context is everything. Many thanks to Michael Snow for this!
A brief look at Romans “13” in its historical and textual context:
586 BC Solomon’s Temple destroyed
[Second Temple Consecrated, 516 BC]
After the Babylonian captivity ended, Judea survived under the succeeding Empires.
323 BC Death of Alexander the Great. Kingdom divided among the generals.
Judea comes under the Ptolemies, who also rule Eygpt
198 BC Judea annexed by the Seleucids, under Antiochus III, who rules Syria
During this period, Jews were under no government edicts to change customs [though many fell under the spell of the Hellenistic spirit of the times]. Antiochus strengthened the High Priesthood, made Torah official law for Jews and exempted Jews from taxes.
Judea was still a theocratic/Temple State.
Internal strife precipitated a crisis under the next king, Antiochus IV, Epiphanes. High Priestly faction, the House of Zaddock, was pro-Ptolemaic.
Another artistocratic family, the Tobiads, was pro-Seleucid.
Complaints against High Priest Onias III led to…
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