Tim, superb article! It would be good to know the source and his sources. It sounds like an English author with a European perspective. Also wasn't clear which parts were "lifted" and which parts are your own original thinking or extensions.
Helge makes a good point in that the tribes of Judah and Benjamin became radically different than the other ten. Probably this was due to the later "grafting" of Persian period elites onto what remained of the pre-existing tribal structure of the area. Such elites, members of the extended royal family of Persia, could claim the same ancestry as locals, but of course with a far superior pedigree. That allowed them to assert their legitimacy and priority as local high priests.
We can now understand that the same thing occurred in the dynasty of the Ptolemies. The Ptolemies branched off from the main royal line at the end of the Persian period. The priests of Jerusalem branched off early in the Persian era, but both descended from the same royal line dating to the time of Abraham in the Egyptian New Kingdom. Although the letter from a Greek royal court to Jerusalem found in II Maccabees and Josephus was probably bogus and inserted as propaganda (to justify the Greek takeover of the Jerusalem priesthood), it still had a basis. In any era, the royal family could (and did) claim to be “all things to all people”. Benjamin Franklin denounced patriotism as “the last resort of fools and scoundrels”! Scoundrels appeal to patriotism to hide their own lack of local/national pride and orientation, and fools believe them.
The chosen method of the Ptolemies for taking over the Jerusalem priesthood was biological. As “God”, a Ptolemy could impose his right to impregnate a female of the priestly family in Jerusalem, Memphis in Egypt, or anywhere else within his dominions. Or he could arrange the marriage of one of his sons to a woman of high priestly standing. A son born, either by “holy birth” or in royal wedlock, would then be eligible for the priesthood, and particularly eligible to become high priest. We have the exact same process taking place in the early Herodian period. Herod the Great had sons by Mariamne of the Hasmonean family. He also had a son by the daughter of Simon Boethus, who was from another recognized priestly line.
It had taken considerable time for the Hasmonean priesthood to be normalized. Herodians also met with fierce local resistance, and they had the added difficulty of overcoming Hasmonean propaganda aimed at denying them a Jewish identity!
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