Session # 10.Encountering the Exile Covering the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther(& Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi )
1 2 3 Fall of Samaria & 1st Return from Assyrian captivity captivity: 538BC ISRAEL 722BCJonah? Amos Hosea Temple rebuilt Fall of Jerusalem & 516 BC Babylonian captivity 586BC Zechariah Malachi JUDAH HaggaiJoel? Isaiah Nahum Micah Zephaniah Ezra 458 BC Habakkuk Daniel Nehemiah 444 BC Obadiah Jeremiah Ezekiel Before the exile During exile After the exile
Nebuchadnezzar II comes to power (in Babylon) 605 – 562 BCE (43 years)1st deportation 605(Summer)Daniel (& other teenage Hebrew nobles) taken to Babylon.2nd deportation 59710,000 more captives taken (cf. 2 Kings 24:14-16)3rd deportation 586Jerusalem razed, remainder of people taken, (apart from the “poor of the land” cf. 2 Kings 25:11-12)Fall of Jerusalem July, 586(Three other successive Babylonian kings, 562-556)Nabonidus (Belshazzar, his son) 556 – 539
16th century depiction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (by Martin Heemskerck). The Tower of Babel is visible in the background.
Fall of Babylon (to Cyrus II, the Great) Oct., 539 BCECyrus II the Great, ruled 550–529 BCECambyses II, his son, ruled 530–522 (& Smerdis 522)Darius I the Great, son of Hystaspes, ruled 522–486Xerxes I, his son, ruled 486–465Artaxerxes I, his son, ruled 465–424Following these rulers the Persian Empire gradually lost it’s power and influence, until Darius III is eventually defeated by Alexander (the Great) in 331 BCE.
Decree of Cyrus the Great. (2 Chr. 36; Ezra 1 & 6)1st return 538 BCE (during 2nd year of Cyrus’ reign - led by Sheshbazzar, Zerubbabel & Joshua) Work on temple stops (for 17 years/till Darius’ reign) Messages of Haggai & Zechariah Story of Esther (during 3rd year of Xerxes’ reign)2nd return 458 BCE (during the 7th year of Artaxerxes’ reign - led by Ezra the priest & teacher, cf. Ez. 7:11)3rd return 445 BCE (during the 20th year of Artaxerxes’ reign - led by Nehemiah the governor)
Zerubbabel (grandson of Jehoiachin/ descendant of David – Matthew 1:12)Ezra (a priest, scribe & teacher/ descendant of Aaron the first high priest)Nehemiah (a politician, administrator & governor)Joshua/ Jeshua (a high priest)Esther (a Jewish orphan who marries Xerxes)Haggai, Zechariah & Malachi/ Hebrew prophetsCyrus, Darius, Xerxes, Artaxerxes/ Persian kings
Return & rebuilding of Ezra’s return & reforms of the Temple (Chaps. 1-6) the people(Chaps.7-10) Decree of Cyrus Letter of Artaxerxes List of returning exiles Ezra’s mission (458 BCE) Rebuilding of the altar …58 yrs after temple built Rebuilding of the temple List of leaders Opposition & delay Ezra’s prayer (holiness) Completion & dedication Confession of sins Celebration of Passover
Restore a place of sacrifice (to God) – 3:1-6Restore a place of worship (of God) – 3:7-13 Expect opposition! Listen to the voice of God (Haggai & Zechariah)Restore a place of service (for God) – 6:13-18Restore a place of relationship (with God) – 6:19-22
“This Ezra” Chs. 7-10 …devoted himself to study/ observance of Law …a teacher well-versed in Law of Moses …the hand of the LORD his God was upon himLetter of Artaxerxes (458 BCE) List of (1500) heads of families who returnedActual account of the return (Ch. 8)Ezra’s prayer of intercession (repentance)Corporate confession of sin by the people The confession The covenant ** God-ordained The commitment divorce **
Chapters 1-2:10 Nehemiah the cupbearerChapters 2:11-7:3 Nehemiah the builderChapters 7:4-13:31 Nehemiah the governor
Rebuilding of the wall Restoration of the Chs. 1-6 people Chs. 7-131. Preparation 1. Renewal of the covenant Reading of the law2. Reconstruction Confession of the people Pledges of the people Builders Opposition 2. Reformation of the people Problems Resettlement Completion Registration of priests Dedication of wall Further reforms
King of Persia (465-425 BCE) 3rd son of Xerxes 1 (husband to Esther) & Amestris Father murdered (465). He then has 2 brothers murdered. Major revolts: Egypt & Athenians (460) & Syria (448) Surnamed “longimanus” (right hand longer than left)Jewish letters: Request for him to order work on the city to cease – granted (Ezra 4:7ff.) - sometime between 465-458. Letter granting Ezra permission to return & offer worship to Yahweh (Ezra 7 – cf. v23) – 458. Permission granting Nehemiah to return & rebuild walls of Jerusalem (Neh. 2:1-9) – 445. Further permission for Nehemiah to return (13:6) 433.
