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Ezra– Nehemiah
Nehemiah
is a book in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
found in the Ketuvim section. The Christian scholar Origen
Origen
in the 3rd century, noting that the other Hebrew historical books; Samuel, Kings and Chronicles were 'doubled', proposed that Ezra
Ezra
too should be separated into two books, which he denoted as I Ezra
Ezra
and II Ezra, dealing respectively with the careers of Ezra
Ezra
and Nehemiah; but no surviving Christian Bibles from antiquity follow this principle. Surviving manuscripts of the Christian Old Testament, both in Greek and Old Latin consistently witness otherwise the two books of Ezra
Ezra
known as ' Esdras A' and Esdras B, corresponding respectively to Greek Esdras
Greek Esdras
and the undivided Ezra-Nehemiah. [1] [2] and these books were placed in the historical section of the Christian canon. The book covers the period from the fall of Babylon in 539 BC to the second half of the 5th century BC, and tells of the successive missions to Jerusalem of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and their efforts to restore the worship of the God of Israel and to create a purified Jewish community.[3] The narrative is highly schematic, each stage of the restoration following the same pattern: God "stirs up" the Persian king, the king commissions a Jewish leader to undertake a task, the leader overcomes opposition and succeeds, and success is marked by a great assembly. In the 19th century and for much of the 20th, it was believed that Chronicles and Ezra– Nehemiah
Nehemiah
came from the same author or circle of authors (similar to the traditional view which held Ezra
Ezra
to be the author of all three), but the usual view among modern scholars is that the differences between Chronicles and Ezra– Nehemiah
Nehemiah
are greater than the similarities, and that Ezra– Nehemiah
Nehemiah
itself had a long history of composition from many sources, stretching from the early 4th century down to the Hellenistic period.[4]

Contents

1 Summary and structure 2 Historical background 3 Themes 4 Textual history 5 Composition

5.1 Ezra– Nehemiah
Nehemiah
and Chronicles 5.2 Sources 5.3 Composition history

6 Questions

6.1 Chronological order of Ezra
Ezra
and Nehemiah 6.2 Expulsion of the Gentiles in Ezra–Nehemiah 6.3 Sheshbazzar
Sheshbazzar
and Zerubbabel 6.4 The "law-book of Moses" read by Ezra

7 See also 8 References 9 External links

Summary and structure[edit]

A page from the Leningrad Codex
Leningrad Codex
with the text of Ezra
Ezra
10:24–Nehemiah 1:9a. The break between the books is designated by a single blank line.[5]

Ezra– Nehemiah
Nehemiah
is made up of three stories: (1) the account of the initial return and rebuilding of the Temple ( Ezra
Ezra
1–6); (2) the story of Ezra's mission ( Ezra
Ezra
7–10 and Nehemiah
Nehemiah
8); (3) and the story of Nehemiah, interrupted by a collection of miscellaneous lists and part of the story of Ezra.[3]

Ezra
Ezra
1–6

God moves the heart of Cyrus to commission Sheshbazzar
Sheshbazzar
(other name is Zerubbabel) "the prince of Judah", to rebuild the Temple; 40,000 exiles return to Jerusalem led by Zerubbabel
Zerubbabel
and Joshua the high priest. There they overcome the opposition of their enemies to rebuild the altar and lay the foundations of the Temple. The Samaritans, who are their enemies, force work to be suspended, but in the reign of Darius the decree of Cyrus is rediscovered, the Temple is completed, and the people celebrate the feast of Passover.

Ezra
Ezra
7–10

God moves king Artaxerxes to commission Ezra
Ezra
the priest and scribe to return to Jerusalem and teach the laws of God to any who do not know them. Ezra
Ezra
leads a large body of exiles back to the holy city, where he discovers that Jewish men have been marrying non-Jewish women. He tears his garments in despair and confesses the sins of Israel before God, then braves the opposition of some of his own countrymen to purify the community by dissolving the sinful marriages.

Nehemiah
Nehemiah
1–6

Nehemiah, cup-bearer to king Artaxerxes, is informed that Jerusalem remains without walls. He prays to God, recalling the sins of Israel and God's promise of restoration in the land. Artaxerxes commissions him to return to Jerusalem as governor, where he defies the opposition of Judah's enemies on all sides — Samaritans, Ammonites, Arabs and Philistines — to rebuild the walls. He enforces the cancellation of debts among the Jews, and rules with justice and righteousness.

