A long time ago, God promised to lead the Jewish people to the Promised Land, a land of safety. The Patriarchs are ancestors of Jewish faith who God selected to fulfill this promise. The first Patriarch started with a man named Abraham who eventually passed the covenant down to Isaac, his son and Isaac's son, Jacob.
Israelites were slaves in Egypt. Moses had to free them and go to Canaan. On the way, Moses received the 10 commandments from God to be obeyed. They wandered the desert for 40 yrs. Moses died before arrival, replaced by Joshua. They found out the land was inhabited by Canaanites. They had to conquer. After, it was divided into 12 sections each for Jacob's son.
The Jews needed a king to rule them. Saul was the first king. Some people liked him, some didn't. This caused division of land, Israel in the north with 10 tribes and Judah in the south with 2 tribes. Next, greatest King David built a great temple for God and united everyone again. Solomon and his son Rehoboam were terrible kings and the kingdom divided once more.
Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia, conquered Palestine after the Babylonian Exile. Greeks destroyed the Jew's great temple, replaced it with an altar of Zeus. The Greeks had great influence to Jews especially in Galilee. The Jews there were disrespected because they make use of Greek culture daily. The other Jews took this as betrayal to their own blood.
After the Greeks took over, Palestine was independent for about 100 yrs. Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes worked together to rule Palestine. There were arguments between political leaders at that time. The Romans used this weakness as an advantage to conquer Palestine. 60 years before Jesus' birth, the Romans took complete control.
The Romans chose leaders to rule in behalf of them, like puppets. Romans selected Herod to rule Israel. His son was a bad king and was replaced by Pontius Pilate, a Roman who crucified Jesus. The Jewish started to believe in a Messiah that will bring salvation to them. Jews thought of high standards so when Jesus was born, they expected much more.