YHD coins

Yehud coins bearing the inscription 'YHD' (יהד)

Yehud Medinata,[1] (Book of Ezra 5:8;[1] יהוד מדינתא; The Province of Judah, also lit. The Jewish state [Hebrew] or The Jewish Province [Aramaic]; sometimes Pachavot Yehuda - פחוות יהודה,[2] The Provinces of Judah[2]), was a Jewish autonomy located in Judea area under the Persian Empire rule over the Land of Israel.

The Jewish autonomy

The Jewish autonomy, mentioned in Ezra 5:8,[1], was the settling place of the Zion Returnees from Babylonian exile, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin and other tribes that had assembled there. The autonomy's Name in conjunction with the Judea area contributed to the continuing process of word "Jew" being associated with the Israelites,[3] and it functioned as a self-contained geographic and religious entity which even issued its own small silver coins inscribed with the three letters Yehud.

In 538 BCE, Cyrus the Great had published his edict that had become known as "Cyrus's Declaration", in which, he allowed the Jewish deportees to return to their original land, the Land of Israel, and to establish a Jewish autonomy in it. The Persian kings after Cyrus tended to treat the Jews kindly, and the Jews were given a permission to build the Second Temple, and an official approval to cover the construction expenses from the kingdom treasury. However, in order not turn this kind gesture into a Jewish rebel, the Persians have prevented the House of David's descendants from ruling the Land of Judah.

During the next 100 years to follow since the decree of Cyrus the Great (known as "The Return to Zion" period), a process a regrowth within the Jewish community in The Land of Israel begun, wherein several Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel (Aliyah) were made by groups of Jews who were headed by Sheshbazzar, Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah, and they are documented in the Book of Ezra and the Book of Nehemiah. A total of 50,000 Jews made Aliyah to the Land of Israel, following the decree of Cyrus the Great.

Under the Persian Empire rule, the Jews were granted with a full religious and ritual autonomy. However, Judah did not return to its original borders as they were before the Babylonian exile and its territories were reduced significantly: The province of Judah was only around 1,600 square kilometer, and consisted of approximately 40,000 inhabitants.

The Jewish community in the Land of Israel was divided into several provinces (Hebrew: פלכים‎, Pelach) with Capitals and secondary cities. The Hebrew bible, the Tanakh, depicts five such provinces. However, it is commonly believed[by whom?] that there were six of those provinces: Jerusalem, Beit HaKerem, Keilah, Beth-zur, Mizpah and Jericho. As major cities of that time, one can point out to Jerusalem, Gaza, Jericho, Lachish, and Acre.

Among the inhabitants living in the surrounding areas at the time were Arab tribes (Kedar), Edomites, and Philistines. A new population arriving to the surrounding area at the time were the Samaritan – exiled who were brought by Assyria and Babylon to the area from other countries, put down roots there and were united as the Samaritan people.

The period of the Persian rule over the Land of Israel have been, for most of its part, a calm period for the Jews living there, especially in light of the geographical and religious autonomy they were granted by the Persians. Towards the end of this Persian period, signs of the Greek influence began to emerge among the Jews in the land.

Hasmonean Kingdom and afterwards

In 332 BCE, Alexander the Great conquered the Land of Israel from the Persians, which marked the end of the Persian period, and the beginning of the Hellenistic period for Jews living in the Land of Israel. After the Maccabees revolt in the 2nd century BCE, the Hasmonean Kingdom of Israel (140–37 BCE) was established and officially replaced Yehud Medinata.

Hasmonean rule lasted until 63 BCE, when the Roman general Pompey captured Jerusalem and subjected Israel to Roman rule, while the Hasmonean dynasty itself ended in 37 BCE when the Idumean Herod the Great became the Roman-supported king of the Jews in the Iudaea Province.

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ezra Chapter 5, Mechon Mamre Template:Epigraph
  2. 2.0 2.1 Nehemiah 2:7 refers to the "Pachavot Ever Ha'nahar" (פחוות עבר הנהר), lit 'The Provinces' (or 'the Governors') 'Beyond the river', but right afterwads mentions (יהודה) "Yehuda" (Judah, Judea) in that context of these Provinces
  3. Nehemiah Chapter 1, Mechon Mamre Template:Epigraph Prior to the aforementioned, in 2 Kings 18:26, 28 the word "Judean" (יהודית, Yehudit) is attributed to the Jewish language [1] [2], and in the same story told simultaneously in 2 Chronicles 32:18 [3] [4]

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