Part 1 out of 7
The Historical Bible
THE MAKERS AND TEACHERS OF JUDAISM
FROM THE FALL OF JERUSALEM TO THE DEATH OF HEROD THE GREAT
CHARLES FOSTER KENT, PH.D.
WOOLSEY PROFESSOR OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE IN YALE UNIVERSITY
WITH MAPS AND CHARTS
The period represented by this volume is in many ways the most complex and
confusing in Israel's history. The record is not that of the life of a
nation but of the scattered remnants of a race. It was inevitable that
under the influence of their varied environment, the survivors of the
Jewish race should develop very different beliefs and characteristics.
The result is that many different currents of thought and shades of belief
are reflected in the literature of this period; some of it is dross, but
much of it is purest gold. While the period following the destruction of
Jerusalem was a reflective and a retrospective age in which the teaching
of the earlier priests and prophets gained wide acceptance, it was also a
creative era. Fully half of the literature of the Old Testament and all of
the important writings of the Apocrypha come from these tragic five
centuries. Although the historical records are by no means complete, the
great crises in Israel's life are illuminated by such remarkable
historical writings as the memoirs of Nehemiah, the first book of
Maccabees, and the detailed histories of Josephus.
The majority of the writings, however, reveal above all the soul of the
race. Out of its anguish and suffering came the immortal poems found in
Isaiah 40-66, the book of Job, and the Psalter. Instead of the distinctly
nationalistic point of view, which characterizes practically all of the
writings of the pre-exilic period, the interest becomes individual and the
outlook universal. During these centuries Israel's prophets, priests,
and sages became not merely teachers of the nation but of humanity.
Conspicuous among the great teachers of his day stands the noble sage,
Jesus the son of Sirach, who gleaned out and presented in effective form
that which was most vital in the earlier teaching of his race. In his
broad, simple faith in God and man, in his emphasis on deeds and
character, as well as ceremonial, and in his practical philosophy of life
he was a worthy forerunner of the Great Teacher whose name he bore.
This period represents the culmination and fruition of the divine
Influences at work in Israel's early history. It was during this period
that Judaism was born and attained its full development, Israel accepted
the absolute rule of the written law, and the scribes succeeded the earlier
prophets and sages. Out of the heat and conflict of the Maccabean
struggle the parties of the Pharisees and Sadducees sprang into existence
and won their commanding place in the life of Judaism. Hence this period
is the natural historical introduction to the study of the birth and early
development of Christianity. It is also the link that binds the revelation
found in the Old Testament to that of the New.
The volume of literature coming from this period is so vast that it has
been necessary to abridge it at many points in order to utilize that which
is most valuable. This has been done by leaving out those passages which
are of secondary origin or value, and by preserving at the same time the
language and logical thought of the original writers. In the verbose and
voluminous writings of Josephus the resulting text is in most cases far
clearer and more useful; for the repetitious clauses found in the original
often obscure the real thought of the writer. No apology or explanation is
required for the use of such apocryphal writings as I Maccabees, Ben Sira,
the Wisdom of Solomon, or Josephus's histories, for these are required to
bridge the two centuries which intervene between the latest writings of
the Old Testament and the earliest writings of the New. They make it
possible to study biblical history as an unbroken unit from the days of
Moses to the close of the first Christian century, and thus concretely to
emphasize the significant but often the forgotten fact that God was
revealing himself unceasingly through the life of his people, and that the
Bible which records that revelation consists not of two disconnected parts
but is one book.
To two of my former students, the Reverend Harold B. Hunting and Ralph H.
Pierce, I am under obligation for valuable aid and suggestions in
preparing this volume for press.
THE EXILE AND REVIVAL OF THE JUDEAN COMMUNITY
Section XCI. THE JEWS IN PALESTINE AND EGYPT
Lam. 2:1-10, 5:1-18, Jer. 43:3-12, 44:1-14, 28.
I. The Significance of the Destruction of the Hebrew State.--II. The Book
of Lamentations.--III. Authorship and Date of the Book.--IV. Its Real
Character.--Numbers and Fortunes of the Jews Who Remained in Palestine.--
VI. Fortunes of the Jews in Egypt.--VII. The Jewish Colony at Elephantine.
--VIII. The Temple of Jahu at Elephantine.
Section XCII. EZEKIEL'S MESSAGE TO HIS SCATTERED COUNTRYMEN.
Ezek. 37, 40:1, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 21b, 44-47, 41:1-8a, 43:1-9, 44:9-16,
23, 24, 45:1-8.
I. The Home of the Exiles in Babylon.--II. Their New Conditions and
Occupations.--III. Their Religious Life. IV. The Prophecies of Ezekiel.--
V. The Resurrection of the Dead Nation.--VI. The Divine Shepherd.--
VII. Ezekiel's Plan of the Restored Temple.
Section XCIII. THE CLOSING YEARS OF THE BABYLONIAN RULE
II Kings 25:27-30, Isa. 9:1-7, 11:1-10, 13:2-4, 11, 17, 18b, 19-22, Ezra
6:3-5, 5:14, 15, 1:5-6, I Esdr. 5:4-6, Ezra 3:2-4, 6b.
I. The Transformation of the Jews into a Literary People.--II. The
Literary Activity of the Babylonian Period.--III. The Holiness Code.--
IV. The Liberation of Jehoiachin and the Hopes of the Jews.--V. The Rule
of Nabonidus.--VII. Rise and Conquests of Cyrus.--VII. His Capture of
Babylon.--VIII. His Treatment of Conquered Peoples.
Section XCIV. THE REBUILDING OF THE TEMPLE
Hag. 1, 2, Ezra 5:3-6:14.
I. The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah.--II. The Chronicler's Conception of the
Restoration.--III. Convulsions in the Persian Empire.--IV. Haggai's
Effective Addresses.--V. The Attempt to Stop the Rebuilding of the
Temple.--VI. The Significance of the Restoration of the Temple.
Section XCV. ZECHARIAH'S VISIONS AND ENCOURAGING ADDRESSES
Zech. 1:7-4:6a, 11-14, 8b-10, 6:9-15, 7, 8:1-8.
I. Zechariah's Ancestry and Point of View.--II. The Book of Zechariah.
--III. Problems and Hopes of the Judean Community.--IV. Zechariah's
Assurances of Jehovah's Care.--V. Preparations for the Crowning of
Zerubbabel.--VI. Disappointment of these Patriotic Hopes.--VII.
Zechariah's Later Exhortations and Predictions.
Section XCVI. ISRAEL'S TRAINING AND DESTINY
Isa. 40:1-4, 6, 31, 41:1-4, 8-10, 42:1-7, 10-15, 22-28, 44:1-5.
I. The Seventy Years Following the Rebuilding of the Temple.--
II. Spiritual Forces in Judaism.--III. Evidences that Isaiah 40-66 Were
Written in Palestine.--IV. Their Probable Date.--V. Their Literary
Characteristics.--VI. Their Theme and Purpose.--VII. Reasons Why Jehovah
Will Restore His People.
Section XCVII. CONDITIONS AND PROBLEMS WITHIN THE JUDEAN COMMUNITY
Mal. 1:6-14, 2, 3, 4:1-3, Ps. 22:1-18.
I. Date of the Book of Malachi.--II. Neglect of the Temple Service.--
III. The Need of a Great Moral Awakening.--IV. The Lot of the Faithful.--
V. The Problem of Suffering in the Literature of the Period.
Section XCVIII. THE PROBLEM AND TEACHINGS OF THE BOOK OF JOB
Job 1, 2 3:2, 11, 13-15, 17, 19, 20-22, 25, 26, 4:1-7, 17-19, 5:17-22, 26,
27, 6:1-4b, 14, 15, 20-30, 7:1-6, 9-18, 20, 21, 8:1-6, 9:1-7, 16-20, 24,
31-35, 10:9-15, 20-22, 11:1, 7-9, 13-15, 12:1-3, 13:7-18, 21-25, 14:7-10,
13-15, 18, 19, 15:4-6, 16:1-4, 11-13a, 18-21, 18:1, 5-7, 19:1, 13-15,
23-27, 20:1-5, 21:1, 7-9, 22:1-5, 23, 27, 28, 23:1-6, 25:1-4, 26:1, 27:2,
4, 5, 7-9, 29:1-5, 30:15-21, 31:5-8, 35-37, 40:2, 8, 9, 38:2-7, 8-11,
39-41, 42:2, 3, 5, 8.
I. The Structure of the Book of Job.--II. Dates of the Different Parts.--
III. The Prose Story.--IV. The Poem of Job.--V. Progress in Job's
Thought.--VI. Significance of the Speeches of Job.
Section XCIX. THE TRAINING AND MISSION OF THE TRUE SERVANT OF JEHOVAH
Isa. 49:1-15, 50:4-10, 52:13-15, 53.
I. The Different Portraits of Jehovah's Servant.--II. The Prophet's
Purpose.--III. The Character and Condition of Those to Whom the Prophet
Appealed.--IV. The Task and Training of Jehovah's Servant.--V. Methods of
Jehovah's Servant.--VI. Realization of the Ideal of Service.
