of families in Jerusalem.
They also called themselves “The notables”, they represented the secular aristocracy, they had power thanks to money, they owned many lands and properties that made it possible for them to dominate the less possessed.
They earned respect in society because they were considered generators of wealth, granting large sums of money for the maintenance of the temple, which includes the diets of the priests and scribes.
The fortune of the elders linked them enormously to the political power of the Romans, they suggested the tax collectors and helped the Roman rulers in that process, they defended the maintenance of the status of the time.
So they maintained good relations with the Romans in order not to lose their prestige and power. In addition, they were in charge of appreciating the guidelines in religious matters. They had limitations to be priests, not even trying to buy the priesthood.
Each elder had a different way of thinking, their actions were independent, they belong to the council of the Sanhedrin, among these notables was “Joseph of Arimathea”, who was a great friend and servant of Jesus.
They come from a very ancient lineage belonging to the priest named Sumac, who was the regent and highest leader of Solomon’s temple in the 2nd century BC The Sadducees belonged to a series of priestly families, great merchants and richest landowners in the city.
The map of Palestine at the time of Jesus shows us that they were part of the Sanhedrin and were part of a separate and very selective social class. They were not grouped in large majorities because they were not a very large mass, their influence in politics and the administration of justice was very important between the Hasmonean period and the Jewish war.
Some Sadducees were the ones who leased the taxes, managed the Roman procurators and collectors, they were the ones who directly collected the taxes and established the administration towards the Romans.
The Sadducees admitted only the word of the “Torah”, (Law established by Moses), which details the first 5 books of the Bible, it is also called the book of the Pentateuch, the Sadducees attend only to the guidelines given by that sacred book.
Considered a religious group that was only in charge of monitoring and observing the Law, despite not having much influence in the Sanhedrin, they had a firm movement that had a priest, they were characterized by being laymen, they remained united for a long time, they suffered an important separation and later they came to be called Essenes and Pharisees.
The name Pharisee comes from the Greek word of the same name meaning the “separated saints.” They are a group very faithful to their beliefs, however in the Bible they are presented as hypocrites, due to the situation created with Jesus.
But it turns out that the Pharisees are faithful to their religious beliefs and did not betray the Law for any reason, hence the reason why they make the decision not to support Jesus, the ideological importance of the Pharisees lies in maintaining fidelity and the relationship With God.
At the time that the map of Palestine shows us in the time of Jesus, they were considered “The people of the Law” made up of artisans, peasants, they never seek direct links with other spiritual currents. They are responsible for many traditional laws, forms among other proposals, it is said that they created more than 248 mandates and 365 prohibitions.
These commands and prohibitions were difficult to learn and, above all, more difficult to comply with, they complemented the regulation of the life of the Pharisees through very strict regulations, they gave more value to tradition than to the written law itself.
For them it was important to wait for divine intervention, the second coming of Moses in order to get closer to God, they had the reference of the written word in a book called Leviticus, where they detailed the rules of purity.
In the same book there were exact descriptions of what impurity meant to them and within this framework they had that everything impure was made up of:
- sexual manifestation
- touch the blood
- Use of dirty wine glasses, dishes, pots, to use them must be thoroughly washed.
- Animal corpses of any kind as well as that of people, considered that anyone who stepped on a grave, a tomb, became impure.
- People who carried some kind of unpleasant disease, especially manifested on the skin, such as leprosy, were also considered untouchable, since this prevented them from being close to God.
- The Jews who exercise certain ritual activities with their hands, and everything related to ceremonies linked to the hands.
- Every object artifact had to be thoroughly washed, taking them to the purification baths was mandatory
- They had six types of water that were used for various situations.
The Pharisees performed various works, such as prolonged fasting, prayers, payment of tithe, among other activities; they were very religious and detailed with respect to the rules of purity, they performed rites where purity activities were involved; Various descriptions of the characteristics of the Pharisees can be found in the Bible, especially in Matthew.
In the time of Jesus there were various synagogues that were an extension of the temple, each Jewish community had a synagogue in Jerusalem, where the law was studied and prayed, they were located in distant places free from noise and the bustle of the cities. In them were the scribes, who were the specialists of the Law.
Its name comes from the Hebrew Sofrin which means “specialist”, these scribes were in charge of studying, knowing, explaining and interpreting the Mosaic Law, they were also considered Theologians, Professors, Judges, teaching everything related to the doubts that could arise regarding compliance of the law.
For many years they were a group of laymen, but as they gave interpretation to the law they became practicing Jews, the majority were Pharisees and Sadducees, also called “The Doctors of the Law”, it was considered an intellectual autocracy in Judea.
The superior scribe was called “Rabbi”, who had a lot of influence and power in Jewish society, not because of his belongings or economic power, but because of his high knowledge of the Law, he was above the elders and priests.
Most of the Pharisees, Scribes, became part of the Sanhedrin, especially after Herod’s death in 4 BC. These intellectuals were trained in various schools in Jerusalem, where they spent many years studying, starting from their youth.
Each scribe had a solid knowledge of the Old Testament, they fully knew each description and word established in the Law, they had the power to decide on religious questions, so much so that they were appointed Judges in various situations and judicial processes, they were called Rabbi after turning 40 years, where they were considered Graduate Doctors.
They were distributed throughout all the towns of Judea, where the most suitable are selected to go to bring knowledge of the law to all corners of the region, this gave them power over many situations, I allowed according to their knowledge to carry out the implementation of religious traditions always based on the Law
In each of the synagogues, there was a scribe who receives all the situations of common and social life of the time, seeking to solve them according to the Law, likewise they were found in all the higher schools where they impart knowledge about everything referring to the Jewish religious traditions pertaining to the Law.
