In reading this chapter of the "Source" I found it very interesting and moving. It displayed a way of life to me that is not seen much anymore and was a shock to me as to how people could live like that. I was shocked to learn how many similarities there are between then and now as well. Our culture has come along way from then and is going to continue to progress in the future.
The most important theme in the chapter of Michener that I found to stand out was that no matter what you do you always put your God as the number one priority. The Jews did this in the chapter and were willing to die for their beliefs in their God. They did not even give into the Roman emperor in letting them into their city with false Gods and with the eagle on the flag.
Religion and politics play a big role in the societies back then just like they do now. The jews were taught to give their life to their king and not anything else. This made things difficult with the Romans because they wanted to instill their views and Gods on the Jews. The Romans were a different bread of people as far if they did not agree with something they used extreme violence to change it. For example the Roman people killed their own emperor in times of disagreement. Politics were a big issue because the people really did not have a choice as to what kind of government they had or who was their leader. No matter what they had to deal with it and if they said otherwise they were most likely put to death, just like a communist government.
As far as how people negotiated their power...