Nehemiah had a clear understanding of the need was personally concerned with the need took the need to God (in prayer) was available to help meet the needPRAYER (“For some days I mourned, fasted & prayed”) …makes me wait …stills my heart …clears my vision …activates my faith
Preparation for building Inspection of the city (at night) investigation Exhorted the people (“come”) motivation Recognized the opposition determination Organized the workforce cooperation
Criticism: Ridicule (v.1-2) Sarcasm (v. 3) Frustrate (v.7-9) Discouragement (v.10-12)How to deal with it! Turn to God in prayer Keep your hand to the task Stay united & focused Take care of your workers & celebrate successes
Reading the law of GodHaving a broken heartReflection on the goodness of GodRecognition of our inherent sinfulnessRenewal of our obedience (covenant) in our relationships/ at home in our workplace in our place of worship
And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests. Nehemiah 2:8I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me. They replied, "Let us start rebuilding." So they began this good work.. Nehemiah 2:18
Ezra came up from Babylon. He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the LORD, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him. Ezra 7:6He had begun his journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, for the gracious hand of his God was on him. Ezra 7:9Because the hand of the LORD my God was on me, I took courage and gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me. Ezra 7:28Because the gracious hand of our God was on us, they brought us Sherebiah, a capable man… Ezra 8:18We had told the king, "The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” Ezra 8:22
God always initiates prayer (through word & deed)We approach God in humility (& worship)We acknowledge our sins & the sins of our forbears (to remove the obstacles)We appeal to the grace & mercy of GodWe are specific in our requestsWe commit to faith, trust & obedience …& at times we just keep “shooting arrows”
1. Rebuild my house “At this time…I am with you” (1:13)2. Messiah will come to my house “In this place…I will grant peace to you” (2:9)3. Reform your hearts “From this day on…I will bless you” (2:19)4. Messiah will be king “On that day…I have chosen you” (2:23)
Visions 520 BCE1. Man on a red horse (1:7-17)2. Four craftsmen/ four horns (1:18-21)3. Man with measuring line (2:1-13)4. Joshua/ “the branch” (clean garments) 3:1-105. Gold lampstand/ two olive trees (4:1-14)6. Flying scroll (5:1-4)7. Woman in a basket (5:5-11)8. Four chariots (6:1-8)9. Joshua/ “the branch” (crown) 6:9-15
Words 518 BCEWhy you went into exile (chs. 7-8) Exile will soon be over! (cf. Ezra 6:13-18)The LORD has spoken (chs. 9-10) The LORD is coming The LORD will appear The LORD will saveThe Shepherd-King (chs. 11-13) He will come He will judge He will die (to save) He will reign
The key characters: Xerxes I (Ahasuerus) the king Vashti the queen Mordecai the good guy Haman the bad guy Esther the heroine & God? ** The only book in Hebrew scriptures not found in the Dead Sea Scrolls!
4:12 When Esthers words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: "Do not think that because you are in the kings house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your fathers family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" 15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish."
The person of God covenant salvation-historyThe people of God faith obedience courageThe experience of God through worship (Temple) through prayer (Wall) through scripture (Law)
“God’s unchanging love”The significance of the bookThe setting for the bookThe style of the book
“Descendants of Jacob, I am the LORD, the all-powerful one, and I never change.Thats why you havent been wiped out,even though you have ignored anddisobeyed my laws ever since the time ofyour ancestors.But if you return to me, I will return to you.” Repent & return
To look back & remember(God’s promise of what he has done)To look forward & prepare(God’s promise of what he will do)
The Messenger (cf. Matt. 3):"See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty.But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiners fire or a launderers soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years."So I will come near to you for judgment.“ (3:1-5)
The Messiah"Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire," says the LORD Almighty. "Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of right-eousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things," says the LORD Almighty. (4:1-3)The Messenger"See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse." (4:5-6)