The most important characteristics of the scribes that the map of Palestine presents us at the time of Jesus were the following:
- They translate the words of the Old Testament that was written in the “sacred language” so that it could be understood by the Jews.
- They considered themselves the only ones with the knowledge of oral tradition, which was information transmitted only from teachers to disciples.
- They were also the owners of the “esoteric tradition”, which consists of the most hidden knowledge of the doctrines, laws and the mysterious and magical formulas of religion.
- They were considered and respected by all the people, having a special privilege.
For many years the Jewish religion throughout Israel was considered a Theocratic-type society, that is, where the most important thing was religion, and where its spiritual leaders guided and gave the main guidelines, with the Jewish dignitaries having the highest authority to decide. about the destinies of the people.
The Jewish political power was subject to religion and its environment, to the priests, especially the high priest, who exercised (as we described earlier) the religious power in the name of God, applied the laws of the Torah and everything related to tradition Israelite
The Temple of Jerusalem, concentrated all that power and its physical structure was one of the largest in the city, so that it was visible from any part of it, it was considered the symbol and figure of the presence of God on earth and was spiritual center of the entire Jewish population.
It was raised so that all the faithful could see it, it had a tower 50 m high. Where along 450 meters and 300 meters wide they covered an important area protected by a wall more than 5 meters high.
That temple was rebuilt by Herod and had nine floors, where it was covered with plates of gold and white marble that dazzled with beauty when the sun’s rays directly hit them, the temple was renovated and lasted approximately more than 80 years, from 20 BC until 63 AD
It was the only temple that the Jews had to carry out their ceremonies and prayers, in it cults were celebrated every day, one in the morning and another in the afternoon, another extraordinary cult was also carried out during the great festivities such as Jewish Passover (Pesach ), the Feasts of First Fruits (Shavuot) and the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot).
Festivities that all Jewish men over the age of thirteen had to attend, those who lived far away only attended the Pesach party only. This temple functioned for many years as an educational center of the Law.
Jesus went to this temple many times to seek knowledge and spiritual help, in the new testament you can see various stories of how Jesus went to the temple several times, coming to denounce many situations that he considered were outside the word of God.
This temple was built by King Solomon approximately in the year 960 BC, hence it has had various modifications that, over the years, have been made due to problems and religious conflicts that have caused wars, invasions and deterioration.
At present, only the so-called Wailing Wall remains, which was part of the wall that surrounded it, where the current Jews attend even once in their lives to pray. There is currently a project with the aim of building the Temple of Jerusalem, waiting for the coming of the Messiah, but nothing concrete exists yet.
Like any society, town, city or social groups of the time, Judea was made up of various social classes that are composed according to their religious and economic status, that is, there are many religious who maintain the same spiritual criteria, but some were poor. and other rich.
They coexist among them and some being of the same religious situation, they were even workers or slaves in large hectares of crops and immense houses, let us remember that economically Judea and many of its cities were established as Latifundist societies, let us see then those social groups that it presents to us The map of Palestine at the time of Jesus.
Considered the highest social class, in the time of Jesus they were the counterpart and the enemies of the poor, their number in number of people was not very large, but they had a lot of power, religiously they were conservative as well as politically, they were mostly Sadducees , the rich in Judea involve politicians and influential figures in Palestinian society.
Herod II Antipas was part of the elite of the rich of Judea, since he had received after the death of his father, the economic inheritance that his father left him. Herod did not have many followers, just friends and confidants around him, he supported himself by collecting taxes.
Latifundismo grew more with the government of Herod, since by promoting the collection of taxes it also promoted the confiscation of land, where many were left without property, these lands were given to relatives and friends close to Herod so that they would take care of them and manage them.
In this way, politics was developed in the time of Jesus, some lands were given to collaborators of the procurator as a reward for some favor or activity carried out to benefit Herod. The concentration of farms in Galilee promoted unemployment and migration to Jerusalem.
In the capital you could see many beggars from other cities who, unable to obtain means of subsistence, dedicated themselves to poverty, further increasing the discontent of the people towards Herod. The landowners lived far from their land, leaving several employees to care for the land.
Herod’s fortune was estimated at approximately ten million denarii, where 1 denarii represented the daily wage of any worker in Judea. The attorney owned many mansions, which he previously entrusted to those who did not pay taxes or did not comply with certain rules dictated by him.
Among another group of rich were the priests and heads of families, who belonged to the Sanhedrin and the aristocracy of Jerusalem, it is believed that there were only between 15 and 20 families with great economic power, their power influences religious activities, they were the responsible for financing everything related to the Temple.
They managed and proposed to the people they could be on the heights of the Temple, everything that entered the Temple as a tithe was received by them. Likewise, the family of the high priests were within the wealthy social class of Jerusalem, along with the merchants and landowners, who were generally Sadducees, elders and members of the Sanhedrin.
Considered customs agents and tax collectors, they did not belong to the Roman authority, they were merchants who sold the lease and the right to collect and collect information from taxpayers to the state, in order to negotiate the delivery of the tax or tribute, as it was called at the time of Jesus.
These tax collectors paid a certain amount of money into the public treasury, keeping as much as they could after collecting the tax from the people. They were made up of two types:
- The heads of the collection system, who were rich, heads of families of the high society of Jerusalem, members of the Sanhedrin, elders or senators of the people. These charged all those who had leased businesses and small premises, supported by the Roman authority, according to a story by the historian Flavio Josefo (chronicler of the time of Jesus) the conditions were as follows:
“They leased many customs posts, for each customs post they indicated a rental fee that had to be delivered. Income above this canon was kept by the tenant as personal gain, leading to exploitation and fraud.”
