Several prophetic texts had promised a restoration of King David’s ancient throne, which had been lost at the time of the Babylonian destruction in 586 B.C. In the Book of Samuel, the Lord sends David the following message: “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom…I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me…Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:12–16); see also Isaiah 9:7. For the hopes for David’s royal descendant Zerubbabel after the Exile, see Haggai 2:20–23; Zechariah 4:6–10; see also Sirach 49:11; 1 Maccabees 2:57; 2 Esdras 12:32; Psalms of Solomon 17; and frequent mentions in rabbinic literature. Although it is doubtful that physical descent from David could be confidently traced a thousand years after he had died, establishing some kind of connection with David might have been critical for a messianic figure or other leader in Jesus’ time. According to the fourth-century church historian Eusebius, the emperor Domitian (81–96 A.D.) launched a campaign against descendants of David because he was afraid of the competition (Eusebius, Church History 3.19–20). The story itself is unlikely, but it highlights the importance of Davidic lineage in Christian thinking at least. And when Rabbi Akiva allegedly endorsed Simeon bar-Kokhba, leader of the Second Jewish Revolt against Rome (132–135 A.D.), as the Messiah, one of his colleagues is said to have demurred on the ground that this man was not a descendant of David (Jerusalem Talmud, Ta’anit 4.5 [68d]). See Ephraim Urbach, The Sages: Their Concepts and Beliefs, trans. Israel Abrahams (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1979), p. 674. In later periods, both the Jewish patriarchs and the heads of the Babylonian Jewish communities would be furnished with suitable Davidic ancestries (Genesis Rabbah 33). See, conveniently, Isaiah Gafni, “The World of the Talmud,” in Hershel Shanks, ed., Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism: A Parallel History of Their Origins and Early Development (Washington, DC: Biblical Archaeology Society, 1992), pp. 229, 248, 263. The medieval Seder Olam Zutta traced a Davidic lineage for the Babylonian exilarch. So lineage in general was important, and many considered Davidic lineage essential for messianic figures. The Dead Sea Scrolls and other texts indicate that some groups hoped for priestly and/or prophetic anointed figures (messiahs). So, too, the Talmud reflects a variety of messianic hopes, even though the dominant language speaks of the “Son of David.” See Jacob Neusner, Messiah in Context: Israel’s History and Destiny in Formative Judaism (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress, 1984).