Nehemiah
Nehemiah
7–10

The list of those who returned with Zerubbabel
Zerubbabel
is discovered. Ezra reads the law of Moses to the people and the people celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days; on the eighth they assemble in sackcloth and penitence to recall the past sins which led to the destruction of Jerusalem and the enslavement of the Jews, and enter into a covenant to keep the law and separate themselves from all other peoples.

Nehemiah
Nehemiah
11–13

Nehemiah
Nehemiah
takes measures to repopulate the city and returns to Susa after 12 years in Jerusalem. After some time in Susa he returns, only to find that the people have broken the covenant. He enforces the covenant and prays to God for his favour. Historical background[edit] In the early 6th century Judah rebelled against Babylon and was destroyed (586 BC). The royal court and the priests, prophets and scribes were taken into captivity in Babylon. There the exiles blamed their fate on disobedience to God and looked forward to a future when a penitent and purified people would be allowed return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. (These ideas are expressed in the prophets Jeremiah (although he was not exiled to Babylon), Isaiah, and, especially, Ezekiel). The same period saw the rapid rise of Persia, previously an unimportant kingdom in present-day southern Iran, and in 539 BC Cyrus the Great, the Persian ruler, conquered Babylon.[6]

King of Persia[7] Events in the wider region[8] Correlation with Ezra–Nehemiah[9]

Cyrus (550–530) Fall of Babylon, 539 Edict of Cyrus: directive to the Jews to rebuild the Temple; first return of exiles to Jerusalem, 538; altar restored and foundations of Temple laid.

Cambyses
Cambyses
(530–522) Conquest of Egypt, 525 Work on the Temple halted due to the plots of the Samaritans.

Darius I
Darius I
(522–486) Secures the throne in 520/519 after fighting off various rivals Edict of Cyrus rediscovered: Temple rebuilt, sixth year of Darius (515). In the book of Daniel, Darius has the old title of Darius I (king of the Chaldeans = Babylonians), while Koresh has the new one of Xerxes (king of the Persians).[10]

Xerxes (486–465) Failed attempt to conquer Greece, beginning of struggle with Greeks for control of the eastern Mediterranean (Alternative) directive by Koresh to the Jews to rebuild the Temple; first return of exiles to Jerusalem, altar restored and foundations of Temple laid.

Artaxerxes I
Artaxerxes I
(465–424) Successful suppression of Greek-supported revolt in Egypt, 460–456; revolt of Megabyzus, governor of the territory which included Judah, 449 Most widely accepted period for arrival of Ezra
Ezra
in the "seventh year of Artaxerxes"; second return of the exiles to Jerusalem (458 if the king is Artaxerxes I, or 428 if the year is read as his thirty-seventh instead of his seventh). (Alternative) work on the Temple halted due to the plots of the Samaritans; mission of Nehemiah, 445–433.

Darius II
Darius II
(423–404)

(Alternative) edict to rebuild the Temple rediscovered: Temple rebuilt, sixth year of Darius.

Artaxerxes II
Artaxerxes II
(404–358) Egypt regains independence, 401 (Alternative) period for arrival of Ezra
Ezra
and second return of exiles to Jerusalem (398 if the king is Artaxerxes II)

Artaxerxes III
Artaxerxes III
(358–338) Egypt reconquered In his Historia Scholastica Petrus Comestor
Petrus Comestor
identified Artaxerxes III as king Ahasuerus
Ahasuerus
in the book of Esther (Esther 1:1/10:1-2).[11]