- The local collectors, directly called publicans, were poor and simple citizens, who worked for the bosses of the system and received a payment for it, they were constantly protected with two or three soldiers of the Roman guard, who guarded and protected the collector,
The rich maintained their fortunes through this system, which was considered perfect, however among the majority of the poor population there was much discontent, the tax collectors did not last long in office and were generally fired within months when There was a collection problem.
The tax system that the map of Palestine of Jesus presents us was quite aggressive and unfair, customs duties and tolls were paid at the entrance of each town, at the bridges, at the crossroads and in every corner of Jerusalem there was a tax collector.
The hostility was very strong, the collectors sometimes demand a higher sum than the one officially established, in order to be able to collect their own income and be able to earn a living.
The people knew very little about the Roman Tax Law, so that many collectors took advantage of legal ignorance to collect additional taxes, for many it was an impure profession, the Pharisees considered it that way, in fact the majority of the Jews were not in agreement agree with that tax collection.
For them the only payment that had to be made was based on the tithe made towards the temple, for many priests the publican was a sinner, considered polluting and impure citizens, many despised them and considered them a dishonorable profession.
The publicans were not invited to eat, hardly anyone treated them and they had no civil rights, nor could they practice law or be judges, they were denied being a witness in trials, much less belonging to a community of Pharisees.
Jesus had a very strong attitude towards the publicans, and considered them along with the disciples naming them “Publicans and sinners”, they went against this impure and unwanted activity, in the Bible we can find various passages where the publicans are mentioned and sinners in a nasty way.
Some groups quite faithful to the Law, very judicious and strict, radical with respect to the mandate of the sacred scriptures, for many they believed that they were a series of revolutionaries who promoted anarchy but they really had a basic idea that was to liberate Israel from the Romans .
They had a motto that said “Only God reigns in Israel”, so that more than one Zealot was even willing to sacrifice his life for this cause, it is believed that they were like a kind of political party where there is no reference, only In the New Testament there are references to this social group.
One of their most important reactions took place in 66 BC when they provoked a rebellion against the Romans that was brutally suppressed and thus lost Jerusalem to the Romans. The Zealots were groups of extreme radical Pharisees.
They consider themselves fanatical for the establishment of the kingdom of God in Israel, considered true nationalists, they fought against the Romans for many years. Their activities were linked to politics and religion, they even committed very strong acts considered terrorists.
But the actions were directed only towards the Romans and the Jews who violated were outside the Law, one of the disciples of Jesus was a Zealot, called Simon. The Zealots considered the expulsion of the Romans from Jerusalem to be God’s revenge, hence their struggle.
For the Zealots, paying tax to the Romans represented a serious sin, so the impulse of a violent revolt was the only way out of the Romans, who also presented violent proposals towards the Zealots, they were persecuted and executed where they got them.
At the time of Jesus, they were considered fugitives and acted clandestinely, with clear and direct social ideals, according to them they were inspired by God in order to free Israel from the Roman Plague whom they called thieves and bandits, they hid in the mountains, where they took the opportunity to carry out some of their violent activities during festivities and religious times.
This social class was the largest in all of Judea, especially in Jerusalem, the towns were mostly made up of very low-income citizens, poverty was very common in the Palestine of Jesus, so that there were problems related to misery, malnutrition and diseases contracted by unhealthy conditions.
The day laborers were a group of poor class workers who earned their livelihood daily, their payment was weekly and they received about 1 denarius daily and food, they carried out various activities on farms and estates of the rich.
The scribes did not have any type of profession, nor did they practice trade, the teaching of the Law was free and they generally lived on the donations of the students and the people who came to their consultations, they were within the poor social group, and they did not have assets or property.
There were some poor Pharisees, but they liked to think of themselves as rich, they called them friends of money and parasites of the rich, who took advantage of the hospitality of the wealthy in exchange for offering prayers and prayers. The lowest class of the poor were the slaves, who were in Herod’s palace.
They turned out to be the servants and domestic servants who exercise all the trades of the palace and the house of the procurator, there was a regulation that only Jews could be slaves for 6 years, if the owner was not Jewish, the rest could be rescued by their family members.
Being a slave did not represent a dishonorable activity at the time, since it was under the protection of the master, in this case the Roman leaders who, despite all, took care of them and protected them, unlike the day laborers who had no support from anyone and did not have protection, being labor adrift.
They were found in all the cities, especially in the capital, some could not work and others did not because they did not have a trade, so they did not have preparation prepared to exercise any trade, such as day laborers.
This group was made up of the sick, deaf, crippled, lepers and a number of those isolated in the cities where they received no support from anyone and were adrift, they lived on alms and the appearance of people who passed by and looked at them with indifference, they could see at the entrance of businesses, streets, and various routes where merchants pass.
there were also those called “Am ha’aretz”, which translated means the “inhabitants of the land”, they were really peasants, whom the priests and the Sanhedrin considered the “Ignorant of the Law”, the peasants lived from the land and did not they cared about working even on Saturdays, which represents disrespect for Jewish tradition.
The middle class did not exist at the time of Jesus, only those mentioned above, and Jesus had to face rather the rich to let them know many of his ideas, the poor in the Palestinian society of the time were torn and isolated, hence the importance that Jesus had at the time of his preaching, giving priority to the poor.
Society at the time of Jesus shows us a patriarchal type culture, Jewish families were numerous, polygamy was legal, as long as the person or man had enough resources to maintain two or three households. There were cases where a family lived composed of the husband, a main wife, another secondary wife, children and servants, and slaves.
