The Silent Period

The Book of Malachi concluded the Jewish Old Testament. However, there were other books that documented events of the Dispensation of the Law that were considered canonical. The original King James Version of the Bible was published in 1611 and was based on the Septuagint and the Vulgate which contained these fourteen books. These books were hidden from the Jewish Old Testament and referred to as "The Apocryha" which meant "hidden."

The books were:
  • 1 Esdras (Vulgate 3 Esdras)
  • 2 Esdras (Vulgate 4 Esdras)
  • Tobit
  • Judith
  • Rest of Esther (Esther 10:4-16:24)
  • Wisdom
  • Ecclesiasticus (also known as Sirach)
  • Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremy (all part of Vulgate Baruch)
  • Song of the Three Children (Vulgate Daniel 3:24-90)
  • Story of Susanna (Vulgate Daniel 13)
  • The Idol Bel and the Dragon (Vulgate Daniel 14)
  • Prayer of Manasses
  • 1 Maccabees
  • 2 Maccabees

Here is an overview of the events that occurred during the "silent period" of the Bible:

In 331 BC, Alexander the Great took over Syria, which was a province of Persia. The Jews were allowed to continue to self-govern and practice their religion. When Alexander built Alexandria in Egypt, he invited Jews to settle there and have equal rights. It was during this time the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament into Greek was accomplished (about 294-289 BC). (The Latin Vulgate was completed in 405 AD by Jerome.)

As was prophesied in the Book of Daniel, when Alexander died his kingdom was divided under four generals. The four parts were:
1) Greece/Macedonia,
2) Asia Minor,
3) Egypt, and
4) Syria/Bablyon/Persia/Media.
During most of the 3rd Century BC, the four kings fought. The Greece/Macedonia portion became a part of the Roman empire through conquest in 168 BC.

During this time (331-165 BC) the Egyptian and Syrian portions fought over the possession of Palestine. Antiochus Epiphanes took Jerusalem about 170 BC and fulfilled Daniel 11:1-34 by polluting the temple with idol worship.

At this time, the Hasmonean family (Maccabees) revolted. Jerusalem was liberated and true worship of God was reestablished in December, 165 BC. The Maccabeans were able to retain power by making alliances with Rome.

In 47 BC, Julius Caesar gave Hyrcanus the rights to the high priesthood. The Jews were also not required to serve in the military and generally retain their own culture. This was ratified by the Roman senate in 44 BC. Rome focused on keeping the peace through a Roman official who represented the government.

In 37 BC, Herod the Great, used the Roman troops to depose the last Hasmonean prince (Antigonus) and became the physical sovereign over the Jews. He built the temple on a huge scale. The Jews became rebellious against the Romans. Pharisees, scribes, and lawyers became more esteemed than priests and Levites.

The result was two sects overseeing the temple built by the Roman government.

The Sadducees were aristocrats who held the majority of the seventy seats of the Sanhedrin (ruling council). They worked hard to keep the peace by agreeing with the decisions of Rome, and they seemed to be more concerned with politics than religion. The common man disliked the Sadducees.

The Pharisees were mostly middle-class businessmen who were more concerned with religion than with politics. Because the Pharisees were popular with the masses, the Sadducees tended to give in to the Pharisees' decisions.

The Pharisees gave oral tradition equal authority to the written Word of God, while the Sadducees considered only the written Word to be from God.

Key Sadducees' beliefs:
1) They were extremely self-sufficient to the point of denying God's involvement in everyday life.
2) They denied: any resurrection of the dead, any afterlife where Justice was equaled out, and the existence of a spiritual world, i.e., angels and demons.

Key Pharisees' beliefs:
1) They believed that God controlled all things, yet decisions made by individuals also contributed to the course of a person's life.
2) They believed in: the resurrection of the dead, an afterlife where Justice equaled out, and in the existence of angels and demons (Acts 23:8).

The Sadducees believed God was not involved at all. The Pharisees believed God controlled all things, yet they could not deny individuals had some responsibility. Basically, the Sadducees were humanists and the Pharisees were Calvinists/Determinists.

The New Testament: Day 283 (Matthew)


  1. I was wondering if you were going to include commentary on the books listed above?

    I would really like to see that.
    Thanks for all you do.

  2. Hello Anonymous,

    There is a commentary already in progress for the books listed above which will also include the Book of Enoch. The posts will start in the summer of 2013.

  3. Any updates for those of us waiting in the wings for this section. Just curious!

    1. I am hoping to begin posting the Apocrypha Commentary on or around June 1, 2013.

  4. June 1, 2013 is just around the corner hoping that the Apocrypha commentary is as well. Can't wait!

    1. I appreciate your enthusiasm! Unfortunately, the publishing date for the Apocrypha Commentary has been delayed.

  5. Do we have a release date yet?
    Just wondering...didn't want you to think I'd forgotten or moved on from this wonderful work you've done. Thanks Joel!

    Gary A. Blake

    1. Gary,
      I do not have a release date for the Apocrypha Commentary yet. I will be sure to announce a release date on Facebook when that time arrives.


  6. So it's been over almost two years now, how's that commentary coming.

  7. One of the issues with doing a commentary is finding a concordance for the Apocrypha.

    Anonymous, where could we find a concordance for the Apocrypha?

  8. Um sure. has a book called a complete concordance to the Old and New testament. Published in 1868. It reads after the title "to which is added, a concordance to the apocrypha"...

    Hope it helps!

    That should link you right to the start of the book.

  9. I’ve heard the occasional good thing, but mostly bad about the Apocrypha.

    Online I read that the apocrypha was a work of heresy because it contained actual spells and incantations, and provided three mutually exclusive ways for Maccabees death...

    I’m going to assume this is largely some person’s attempt at destruction since you’ve said nothing on any of these subjects...

    So, how is the post progressing?