Section C. NEHEMIAH'S WORK IN REBUILDING THE WALLS OF JERUSALEM
Neh. 1-4, 6, 7:1-5a, 12:31, 32, 37-40.
I. Nehemiah's Memoirs.--II. Nehemiah's Response to the Call to Service.--
III. Obstacles that Confronted Him.--IV. His Plan of Work.--V. The
Restored Walls.--VI. Completion and Dedication of the Walls.
Section CI. NEHEMIAH'S SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS REFORMS
Isa. 56, 58:2-12, Neh. 5, 13:4-31.
I. Cruelty and Hypocrisy of the Jewish Leaders.--II. Nehemiah's Method of
Correcting the Social Evils in the Community.--III. The Historical Value
of Nehemiah 13.--IV. Regulations Regarding the Temple Service.--
V. Provisions Regarding Sabbath Observance and Foreign Marriages.--
VI. Significance of Nehemiah's Work.
Section CII. TRADITIONAL ACCOUNT OF THE ADOPTION OF THE PRIESTLY LAW
Ezra 7:1, 6-10, Neh. 7:73b-8:4a, 5, 6, 9-18, 9:1-3, 6-8. 32-38, 10:28-39b
I. The Ezra Tradition.--II. The Historical Value of the Ezra Tradition.--
III. The Facts Underlying It.--IV. Origin and Aims of the Priestly
Laws.--V. Their Important Regulations.--VI. Their Practical Effects.
Section CIII. THE JEWISH STATE DURING THE LAST CENTURY OF PERSIAN RULE
Ps. 36:5-10, Joel 2:1-29, Jos. Ant. XI, 7-8:2.
I. Prosperity of the Judean Community.--II. The Growth of the Psalter.--
III. The Prophecy of Joel.--IV. Hopes of the Jews.--V. Rule of the High
Priests.--VI. The Date of the Samaritan Schism.--VII. Its Nature and
THE GREEK AND MACCABEAN AGE
Section CIV. THE JEWS UNDER THEIR GREEK RULERS
I Mac. 1:1-4, Jos. Ant. XI, 8:7a, e, XII, 1:1b-d, g-j, 2:1a, 5d, e,
4:1d-f, 2a-f, 3b, 4a-c, 5a-c. e, 6a, 3:3a, b, c-e.
I. Josephus's Histories.--II. Alexander's Conquests.--III. The Jews in
Egypt and Alexandria.--IV. The Rule of the Ptolemies.--V. Fortunes of the
Jews of Palestine.--VI. Conquest of Palestine by the Seleucids In 311 B.C.
Section CV. THE WISE AND THEIR TEACHINGS
Prov. 1:2-6, 8:1-6, 13-27, 29-35, 13:14,20, 24:5, 12:10, 20:13, 23:16,
29-35, 29:20, 15:23, 19:11, 16:32, 23:36-28, 4:25-27, 14:15, 26:12, 27:2,
4:23, 11:6, 21:3, 15:1, 3:27, 14:21, 19:17, 25:21,22, 3:11,12, 1:5,6.
I. Structure and Authorship of the Book of Proverbs.--II. Date of the
Different Collections.--III. The Wise in Israel's Early History.--
IV. Their Prominence in the Greek Period.--V. Their Aims.--VI. Their
Methods.--VII. Their Important Teachings.
Section CVI. THE DIFFERENT CURRENTS OF THOUGHT IN JUDAISM DURING THE
Ps. 19:7-14, 46, 22:27-30, Jonah 1, 2:1,10, 3, 4, Eccles. 1:12-18, 2:1-17,
I. The Ritualists.--II. The Legalists.--III. The Disciples of the
Prophets.--IV. The Date and Character of the Book of Jonah.--V. Its
Teachings.--VI. The Book of Ecclesiastes.--VII. Koheleth's Philosophy of
Section CVII. THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS THE SON OF SIRACH
B. Sir. 1:1-10, 2:1-9, 3:17-30, 4:2, 9, 10, 20-25, 28-31, 5:1-2,
6:2, 4-8, 14-16, 7:12, 13, 20-22, 28-30.
I. Date and Character of Jesus the Son of Sirach.--II. His Writings.--
III. The History of the Book.--IV. Its Picture of Jewish Life.--V. Rise of
the Scribes.--VI. The Teachings of Ben Sira.
Section CVIII. THE CAUSES OF THE MACCABEAN STRUGGLE
I Mac. 1:10-22,24-63.
I. The Character and Contents of I Maccabees.--II. Character and Contents
of II Maccabees.--III. Aggressive Character of Hellenic Culture.--
IV. Contrast between Hellenism and Judaism.--V. Apostasy of the Jews and
Perfidy of the High Priests.--VI. Character of Antiochus Epiphanes.--
VII. His Policy toward the Jews.
Section CIX. THE EFFECT OF PERSECUTION UPON THE JEWS
I Mac. 2, Dan. 7:1-27, 12:1-3.
I. The Uprising Led by Mattathias.--II. Party of the Hasideans or Pious.--
III. Date of the Visions in Daniel 7-12.--IV. Their Real Character and
Aim.--V. The Four Heathen Kingdoms and the Kingdom of God.
Section CX. THE VICTORIES THAT GAVE THE JEWS RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
I Mac. 3:1-43,46-60, 4.
I. The Character of Judas.--II. Obstacles against which Judas Contended.--
III. Defeat of Apollonius and Seron.--IV. The Battle of Emmaus.--V. The
Battle at Bethsura.--VI. Restoration of the Temple Service.--VII. The New
Spirit in Judaism.
Section CXI. THE LONG CONTEST FOR POLITICAL INDEPENDENCE
I Mac. 5:1-23, 45, 54, 65-68, 63, 6:18-63, 7, 9:1-31, 10:1-21, 67-71,
I. The Political Situation.--II. The Jewish Attitude toward the Heathen
Reflected in the Book of Esther.--III. Campaigns against the Neighboring
Peoples.--IV. The Battle of Beth-zacharias.--V. Victories Over Nicanor.--
VI. The Death of Judas.--VII. Dissensions in the Syrian Court.--
VIII. Concessions to Jonathan.
Section CXII. PEACE AND PROSPERITY UNDER SIMON
I Mac. 11:38-40, 54-56, 12:39-53, 13:1-11, 20-30, 33, 43-53, 14:16-18,
I. Capture and Death of Jonathan.--II. Character and Policy of Simon.--
III. His Conquests.--IV. His Authority.--V. Completion of the Psalter.--
VI. The Religious Life Reflected in the Later Psalms.
Section CXIII. THE RULE OF JOHN HYRCANUS AND ARISTOBULUS
I Mac. 16:11-22, Jos. Jew. War, I, 2:3c-4b, 4d, 5, 6, Jos. Ant. XIII,
9:1d, e, Jos. Jew. War, I, 2:7a, b, Jos. Ant. XIII, 10:5, 6a, c, 7,
11:1a-c, 3a, 3e.
I. Murder of Simon.--II. The Syrian Invasion.--III. John's Military Policy
and Conquests.--IV. The Break with the Pharisees.--V. The Reign of
Section CXIV THE PHARISEES, SADDUCEES, AND ESSENES
Jos. Ant. XVIII, 1:2, 3a-c, 3d, 4a, b, 5a, b, Jos. Jew. War, II, 8:2-8,
9a-c, 10b, c, 11b, 12.
I. Influences that Gave Rise to the Jewish Parties.--II. Character and
Beliefs of the Pharisees.--III. Of the Sadducees.--IV. Of the Essenes.
Section CXV. THE LIFE AND FAITH OF THE JEWS OF THE DISPERSION
Jos. Ant. XII, 3:1a, VII, 3:3a, b, 10:2d-3e, XIII, 10:4, Wisd. Of Sol.
6:12-16, 7:25-8:1, 7, 1:1-8, 12-15, 2:23-3:1, 5:15, 16, 11:24-12:2,
I. Conditions of the Jews in Antioch and Asia Minor.--II. In Egypt.--
III. The Jewish Temple at Leontopolis.--IV. Translation of the Hebrew
Scriptures into Greek.--V. Apologetic Jewish Writings.--VI. The Wisdom of
Solomon.--VII. Its Important Teachings.
Section CXVI. THE DECLINE OF THE MACCABEAN KINGDOM
Jos. Jew. War, I, 4:1-4c, 5c, 6a, c, 8c, d, 5:1-7:7.
I. The Character and Policy of Alexander Janneus.--II. The Effects of His
Rule.--III. Alexandra's Reign.--IV. Quarrels between Hyrcanus and
Aristobulus.--V. Rome's Intervention.--VI. Cause of the Fall of the Jewish
Kingdom.--VII. Political, Intellectual, and Religious Effects of the
THE RULE OF ROME
Section CXVII. THE RISE OF THE HERODIAN HOUSE
Jos. Jew. War, I, 8:2, 4a, 5-7, 9b, 9:1, 3a-6b, 10:1, 2a, 3a, 4, 5a, b,
11:1, 4, 6, 12:3-5, 13:1a, Jos. Ant. XIV, 13:1, Jos. Jew. War, I, 13:7,
8c, 14:1b, 2, 4, 15:3, 4, 16:1, 17:1, 8, 9a, 18:1, 2c, 4a.