Although the format was not very common, it was not illegal either, the home was called “Father’s House”, where the man rules absolutely, is the sole owner and responsible for the assets and the only ones who can inherit those assets are the children. men, women depend on their future husband, who invests money and pays the woman and the girl’s family to receive her as a wife.
The father is the only one who disposes, gives orders, punishes, pronounces prayers, the blessing at the table and offers the sacrifices, every situation that will be carried out in the house must be authorized by the father, the women were not considered up to men had few rights.
The woman as a mother, was highly respected and received reverence, since according to the Jews children are a blessing and a gift from God for women, however their privileges were totally different from those of men, some even had them as slaves. and determined their condition to that of the slaves themselves.
When the woman was single, she depended directly on the father and after the age of 12, he had the power to decide who she would marry, women had many social limitations, their parents were their owners until he decided who they married and the woman became owner of the husband.
Religious worship and other actions
Ceremonies and prayers could only be said by men, the Jewish religion at the time of Jesus was male chauvinist. In the temple and in the synagogue, the women were separated from the men and placed in remote and solitary places, the cults in the synagogues were held if there were at least ten men, the women did not count.
He could not go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem or to the great annual festivals, nor to practice grace actions at the table at Passover or say prayers at meals, in return he had to comply with all the prohibitions described in the Law, including the entire situation responsible judicial authority they can obtain.
Male superiority in religious matters was very evident, although in this case it was not only a situation of the Jews, in Roman and Greek societies this type of patriarchal and isolating actions will also be manifested.
One of the most popular prayers that the Jews carried out in the temple and in the synagogue during the festivities, which he also had to say three times a day, was the following:
“Blessed be God who has not made me a pagan, Blessed be God who has not made me a woman, Blessed be God who has not made me ignorant.”
Blessed be God who has not made me a heathen: for all nations are as nothing before him. Blessed be God who has not made me a woman: for a woman is not obligated to keep the commandments.
Blessed be God who has not made me ignorant: for the ignorant are not ashamed to sin.”
The interesting thing about prayers and prayers is that fragments of pious words such as just (saddiq), pious (hasid), and holy (lados) do not have any type of feminine translation, the educational instructions of the Law were exempt in women, since that the scriptures said it was impossible for me to understand it.
Likewise, the schools were designed only for men, the teachers and scribes had many disciples but none were women, on the other hand, the ladies could not participate as witnesses in charges of accusations, the Jewish law considers that their testimony lacks value and always leans towards lying.
The cities and towns of Judea, make up various families where the woman stayed at home, in places designated for them called “Gyneceos”, if they go in public they must do so with their faces completely covered, covered with a veil, so that they do not his face could be distinguished.
The young women who were single, for no reason could show their faces and were classified as “A deceitful treasure for her father, she keeps him awake at night because of worry… That her room has no window”, a woman could never meet a man in a place alone, even less if she was married, not even a man could look at her or even greet her.
Talking to a woman in the street could represent a danger, especially for women who could be identified as adulteresses, women are prohibited from staying in the peasant crops, the law says it in the following way: “A woman cannot I had to be alone in the field, and it was not normal for a man to talk to a stranger.”
The wife or daughters are obliged to wash the father’s face, hands and feet, but a Jew cannot demand this treaty from another male Jew, not even from a Jewish slave, so analyzing Jesus’ behavior when he washed the feet of Mary and other disciples, we understand the greatness of his message.
The women were considered impure, since they had the condition of receiving menstruation once a month, the spilling of blood for the Jews is considered an impious action, even if it is involuntary of the woman. There were cases where the woman could not participate in the banquet if it was performed by the man and there were guests in the house.
Nor did they serve food, some considered that they could listen to conversations and avoid discretion in their comments. With regard to divorce, only the man could break the bond, only he could demand a divorce, the woman could not and did not have the right to demand it. When the woman went out into the street without covering her head and face, she was offending the home and good customs.
This gave the husband the right to throw her out of the house and request a divorce, which was considered a religious right established in the Law, nor with the obligation to pay her the amount agreed in the marriage contract.
Likewise, some try to say that the woman was clumsy in order to throw her out and look for a younger one, no woman could be talking on the street without the man’s authorization, this could be grounds for divorce. The man had the right to possess several women but not the woman.
During the courtship she could not maintain relations with the boyfriend, since she was considered an adulteress, and could be punished with death by stoning (stoning), in the case of married women the penalty of strangulation was established.
These situations have been changing over the years, however in some countries these regulations towards women are maintained, where social evolution has not fully arrived. The revolution that Jesus carried out meant something important for that time, where it presented equal treatment between women and men.
Jesus believed in each place that he visited diverse opinions, generally against, where they said that he violated the religious conditions of the Law and it is interesting how he was ahead of his time, he never presented isolation towards the females who lived in his time.
Palestine as a colony
The map of Palestine at the time of Jesus shows us around 37 BC an authority appointed in Rome and dependent on the empire, where every order and action carried out by that authority had to be subordinated to the mandates of the Empire.
The first ruler of Palestine at the time was Herod the Great, Dependent King of Rome, son of Antipater who was also a King of the region of Judea, called Hyrcanus II. During his reign the reconstruction of the temple was carried out, approximately in the year 19 BC, demolishing it and raising it again.
Herod the Great died in the year 4 BC, and his sons inherited each of the regions, which at first were named provinces, then these sons dominated and governed each province, carrying out all the guidelines established by Rome. Philip Archelaus and Antipas spent many years carrying out the oppressive policies of Rome, as a philosophy to maintain the empire.
The dependence of these regions with respect to Rome was decisive, the resources and the taxes collected were administered and sent to Rome, each region had to render accounts to the empire based in Rome, so that there was no political independence in these regions or financial.
