250 AD to 270 AD, Psalm 60: Nehardea.

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1024px-Shabbath_guest_NehardiaThis generation is that of the 250s and 260s.

 

While Babylonian Judaism was able to take the torch of Palestinian Judaism and the new king of Persia Shahpuhr I is more lenient than his predecessor to the Jews of Persia, the struggle between the two empires of the time, Rome and the Persia calls into question this situation favorable to the development of Babylonian Judaism:
  • Shahpuhr [1] 1st (241-272 AD) needed money to fight against Rome, so he spared Jews and all religious minorities. The Emperor Valerian was defeated and taken prisoner (260 AD), but this Persian victory was made vain by Odenath and Zenobia, rulers of Palmyra allied with Rome, who twice repelled the Persians as far as Ctesiphon (in 263 AD and 265 AD). ) and occupied the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire from 260 AD to 272 AD. The Jews had, with particular perseverance, fought against the Romans and the Palmyrenians; As a result, the invaders took revenge by cutting down the town of Nehardea, including the rabbinical academy there (260).

1024px-Palmyre_-_théâtre_pano

The kingdom of Palmyra former fief of Ammonites hinders the expansion of Babylonian Judaism.
It is this event, the fall of Nehardea, that David evokes at the beginning of the psalm of this generation:

(extract of the psalm 60 associated to this generation, verses 1 to 6 –
verses 1, 2 are the title / foreword of the psalm )

  • For the conductor, on shushan eduth, a michtam of David, to teach.
  • When he fought with Aram-Naharaim and with Aram-Zobah, and Joab returned and smote twelve thousand of Edom in the valley of salt.
  • O God, You have forsaken us; You have breached us; You were angry with us. You shall restore us. 
    • Nehardea, along with Soura was the heart of Babylonian Judaism who goes through the Babylonian Talmud to construct the Jewish identity in exile necessary for its survival. The destruction of this academy could have had the same effect on this construction as the breach opened by the Romans in the defenses of Jerusalem. Just as the Temple, the material identity of Judaism, was destroyed following the opening of this breach, spiritual identity might not have survived the destruction of Nehardea. David’s petition will be heard by the next generation with the foundation of Poumbedita.
  • You caused the land to quake; You split it; heal its breaches for it has faltered.  
    • The destruction of Nehardea completes that of the Temple and that following the revolt of Bar Kokhba and threatens the edifice of Judaism.
  • You have shown Your people harshness; You have given us to drink wine of bewilderment.
  • You have given those who fear You trials with which to be tested, in order to beautify [Your behavior] forever.
    • The banner will soon be established with the Talmud of Babylon.
But as the fall of the Davidic dynasty and the exile of the land of Israel were not enough to remove the Jewish people, the destruction of the Babylonian Academy will not prevent the wise to continue their work and to finish to write the Babylonian Talmud which has been the cement of the Jewish people for many centuries.
Neither the spirit of David nor that of the Babylonian sages will leave the Jewish people who, with their help, can regain their sovereignty and place with God at the end of time.

C’est cela que David évoque dans la suite du psaume où la citation de Galaad (Frontalier des Ammonites, soit Palmyre), Moab (Aire Perse) et d’Edom (Rome) à la vue des événements de cette génération n’est pas fortuite :

This is what David evokes in the sequel of the psalm where the quotation of Gilead (Border of the Ammonites, Palmyra), Moab (Persian Area) and Edom (Rome) at the sight of the events of this generation is not fortuitous:

(extract of the psalm 60 associated to this generation, verses 7 to 14 )

  • In order that Your beloved ones should be rescued, save Your right hand and answer me.
  • God spoke in His Sanctuary; I will exult, I will divide a portion, and I will measure the valley of Succoth.
  • Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine, and Ephraim is the strength of my head; Judah is my lawgiver.
  • Moab is my washbasin; on Edom I will throw my lock; Philistia, join me.
  • Who will bring me to a fortified city?-He Who led me to Edom?
  • Is it not You, O God, Who has forsaken us, and [Who] does not go forth, O God, with our hosts?
  • Give us aid against the adversary, but the salvation of man is futile.
  • Through God we shall gather might, and He will trample our adversaries.

 

 

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[1] Encyclopedic Dictionary of Judaism / Sketch of the history of the Jewish people- The ancient and medieval world: Babylon (the Sassanid period) (French: Dictionnaire Encyclopédique du Judaïsme/Cerf-Laffont/Esquisse de l’histoire du peuple Juif- Le monde antique et médiéval : Babylone (la période des Sassanides) p1138 ).