I. The Fruitless Struggle against Rome.--II. Antipater's Policy.--
III. Herod's Early Record.--IV. The Parthian Conquest.--V. Herod Made King
of the Jews.
Section CXVIII. HEROD'S POLICY AND REIGN
Jos. Jew. War, I, 19:1, 2a, 20:1, 2, 3b-4a, 21:13, 1-4, 6a-8a, 9a-10a, 11,
22:1-4, 23:1a, d, 2a-c, d-3a, 24:1a, 27:1, 2a, 6b, 28:1a, 29:2c, 30:5a,
31:1a, 33:1, 7, 8a.
I. Herod's Character.--II. His Attitude toward Rome. III. His Building
Activity.--IV. His Attitude toward His Subjects.--V. The Tragedy of His
Domestic Life.--VI. Effects of His Reign.
Section CXIX. HEROD'S TEMPLE
Jos. Ant. XV, 11:1a, 2c, 3a-l, 4a, g, 5a-g, h-k, 6.
I. Herod's Motives.--II. Preparations for the Rebuilding of the Temple.--
III. The Approaches to the Temple.--IV. The Organization of the Temple.
Section CXX. THE MESSIANIC HOPES AND THE RELIGIOUS BELIEFS OF JUDAISM
Sibyl. Oracles, III, 7:67-84, 17:23-46, Enoch 46:1-3, 48:3-6, 49:27-29,
I. The Growth of Israel's Messianic Hopes.--II. The Kingly, Nationalistic
Type of Messianic Hope.--III. The Apocalyptic, Catastrophic Type.--IV. The
Ethical and Universalistic Type.--V. The Messianic Hopes of Judaism at the
Beginning of the Christian Era.
APPENDIX I. A PRACTICAL BIBLICAL REFERENCE LIBRARY
APPENDIX II. GENERAL QUESTIONS AND SUBJECTS FOR SPECIAL RESEARCH.
LIST OF MAPS AND CHARTS
JEWISH AND CONTEMPORARY CHRONOLOGY FROM 597 TO 165 B.C.
THE EMPIRES OF BABYLONIA, PERSIA, AND ALEXANDER
THE JEWISH COMMUNITY IN PALESTINE DURING THE PERSIAN AND GREEK
THE JERUSALEM OF NEHEMIAH
CHRONOLOGY OF THE MACCABEAN AND ROMAN PERIODS
PALESTINE DURING THE MACCABEAN PERIOD
* * * * *
THE EXILE AND THE REVIVAL OF THE JUDEAN COMMUNITY
Section XCI. THE JEWS IN PALESTINE AND EGYPT
[Sidenote: Lam. 2:1-5]
How the Lord hath beclouded in his anger the daughter of Zion!
He hath cast down from heaven to earth the beauty of Israel,
And he hath not kept in remembrance his footstool in the day of his anger.
The Lord hath swallowed up without mercy every habitation of Jacob,
He hath thrown down in his wrath the strongholds of the daughter of Judah,
He hath struck to the ground, he hath polluted her king and her princes.
He hath cut off in the fierceness of his anger all of Israel's strength,
He hath drawn back his right hand from before the enemy,
He hath burnt in Jacob like a flame, which devours on all sides.
He hath bent his bow as an enemy, he hath stood as an adversary,
He hath slain all the desirable men in the tent of Zion,
He hath poured out his fury as fire [on the daughter of Judah].
The Lord hath become like an enemy, he hath swallowed up Israel,
He hath swallowed up all of his palaces, he hath destroyed his fortresses,
And he hath multiplied in the daughter of Judah sighing and lamentation.
[Sidenote: Lam. 2:6,7]
He hath torn down as a vine his dwelling, he hath destroyed his assembling
He hath caused to be forgotten in Zion, fast day and sabbath,
And hath spurned in his indignant anger, king and priest.
The Lord hath rejected his altar, he hath abhorred his
He hath given up into the hands of the enemy the ark of the covenant,
They have made a din in Jehovah's house, as in the solemn feast day.
[Sidenote: Lam. 2:8-10]
Jehovah hath determined to destroy the wall of Zion,
He hath stretched out the line, he hath not held back his hand from
He hath made rampart and wall lament, they mourn together,
Her gates have sunk into the ground, he hath destroyed her defences,
Her king and her princes are among the heathen, there is no law.
Her prophets also receive from Jehovah no vision.
Silent, upon the earth sit the elders of Zion;
They cast dust upon their heads; they are girded with sackcloth;
With heads bowed to earth are the daughters of Jerusalem.
[Sidenote: Lam. 5:1-7]
Remember, O Jehovah, what has befallen us,
Look and see our disgrace.
Our inheritance is turned over to aliens,
Our homes belong to foreigners.
We are orphans and fatherless,
Our mothers are like widows.
We drink our water for money,
Our wood comes to us by purchase.
The yoke upon our necks harasses us,
We are weary, but find no rest.
We have given the hand to the Egyptians,
And to the Assyrians, that we might be sated with food.
Our fathers sinned and are no more,
While we bear their guilt.
[Sidenote: Lam. 5:8-13]
Slaves have dominion over us,
With none to deliver from their hand.
We get our bread at the peril of our lives,
Because of the sword of the wilderness.
Our skin becomes hot like an oven,
Because of the glowing heat of famine.
They ravish the women in Zion,
The virgins in the cities of Judah.
Princes are hanged up by the hand,
The person of the elders is not honored.
The young men bear up the mill,
And the children stumble under the wood.
[Sidenote: Lam. 5:14-18]
The elders have ceased from the gate,
The young men from their music.
The joy of our heart has ceased,
Our dance is turned into mourning.
The crown has fallen from our head;
Woe to us! for we have sinned.
For this reason our heart is faint,
For these causes our eyes are dim;
For the mountain of Zion is desolate;
The jackals walk over it.
[Sidenote: Jer. 43:8-12]
The word of Jehovah also came to Jeremiah in Tahpanhes, saying, Take great
stones in thy hand, and bury them in the loose foundation in the
brick-covered place before Pharaoh's palace door in Tahpanhes in the sight
of the men of Judah; and say to them, 'Thus saith, Jehovah hosts, the God
of Israel, "Behold, I will send and bring Nebuchadrezzar the king of
Babylon, my servant, and will set his throne upon these stones that you
have buried, and he shall spread his royal pavilion over them. And he
shall come and shall smite the land of Egypt; such as are for death shall
be given to death, and such as are for captivity shall be given to
captivity, and such as are for the sword shall be given to the sword. And
he will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt, and will burn
them and carry them away. And he shall wrap himself in the land of Egypt,
as a shepherd puts on his mantle, and shall go forth from there in peace.
He shall also break the obelisks of Heliopolis and the temples of the gods
of Egypt shall he burn with fire."'
[Sidenote: Jer. 44:1-10]
The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews who dwelt in the
land of Egypt, who dwelt at Migdol, Tahpanhes, Memphis, and in upper
Egypt, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel, 'Ye have
seen all the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem and upon all the
cities of Judah; and behold, they are this day a desolation, and no man
dwelleth in them, because of their wickedness which they have committed to
provoke me to anger in that they went to offer sacrifices to other gods,
that they knew not, neither they nor ye, nor your fathers. However, I
constantly sent to them all my servants the prophets, saying, "Oh, do not
this abominable thing that I hate." But they neither hearkened nor
inclined their ear to turn from their wickedness, to offer no sacrifice to
other gods. And so my wrath and mine anger was poured forth and was
kindled against the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem, and they
were wasted and desolate, as is now the case.' Therefore now thus saith
Jehovah, the God of hosts, the God of Israel, 'Why do you commit a great
Crime against yourselves to cut off from you man and woman, infant and
sucking child, out of the midst of Judah so that ye leave none remaining,
in that ye provoke me to anger with the work of your hands, offering
sacrifice to other gods in the land of Egypt, whither ye have gone to
sojourn, that ye may be cut off, and that ye may be an object of cursing
and a reproach among all the nations of the earth? Have ye forgotten the
crimes of your fathers, and the crimes of the kings of Judah, and the
crimes of their princes, which they committed in the land of Judah and in
the streets of Jerusalem? They are not humbled even to this day, neither
have they feared nor walked in my law nor in my statutes that I set before
you and before your fathers.'
[Sidenote: Jer. 44:11-13, 22]
'Therefore thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel: "Behold, I set
my face against you for evil to cut off the remnant of Judah in the land
of Egypt, and they shall fall by the sword and by famine; they shall
die, small and great, and they shall be an object of execration, of
astonishment, of cursing, and of reproach. For I will punish those who
dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, by the sword, by
famine, and by pestilence, so that none of the remnant of Judah, who have
gone into the land of Egypt to reside there, shall escape or be left to
return to the land of Judah, to which they have a desire to return; for
none shall return except as fugitives. And they who escape the sword shall
return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah, few in number; and all
the remnant of Judah, who have gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn
there shall know whose word shall be confirmed, mine or theirs."'