Various political and religious personalities had a great historical role during the time of Jesus, their influence on the social environment was decisive, some directly influenced the presence of Jesus Christ by feeling displaced when he began to show his revolutionary ideas.
Some were only observers and did not take part in the events of the time, others were the main protagonists of the events and even with their decisions they changed important moments in Judea.
We had already made a brief description of this Roman leader, however, going into details, we find that he was one of the favorite sons of Herod the Great and of a woman named Malthace.
He lived between the years 23 a. C. to 18 d. C. Augustus the Roman Emperor had assigned him a large part of the territory of Judea, Samaria and Idumea, he had the title of ethnarch, which meant a rank of ruler that did not have the level of king or monarch.
He governed these regions between the year 4 a. C. until 6 d. C. He was obsessed with the Pharisees whom he harassed and persecuted, so much so that he caused the death of over 3,000 Pharisees in order to seize power in Judea. He did not believe in the Jewish laws and less in those of Moses.
He was considered a very cruel ethnarch, hated by all the Jews, who even took the complaint of his atrocities to the Emperor Caesar Augustus. This situation led to his dismissal in the year 6 AD. He was later banished to the region of Vienna in Gaul, since then the lands that were under his control were merged to definitively form the only region called Judea.
Then began the mandate of the so-called Roman procurators who had total control of the entire area, establishing specific conditions and situations that led the region to determine important moments in history, among the characteristics of the procurators are:
- They had military power, which was administered by the Roman authorities in Syria.
- Appoint the High Priest (Previously assigned by age and inheritance).
- He managed the finances in the area of the Roman emperor.
- Receive the taxes that the Jews paid to the Roman treasury
- He assigned the soldiers who accompanied the tax collectors.
- It had no weight in Judean justice, but it had the option of reserving the death penalty, that is, it could administer the death penalty whenever it deemed convenient.
- He rarely went to Jerusalem, only when the festivities were celebrated. He had his residence in Caesarea, where his military settlement was surrounded by a citadel and all the military garrisons, close to the temple.
- They controlled all the people who entered and left the capital, as well as the vicinity of the temple.
Various versions of this important figure in world and Christian history present him in some descriptions as the person responsible for the death of Jesus and others present him as an illustrious Roman leader who simply did not want to take part in that matter, but in any case Pilate was vital to the history and life of Jesus.
Called by many historians as “The sarcastic”, “The skeptic” Pilate was born in Rome, it is believed that between the years 40 BC, although there is no exact date of his birth, appointed prefect of Judea between the years 26 to 36 AD He was considered an inflexible, arbitrary and cruel president.
Accused several times of stealing, outraging and threatening Jews, he sentenced them without trial, without trial, skipping the laws and paying little attention to all the legal regulations of the time in Judea, he was very hostile to the Jews, so much was his harassment that he demanded that part of what was collected in the Temple should be given to the Roman crown, so there were many differences between Pilate and the Jews for this reason.
Pilate claimed that with this money, he will build an aqueduct that will seek to solve the water problem in Jerusalem. He many times suppressed Jewish demonstrations against him, sending soldiers who broke up the protest through violence. Pilate used intelligence strategies to sneak into the Jewish population.
In this way he found out about the plans of the Jews, knowing their plans to later assassinate those who were conspiring, these actions are reported in many Jewish history books, and above all in small fragments of the Bible, specifically in the Luke’s stories.
After the death of Christ, approximately in the year 35, Pilate murdered some Samaritans who were gathered on Mount Garizín, he thought that these believers conspired against his mandate.
This situation, coupled with other atrocities committed by the procurator, made many Jews take their complaints to Emperor Vitellius, who in 36 AD sent him to Rome to pay for his crimes. It is believed that the following year, Pilate committed suicide. by not accepting humiliation and disgrace.
One of the situations for which Pilate is best known is that of having washed his hands when Jesus was brought in his presence, this act was not really important for the Romans, however washing his hands meant for the Jews, an action that he did get rid of anything.
Hence, many Christians and historians consider Pilate little responsible for the death of Jesus, others believe that assuming a firm position and going against his natural enemies such as the Jews, he would not have allowed him to leave it in their hands and they would only have acquitted.
History showed that the events where Pilate was a great protagonist, allowed the figure of Jesus to be exalted in history as one of the most important characters of humanity, if Jesus had not been brought in front of Pilate, he would have passed as a character more in history.
Herod Antipas or Herod the Tetrarch
It was part of a form of government called tetrarchy, which consists of a form of mandate, where four procurators had control of certain regions previously assigned by the Roman authorities.
This president was another of the sons of Herod I the Great, 20 BC to 39 AD) Born and raised in Rome along with his other brothers, he had a disastrous youth, so much so that the scandal that occurred when he married his wife of his brother Herod Philip, created a very serious conflict between the father of his ex-wife the King of the Nabataeans and the Romans.
He ruled from the year 4 AD, the year his father died, the regions of Galilee and Perea. she.
Some consider that despite being a culé like his father, Herod Antipas continued the work of his father, building various structures throughout the region he governed. The characteristics that determined the behavior of this president were:
- The fortification of Sepphoris, making it its capital a few years later.
- He later baptized that city as Tiberias, in honor of Emperor Tiberius, where he moved his capital and was for a long time a great Jewish cultural center.
- He mercilessly murdered those who oppose his orders.
- He imposed unpayable taxes, which many landowners had to deliver as payment
- He had a large volume of land in his name where he placed day laborers and farmers to work the land with very little pay. What led to unemployment in and the departure of many citizens to the capital.
- Thanks to his actions, the Zealot movement grew and vindicated itself.