Darius III
Darius III
(336–330) Persia conquered by Alexander the Great

Themes[edit] The Mercer Bible Dictionary notes three notable theological themes in Ezra
Ezra
and Nehemiah: God's use of foreign rulers for Israel's sake; opposition to Israel from foreign neighbours; and the need to separate Israel from foreign neighbours to preserve the purity of the people of God.[12] In the last half of Nehemiah
Nehemiah
the emphasis shifts to the joint role of Ezra
Ezra
and Nehemiah
Nehemiah
in instructing the people in the Law and in the dedication of the wall, these two activities together forming the reconstitution of Jewish life in Jerusalem;[12] Dillard and Longman describe this as the moment when "the whole city becomes holy ground."[13] Another common theme of Ezra– Nehemiah
Nehemiah
is the concern for endogamy, or marriage within one's own group. Katherine Southwood emphasizes that Ezra
Ezra
and Nehemiah
Nehemiah
are similar in their views of intermarriage in that both Ezra
Ezra
and Nehemiah
Nehemiah
allude to the Deuteronomic text in their narratives, and believe intermarriage to be a type of transgression. There are other similar nuances that lead some scholars to believe that they are from a similar source. However, there are also differences in the two sources that should not be forgotten. Firstly, the intermarriage debate is between different classes of people, each of which is trying to reserve their sense of ethnicity. Ezra
Ezra
argues that marriage with non-exilic Jews is a transgression, and Nehemiah emphasizes that marriage to non-Jews is a sin. Even though this book says specific groups, the book of Ezra
Ezra
prohibits all exogamy. According to Christine Hayes, Ezra
Ezra
is concerned about the holy seed being profaned since he believes God has chosen his people as being holy. Since anyone that is not inside of the chosen group is considered not holy, it would be sinful to marry and reproduce with them, according to Ezra.[14] Interestingly, scholars also believe that there were further political reasons behind Nehemiah's protest against intermarriage, and Ezra
Ezra
had a variety of different reasons. In either case, these two viewpoints on intermarriage with exogamous groups have differences, but ultimately, each is trying to promote and protect the ethnicity of their own group.[15] Southwood goes on to discuss that both Ezra
Ezra
and Nehemiah
Nehemiah
display a "consciousness of ethnicity',[16] though Southwood focuses primarily on Nehemiah's case, and the importance of the relationship between ethnicity and language. In Nehemiah
Nehemiah
specifically, the women that the Jews have married are named specifically as from 'Ashod, Ammon, and Moab' (Neh. 13:23).[17] The concern is then expressed that the Ashodites were connected to Nehemiah's statement of outrage when he says that 'half of their children spoke the language of Ashod... and they were not able to speak the language of Judah' (Neh. 13:24).[17] There is some debate as to how different the language of Ashod was from the Hebrew. However, if the languages were similar, according to Southwood, the problem at stake would be the purity of the language. If this were an entirely different language altogether, the purity of the language would be concern, as well as the concern for the threat of the extinction of the Hebrew language. In either case, the religious and ethnic identity that is encapsuled with the Hebrew language was being put at stake. Southwood makes the point that Nehemiah's objection to intermarriage with foreign women, especially those aforementioned, relates to language being the symbol of ethnicity; therefore, it is not the language itself that is the problem, but rather the preservation of language is a "symptom of deeper concern about protecting ethnic identity."[18] Thus, Southwood holds that both Ezra
Ezra
and Nehemiah
Nehemiah
are concerned about the legitimacy of their groups in relation to the experience of the exile, though Nehemiah's concern specifically emphasizes language as a potential means by which ethnicity seemed to be defined. Katherine Southwood makes some huge points in her article in how the terms, race, ethnicity, and nationalism are used throughout the text of Ezra
Ezra
9–10. She points out that there are multiple problems not only inside the text but in work of the scholars as well. Although it is evident that the terms ethnicity and race have similarities one is just a secondary term of another. This however does not make the text easily translated and makes the expression of those terms as Southwood puts it not " appropriate" on any level. More of the issue lies with a bigger picture such as people from the land are not really different from those who have the "holy seed" since there are so many similarities that there seems to be a common attraction between the two. The argument there is that the writers of the text focus more on the difference between the "people of the land" and the "Holy seed" than explaining the physical difference such as skin color, hair color. In the text the term ethnicity may be the best to describe the people in general, but in terms of the intermarriage Southwood feels that nationalism and ethnicity both do justice. Using the term race she claims is not needed and is used in a negative manner.[19] Along with Southwood, Hayes also talks about the "holy seed." According to Hayes, Ezra
