The Four Jewish Groups

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The Jewish people had split into 4 groups – the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Zealots and the Essenes. Captain Pete explains the 4 different Jewish groups at the time of Jesus in this video from Buck Denver Asks What’s in the Bible? Volume 10: Jesus is the Good News! (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John).

CAPTAIN PETE

Welcome to “A Pirate’s Guide to Jewish * History!”  I’m Cap’n Pete, and this is my pet parrot Reginald!

REGINALD

Rarp! That’s me!

CAPTAIN PETE

Yah. That’s you. By the time of Jesus, the Jews living in Judah had split up into different groups. Let’s talk about four of them. The Pharisees… the Sadducees…  the Zealots… and the Essenes.

REGINALD

What are those? Football teams?!?

CAPTAIN PETE
No, they’re not football teams! They’re Jewish groups!

REGINALD

That play football?!?

CAPTAIN PETE

No!! No football is involved! The Pharisees were the most religious of the Jews. They were all about following God’s laws! They even made up NEW laws to follow – HUNDREDS! – as if Moses hadn’t given them enough already! Of course, they wanted everyone else to follow all these new laws, too! Then there were the Sadducees. They were the Jewish leaders with the most power and money. They were the priests that ran the Temple and the Jewish courts, and they cooperated with the Romans, who left them alone – as long as there was no trouble. Life was good for the wealthy Sadducees, and they didn’t want anyone else to mess it up for them! Next, we have the Zealots. The Zealots were Jews that HATED Rome! They were always making plans to kick out the Romans so the Jews could have their own nation again! The Zealots wanted the Messiah to come so he could teach those Romans a lesson! Because the Zealots were always making trouble, the Sadducees didn’t like them at all! And finally, the Essenes. The Essenes were very spiritual – they just wanted to spend their time reading God’s word and praying. But the other groups were driving them crazy! So by the time of Jesus, most Essenes had left town and were living together in the desert.

REGINALD

Mostly playing football.

CAPTAIN PETE

They were NOT playing football! They were PRAYING and READING GOD’S WORD!!

REGINALD

And a little touch football. On Tuesdays.

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