He is believed to be responsible for the murder of John the Baptist. He also mocked Jesus on several occasions and even his followers who were not many, called Herodians, were responsible for the persecutions of Jesus and his disciples.
One of his advisers, observing the atrocities of this procurator, wrote a letter to the emperor Caligula, where he denounced the atrocities and disloyal actions of Herod Antipas, where the emperor ordered him to be deported in the year 39 AD to the region of Lyon, where he died without knowing the reason.
His real name was José Caiaphas, he held the position of high priest at the time of Jesus, son-in-law of the high priest Anas, receiving his title by the predecessor of Pontius Pilate, Valerius Gratus, he held the position until 36 AD, he was considered a great diplomat and educated Jewish leader, collaborates greatly with the Roman administration.
He was a very good friend of Pilate, and meant for many the ringleader of the plot to prosecute Jesus, when he heard of the presence of the Messiah, he did everything possible to eliminate him, he believed he was a blasphemer, a sinner and a liar, for which he fought during his stay in Jerusalem against Jesus.
After the death of Jesus, Caiaphas continued with the persecution of the disciples and apostles of Jesus, and even against anyone who tried to follow in his footsteps, he led the murder of many Christians in Damascus and accused the disciples several times of preaching in the Temple, forbidding them to enter
These actions did not please some Roman officials, who filed a complaint with the emperor and after a few years he was dismissed and relegated to his hometown, where his existence was never heard of again.
He was appointed high priest by Quirinius, who was the governor of Syria, he was in office from AD 6 to 15, so he was the high priest when Jesus was just a teenager. Anas did not last long in office since the Attorney Valerio Grato observed that he exceeded the orders given by the Roman leaders.
After this situation he did not exercise any priestly position, but he had a lot of influence in the Sanhedrin, so much so that when Jesus was presented before the Jewish justice, he was first taken to Anas, when he did not belong to the priestly caste.
He had seven sons, almost all of whom were high priests, as well as his son-in-law Caiaphas. Likewise, Anas had a business selling animals for sacrifice, he lived in a huge house where he exercised his economic power creating large amounts of cattle, lamb, chickens and turkeys among others, which he later sold to those who had to take them as a sacrifice to the temple. , this represented a very lucrative business for the priest.
Anas’s anger towards Jesus was and when he cleaned the Temple of the vendors, so much so that he promised to take him to death, others claim that the hatred towards Jesus was due to spiritual concepts, since Andas, being a Sadducee, did not believe in the resurrection, and the disciples of Jesus had given the news of the resurrection of Lazarus, something that Amas fought and never believed in the miracle.
There are no references to the death of Anas, like Caiaphas, after the death of Jesus no more was known about these characters, who over time represented the grayest part in the life of Jesus.
The map of Palestine in the time of Jesus, allowed us to offer a range of people who were directly and indirectly involved in the life and work of the Messiah, some had great relevance and others are simply named in the Bible as people or simple characters who were involved in some action of the Master, let us see the following list:
- Mary, Mother of Jesus
- Joseph, adoptive father of Jesus
- wise men
- Shepherds of Bethlehem
- San Joaquín and Sta. Ana-Grandparents of Jesus
- Zacarías and Elisabeth, Parents of John the Baptist and uncles of Jesus.
- John the Baptist
- the 12 apostles
- The Family of Bethany
- Mary the Sister of Martha and Lazarus
- Lazarus the risen who was the brother of Martha and Mary
- Martha the sister of Mary and Lazarus
- Maria Magdalena
- The Adulterous Woman
- Joseph of Arimathea
- The Centurion
- the samaritan
- The followers of Emmaus
- Simon the Leper of Bethany
- Simon the Pharisee
- Simon the Cyrene
- The Blind from Birth
Administrative and geographical composition of the region
The way in which the region was distributed at that time according to the map of Palestine in the time of Jesus presents us with a Judea surrounded to the north by the cities belonging to its own province.
After the union with Bethlehem, Bethany, Jerusalem (its capital), Jericho, Ephraim and Joppa (currently part of the Gaza Strip), further north was the province of Samaria with its small cities of Caesarea, Samaria and Sirach.
Much further north Galilee and Phoenicia, in the northeast area were the provinces of Decapolis and Perea, not belonging to the Roman Empire, to the east it adjoins directly with the Jordan River, the Dead Sea and part of Perea, to the south it had limits only with Idumea.
To the west and southwest you could see the direct limits with the Mediterranean Sea. Over the years it has undergone various modifications. On the map of Palestine at the time of Jesus, it is observed that the Romans modified its geographical structure and name in the year 135 AD
Palestine, as it is currently called, was originally named Syria-Palestine, after the defeat that the Romans caused during the Jewish revolt called Bar Kochba, which was also considered one of the most important Judeo-Roman wars of the time. , its name comes from a Jewish leader named Simon Bar Kokhba, who led the Jews in order to end the Roman Empire.
Since then we can see that currently the map of Israel in the time of Jesus as it is really called, over the years the region has indirectly only changed its geographical configuration, religious and political conflicts have not stopped in more than 2,000 human presence in the region.
All the movements that the messiah developed through the region, allowed establishing a relationship with countless people, important and not relevant, these later were able to describe those moments in various historical accounts that allowed developing a general context of what Jesus could do at that time. .
Relationship with publicans
These people were called that way because they represented the tax collectors, they were also called “sinners and publicans”, many descriptions of these officials appear in the Bible, even John the Baptist expresses about these publicans: “They also went to be baptized some collectors, who asked him: Master, what do we have to do? He answered them: Do not demand more than what Luke has established. 3.13.