I. The Significance of the Destruction of the Hebrew State. The
destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. resulted in a mighty Transformation
of the life and thought of Israel. It marked the final Overthrow of the
old Hebrew kingdoms, and the gradual rise of that new and important factor
in human history known as Judaism. For over three centuries the Jews who
survived the great catastrophe were helpless under the rule of the great
world powers which in succession conquered southwestern Asia. For the
great majority of the Jewish race it represented the beginning of that
long exile which has continued until the present. Scattered from the
desert of Sahara to the distant land of China, and from the Black Sea to
the Indian Ocean, the different groups of exiles quickly began to adapt
themselves to their changed surroundings and to absorb the new knowledge
and the powerful influences which gradually transformed their beliefs and
ideals. While their vision was vastly broadened by this contact, the
danger and horror of being completely engulfed in the great heathen world
bound the faithful more closely together, and in time made Judaism
the solid, unbreakable rock that has withstood the assaults and the
disintegrating forces of the ages. At first the survivors of the great
catastrophe were stunned by the blow that had shattered their nation. They
lived only in their memories of the past and in their hopes for the
future. At last, in the long period of misery and enforced meditation,
they began not only to accept but also to apply the eternal principles
proclaimed by their earlier prophets. Thus amidst these entirely new
conditions they gained a broader and deeper faith and were still further
trained for the divine task of teaching mankind.
II. The Book of Lamentations. After describing the destruction of the
little kingdom established at Mizpah under Gedaliah, the Hebrew historical
records suddenly become silent. This silence is due to the fact that there
was little of external interest to record. The real history of this tragic
half-century is the record of the anguish and doubts and hopes in the
hearts of the scattered remnants of the race. The little book of
Lamentations expresses dramatically and pathetically the thoughts of the
people as they meditated upon the series of calamities which gathered
about the great catastrophe of 586 B.C. Like the ancient Torah, or five
books of the Law, it contains a quintet of poems. These are very similar
in theme and form to many of the psalms of the Psalter. In the first four
the characteristic five-beat measure, by which the deep emotions,
especially that of sorrow, were expressed, is consistently employed. Each
of these four is also an acrostic, that is, each succeeding line or group
of lines begins with a succeeding letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This
acrostic form was probably adopted in order to aid the memory, and
suggests that from the first these poems were written to be used in
public. Even so the Jews of Jerusalem to-day chant them on each of their
sabbaths beside the foundation walls of the great platform on which once
stood their ruined temple. Although the artificial character of these
poems tends to check the free expression of thought and feeling, it is
possible to trace in them a logical progress and to feel the influence of
the strong emotions that inspired them.
III. Authorship and Date of the Book. In theme and literary form these
poems are so strikingly similar to Jeremiah's later sermons that it was
almost inevitable that tradition should attribute them to the great
prophet of Judah's decline. This tradition, to which is due the position
of the book of Lamentations in the Greek and English Bibles, cannot be
traced earlier than the Greek period. The evidence within the poems
themselves strongly indicates that they were not written by Jeremiah. It
is almost inconceivable that he would subject his poetic genius to the
rigid limitations of the acrostic structure. Moreover, he would never have
spoken of the weak Zedekiah, whose vacillating policy he condemned, in the
terms of high esteem which appear in Lamentations 4:20. These poems also
reflect the popular interpretation of the great national calamity, rather
than Jeremiah's searching analysis of fundamental causes. A careful study
of Lamentations shows that chapters 2 and 4 were probably written by one
who was powerfully influenced by Ezekiel's thought. They both follow in
their acrostic structure an unusual order of the Hebrew alphabet,
differing in this respect from chapters 1 and 3. They have so many close
points of contact with each other that it is safe to say that they are
both from the same author. They reveal an intimate familiarity with events
immediately following the destruction of Jerusalem and were probably
written between 580 and 561 B.C., when Jehoiachin was liberated.
Chapters 1 and 3 follow the regular order of the Hebrew alphabet and
apparently represent the work of a later author or authors. Chapter 1 is
full of pathos and religious feeling and is closely parallel in thought
to such psalms as 42 and 137. Chapter 3 is a poetic monologue describing
the fate and voicing the contrition of the righteous within the Judean
community. Chapter 5, on the contrary, is in the three-beat measure and
lacks the acrostic structure of the preceding chapters. Its style and
point of view are so different from those of the preceding chapters that
it must be the work of another author, who probably lived in the Persian
IV. Its Real Character. The purpose of the book of Lamentations was
evidently, (1) to give appropriate expression to the feelings of the Jews
who survived the destruction of Jerusalem, 586 B.C.; (2) to drive home the
great lessons taught by their past history, and thus to arouse true
repentance; and (3) to kindle in turn hopes regarding their future.
Through them Jeremiah and Ezekiel live and speak again, but from the point
of view of the people. These tragic poems also throw contemporary light
upon the horrors of the final siege and capture of Jerusalem and upon the
fate of those who survived.
V. Numbers and Fortunes of the Jews Who Remained in Palestine. The Jews
actually carried into captivity constituted only a small part of the total
population of Judah (cf. Section XC:ii). The peasants and the inhabitants
of the towns outside Jerusalem remained undisturbed, except as some of
them were doubtless drafted into the army which under Zedekiah undertook
to defend Jerusalem against the Chaldeans. From the later record of
Nehemiah's work the names of many of these towns can be determined. In the
north were Jericho, Geba, Mizpah, Anathoth, and Kirjath-jearim; in the
centre, Netophah and Bethlehem; and in the south Tekoa, Keilah, and
Bethzur. The lot of these, who are later known as the people of the land,
was pitiable indeed. There are many references in Lamentations and Ezekiel
to the persecutions to which they were subjected by their malignant foes,
the Moabites and Ammonites on the east and the Philistines on the west.
Even more cruel and aggressive were the Edomites, who had suffered many
wrongs at the hands of the Hebrews. It was probably about this time that
this half-nomadic people began to be driven northward by the advance of
the Nabateans, an Arab people who came from the south. Dislodged from
their homes, the Edomites took advantage of the weakness of the Jews and
seized southern Judah, including the ancient capital Hebron. The doom
which Ezekiel pronounces upon the Edomites in 25 is because of the
revenge that they wreaked upon the Jews at this time. It is significant
that Ezekiel's sermons in the period immediately following the fall of
Jerusalem contain dire predictions of divine vengeance upon all these
foes. After the overthrow of Gedaliah's kingdom, the Jews who remained in
Palestine appear to have been left wholly without defences or defenders.
Ezekiel, in 33:23-29, speaks of those who inhabit the waste places in the
land of Israel, who live in the strongholds and the caves. Some of them
appear to have turned robbers. Foreign settlers came in from every side
and in time intermarried with the natives and led them into idolatry.
Ezekiel sternly condemns their immorality and apostasy.
From the references in Jeremiah 41:5 and Ezra 3:3 it is clear that even
during this reign of terror many of the people continued to offer
sacrifices to Jehovah at the great altar cut in native rock which stood
before the ruins of their temple in Jerusalem. Priests were also doubtless
found in the land to conduct these services. The ancient feasts, however,
with their joyous merrymaking and the resulting sense of divine favor,
were no longer observed. Instead, the people celebrated in sackcloth and
ashes the fasts commemorating the successive stages in the destruction of
their city (Zech. 7:3-7). While their lot was pitiable and their character
seemingly unpromising, these people of the land were important factors in
the re-establishment of the Judean community.
VI. Fortunes of the Jews in Egypt. The narrative in Jeremiah states
definitely that the large proportion of those who had rallied about
Gedaliah after his death found a temporary asylum on the eastern borders
of Egypt. Here they were beyond the reach of Chaldean armies and within
the territory of the one nation which offered a friendly asylum to the
Jewish refugees. Most of this later group of exiles settled at the towns
of Tahpanhes and Migdol. The latter means tower and is probably to be
identified with an eastern outpost, the chief station on the great highway
which ran along the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean directly to
Palestine and Syria.
The excavations of the Egypt Exploration Fund at Tahpanhes, which was the
Daphnae of Herodotus, has thrown much light upon the home of this Jewish
community. The town was situated in a sandy desert to the south of a
marshy lake. It lay midway between the cultivated delta on the west and
what is now the Suez Canal on the east. Past it ran the main highway to
Palestine. Its founder, Psamtik I, the great-grandfather of Hophra, had
built here a fort to guard the highway. Herodotus states that he also
stationed guards here, and that until late in the Persian period it was
defended by garrisons whose duty was to repel Asiatic invasions (II, 30).
Here the Ionian and Carian mercenaries, who were at this time the chief
defence of the Egyptian king, were given permanent homes. By virtue of its
mixed population and its geographical position, Tahpanhes was a great
meeting place of Eastern and Western civilization. Here native Egyptians,
Greek mercenaries, Phoenician and Babylonian traders, and Jewish refugees
met on common ground and lived side by side. It corresponded in these
respects to the modern Port Said.