Ezra
and Nehemiah
Nehemiah
appear to promote the ban of intermarriage with all Gentiles. According to Hayes, Ezra
Ezra
is not a racial ideology that is concerned with purity of blood. The logic behind this ban is not the purity of blood, but the religious notion of Israel as a "holy seed". The holy status of the Israelite's is not racially based, but religiously based. With intermarriage the holy seed of Israel becomes mixed with the profane seed. In other words, intermarriage violates the holy seed of Abraham and Israel.[20] Textual history[edit] The Masoretic text
Masoretic text
of Ezra– Nehemiah
Nehemiah
is composed largely in Late Biblical Hebrew, with significant sections in "Official Aramaic language"; there are occasional reflections of Old Persian
Old Persian
vocabulary, but little significant influence from Greek.[21] The Hebrew Ezra– Nehemiah
Nehemiah
was translated into Greek by the mid-2nd century BC. The Greek and Roman rendering of Ezra's name is Esdras, and there are two versions of the Greek Ezra–Nehemiah, Esdras alpha (Ἔσδρας Αʹ) and Esdras beta (Ἔσδρας Βʹ).[21] Esdras beta, which is still used in churches of the Greek-speaking and other Orthodox Christian traditions, is close to the standard Hebrew version, but Esdras alpha (or 1 Esdras) is very different: it reproduces only the material that pertains to Ezra, and ignores Nehemiah; while including additional material in the form of the 'Tale of the Three Guardsmen' ( 1 Esdras
1 Esdras
3:4 to 4:4). When Early Christian authors cite the 'Book of Ezra" it is always ' Esdras alpha' to which they refer; ' Esdras beta' (Ezra-Nehemiah) was included in Christian bibles from the 4th century onwards, but appears rarely to have been read as scripture. The earliest Christian commentary on Ezra-Nehemiah is that of Bede
Bede
in the early 8th century.[22] The fact that Ezra– Nehemiah
Nehemiah
was translated into Greek by the mid-2nd century BC suggests that this was the time by which it had come to be regarded as scripture.[2] It was treated as a single book in the Hebrew, Greek and Old Latin manuscripts. Origen's proposal that it be separated into two books was rejected by Jerome
Jerome
in his Latin Vulgate translation, but later medieval manuscripts of the Vulgate, especially the Paris Bibles of the 13th century onwards, increasingly split them, so that the two-books tradition became fixed in the Western church. Jewish bibles continued to treat as a single work, with the title "Ezra," until the 15th century AD,[2] but modern Hebrew bibles still print the Masoretic notes at the end of Nehemiah
Nehemiah
listing the middle verse as Nehemiah
Nehemiah
3:32, indicating that a complete work of Ezra– Nehemiah
Nehemiah
is in view.[23] (To confuse the matter further there are several quite distinct works called Esdras, largely dealing with visions and prophecies.) Composition[edit] Ezra– Nehemiah
Nehemiah
and Chronicles[edit] The accepted view throughout the 19th century and for much of the 20th was that Chronicles and Ezra– Nehemiah
Nehemiah
made up a single "Chronicler's History" by an anonymous "Chronicler". This consensus was challenged in the late 1960s in an important article by Sara Japhet, and today three positions dominate discussion: first, an affirmation that a Chronicler's History existed and included all or part of Ezra–Nehemiah; second, a denial that Chronicles and Ezra–Nehemiah were ever combined; and third, the suggestion that the two were by the same author but written at different times and issued as separate works.[24] Of the three, it is generally accepted that Ezra–Nehemiah forms a unified work separate from Chronicles: the many scholars who agree on this include H. G. M. Williamson,[25] Sara Japhet, and Gary Knoppers[26] Sources[edit] Ezra
Ezra
1 (the decree of Cyrus) and Ezra
Ezra
2 (the list of returnees) are presented as Persian documents; Ezra
Ezra
3–6, which contains further supposed Persian documents mixed with third-person narrative, may be based on the prophetic works of Haggai
Haggai
and Zechariah, who were active at the time; Ezra
Ezra
7–10, partly in the first-person, is sometimes called the " Ezra
Ezra
Memoir", but has been so heavily edited that the source, if it exists, is very difficult to recover.[3] There is widespread agreement that a genuine memoir underlies Nehemiah, although it has clearly been edited.[27] It can be no earlier than about 400 BC, but is probably later, possibly even as late as 336–331 BC (the reign of Darius III, the last Persian king); it probably circulated as an independent document before being combined with Ezra.[27] There are seven Persian documents embedded in Ezra–Nehemiah, six in Ezra