The Movement of Jesus with his disciples was very striking, they were against any action that violated religious and social behavior, in the Bible we can get many stories that tell about how Jesus tried to convince these publicans and sinners, in Luke 5, 29 we can find the following:
“When he called the publican Levi to be his intimate disciple”, it also says: “When he frequented the company of publicans and sinners and ate with them”, in another description: “Levi offered him a great banquet in his house, and they were reclining at the table with them a great number of collectors and other people.
For the so-called pious citizens it was disrespectful for Jesus to eat together with these people, using the same table could be considered a sin. In the Bible, situations are related such as when Jesus, when leaving to eat with some publicans, confronts the Pharisees.
They came to ask the disciples of Jesus, because he ate with collectors and sinners, Jesus intervening answered them: “The healthy do not need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to invite the righteous, but sinners, to repent» Luke 5,30-32.
As you can see the actions of Jesus towards the publicans was to lead them to rectification through the word, not through coercion and violence, understanding this situation at that time was quite difficult, especially for the disciples, who for many years they did not understand, in a high percentage, the true message of Jesus.
Jesus ends by saying in one of the narrations described in the Bible: “The collectors and the prostitutes go, instead of you, to the kingdom of God”, Matthew. 21,23-32.
Relationship with the Rich
For many, it is not strange that Jesus confronted the powerful classes of the time of Judea through his spiritual arguments, he argued that material things were good, necessary and should be enjoyed as a gift from God, however Jesus’ claim it was directed at the way many citizens get rich and hoard wealth.
In various parts of the Bible, it is observed how Jesus Christ confronted the upper social class, for which many had an aversion to his ideas, they thought that he altered their interests and could bring anxiety to the cities, Jesus said among other things:
“They cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6,24)
“The root of all evil is the love of money.” (Timothy 6,10).
“He who accumulates riches for himself is not rich for God, but foolish, foolish: he has wasted his life” (Luke 12:31-34).
“But woe to you rich people, because you already have your consolation! (Luke 6,24).
“Do not heap up riches on earth… Because where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Mt. 6,19-21).
“With what difficulty those who have money will enter the Kingdom of God! (Mark 10,17-27).
“Beware of all greed, that even if one has plenty, life does not depend on goods.” (Luke 12,15-21).
“You lack one thing: go sell what you have and give it to the poor, for God will be your wealth; and come follow me. At these words, the other frowned and left sad, because he had many possessions (Mark 10, 21-22).
“In life it was up to you the good and Lázaro the bad; therefore now he finds consolation and you suffer” (Luke 16,19-31).
“They pay the tithe of mint, rue and all vegetables, and ignore justice and the love of God” (Luke 11, 41-42).
“Win friends by leaving unfair money: so, when this is over, you will receive them in eternal dwellings” (Luke 16,9-11).
“How well they cast aside the commandment of God to plant their tradition!” (Mark 7,8-13).
“This is “Cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, while inside they are full of theft and wickedness” (Luke 11:39).
The relationship and connection that Jesus tried to establish with God regarding the way in which goods and money should be handled, was of the utmost importance, it was difficult to reason with many of the wealthy of the time.
They had no idea of the damage they caused to the population when they amassed and hoarded large amounts of money, later these ideas took shape over time, and became guidelines for social ideologies.
Although some distort his true concept, for Jesus material wealth had to be used as a gift from God, its accumulation was contrary to the spiritual principles of the Lord, since this accumulation allowed others to reduce resources and promote poverty.
Some wealthy people hated Jesus for these ideas, others even came to follow him without being disciples, sometimes helping him to maintain his movement. History has shown that these concepts have not changed at all at home, their form and presence today continues to promote the increase in poverty on earth.
Relationship with the people and women
During his pilgrimage on earth, Jesus was followed by thousands of people, where men and women of different religious ideas were found, but above all the Jews stand out, in the Bible very little is said about the fact that Jesus had among his followers a considerable number of women.
The society at the time of Jesus, allowed to establish norms of patriarchal type, where the laws of man and his way of carrying out all social activity were marked by his social position, above women, this situation was developed , thanks to the conditions that for many years the scriptures established women as the cause of evil on earth.
From the first moment in which the situation of the serpent between Eve and Adam appeared, it was taken into account as a form of punishment towards women, so that all legal action at this time and during many previous years marked the way of seeing the woman as an object rather than as a human being.
In this aspect, Jesus maintained an impartial line that is demonstrated in many passages of the Bible. There are descriptions that record the situations in which Jesus offered special treatment to the poor, sick, prostitutes and women, seeking spiritual equality over any situation that existed in the rules of man.
For the Messiah, no one is exempt from the kingdom of God, for what one day he said: “But all, even if they are first, will be last, and these last will be first”, Mark 10,31, this reflection of Jesus applies to any sign of female inferiority that was intended to be established in social structures dominated by men
The behavior of her life made it possible to confront the established socio-religious system, which is considered dominant and oppressive towards women, hence thousands and thousands of women felt identified with the life project proposed by the son of God.
For him, women have the same dignity and rights as men, he rejected the imposed laws, where women were socially isolated, he did not agree with certain Jewish customs and traditions where women did not represent anything to the man’s environment.
There is a situation described in the Bible where Jesus is alone with a Samaritan woman, this represents for the Jews an act of sin and even reach the point of being judged and declared an adulteress, however even the disciples were amazed when he observes his teacher conversing with a Samaritan woman in the vicinity of a nearby field where they camped.
Michelangelo Anselmi’s oil painting, made in 1550, expresses this event in detail, where the figure of Jesus appears conversing with the lady. For the Jews, the Samaritans are foreign women, cursed and prostitutes, so that Jesus himself, ignoring any situation and knowing that the woman was engaged in prostitution, establishes a conversation.