Probably in remembrance of the Jewish colony that once lived here, the
ruins of the fort still bear an Arab name which means The Palace of the
Jew's Daughter. The term palace is not altogether inappropriate, for
apparently the fort was occasionally used as a royal residence. Many
wine-jars, bearing the seals of Psamtik, Hophra, and Amasis, have been
found in the ruins. In the northwestern part of these ruins has been
uncovered a great open-air platform of brickwork, referred to in Jeremiah
43:8-10. It was the place of common meeting found in connection with every
Egyptian palace or private home. When Amasis, in 564 B.C., came to the
throne of Egypt he withdrew the privileges granted by his predecessors to
foreigners. The Greek colonists were transferred to Naukratis, and
Tahpanhes lost most of its former glory. About this time, if not before,
the great majority of the Jewish refugees, who had settled in these
frontier towns, probably returned to Palestine to find homes in its
partially depopulated towns.
Ezekiel from distant Babylon appears to have regarded the Jews in Egypt
with considerable hope (Ezek. 29:21). But Jeremiah, who knew them better,
was keenly alive to their faults. In their despair and rage many of them
evidently rejected the teachings of the prophets and became devotees of
the Aramean goddess, the Queen of Heaven, mentioned in the recently
discovered Aramean inscription of Zakar, king of Hazrak (cf. Section
LXV:vii). Jeremiah's closing words to them, therefore, are denunciations
and predictions that they should suffer even in the land of Egypt, at
the hand of Nebuchadrezzar, the same fate that had overtaken their
fellow-countrymen at Jerusalem. Both Jeremiah and Ezekiel (Ezek. 30)
predicted that Nebuchadrezzar would invade and conquer Egypt. In 568 B.C.
his army actually did appear on the borders of Egypt; but how far he
succeeded in conquering the land is unknown. The complete conquest of
Egypt certainly did not come until the Persian period under the leadership
of the cruel Cambyses.
VII. The Jewish Colony at Elephantine. Jeremiah and Ezekiel also refer
to the Jewish colonists at Memphis and at Pathros, which is the biblical
designation of upper Egypt. Many of the colonists who had settled there
had doubtless fled before the conquests of Jerusalem. The presence of a
great number of Jews in Egypt at a later period indicates that even at
this early date more exiles were probably to be found in Egypt than in
Babylon. Recent discoveries on the island of Elephantine in the upper
Nile, opposite the modern Assuan, have thrown new light upon the life of
these Jewish colonists. These records consist (1) of a series of
beautifully preserved legal documents written in Aramaic on papyrus and
definitely dated between the years 471 and 411 B.C. They include contracts
between the Jews residing on the island of Elephantine regarding the
transfer of property and other legal transactions. They contain many
familiar Jewish names, such as Zadok, Isaiah, Hosea, Nathan, Ethan,
Zechariah, Shallum, Uriah, and Shemaiah. They indicate that by the earlier
part of the Persian period a large and wealthy colony of Jewish traders
and bankers was established on this island. They appear to have lived in a
community by themselves, but in the heart of the city, side by side with
Egyptians, Persians, Babylonians, Phoenicians, and Greeks, whose property
In some cases joined their own. The Jews had their own court which ranked
equally with the Persian and Egyptian law courts. Even native Egyptians,
who had cases against the Jews, appeared before it. The names of Arameans
and Arabs also appear in its lists of witnesses. From these contemporary
documents it is clear that the Jews of upper Egypt enjoyed great
privileges and entered freely into the life of the land. Ordinarily they
married members of their own race; but the marriage of a Jewess with a
foreigner is also reported. He appears, however, to have been a proselyte
to Judaism, Another Jewess married an Egyptian and took oath by the
Egyptian goddess Sati, suggesting that she had nominally at least adopted
the religion of her husband. One Hebrew also bears the suggestive name of
Hosea, the son of Petikhnum (an Egyptian name meaning _Gift of the god
VIII. The Temple of Yahu at Elephantine. These Aramaic legal documents
also contain many references to Yahu (the older form of Yahweh or
Jehovah), the god worshipped by the Jews, and to Yahu's temple situated on
King's Street, one of the main thoroughfares of the city. These references
have been signally confirmed by a most remarkable letter recently
discovered by the Germans at this site. It was written in November of the
year 408 B.C., by the members of the Jewish colony at Elephantine to
Bagohi (the Bagoas of Josephus), the Persian governor of Judah. It states,
among other things, that "Already in the days of the kings of Egypt our
fathers had built this temple in the fortress of Elephantine. And when
Cambyses (529-522 B.C.) entered Egypt he found this temple built, and,
though the temple of the gods of Egypt were all at that time overthrown,
no one injured anything in this temple." It further states that recently
(in the year 411 B.C.), in the absence of the Persian governor in Egypt,
the foreigners in Elephantine had stirred up a certain minor official to
instruct his son, who was commander of a neighboring fortress, to destroy
the Jewish temple.
The Aramaic letter was intended to be sent, together with rich gifts, to
influence the powerful Persian governor of Judah, Bagohi, to issue an
order permitting the Jews to rebuild their temple. From this letter we
learn that the temple of the God Yahu was built of hewn stone with pillars
of stone in front, probably similar to those in the Egyptian temples, and
had seven great gates built of hewn stone and provided with doors and
bronze hinges. Its roof was wholly of cedar wood, probably brought from
the distant Lebanon, and its walls appear to have been ceiled or adorned
with stucco, as were those of Solomon's temple. It was also equipped with
bowls of gold and silver and the other paraphernalia of sacrifice.
Here were regularly offered cereal-offerings, burnt-offerings, and
frankincense. The petitioners also promised that, if the Persian officials
would grant their request, "we will also offer cereal-offerings and
frankincense and burnt-offerings on the altar in your name, and we will
pray to God in your name, we and our wives and all the Jews who are here,
if you do thus until the temple is built. And you shall have a portion
before the God Yahu, the God of Heaven, from every one who offers to him
burnt-offerings and sacrifices."
Historical students have long been familiar with the fact that late in the
Greek period the Jews of Egypt built a temple to Jehovah at Leontopolis,
in the Delta (cf. Section CXV:iii); but these recent discoveries open
an entirely new chapter in Jewish history. They indicate that probably
within a generation after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple, in 586
B.C., the Jewish colonists in Egypt built for themselves far up the Nile,
and possibly at other points in this land of their exile, a temple or
temples to Jehovah; that they remained loyal to God and the institutions
of their race; and that in the midst of cosmopolitan Egypt they preserved
intact their racial unity. In the light of these discoveries it is also
clear that because of their character and numbers and nearness to
Palestine the Jews of Egypt, even at this early period, were a far more
important factor in the life and development of Judaism than they have
hitherto been considered. These discoveries also afford definite grounds
for the hope that from this unexpected quarter much more valuable material
will come to illumine this otherwise dark period of post-exilic Jewish
Section XCII. EZEKIEL'S MESSAGE TO HIS SCATTERED COUNTRYMEN
[Sidenote: Ezek. 37:1-6]
The hand of Jehovah was upon me, and he brought me by the spirit and set
me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. And he
caused me to pass by them round about; and, behold, there were very many
on the surface of the valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said to
me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord Jehovah, thou
knowest. Again he said to me, Prophesy over these bones, and say to them,
O ye dry bones, hear the word of Jehovah. 'Thus saith Jehovah to these
bones: "Behold I am about to put breath into you, that ye may live. And I
will put sinews on you, and will clothe you with flesh, and cover you with
skin, and put breath in you, that ye may live; and know that I am
[Sidenote: Ezek. 37:7-10]
So I prophesied as he commanded me: and as I prophesied, there was an
earthquake; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I beheld,
and, lo, there were sinews upon them, and flesh had clothed them, and skin
covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me,
Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus
saith Jehovah: "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these
slain, that they may live."' So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the
breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an
exceedingly great host.
[Sidenote: Ezek. 37:11-14]
Then he said to me, O man, these bones are the whole house of Israel;
behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are
completely ruined.' Therefore prophesy, and say to them, 'Thus saith
Jehovah: "Behold, I will open your graves, and raise you from your graves,
O my people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall
know that I am Jehovah, when I have opened your graves, and raised you
from your graves, O my people. And I will put my spirit in you, that ye
may live, and I will restore you to your own land: that ye may know that
I, Jehovah, have spoken it and performed it," is the oracle of Jehovah.'
[Sidenote: Ezek. 37:15-23]
This word also came to me from Jehovah: Do thou, O man, take a stick, and
write upon it, JUDAH AND THE ISRAELITES ASSOCIATED WITH HIM: then take
another stick, and write upon it, JOSEPH, AND ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL
ASSOCIATED WITH HIM. Then join them together, so that they may become one
stick in thy hand. And when the children of thy people shall say to thee,
'Wilt thou not show us what this means?' say to them, 'Thus saith Jehovah:
"Behold, I am about to take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of
Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel associated with him; and I will unite
them with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be
united in my hand."' And let the sticks on which thou writest be in thy
hand before their eyes. And say to them, 'Thus saith the Lord Jehovah:
"Behold, I am about to take the Israelites from among the nations, whither
they are gone, and gather them from all sides, and bring them into their
own land: and I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains
of Israel; and there shall be one king over them all; and they shall be no
longer two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any
longer; nor shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor
with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I
will save them from all their apostasies wherein they have sinned, and
will cleanse them; so shall they be my people, and I will be their God."'