Ezra
and one in Nehemiah.[28] All but one are in Aramaic language, the administrative language of the Persian empire. Many scholars accept these as genuine, but a study by Lester Grabbe indicates that while genuine Persian documents may underlie a number of them, they have been reworked to fit the purposes of later writers.[3] Composition history[edit] Hugh G. M. Williamson (1987) sees three basic stages to the composition of Ezra–Nehemiah: (1) composition of the various lists and Persian documents, which he accepts as authentic and therefore the earliest parts of the book; (2) composition of the " Ezra
Ezra
memoir" and " Nehemiah
Nehemiah
memoir", about 400 BC; and (3), composition of Ezra 1–6 (the story of Zerubabbel) as the final editor's introduction to the combined earlier texts, about 300 BC.[29] More recently Juha Pakkala (2004) has carried out an extensive analysis of the layers in Ezra. He sees the account of the rebuilding of the Temple ( Ezra
Ezra
5:1–6:15) and the core of the " Ezra
Ezra
memoir" ( Ezra
Ezra
7–10/ Nehemiah
Nehemiah
8) developing separately until they were combined by an editor who wished to show how Temple and Torah
Torah
were re-introduced into Judah after the exile. This editor also added Ezra 1–5. The combined text was then further developed by priestly circles who stressed Temple over Torah, transformed Ezra
Ezra
from scribe to priest, and stressed the primacy of the Babylonian returnees over those who had remained in the land, a distinction that had not appeared in the original Ezra
Ezra
material. Still later, Levitical editors combined Ezra
Ezra
and Nehemiah
Nehemiah
to produce the final form of the book, reintroducing interest in Torah
Torah
and stressing the primacy of the Levites.[30] Jacob Wright (2004) has carried out similar work on Nehemiah. According to his study the original " Nehemiah
Nehemiah
memoir" was an account of the rebuilding of the city walls. Successive layers were then added to this, turning the building report into an account of Judah's restoration and depicting Nehemiah
Nehemiah
as a Persian governor who reforms the community of Israel. Finally, after Ezra
Ezra
had come into existence through the combination of Ezra
Ezra
1–6 with Ezra
Ezra
7–10, the accounts of the repopulation and dedication of the city and the friction between Temple and torah were added to produce the final book of Nehemiah. Furthermore, Wright's article his main issue is of course the literature of the text. The argument comes when Nehemiah
Nehemiah
notices that the Judeans were marrying people outside of their lands (exogamy) whose children spoke the same language. Although this came during the 52 days of the construction of the wall, we are not sure how he noticed the issue. The non clarity in the text according to Wright is as if Ezra
Ezra
already outlawed Judean men not to marry any one outside of their land, then why is nehemiah noticing it thirteen years later. According to Wright the issue in Ezra
Ezra
9–10 is in the verse 24, where it says that half of the children spoke another language and did not know the language of judah. Even though the issue in the text says it is not worried about the survival of the Judean language Nehemiah cannot endorse the exogamous marriage. After punishing the men, that is when he makes them take the oath however Wright's argument is if Nehemiah
Nehemiah
actually composed that text, in which he did not know a passage in Deuteronomy, then why does he compose an oath that does not match the issue that was in the previous verse.[31] [32] Lester Grabbe (2003), based on various factors including the type of Aramaic used in the youngest sections and the ignorance of Ezra– Nehemiah
Nehemiah
as a single book displayed by other Hellenistic Jewish writers, suggests that the two texts were combined, with some final editing, in the Ptolemaic period, c. 300 – c. 200 BC.[4] Questions[edit] Chronological order of Ezra
Ezra
and Nehemiah[edit] Koresh of Ezra
Ezra
1:1 is called "king of Persia", which title was introduced not by Cyrus the Great
Cyrus the Great
but by his grandson and probable namesake Xerxes (486–465 BC).[33] The order of the two figures, Ezra
Ezra
and Nehemiah, is perhaps the most debated issue regarding the book. Ezra
Ezra
7:8 says that Ezra
Ezra
arrived in Jerusalem in the seventh year of king Artaxerxes, while Nehemiah 2:1–9 has Nehemiah
Nehemiah
arriving in Artaxerxes' twentieth year. If this was Artaxerxes I
Artaxerxes I
(465–424 BC), then Ezra
Ezra
arrived in 458 and Nehemiah in 445 BC. Nehemiah
Nehemiah
8–9, in which the two (possibly by editorial error) appear together, supports this scenario.[34] It was proposed that Ezra's Artaxerxes was Artaxerxes II
Artaxerxes II
(404–359 BC), and that the sequence should be reversed, with Nehemiah
Nehemiah
arriving in 445 and Ezra
Ezra
in 398 BC. The argument has some persuasive evidence; for example:

