Ezra/Nehemiah Political Intrigue

The book of Ezra concerns the return to Jerusalem for the people of Israel from their exile in Babylon. The Persian king has released the Israelites from captivity and demanded the recreation of the temple. After much delay, the temple is finally completed under the Persian kings, Artaxerxes and Darius. Ezra, a scribe or expert of the law, rededicates the temple and demands adherence to the laws, for when the people of Israel disobey the laws of God, God metes out punishment on the people. One aspect of the law Ezra enforces is the abolishment of marriage to foreign wives.

"In Ezra 1 Cyrus commands the Jews to return to their land and resume temple worship; in accord with that, Ezra 1-6 narrates the return and the rebuilding of the temple. In Ezra 7 Artaxerxes commands obedience to the law of Moses on the part of all the Jews. . . In accord with these initiatives, Ezra 7 through Neh 13 narrates the imposition of the Mosaic law and its effects; Ezra insists on obedience to the law's demands for separation from non-Jews." (Harper Collins Study Bible, 646)

The book of Nehemiah concerns the restoration of the wall surrounding Jerusalem. Nehemiah, a servant to the king of Persia, becomes the governor of the province around Jerusalem and oversees the reconstruction of the wall surrounding the city. Once the wall is complete, Nehemiah demand adherence to the laws of God by the people of Israel, for when the people of Israel disobey God's laws, God punishes the Israelites. The last verses of the book explain that Nehemiah sees himself as someone that did good and not only rebuilt Jerusalem and its wall but, also, helped reform the religious beliefs of the Israelites.

"In Neh 2 he (Artaxerxes) authorizes the reestablishment of Jerusalem, which will be the focus of national identity. In accord with these initiatives, Ezra 7 through Neh 13 narrates the imposition of the Mosaic law and its effects. . .Nehemiah likewise creates a distinctive Jewish identity when he encloses Jerusalem with a wall and purges the community of all things foreign." (Harper Collins Study Bible, 647


Created with images by Robert_C - "alphabet bible book" • zeevveez - "Sodom's Ten Commandments" • Darelle - "arch door wall"

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