[Sidenote: Ezek. 37:24-28]
'"And my servant David shall be king over them; and they all shall have one
shepherd: they shall also walk in mine ordinances, and observe my
statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given
to my servant Jacob, wherein their fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell
therein, they and their sons, forever. And David my servant shall be their
prince forever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it
shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will establish them, and
multiply them, and set my sanctuary in the midst of them forevermore. My
dwelling place also shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they
shall be my people. And the nations shall know that I am Jehovah who
sanctifieth Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them
[Sidenote: Ezek. 40:1-4]
In the twenty-fifth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year,
in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after the city was
taken, on that very day, the hand of Jehovah was laid upon me, and he
brought me in an inspired vision to the land of Israel, and set me down
upon a very high mountain, on which was a city-like building toward the
south. Thither he brought me, and there was a man whose appearance was
like the appearance of bronze, with a flaxen line and a measuring reed in
his hand; and he was standing in the gateway. And the man said to me, Son
of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and give heed to
all that I shall show thee; for, in order that thou shouldst be shown it
wert thou brought hither; declare all that thou seest to the house of
[Sidenote: Ezek. 40:5]
There was a wall encircling a temple, and in the man's hand a measuring
reed six cubits long, each cubit being equal to about twenty-one inches.
And he measured the thickness of the building one reed (about ten and
one-half feet); and the height one reed.
[Sidenote: Ezek. 40:6-12]
Then he came to the east gateway and went up its steps and measured the
threshold of the gate one reed wide. And each guard-room was one reed
long, and one reed broad; and between the guard-rooms were spaces of five
cubits; and the threshold of the gate at the vestibule of the gate on the
inner side was one reed. Then he measured the vestibule of the gate, eight
cubits, and its jambs, two cubits; and the vestibule of the gate was on
the inner side. And the guard-rooms of the east gate were three on each
side; and all three were of the same dimensions; and the posts were on
both sides. And he measured the breadth of the entrance to the gateway,
ten cubits; and the width of the gate, thirteen cubits; and there was a
sill one cubit wide, before the guard-rooms on each side; and the
guard-rooms, six cubits on both sides.
[Sidenote: Ezek. 40:13, 15]
And he measured the gate from the outer wall of the one guard-room to the
outer wall of the other, twenty-five cubits wide [about forty-four feet];
door opposite door. And from the front of the gateway at the entrance to
the front of the inner vestibule of the gate were fifty cubits.
[Sidenote: Ezek. 40:17, 19]
Then he brought me to the outer court, and there were chambers and a
pavement made round about the court; thirty chambers were upon the
pavement. And he measured its breadth from the front of the lower gate to
the front of the inner court without, one hundred cubits on the east and
on the north.
[Sidenote: Ezek. 40:20, 21b, 24b]
And the north gateway of the outer court, he measured its length and
breadth. And its measurements were the same as those of the east gateway.
The dimensions of the gateway on the south were also the same as the
[Sidenote: Ezek. 40:44-47]
He brought me outside the gate and into the inner court, and there were
two chambers on the inner court, one by the north gate, facing the south,
and the other by the south gate, facing the north. And he said to me, This
chamber which faces the south is for the priests who have charge of the
temple; and the chamber which faces the north is for the priests who have
charge of the altar; they are the sons of Zadok, those of the sons of Levi
who may be near to Jehovah to serve him. And he measured the court, a
hundred cubits wide, and a hundred cubits broad--a perfect square. The
altar was in front of the temple.
[Sidenote: Ezek. 41:1,2]
Then he brought me into the hall of the temple and measured the jambs, six
cubits on each side. And the breadth of the entrance was ten cubits; and
the sides of the entrance were five cubits on each side; and he measured
its length, forty cubits; and its width, twenty cubits.
[Sidenote: Ezek. 41:3, 4]
Then he went into the inner room and measured the jambs of its entrance,
two cubits; and the entrance, six cubits; and the side-walls of the
entrance, seven cubits on each side. And he measured its length, twenty
cubits, and its breadth, twenty cubits, before the hall of the temple.
And he said to me, This is the most holy place.
[Sidenote: Ezek. 41:5-8a]
Then he measured the thickness of the wall of the temple, six cubits; and
the width of the side-chambers, four cubits, round about the temple on
every side. And the side-chambers were in three stories, one above
another, and thirty in each story; and there were abatements all around
the walls of the temple that the side-chambers might be fastened to them
and not to the walls of the temple. And the side-chambers became wider as
they went up higher and higher, for the temple grew narrower higher up;
and there was an ascent from the lowest story to the highest through the
middle story. And I saw also that the temple had a raised platform round
[Sidenote: Ezek. 43:1-5]
Then he brought me to the east gate. And behold the glory of the God of
Israel came from the east; and his voice was like the sound of many
waters; and the earth shone with his glory. And the vision which I saw was
like that which I saw when he came to destroy the city; and the visions
were like that which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face.
Then the glory of Jehovah came into the temple through the east gate. And
the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold,
the glory of Jehovah filled the temple.
[Sidenote: Ezek. 43:6-9]
Then I heard One speaking to me from the temple, as he stood by me. And
he said to me, O man, this is the place of my throne, and the place for
the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the Israelites
forever. And the house of Israel, they and their kings, shall no more
defile my holy name with their idolatry and with the corpses of their
kings by placing their thresholds by my threshold, and their door-posts
by my door-post, with only a wall between me and them, thus defiling my
holy name by the abominations which they have committed; therefore I have
destroyed them in mine anger. Now let them put away their idolatry, and
the corpses of their kings far from me, that I may dwell in the midst of
[Sidenote: Cor. Ezek. 44:9-14]
Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah, 'No foreigner, consecrated neither
in heart nor flesh, of all the foreigners who are among the Israelites,
shall enter my sanctuary. But those Levites who went far from me, when
Israel went astray, who went astray from me after their idols, shall bear
their guilt. Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having oversight
at the gates of the temple, and ministering in the temple; they shall slay
the burnt-offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand
before them and minister to them. Since they were wont to minister to them
before their idols and were a stumbling block of iniquity to the house of
Israel; therefore I have taken a solemn oath against them,' is the oracle
of the Lord Jehovah, 'and they shall bear their guilt. And they shall not
approach me to act as priests to me, so as to come near any of my sacred
things, or to those which are most sacred; but they shall bear their shame
and the punishment for the abominations which they have committed; I will
make them responsible for the care of the temple, for all its service, and
for all that shall be done therein.
[Sidenote: Cor. Ezek. 44:15-16]
But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who took charge of my
sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from me, shall come near to me
to minister to me, and they shall stand before me to offer to me fat and
blood,' is the oracle of the Lord Jehovah. 'They shall enter my sanctuary,
and they shall approach near to my table to minister to me, and they shall
keep my charge.
[Sidenote: Cor. Ezek. 44:23-24]
And they shall teach my people the difference between the sacred and the
common, and instruct them how to discern between the clean and the
unclean. And in a controversy they shall act as judges, judging it
according to my ordinances. And they shall keep my laws and my statutes
in all my appointed feasts; and they shall maintain the sanctity of my
[Sidenote: Cor. Ezek. 45:2-5]
When ye allot the land as inheritance, ye shall offer as a special gift to
Jehovah, a sacred portion of the land, five thousand cubits long, and
twenty thousand cubits wide; it shall be sacred throughout its entire
extent. And out of this area shalt thou measure off a space twenty-five
thousand cubits long and ten thousand cubits wide, and on it shall the
most holy sanctuary stand. It is a holy portion of the land; it shall
belong to the priests who are the ministers in the sanctuary, who draw
near to minister to Jehovah; and it shall be a place for their houses, and
an open space for the sanctuary. Out of this a square of five hundred
cubits shall be for the sanctuary, with an open space fifty cubits wide
around it. And a space twenty-five thousand cubits long and ten thousand
wide shall belong to the Levites, the ministers of the temple; it shall be
their possession for cities in which to dwell.
[Sidenote: Cor. Ezek. 45:6-8]
And as the possession of the city, ye shall assign a space five thousand
cubits wide, and twenty-five thousand long, beside the sacred reservation;
it shall belong to the whole house of Israel. And the prince shall have
the space on both sides of the sacred reservation and the possession of
the city, on the west and on the east, and of the same length as one of
the portions of the tribes, from the west border to the east border of the
land. It shall be his possession in Israel; and the princes of Israel
shall no more oppress my people, but shall give the land to the house of
Israel according to their tribes.
I. The Home of the Exiles in Babylon. From the references in the
contemporary writers it is possible to gain a reasonably definite idea
regarding the environment of the Jewish exiles in Babylon. Ezekiel
describes the site as "a land of traffic, a city of merchants, a fruitful
soil, and beside many waters," where the colony like a willow was
transplanted [17:5]. The Kabaru Canal (the River Chebar of Ezekiel) ran
southeast from Babylon to Nippur through a rich alluvial plain,
intersected by numerous canals. Beside it lived a dense agricultural
population. On the tells or artificial mounds made by the ruins of earlier
Babylonian cities were built the peasant villages. Ezekiel speaks of
preaching to the Jewish colony of Tel-Abib (Storm-hill), and the lists
of those who later returned to Judah contain references to those who came
from Tel-Melah (Salt-hill) and Tel-Harsha (Forest-hill).
