Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene,
“Tiberius Nero…sent Valerius Gratus to be procurator of Judea, and to succeed Annius Rufus. This man deprived Ananus of the high priesthood, and appointed Ismael, the son of Phabi, to be high priest. He also deprived him in a little time, and ordained Eleazar, the son of Ananus, who had been high priest before, to be high priest; which office, when he had held for a year, Gratus deprived him of it, and gave the high priesthood to Simon, the son of Camithus; and when he had possessed that dignity no longer than a year, Joseph Caiaphas was made his successor. When Gratus had done those things, he went back to Rome, after he had tarried in Judea eleven years, when Pontius Pilate came as his successor.”
Josephus, Antiquities 18.2.2
in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to Yochanan, the son of Zechariah, in the wilderness.
He came into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming the immersion of repentance for remission of sins.
As it is written in the scroll of the words of Isaiah the prophet, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make ready the way of the Lord. Make his paths straight.
“The voice of one who calls out, “Prepare the way of HaShem in the wilderness! Make a level highway in the desert for our G-d. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The uneven shall be made level, and the rough places a plain.”
Every valley will be filled. Every mountain and hill will be brought low. The crooked will become straight, and the rough ways smooth.
“Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The uneven shall be made level,
and the rough places a plain. The glory of HaShem shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of HaShem has spoken it.”
All flesh will see Gods salvation.
“The glory of HaShem shall be revealed, band all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of HaShem has spoken it.” The voice of one saying, “Cry!” One said, “What shall I cry?” “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory is like the flower of the field.”
He said therefore to the multitudes who went out to be immersed by him, You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and dont begin to say among yourselves, We have Abraham for our father; for I tell you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones!
Even now the axe also lies at the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire.
The multitudes asked him, ‘What then must we do?’
He answered them, He who has two coats, let him give to him who has none. He who has food, let him do likewise.
Tax collectors also came to be immersed, and they said to him, Rabbi, what must we do?
He said to them, Collect no more than that which is appointed to you.
Soldiers also asked him, saying, What about us? What must we do? He said to them, Extort from no one by violence, neither accuse anyone wrongfully. Be content with your wages.
As the people were in expectation, and all men reasoned in their hearts concerning Yochanan, whether perhaps he was the Messiah,
Yochanan answered them all, I indeed immerse you with water, but he comes who is mightier than I, the latch of whose sandals I am not worthy to loosen. He will immerse you in the Holy Spirit and fire,
whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor, and will gather the wheat into his barn; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
This connection of the Threshing Floor with the Beit HaMikdash is a thread that runs throughout the Tanakh,
וִיהִי בְשָׁכְבֹו וְיָדַעַתְּ אֶת־הַמָּקֹום אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁכַּב־שָׁ֔ם
“Now isn’t Boaz our kinsman, with whose maidens you were? Behold, he winnows barley tonight in the threshing floor. Therefore wash yourself, anoint yourself, get dressed, and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. And it shall be, when he lies down, you shall know the Place (HaMakom) where he lies down…”
The wording here is unusual, containing repetitive and superfluous words, “when he lies down, you shall know the place where he lies down.” The secret of this phase is contained in the word HaMakom, “The Place.” The Place is a name for the Temple (1 Kings 8:30) and is also a Name of HaShem. Ruth met Boaz at the Goren, the “Threshing Floor” at midnight. Within these words hide secrets of Redemption. On a Midrashic level, the “Threshing Floor” is the Place of the Holy Temple. The Book of 2nd Samuel says,
“Gad came that day to David, and said to him, “Go up, build an altar to HaShem on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.”
2 Samuel 24:18
2 Chronicles says,
“Then Solomon began to build the house of HaShem at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where HaShem appeared to David his father, which he prepared in the place that David had appointed, in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.”
2 Chronicles 3:1
R’ Bogomilsky paraphrases Meshiv Nefesh and R’ Eleazar of Worms, known as the Rokeach (Perfumer),
“…Naomi said, “You are going down to the threshing floor to beseech him to ‘spread his wings’ over you. Please remember that from your union with him needs to emerge King David, who will purchase a goren — threshing floor — upon which the Beit Hamikdash will be built. The Jews will come there to beseech Al-mighty G‑d to rest His Shechinah — Divine Presence — in that place, and echoing your request, to “spread His wings over them.” … Incidentally, the words “veyaradeta hagoren” — “and go down to the threshing floor” (וירדת הגרון) — have the numerical value of 879 (im hakolel— when counting the statement as one), which is also the numerical value of “Zehu Beit Hamikdash” (זהו בית המקדש) — “This is the Beit Hamikdash.”
Questions and Answers on Megillat Ruth: Chapter 3, R’ Moshe Bogomilsky, Chabad.org 
Then with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people,
but Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things which Herod had done,
“Herodias, their sister, was married to Herod [Philip], the son of Herod the Great, who was born of Mariamne, the daughter of Simon the high priest, who had a daughter, Salome; after whose birth Herodias took upon her to confound the laws of our country, and divorced herself from her husband while he was alive, and was married to Herod [Antipas], her husband’s brother by the father’s side, he was tetrarch of Galilee; but her daughter Salome was married to Philip, the son of Herod, and tetrarch of Trachonitis; and as he died childless, Aristobulus, the son of Herod, the brother of Agrippa, married her; they had three sons, Herod, Agrippa, and Aristobulus…”
Josephus, Antiquities Book 18, Chapter 5.4, translated by William Whiston
added this also to them all, that he shut up Yochanan in prison.
“Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod’s army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist: for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism; for that the washing [with water] would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away [or the remission] of some sins [only], but for the purification of the body; supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness. Now when [many] others came in crowds about him, for they were very greatly moved [or pleased] by hearing his words, Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion, (for they seemed ready to do any thing he should advise,) thought it best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties, by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it would be too late. Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod’s suspicious temper, to Macherus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death. Now the Jews had an opinion that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon Herod, and a mark of God’s displeasure to him.”
Josephus, Antiquities Book 18, Chapter 5.2, translated by William Whiston
Now it happened, when all the people were immersed, Yeshua also had been immersed, and was praying. The sky was opened,
and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form as a dove on him; and a voice came out of the sky, saying ‘You are my beloved Son. In you I am well pleased.’
An ancient Jewish text entitled the Gospel of the Hebrews says of this passage,
“And it came to pass when the Lord was come up out of the water, the whole fountain of the Holy Spirit descended upon him and rested on him and said to him: “My Son, in all the prophets was I waiting for you that you should come and I might rest in thee. For thou art my rest; thou art my first-begotten Son that reign for ever.”
Jerome, Commentary on Isaiah 4
Yeshua himself, when he began to teach, was about thirty years old, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Eli,
It says of Yosef HaTzaddik,
“Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.”
David HaMelech is described in the same terms,
“David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.”
2 Samuel 5:4
the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,
the son of Mattithiah, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai,
the son of Maath, the son of Mattithiah, the son of Shimei, the son of Joseph, the son of Judah,
the son of Yochanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri,
the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmodam, the son of Er,
the son of Yosi, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi,
the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonan, the son of Eliakim,
the son of Maleah, the son of Manah, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David,
It is fascinating that Luke traces Yeshua’s genealogy through Nathan, instead of Solomon. The Zohar says,
מְבַשֶּׂרֶת צִיּוֹן, דָּא אִיהִי חֶפְצִי בָּהּ, אִתְּתָא דְּנָתָן בַּר דָּוִד. אִימָּא אִיהִי דִּמְשִׁיחָא, מְנַחֵם בַּ”ר עַמִּיאֵ”ל, וְאִיהִי תִּיפּוּק וּתְבַשֵּׂר,וְאִיהִי בִּכְלָלָא דִּמְבַשֶּׂרֶת צִיּוֹן
“You that bring good tidings to Zion” is Hephzibah, the wife of Nathan son of David, who is the mother of Messiah, Menachem son of Amiel, WHO WAS HER DESCENDANT. She shall go out and bring the tidings ABOUT REDEMPTION and she is part of the general meaning of: “You that bring good tidings to Zion.”
Zohar III:173b, Parashat Shlach Lekha 45:298, Zohar.com
In Jewish Aggadah, the mother of the Messiah is named “Hephzibah” which means, “My Delight is in Her.” This is apparently based on the passage applying to Israel,
“You shall no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall your land any more be termed Desolate: but you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah (married); for HaShem delights in you, and your land shall be married.”
Isaiah 62:4, cf. 2 Kings 2:11
Sefer Zerubavel makes an interesting comment,
“This is the Messiah of the Lord who is hidden here until the time of the End, and his name is Menahem son of ‘Amiel, and he was born in the days of David king of Israel, and the spirit carried him and hid him here until the time of the End.” And I asked Metatron and he said to me: “The Holy One, blessed be He, will give the staff of salvation to Hephzibah, the mother of Menachem, and a star shall shine before her…”
Sefer Zerubavel, cited in The Messiah Texts by Raphael Patai, Wayne State University Press, pg 125
The text goes on to describe the role that Hephzibah will play in the end times. The name “Menachem ben Amiel” for the Messiah is interesting. ‘Menachem’ in Hebrew means “comforter”, and is apparently based on this verse,
“For these things I weep; my eye, my eye runs down with water;
Because the comforter who should refresh my soul is far from me:
My children are desolate, because the enemy has prevailed.”
It is remarkable that the Zohar, out of the ten sons of David, focuses on Nathan, just as the Gospel of Luke does. Chabad.org notes the brilliant commentary of R’ Reuven Margolies on this difficult passage in the Zohar:
“The famed 20th-century Jewish scholar and kabbalist Rabbi Reuven Margolies explains that the Zohar is careful to describe the Moshiach as being a descendant of Nathan’s wife, rather than of Nathan himself. Nathan had passed away childless, and Solomon his brother married his widow, according to the laws of yibum, levirate marriage. In a levirate marriage, the firstborn son of the widow and the brother of the deceased is considered to be a continuation of the dead husband’s line. Therefore, Moshiach is referred to here as “offspring” of Nathan, even though he is a descendant of King Solomon.”
Chabad.org, Is the Messiah a Descendant of King Solomon, Yehuda Shurpin
the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon,
The Tanakh says,
וְאֵלֶּה תֹּולְדֹות פָּרֶץ
“Now this is the history of the generations of Perez: Perez became the father of Hezron, and Hezron became the father of Ram, and Ram became the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon became the father of Salmon, and Salmon became the father of Boaz, and Boaz became the father of Obed, and Obed became the father of Jesse, and Jesse became the father of David.”
The vav is restored in the genealogy of David HaMelech. What does this vav represent? The Letter Vav has the numerical value of 6. The Midrash explains,
“R. Berekiah said in the name of R. Samuel b. Nahman: Though these things were created in their fullness, yet when Adam sinned they were spoiled, and they will not again return to their perfection until the son of Perez [viz. Messiah] comes; [for in the verse] “These are the toledoth (generations) of Perez”, toledoth is spelled fully, with a vav. These are they:  his lustre,  his immortality,  his height,  the fruit of the earth and  the fruit of trees, and  the luminaries.”
Genesis Rabbah 12:6, Soncino Press Edition