The Elephantine papyri mention the high priest Johanan as a contemporary of Darius II
Darius II
(423–404 BC) at the 17th year of his reign (407 BC).[35][36] Furthermore in the book of Ezra, Artaxerxes follows king Darius ( Ezra
Ezra
6:1), while Johanan ( Ezra
Ezra
10:6) is mentioned as (grand)son ( Nehemiah
Nehemiah
12:22) of the high priest at the time of Nehemiah, Eliashib ( Nehemiah
Nehemiah
3:1).

Nehemiah's mission is to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, and Ezra
Ezra
9:9 notes that Ezra
Ezra
found the walls in place when he arrived, and while Nehemiah
Nehemiah
lists the returnees who came back with Zerubbabel
Zerubbabel
he seems to know nothing about the 5,000 or so who accompanied Ezra.

In Ezra
Ezra
4:8 the text changes from Hebrew to Aramaic, therefore the king's name in Ezra
Ezra
4:7, also used in the following letter, possibly is the Aramaic version of the king's name AhaSuerus mentioned in Ezra 4:6. The above suggests the following identifications:

Koresh in Ezra
Ezra
1:1 = Xerxes I
Xerxes I
((486)/5–465 BC) Artachsasta (Aramaic) in Nehemia 2:1 - 13:6 = Artaxerxes I
Artaxerxes I
(465–424 BC) Darius in Ezra
Ezra
4:24 = Darius II
Darius II
(423–404 BC) Ahasuerus
Ahasuerus
(Hebrew) in Ezra
Ezra
4:6 and Artachsasta in Ezra
Ezra
4:7 - 8.1 = Artaxerxes II
Artaxerxes II
(404–358 BC)

Expulsion of the Gentiles in Ezra–Nehemiah[edit] Hayes, in her article on impurity in Ancient Jewish society, states that it is commonly misconceived that the expulsion of the Gentile wives was a result of Judaean exceptionalism and nationalism. Hayes points out that the theory is not correct arguing that the root cause is largely a fundamental and core belief found within the religious laws of the Judaeans. Ezra, Hayes explains, imagined Israel as divinely ordained to remain pure and holy, set apart and without the influence of other nations in Canaan, just as the Priestly division were commanded, by God, to practice marriage exclusivity.[37] In reaction to contemporaries, such as Hayes and Klawans, who argue that Ezra–Nehemiah's purity ideology is a product of conservative "ritual" and "moral" purity, independently; Olyan claims that Ezra–Nehemiah's alien expulsion mandate was a result of a melding ideology taken from, the two seemingly independent ideas of, "moral" and "ritual" purity and remains exclusive to the particular narrative of Ezra–Nehemiah. Moral purity has familial implications, which the lack of may cause disruption in the cohesiveness of the family unit. Transgressing Israelite moral structure was feared to cause violations of the commandments, which ordained by God, must be adhered to maintain ethnical identity. The influence of gentile women and culture upon Israelite men and posterity, through the eyes of ancient Judaean Priests, could turn Yahweh worshippers towards foreign deities and hedonism. Ritual purity stresses the importance of keeping to sacred practices dictated by revered predecessors and the Holy Scriptures. Olyan believes that Ezra's expulsion of the gentiles could also be linked with the idea that outside lineage would initially pollute the priestly bloodline, acting as an apparatus to destroy "right" ritual practice.[38] Another scholar, Paul Heger, takes a different stance on the expulsion of the Gentiles in Ezra–Nehemiah. According to Heger, Ezra’s motive for expelling Gentile women and their offspring was because at the time leaders believed that the identity of the Israelites did not depend of the ethnicity of their mothers, but depended on the seed of their fathers. The motive behind prohibiting intermarriage with all Gentile women was due to the danger of assimilation resulting from the influence of social interaction with the surrounding nations. The expulsion of the foreign women and their offspring was directed in order to preserve the purity of the Israelite “holy seed”. Thus, Ezra
Ezra
did not introduce the idea of matrilineal identity.[39] Sheshbazzar
Sheshbazzar
and Zerubbabel[edit] Ezra
Ezra
begins with Cyrus entrusting the Temple vessels to Sheshbazzar, "prince of Judah"; this apparently important figure then disappears from the story almost entirely, and Zerubbabel
Zerubbabel
is abruptly introduced as the main figure. Both are called governors of Judah and are both credited with laying the foundation of the Temple. A number of explanations have been proposed, including: (1) the two are the same person; (2) Sheshbazzar
Sheshbazzar
was in fact Shenazzar, Zerubabbel's uncle (mentioned in Chronicles); (3) Sheshbazzar
Sheshbazzar
began the work and Zerubbabel
Zerubbabel
finished it.[40] The "law-book of Moses" read by Ezra[edit] See also: Law of Moses Ezra's mission according to Nehemiah
Nehemiah
8 was to apply "the law of Moses" in Jerusalem, which he does by reading a "book of the law of Moses" (a "scroll" in Hebrew) in a marathon public session: the question is, what was this law-book? Some scholars have suggested it was some form of Deuteronomy, since Ezra's laws are heavily skewed towards that book; others have proposed that it was the "Priestly Writing", which probably dates from the Persian period; a third suggestion, and most popular, is that it was a form of the Torah, as it was clearly associated with Moses and contained both Deuteronomistic and Priestly elements; and the fourth view is that Ezra's law-book is lost to us and cannot be recovered.[40] See also[edit]