II. Their Condition and Occupations. It is probable that these mounds
were not far from each other and that the adjacent fields were cultivated
by the Jewish colonists. Thus they were enabled, under even more favorable
conditions than in Judah, to continue in their old occupations and to
build houses and rear families as Jeremiah had advised (Jer. 29; Section
LXXXVII:35). In Babylonia, as at Elephantine, so long as they paid the
imperial tax and refrained from open violence they were probably allowed
to rule themselves in accordance with their own laws. The elders of the
different families directed the affairs of the community and acted as
judges, except in the case of capital offences which were punished in the
name of Nebuchadrezzar (Jer. 29 22). Thus for a long time the exiles
constituted a little Judah within the heart of the Babylonian empire,
maintaining their racial integrity even more completely than the Jews
resident in Egypt.
Babylonia was the scene of an intense commercial activity. The
opportunities and allurements of the far-reaching traffic which passed
up and down the great rivers and across the neighboring deserts were
eventually too strong for the Jews to resist. Hence in Babylonia, as in
Egypt, they gradually abandoned their inherited agricultural habits and
were transformed into a nation of traders. In the recently discovered
records of the transactions of the famous Babylonian banking house which
flourished during the earlier part of the Persian period, under the
direction of succeeding generations of the Murashu family, are found many
familiar Jewish names. These indicate that within a century after the fall
of Jerusalem many sons of the exiles had already won a prominent place in
the commercial life of that great metropolis.
III. Their Religious Life. With this transformation in their occupation
came a great temptation to forget their race and to lose sight of its
ideals. The temptation was all the greater because their capital city and
temple were in ruins and the belief was widely held that Jehovah had
forsaken his land and people and retired to his "mount in the uttermost
parts of the north" (Isa. 14:13 Ezek. 1:4). Their actual experiences had
proved so fundamentally different from their hopes that there was
undoubtedly in the minds of many a dread doubt as to whether Jehovah was
able to fulfil his promises. False prophets were also present to mislead
the people (Jer. 39:21-23 Ezek. 13:1-7 14:8-10). There is also no
indication that the Jews of Babylon ever attempted to build a temple to
Jehovah in the land of their captivity. Hence there were no ancient
festivals and public and private sacrifices and impressive ceremonials to
kindle their religious feelings and to keep alive their national faith.
Instead, the imposing religion of the Babylonians, with its rich temples,
its many festivals, its prosperous and powerful priesthood, and its
elaborate ritual must have profoundly impressed them and led them to draw
unfavorable comparisons between it and the simple services of their
pre-exilic temple. Nevertheless, in spite of these temptations, there
were many who proved themselves loyal to Jehovah. Prayer and fasting and
sabbath observance took the place of sacrificial rites. A strong emphasis
is laid by Ezekiel on the sabbath. [Sidenote A: Ezekiel 20:12-31; Ezekiel
22:26; Ezekiel 23:38] From this time on it became one of the most
important and characteristic institutions of Judaism. Under the influence
of the new situation it lost much of its original, philanthropic, and
social character and became instead a ceremonial institution. In
faithfully observing it the exiles felt that even in captivity they were
paying homage to their divine King. The more it took the place of the
ancient feasts and sacrifices, the more they forgot that the sabbath was
God's gift to toiling man rather than man's gift to God. From the
Babylonian exile, also, probably dates that custom of assembling on the
sabbath to read the ancient scriptures which represents the genesis of
the later synagogue and its service.
IV. The Prophecies of Ezekiel. The priest-prophet Ezekiel was the
interpreter, pastor, and guide of the Babylonian exiles. He met their
problems and proposed the solutions which became the foundation principles
of later Judaism. His prophecies fall naturally into four distinct groups:
(1) Chapters 1 to 24, which recount his call and deal with the issues at
stake in the different Judean communities in the critical years between
the first and second captivities. They represent the prophet's work
between the years 592 and 586 B.C. (2) Chapters 25 to 32, include seven
oracles regarding Ammon, Moab, Edom, Philistia, Tyre, and Egypt, the
nations which had taken part in the destruction of Jerusalem or else, like
Egypt, had lured Judah to its ruin. The complete destruction of these foes
is predicted, and chapter 32 concludes with a weird picture of their fate,
condemned by Jehovah to dwell in Sheol, the abode of the shades.
(3) Chapters 33 to 39 contain messages of comfort and promise to Ezekiel's
fellow-exiles in Babylonia and in the distant lands of the dispersion.
They are dated between the years 586 and 570 B.C. (4) Chapters 40 to 48
present Ezekiel's plan for the restored temple and service and for the
redistribution of the territory of Canaan, and his belief that Judah's
fertility would be miraculously increased. This plan is definitely dated
in the year 572 B.C., two years before the prophet's death.
V. The Resurrection of the Dead Nation. Ezekiel dealt with the problems
of his fellow-exiles concretely and from a point of view which they could
readily understand. He fully realized that if the faith of the people was
to be saved in this crisis a definite hope, expressed in objective
imagery, must be set before them. With the same inspired insight that had
prompted Jeremiah to purchase his family estate in the hour of Jerusalem's
downfall, Ezekiel saw that Jehovah would yet restore his people, if they
would but respond to the demands of this crisis. His message was,
therefore, one of hope and promise. In the memorable chapter in which he
pictures a valley filled with dry bones, he aimed to inspire their faith
by declaring that Jehovah was not only able but would surely gather
together the dismembered parts of the nation and impart to it new life and
activity. The prophet was clearly speaking of national rather than of
individual resurrection. Like Jeremiah, he anticipated that the tribes of
the north and south would again be united, as in the days of David, and
that over them a scion of the Davidic house would rule as Jehovah's
representative. He also assured them that Jehovah would come again to
dwell in the midst of his purified and restored people.
VI. The Divine Shepherd. In the thirty-fourth chapter Ezekiel deals with
the same theme under a different figure. First he traces the cause of the
exile to the inefficiency and greed and oppression of the earlier
shepherds, the rulers like Jehoiakim, who had scattered rather than
gathered and led the people intrusted to them. Now Jehovah himself, the
great Shepherd of the People, will arise and gather his flock, and lead
them back to their home and give them a rich pasture. Over them he will
appoint a descendant of David, but this prince shall be shorn of his
ancient kingly power.
Ezekiel also presents in his characteristic, symbolic form the promise
that Jehovah will now fulfil the popular hopes and destroy the wicked foes
who have preyed upon his people, and thus vindicate his divine rulership
of the world. In one passage Judah's worst foes, the Edomites, represent
aggressive heathendom. Again, in a still more impressive picture,
suggested by an experience in his own childhood when the dread Scythians
swept down from the north, he portrays the advance of the mysterious foes
from the distant north under the leadership of Gog (38, 39). When they are
already in the land of Palestine, the prophet declares, Jehovah will
terrify them with an earthquake, so that in panic they shall slay each
other, as did the Midianites in the days of Gideon, until they shall all
fall victims of Jehovah's judgment. Ezekiel thus revived in the changed
conditions of the exile that popular conception of the day of Jehovah
which the earlier prophets had refused to countenance. It was the
prophet's graphic way of declaring that Jehovah would prepare the way for
the return of his people, if they would but respond when the opportune
moment should arrive. Later Judaism, however, and especially the
apocalyptic writers, interpreted literally and developed still further
this picture of Jehovah's great judgment day until it became a prominent
teaching of later Jewish and Christian thought.
Similarly Ezekiel declared that the barren lands of Judah would be
miraculously transformed and rendered capable of supporting the great
numbers of the exiles who should return. In this respect Ezekiel became
the father of the later priestly school to which belongs the author of the
book of Chronicles, in whose thought the events of Israel's history came
to pass, not through man's earnest effort and in accordance with
the established laws of the universe, but through special divine
interposition. It is difficult to determine whether Ezekiel himself was
simply endeavoring to state dramatically that Jehovah would fully
anticipate the needs of his people, or whether he did actually anticipate
a series of prodigious miracles.
VII. Ezekiel's Plan of the Restored Temple. Ezekiel, being a true
prophet, fully realized that the fundamental question regarding the future
of his race was not whether they would be restored to their home but
whether or not they would guard against the mistakes and sins of the past
and live in accord with Jehovah's just demands. The solution of this
question which he proposes reveals his priestly training. With infinite
pains and detail he develops the plan of a restored temple and ritual.
The details were doubtless in part suggested by his remembrance of the
temple at Jerusalem and in part taken from the great temples of Babylon.
