The Dictionary

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JERUSALEM. City in Canaan, later the capital of Judah. It appears in the Amarna Letters, when its ruler sought Kushite troops from Amenhotep III. The biblical record of the Book of Kings recounts the sack of Jerusalem by the pharaoh Shishak in the reign of Rehoboam (c. 925 BC). This ruler is generally identified with Sheshonq I in literature, although there have recently been dissenting voices, as the biblical narrative of the campaign bears little relation to the triumphal name-list of the Asiatic conquests of Sheshonq I at Karnak, in which Jerusalem does not appear. In the reign of Hezekiah (715–687 BC), shortly after the battle of Eltekeh, Jerusalem was besieged by a division of the Assyrian army, although Sennacherib himself stayed at Lachish. On this occasion, the Assyrian envoys warned Hezekiah not to rely on the Kushite pharaoh (according to the biblical record, Taharqo). The next major Egyptian interference was in the reign of Nekau II. Nekau dethroned Jehoahaz and installed Jehoiakim in 609 BC. Jerusalem, and the kingdom of Judah, eventually fell to Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon, on 16 March 597 BC. In 588 BC, Jerusalem was again besieged by the Babylonians, and Wahibre led an expeditionary force to relieve it but was forced to withdraw. In 586 BC, Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians, following which there was a mass deportation of Jews to Babylon. Jerusalem was part of the Ptolemaic possession of Coele Syria, but eventually became part of the Seleukid kingdom, before the establishment of an independent kingdom under Herod. It remained a focus for the Jews and had close contacts with the community in Alexandria.

JEWISH REVOLT. The revolt began in Cyrene in 115 AD, in the reign of Trajan. There was massive destruction in the city. The revolt quickly spread to Alexandria and other parts of Egypt, Cyprus, and Babylonia. According to Eusebius, the revolt was widespread in Egypt outside Alexandria; it was led by Loukouas and was very violent. There are reports (probably greatly exaggerated) of Greeks being killed and eaten. The Roman troops were defeated and retreated to Alexandria leaving Egypt open to the rebels. There was destruction in the Fayum, Oxyrhynchite, Lykopolite, and Hermopolite nomes. Quintus Marcius Turbo, commander of the imperial fleet based at Misenum (near Naples), was given the task of suppressing the rebellions, which was achieved in 117 AD.

JEWS. A community of Jewish mercenaries was stationed on Abu (Elephantine) during the Persian period, documented by a large number of texts in Aramaic. There were other groups throughout Egypt that are known from correspondence. Jewish mercenaries also served in the Ptolemaic army. The actions of Antiochos IV when he captured Jerusalem in the Sixth Syrian War provoked the Maccabean rebellion (167–164 BC). Ptolemy VI allowed the Jewish high priest, Onias IV, to settle in Egypt with a large group of followers. Onias was later appointed to a command in the army, and his sons Chelkias and Ananias were generals in the Syrian War of Kleopatra III. There is evidence for Jewish settlement in the Fayum (one village being named Magdala) and these might have been veterans. There was a substantial civilian Jewish population in Alexandria, which from the early first-century AD was often involved in violent clashes with the Greeks. The major incident was the Jewish revolt of 115–117 AD.

JOPPA. (Modern Jaffa) Coastal city of Palestine. Joppa occupied one of few natural harbors on the coast. Although contacts with Egypt began much earlier, it was probably during Thutmose III’s campaigns that Joppa came under Egyptian control. The town occurs in the topographical list of Thutmose III in the temple of Karnak, and was captured in his first Asiatic campaign of year 22–23. The 19th Dynasty “Papyrus Harris 500” (now in the British Museum, EA 10060) carries a story relating the capture of Joppa by the army of Thutmose III in a precursor of the story of the Forty Thieves. In this, the pharaoh’s general Djehuty managed to get his 200 soldiers into the city by hiding them in baskets. Thutmose III is not present and if there is any veracity in this tale, it could reflect a later recapture of the city. A gold bowl with the name of Djehuty and the titles “Overseer of northern foreign lands” and “Overseer of the Army (General)” is in the collection of the Louvre Museum, although its authenticity has been questioned.

Joppa became an important Egyptian garrison and supply depot in the later New Kingdom. It is mentioned in the Amarna Letters (EA 294 and 296) as having Egyptian granaries, and it appears to have been directly administered, rather than having a vassal ruler. A 19th Dynasty document (Papyrus Anastasi I), in the form of a satirical letter, records the visit of a young officer to a chariot repair shop in the city.

JUDAH. Kingdom of western Asia, initially under Saul, David, and Solomon, united with Israel. It was ruled from Jerusalem. In the reign of Rehoboam (c. 925 BC), it was invaded by the pharaoh Shishak, usually identified with Sheshonq I, who sacked Jerusalem. In the 25th Dynasty, the Kushite pharaohs supported opposition by Judah and neighboring states to the aggression of Assyria. When Hezekiah rebelled against Sennacherib, a joint Egyptian-Kushite army came to his aid, confronting the Assyrians at the battle of Eltekeh (701 BC). Sennacherib then besieged Lachish (which was sacked) and Jerusalem. Hezekiah yielded and once again paid tribute, losing some of his territory. Egypt interfered in the politics of the kingdom in the reign of Nekau II. On his way to confront the armies of Babylon at Carchemish, Nekau defeated and killed Josiah at the battle of Megiddo. He soon after replaced Josiah’s son, Jehoahaz, with Jehoiakim. Jehoahaz was taken to Egypt, and Judah made to pay tribute. The kingdom of Judah was brought to an end by the campaigns of Nebuchadnezzar II, the fall of Jerusalem, and the deportation of the Jews to Babylon, in 587.


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