The disciples never asked the reason for the approach to the Samaritan woman, but they were surprised, since the conversation was quite long. On the other hand, during his long walks and visits to various towns, Jesus met many women who asked him for help and advice.
Others were cured of evil spirits and diseases, including Mary Magdalene, from whom Jesus cast the demons from her body, and later became a faithful follower of the master. Likewise, there is the story of Juana, Cusa’s wife, who was Herod’s administrator.
Susana was another woman who was by Jesus’ side who at one point came to manage the assets of the messiah movement. Many homeless people and even criminals listened to the stories of Jesus and even asked the reason for these situations. Some historians express that if they recorded all the memories and stories that Jesus lived during his time, more than a thousand books of 500 pages each could be written.
What was represented in the Bible is the most relevant thing that the disciples and some relatives could leave in writing to later be considered sacred and included in the Bible. For the poor Jesus was a savior, a social leader and a revolutionary who came to eliminate the Romans from the face of the earth.
Many years of suffering had passed and the majority of the Jewish population saw Jesus as a savior, but from the Romans, so that when Jesus established his speeches and metaphors, some or, so to speak, the majority did not understand what he was talking about. , after his death and after a few years, the true message of this prophet could be understood.
The women are presented as the true disciples of Jesus who have abandoned everything and have followed him on the path even to his bitter end on the cross, while the men, his followers, abandoned him and left him alone.
Other cases related to the life of Jesus
In some gospels such as those of Mark and Matthew, there are some accounts of how Jesus maintained communication and dealings with various people, especially women, there is a case about a representative of the opening of the pagans, who upon learning of Jesus, heard that He was in the area, immediately ran out to look for him and knelt at his feet as he parked outside to save his daughter.
She told Jesus that her little daughter had been cursed by another woman who, according to her, had cast demons on her, Jesus agrees and when he arrives at the house he tells the woman:
“Let the children eat first. It is not right to take the children’s bread to throw it to the dogs. She replied: Certain Sir, but also the puppies, under the table, eat the crumbs that the children throw. He answered: Come on, go, because of what you said the demon has come out of your daughter. Arriving at his house, he found the girl lying on the bed; the devil had left”, Mark 7,24-30.
In matters of marriage, during the time of Jesus it was known that women had no decision or social privileges, however the Messiah clarifies some doubts regarding this act of union, rejecting the patriarchal form as it happened at that time, so which expressed the following:
“Is it permissible for a man to fire his wife?” presupposes the Jewish patriarchal marriage that allows only the man to put away his wife. The divorce allowed by Moses, Jesus explains to them, is nothing more than a consequence of the patriarchal mentality and attitude, God hands over the woman to the power of the man to build his house and family line”.
“It is the man who “will leave his father and his mother” (he will cut the ties with his own patriarchal family) will join his wife and the two will be one single being” (it is the equal association of man and woman in marriage , and this because God has created them equal). “Then what God has joined together, let no man separate.”
For that time it was a risk to defend a woman, and even allow some flattery or foot washing by any unknown woman. In the Bible there is a story of a woman who arrives where Jesus was eating and decides to clean his feet, then washes and dries them with her hair, as well as rubbing them with perfumes, which allowed the Pharisee owner of the house to comment:
“This one, if he were a prophet, would know who he is and what kind of woman is touching him: a sinner.” Immediately Jesus replied: “A lender had two debtors: one owed him five hundred coins and the other fifty, since they had nothing to pay with, he forgave them both. Which of the two will be more grateful to him? Simon replied: I guess the one he forgave the most. Jesus said: you have guessed right”. Luke. 7.36-48.
Jesus’ actions were in public, he never tried to do hidden things, his intention was that he be seen by everyone to find a way to open the eyes of many Jews who had very archaic and orthodox roots in customs and traditions that did not allowed to see the truth.
The Pharisees constantly accused Jesus of mixing with publicans and sinners, they claimed that he welcomed them and ate with them, which represented a serious mistake for someone who called himself a leader or messiah, there is an interesting story where some Pharisees asked the disciples of Jesus the following:
“Can you know why your master eats with collectors and sinners?”, the Pharisees will ask the disciples of Jesus Mt. 9,11. And he dares to say in public that “the publicans and the prostitutes go instead of you to the kingdom of God” Matthew. 21.31.
The defense cases of a woman when she was not accused of adultery, reflect the hypocrisy of the patriarchal man, trying to feel not sinners and being accusers, the story is very famous when Jesus indicates to the accusers of the alleged adulteress, which was going to be stoned, that if anyone is without sin, cast the first stone.
Thousands of cases can be read in the Bible where Jesus expresses a social struggle for the poor, the sick but above all in defense of women, hence there were many families who were walking and listening to the teacher during his journey throughout Judea .
For the Jews the law of the Sabbath was sacred and many times he was accused of carrying out activities on “Shabbat” as that day was really called, and even varied stories about men wanting to accuse women who carried out activities on Saturdays,
Jesus even had preference towards the poor over the rich the rich, even the poor women were of his choice, where he felt that there was a true love and faith towards his Lord, in a Bible story the difference of love is demonstrated towards a widow woman who was poor to a rich woman let’s see:
“This widow, who is poor, has donated more than anyone else, I assure you, because all of them have donated what they have left over, while she has given what she needs, everything she had to live on Lucas . 21.1-4.
The most important situations of Jesus regarding political issues were of importance, he knew how to handle them in his own way, always relating them to God, they tried to persuade him to get involved in the social struggle of the Jews against the Romans, and he knew how to always go out without being seen. like a traitor
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