Esdras, for a description of conflicting numbering schemes of books of Esdras 1 Esdras
1 Esdras
– the variant text of Chronicles–Ezra–Nehemiah

References[edit]

^ Bogaert, Pierre-Maurice (2000). "Les livres d' Esdras et leur numérotation dans l'histoire du canon de la Bible latin". Revue Benedictine. 110: 5–26.  ^ a b c M. Patrick Graham, The "Chronicler's History": Ezra-Nehemiah, 1–2 Chronicles in Graham, M.P, and McKenzie, Steven L., The Hebrew Bible today: an introduction to critical issues (Westminster John Knox Press, 1998), pp. 201–02 ^ a b c d Lester Grabbe, Ezra, in Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible (ed. James D. G. Dunn, John William Rogerson, Eerdmans, 2003), p. 313 ^ a b Lester Grabbe, Ezra, in Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible (ed. James D. G. Dunn, John William Rogerson, Eerdmans, 2003), pp. 313–14 ^ "Scholarly Site: Leningrad Codex: Biblical Text".  ^ Fensham, F. Charles, "The books of Ezra
Ezra
and Nehemiah" (Eerdmans, 1982), p. 10 ^ Coggins, R.J., "The books of Ezra
Ezra
and Nehemiah" (Cambridge University Press, 1976), p. xi ^ Fensham, F. Charles, "The books of Ezra
Ezra
and Nehemiah" (Eerdmans, 1982), pp. 10–16 ^ Min, Kyung-Jin, "The Levitical authorship of Ezra-Nehemiah" (T&T Clark, 2004), pp. 31–32 ^ Roman Ghirshman, Iran (1954), Penguin Books, p 191. ^ https://la.wikisource.org/wiki/Historia_Scholastica/Esther#De_Ocho_seu_Artaxerxe. ^ a b David A. Smith, Ezra, Book of, in Mills, Watson E., and Bullard, Roger Aubrey (eds) "Mercer Dictionary of the Bible" (Mercer University Press, 1990), p. 286 ^ Dillard, Raymond B.; Longman, Tremper (January 1994). "Ezra-Nemehiah". An Introduction to the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. p. 179. ISBN 978-0-310-43250-0. LCCN 2006005249. OCLC 31046001. Retrieved 2012-02-24.  ^ Hayes, Christine (January 16, 2012). "Intermarriage and Impurity in Ancient Jewish Sources". The Harvard Theological Review 92 (1999) 3–36 ^ Southwood, K. E. 2011. ‘“And They Could Not Understand Jewish Speech”: Language, Ethnicity, and Nehemiah’s Intermarriage Crisis’. The Journal of Theological Studies. doi:10.1093/jts/flr030. ^ Ibud. 19 ^ a b Ibud. 14 ^ Ibud. 17 ^ Southwood, Katherine (May, 2012) " Ethnicity and the mixed marriage crisis in Ezra
Ezra
9–10: An Anthropological Approach". Oxford Scholar Online. ^ Hayes, Christine (January 16, 2012). "Intermarriage and Impurity in Ancient Jewish Sources". The Harvard Theological Review. 92 (1): 3–36.  ^ a b Daniel L. Smith-Christopher, Ezra-Nehemiah, in The Oxford Bible Commentary (ed. John Barton, John Muddiman, Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 308 ^ Bogaert, Pierre-Maurice (2000). "Les livres d' Esdras et leur numérotation dans l'histoire du canon de la Bible latin". Revue Benedictine. 110: 5–26.  ^ Gregory Goswell, "What's in a Name? Book Titles in the Latter Prophets and Writings," Pacifica 21 (2008), p. 14 ^ M. Patrick Graham, The "Chronicler's History": Ezra-Nehemiah, 1–2 Chronicles in Graham, M.P, and McKenzie, Steven L., "The Hebrew Bible today: an introduction to critical issues" (Westminster John Knox Press, 1998), pp. 203–04 ^ Hugh G. M. Williamson, Ezra, Nehemiah, Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 16 (Dallas:Word, 1985), pp. xxi–lii. ^ Gary N. Knoppers, I Chronicles 1–9, Anchor Bible
Anchor Bible
Commentary Vol. 12 (New York:Doubleday, 2003), pp. 80–89. ^ a b Lester Grabbe, Ezra, in Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible (ed. James D. G. Dunn, John William Rogerson, Eerdmans, 2003), pp. 320–21 ^ "A History of the Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period (vol. 1)".  ^ Throntveit, Mark A., "Ezra-Nehemiah" (John Knox Press, 1992), pp. 9–10 ^ Juha Pakkala, Ezra
Ezra
the scribe: the development of Ezra
Ezra
7–10 and Nehemiah
Nehemiah
8 (Walter de Gryter, 2004), pp. 225–27 ^ Wright, Jacob L. (2005) Rebuilding Identity, The Nehemiah-Memoir and its Earliest Readers ^ Wright, Jacob, "Rebuilding identity: the Nehemiah-memoir and its earliest readers" (Walter de Gruyter, 2004), p. 340 ^ Roman Ghirshman, Iran (1954), Penguin Books, p 191. ^ M. Patrick Graham, The "Chronicler's History": Ezra-Nehemiah, 1–2 Chronicles in Graham, M.P, and McKenzie, Steven L., "The Hebrew Bible today: an introduction to critical issues" (Westminster John Knox Press, 1998), pp. 204–05 ^ Pritchard, James B. ed., Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, Princeton University Press, third edition with supplement 1969, p. 492 ^ Bezalel Porten (Author), J. J. Farber (Author), C. J. F. Martin (Author), G. Vittmann (Author), The Elephantine Papyri in English (Documenta Et Monumenta Orientis Antiqui, book 22), Koninklijke Brill NV, The Netherlands, 1996, p 125-153. ^ Hayes, Christine (1999). "Intermarriage and Impurity in Ancient Jewish Sources". Harvard Theological Review: 9.  ^ Olyan, Saul M. Purity Ideology in Ezra- Nehemiah
Nehemiah
As a Tool to Reconstruct the Community. Brown University.  ^ Heger, Paul (2012). "Patrilineal or Matrilineal Genealogy". Journal for the Study of Judaism. 43: 215–48. doi:10.1163/157006312x637865.  ^ a b M. Patrick Graham, The "Chronicler's History": Ezra–Nehemiah, 1–2 Chronicles in Graham, M.P, and McKenzie, Steven L., "The Hebrew Bible today: an introduction to critical issues" (Westminster John Knox Press, 1998), p. 206

