Polytheism, except for the religious Jew, was the order of the day. Immorality abounded, even among the many "gods."
The spiritual aspect of Jewish religion (except among a few, usually the poorer class) was all but extinct.
The legalism of the Pharisees and Scribes ruled. Ceremonialism was the yoke that bound the necks of all Jews,
especially as one drew nearer to its center in Jerusalem. From A.D. 6, taxation had been levied
by the heavy hand of Rome and in many cases implemented by turncoat publicans. Hope toward a political messiah was at its zenith.
Many such self-proclaimed persons were appearing on the scene with their renegade band of followers, usually discounted by
their own actions. The region was rife with bands of robbers and Sicarii. The middle class was non-existent.
Most were very poor except for the few aristocrats who bought and sold humans like cattle.