1 Esdras A different PERSPECTIVE from Ezra

Esdras is the Greek form of the Hebrew personal name Ezra. 1 Esdras as the name of the book derives from the Greek Bible (the Septuagint), where is called Esdras a. Most scholars would assign the date to the book of 1 Esdras to the 2nd Century BCE.

The destruction of the Temple.

Chapter 1:

King Josiah did what was upright to the Lord in his eighteen years of his reign. His predecessors, Jeconiah, Jehoiakin, Jeoiachin, and Zedekiah however did what was evil to the sight of the Lord (1 Esdras 1:47). Eventually all the evilness led to the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem. "Even the leaders of the people of the and lawlessness beyond all the unclean deeds of all the nations, and polluted the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem-the temple that God had made holy" (1 Esdras 1:49). All these thing led to the exile of the elite to Babylon under king Nebuchadnezzar.

chapter 2:

King Cyrus permits the exiles to return. He made proclamation throughout his kingdom and also put in writing that allowed the exiles to return to their home land. King Cyrus makes it clear that the main reason the Jews are returning to Judah is to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. He acknowledges that he has received his kingdom from God and he must assist on building the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, he does by letting the Jews return to Judah. He not only allowed the Jews to return but also returned all the holy vessels that the Babylonians took from Jerusalem.

When the temple reconstruction started the Jews encountered opposition from the people that lived in Samaria and others throughout the land. The opposition wrote a letter to King Artaxerxes or Persia stating that the exiles are rebuilding a rebellious and wicked city. Further more that if the exiles finish the rebuilding they will not only refuse to pay tribute but resits the king. With this information king Artaxerxes stopped the rebuilding of the temple.

Chapter: 3 and 4

After king Darius gave a great banquet to all the people that were under him the three of his bodyguards said to each other. "Let each of us state what one thing is strongest; and to the one whose statement seems wisest, King Darius will give rich gifts and great honors of victory" (Esdras 3:5)

1st Bodyguard states that wine is the strongest because it doesn't matter who drinks it, poor, rich, slave or king. The effect is the same and it makes people do things that nothing else can. It has the power to make people do things without them even being aware of. Wine is so strong that its effects can be felt regardless of social life or position.

2nd Bodyguard states that the king is the strongest because he rules over the land and all what is in it. No one can resist the king. If the king orders something it happens, nobody can disobey his orders. Weather it may be going to war, kill or pay tribute, all comes to the king without any questions. No one can oppose the king and all obey his commands therefore the king is the strongest. Nothing is stronger than a king.

3rd Bodyguard states that women and truth are the strongest. Women gave birth to the kings and to the people that plant the vineyards that produced wine. Men can only exist because of women. "A man leaves his own father who brought him up, and his own country, and clings to his wife. With his wife he ends his days, with no thought of his father o his mother or his country. Therefore you must realize that women rule over you". (1 Esdras 4:20-22) At the end of the day all men accomplishments and earnings, are brought home to a woman. Many men have lost their minds because of women, and have become slave because of them. Many have stumbled or sinned because of women. Zerubbabel goes on to state that even though women are the strongest Truth is even stronger. The whole earth calls upon the truth. "wine is unrighteous, kings are unrighteous, women are unrighteous. All human beings are unrighteous, all their works are unrighteous and all such things. There is no truth in them and their unrighteousness they will perish. But truth endures and is strong for ever, and lives and prevails for ever and ever". (1 Esdras 4:37-38) Zerubbabel wins the statement contest and the king grants whatever he desires. Zerubbabel asked the king to allow the exiles to return to their home land. The king grants the request.

Chapter: 5

King Darius allows the exiles to return home. The exiles that returned home are as follow:

  • 42,360 Jews twelve and older
  • 7,337 male and female servants
  • 245 musicians and singers
  • 435 camels
  • 7,035 horses
  • 245 mules
  • 5,525 donkeys
Rebuilding of the temple is suspended

Two years after the arrival in Jerusalem the Jews laid foundation of the temple of God. "Zerubbabel and Jeshua appointed the Levites who were twenty five or more years of age to have charge of the work of the Lord". (1 Esdras 5:58) The rebuilding of the temple was stopped for two years until the reign of Darius because Zerubbabel and Jesgua did not allow the opposition to help them.

Chapter: 6

Sisinnes the governor of Syria and Phoenicia, and Sathrabuzanes, and their associates of the local rules wrote to king Darius to try to stop the work of the temple. They were stating that the Jews did not have permission from the king to rebuild the temple. In reply king Darius commanded Sisinnes the governor of Syria and Phoenicia, and Sathrabuzanes, and their associates of the local rules to keep away from the place and to allow Zerubabbel, the servant of the Lord and governor of Judea, and the elders of the Jews to build this house of the Lord on its site. (1 Esdras 6:27-28)

Chapter: 7

With the consent of King Cyrus, Darius and Ataxerxes the temple was complete in the sixth year of king Darius. Haggai and Zechariah also supported the rebuilding of the temple and prophesied. The temple is dedicated and the Passover is kept on the fourteenth day of the first month. (1 Esdras 7:10) All the exiles that separated themselves from the people of the lamp ate the Passover with the priest and Levites.

Chapter: 8

King Artaxerxes commissions Ezra to return to Jerusalem and taught the laws of God to any who do not know them. Ezra denounces of mixed marriages. The Jews agreed that they have sinned but there was still hope for Israel and agreed to put away all their foreign wives, with their children. (1 Esdras 8:93)

Chapter: 9

Mix marriages and separation foreign wives and children.

Separation of foreign wives and children

Summary:

The book of 1 Esdras is very similar to the book of Ezra in recounting the events that took place with the exile of the Jews. King Cyrus allows them to return home to rebuild the temple of God, but the returning exiles faced opposition and delayed the rebuilding of the temple. One very different account from the book of Ezra is the bodyguard event that takes place in the book of 1 Esdras. Zerubbabel is portrayed in 1 Esdras as playing a huge role in helping the Jews return from exile. King Darius grants a wish to Zerubbabel after winning the wisest contest. Zerubbabel reminds king Darius of the promised that he made when he became king. That he would rebuild Jerusalem and return all the holy vessels that the Babylonians took from the temple. The account on the book of 1 Esdras is of the three bodyguards which debated which is the strongest, WINE, KING or WOMEN and TRUTH. Women are portray very strong in the book of 1 Esdras even stronger then wine and kings but not as strong as TRUTH.

David Vargas,

Credits:

Created with images by pixel2013 - "sunset sun evening sky" • taubinphoto - "Destruction" • pthread1981 - "Destruction" • pthread1981 - "Destruction" • antmoose - "forum: temple of saturn" • Karim D. Ghantous - "IMG_5786" • peregrine blue - "To Love and to Cherish MIXED MEDIA COLLAGE ATC ACEO Available" • Ed Bierman - "Lament of Saint Peter (1630) Claude Vignon"

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