External links[edit]

Commentaries on Ezra–Nehemiah

Blenkinsopp, Joseph, "Ezra-Nehemiah: A Commentary" (Eerdmans, 1988) Coggins, R.J., "The Books of Ezra
Ezra
and Nehemiah" (Cambridge University Press, 1976)  Cook, Stanley Arthur (1911). " Ezra
Ezra
and Nehemiah, Books of". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.).  Fensham, F. Charles, "The books of Ezra
Ezra
and Nehemiah" (Eerdmans, 1982) Grabbe, L.L., "Ezra-Nehemiah" (Routledge, 1998) Throntveit, Mark A., "Ezra-Nehemiah" (John Knox Press, 1992) Williamson, H.G.M, " Ezra
Ezra
and Nehemiah" (JSOT Press, 1987)

General bible commentaries

The Oxford Bible Commentary (ed. John Barton, John Muddiman, Oxford University Press, 2001) Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible (ed. James D. G. Dunn, John William Rogerson, Eerdmans, 2003)

Other

Clements, R.E. (ed), "The World of Ancient Israel" (Cambridge University Press, 1989) Blenkinsopp, Joseph, "Judaism, the first phase" (Eerdmans, 2009) Garbini, G., "Myth and history in the bible" (Sheffield Academic Press, 2003) Grabbe, L.L., "A history of the Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period, Volume 1" (T&T Clark, 2004) Graham, M.P, and McKenzie, Steven L., "The Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
today: an introduction to critical issues" (Westminster John Knox Press, 1998) Pakkala, Juha, " Ezra
Ezra
the scribe: the development of Ezra
Ezra
7–10 and Nehemiah
Nehemiah
8" (Walter de Gryter, 2004) Pleins, J. David, "The social visions of the Hebrew Bible: a theological introduction" (Westminster John Knox Press, 2001) Schulte, Lucas L. My Shepherd, though You Do not Know Me: The Persian Royal Propaganda Model in the Nehemiah
Nehemiah
Memoir (Peeters, 2016) Wright, Jacob, "Rebuilding identity: the Nehemiah-memoir and its earliest readers" (Walter de Gruyter, 2004)

Translations

Bible Gateway (ope

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