By means of this elaborate picture he declared his firm conviction that
his race would surely be restored. His chief purpose, however, was to
impress upon the minds of his people the transcendent holiness of Jehovah
and the necessity that he be worshipped by a holy people. The entire plan
of the temple, of the ritual, and even of the allotment of the territory
of Canaan was intended to enforce this idea. His plan, if adopted, was
calculated to deliver the people from the temptations and mistakes of the
past. With this end in view Jehovah's sacred abode was guarded with
massive double walls and huge gateways. Only the priests were allowed to
enter the inner court, and a sharp distinction was made between the
priests who were the descendants of Zadok and the Levites whose fathers
had ministered at the many sanctuaries scattered throughout the land of
Israel. The territory immediately adjacent to the temple was assigned to
the priests and Levites, and its sanctity was further guarded on the east
and west by the domains of the prince. His chief function was, not to
rule, as had the selfish and inefficient tyrants who had preceded him, but
to provide the animals and the material requisite for the temple service.
The territory on the north and the south of the temple was assigned to the
different tribes of Israel.
No political or social problems clouded the prophet's vision. The entire
energies of priest, Levite, prince, and people were to be devoted to the
worship of the Holy One, whose restored and glorified sanctuary stood in
their midst. Thus it was that Ezekiel reversed the ideals of the
pre-exilic Hebrew state and presented that programme which with many
modifications was adopted in principle at least by the post-exilic Judean
community. In place of the monarchy appeared the hierarchy; instead of the
king the high priest became both the religious and the civil head of the
nation. Soon the Davidic royal line disappeared entirely, and the
interests of the people centred more and more about the temple and its
ritual. Although Ezekiel's vision was not and could not be fully realized,
except by a series of miracles, this devoted priest-prophet of the exile
was in a large sense the father of Judaism.
Section XCIII. THE CLOSING YEARS OF THE BABYLONIAN RULE
[Sidenote: II Kings 25:27-30]
Now it came to pass in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of
Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month,
Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the year in which he became king,
(561 B.C.) lifted up Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison to a position of
honor. And he spoke kindly to him and placed his seat above the seats of
the kings who were with him in Babylon, and changed his prison garments.
And Jehoiachin ate with him continually as long as he lived. And for his
support a continual allowance was given him by the king, each day a
portion, as long as he lived.
[Sidenote: Isa. 9:1-3]
The people who have been walking in darkness see a great light,
Those who dwell in the land of deepest gloom, upon them a light shines.
Thou multipliest the exultation, thou makest great the rejoicing,
They rejoice before thee as men rejoice at harvest time,
As men are wont to exult when they divide spoil.
[Sidenote: Isa. 9:4, 5]
For the burdensome yoke and the crossbar on his shoulder,
The rod of his taskmaster, thou breakest as in the day of Midian.
For every boot of the warrior with noisy tread,
And every war-cloak drenched in the blood of the slain
Will be completely burned up as fuel for the flame.
[Sidenote: Isa. 9:6, 7]
For a child is born, to us a son is given,
And dominion shall rest upon his shoulder;
And his name will be Wonderful Counsellor,
Godlike Hero, Ever-watchful Father, Prince of Peace.
To the increase of his dominion and to the peace there shall be no end,
On the throne of David and throughout his kingdom,
To establish and uphold it by justice and righteousness
Henceforth and forever. The jealousy of Jehovah will accomplish this.
[Sidenote: Isa. 11:1, 2]
A sprout shall spring from the stock of Jesse,
And a shoot from his roots shall bear fruit.
The spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon him.
A spirit of wisdom and insight,
A spirit of counsel and might,
A spirit of knowledge and the fear of Jehovah.
[Sidenote: Isa. 11:3-6]
He will not judge according to what his eyes see,
Nor decide according to what his ears hear;
But with righteousness will he judge the helpless,
And with equity will he decide for the needy in the land.
He will smite an oppressor with the rod of his mouth,
And with the breath of his lips will he slay the guilty.
Righteousness will be the girdle about his loins,
And faithfulness the band about his waist.
[Sidenote: Isa. 11:6-8]
Then the wolf will be the guest of the lamb,
And the leopard will lie down with the kid;
The calf and the young lion will graze together,
And a little child shall be their leader.
The cow and the bear shall become friends,
Their young ones shall lie down together,
And the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
The suckling will play about the hole of the asp,
And the weaned child will stretch out his hand toward the viper's nest.
[Sidenote: Isa. 11:9, 10]
Men shall not harm nor destroy
In all my holy mountain;
For the earth shall have been filled with knowledge of Jehovah
As the waters cover the sea.
And it shall come to pass in that day,
That the root of Jesse who is to stand as a signal to the peoples--
To him shall the nations resort,
And his resting-place shall be glorious.
[Sidenote: Isa. 13:2-4]
Upon a treeless mountain lift up a signal, raise a cry to them,
Wave the hand that they may enter the princely gates.
I myself have given command to my consecrated ones, to execute my wrath,
I have also summoned my heroes, my proudly exultant ones.
Hark, a tumult on the mountains, as of a mighty multitude!
Hark, an uproar of kingdoms, of gathered nations!
It is Jehovah of hosts mustering the martial hosts.
[Sidenote: Isa. 13:17-22]
I will punish the earth for its wickedness, and the wicked for their
I will still the arrogance of the proud, and lay low the presumption of
Behold, I stir up against them the Medes,
Who consider not silver, and take no pleasure in gold,
On children they will look with no pity, they have no compassion on the
fruit of the womb,
And Babylon, the most beautiful of kingdoms, the proud glory of the
Chaldeans, shall be,
As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
It shall be uninhabited forever, and tenantless age after age;
No nomad shall pitch there his tent, nor shepherds let their flocks lie
But wild cats shall lie there, and their houses shall be full of jackals;
Ostriches shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there,
Howling beasts shall cry to each other in its castles, and wolves in its
Its time is near at hand, its day shall not be extended.
[Sidenote: Ezra 6:3-5]
In the first year of Cyrus the king, Cyrus the king made a decree:
Concerning the house of God in Jerusalem--this house shall be rebuilt,
where they offer sacrifices and bring him offerings made by fire. Its
height shall be sixty cubits and its breadth sixty cubits, It shall be
constructed with three layers of huge stones and one layer of timber. And
let the expenses be paid out of the king's treasury. Also let the gold and
silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadrezzar took from the
temple at Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and brought again
to the temple which is at Jerusalem, each to its place, and you shall put
them in the house of God.
[Sidenote: Ezra 5:14, 15]
Now the gold and silver vessels of the house of God which Nebuchadrezzar
took from the temple at Jerusalem and brought to the temple in Babylon,
those Cyrus the king took out of the temple in Babylon, and they were
delivered to one by the name of Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor.
And he said to him, Take these vessels; go, put them in the temple at
Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt in its place.
[Sidenote: Ezra 1:5, 6; I Esdr. 5:1-6]
Then the heads of the fathers' houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the
priests and the Levites, even all whose spirit God had stirred to go up to
build the temple of Jehovah which is at Jerusalem, arose. And all those
who were about them supplied them with silver vessels, with gold, with
goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, besides all that was
These are the names or the men who went up, according to their tribes, by
their genealogy. Of the priests the sons of Phinehas, the son of Aaron:
Jeshua the son of Jozadak, the son of Seriah. And there rose up with him
Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel of the house of David, of the family of
Peres, of the tribe of Judah; in the second year of Cyrus king of Persia
in the first day of the month Nisan.
[Sidenote: Ezra 3:2-4, 6b]
Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his kinsmen the priests, and
Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his kinsmen arose and built the altar
of the God of Israel, to offer burnt-offerings on it, as prescribed in the
law of Moses the man of God. And they set up the altar in its place; for
fear, because of the peoples dwelling in the land, had come upon them,
but they plucked up courage and offered burnt-offerings to Jehovah, even
burnt-offerings morning and evening. And they kept the feast of booths as
it is prescribed, and offered the fixed number of daily burnt-offerings
according to the direction for each day; but the foundation of the temple
of Jehovah was not yet laid.
I. The Transformation of the Jews into a Literary People. The
destruction of Jerusalem transformed the Jewish peasants of Palestine into
a literary race. Before the final destruction of Jerusalem they had lived
together in a small territory where communication was easy and the need of
written records but slight. The exile separated friends and members of the
same families, and scattered them broadcast throughout the then known
world. The only means of communicating with each other in most cases was
by writing, and this necessity inevitably developed the literary art. The
exiles in Babylonia and Egypt were also in close contact with the two most
active literary peoples of the ancient world. In countries where almost
every public or private act was recorded in written form, and where the
literature of the past was carefully preserved and widely transcribed, it
was inevitable that the Jews should be powerfully influenced by these
examples. Furthermore, the teachers of the race, prophets and priests
alike, prevented by the destruction of the temple from employing their
former oral and symbolic methods of instruction, resorted, as did the
priest Ezekiel, to the pen. Thus the religious thought and devotion of the
race began to find expression in its literature.
The incentives to collect the earlier writings of the priests and prophets
were also exceedingly strong, for the experiences and institutions of
their past, together with their hopes for the future, were the two main
forces that now held together the Jewish race. Fortunately, the more
intelligent leaders realized, even before 586 B.C., that the final
catastrophe was practically certain, and therefore prepared for it in
advance. The decade between the first and second captivities also gave
them an opportunity to collect the more important writings of their
earlier prophetic and priestly teachers, while the Judean state was still
intact and while these earlier writings could be readily consulted.
II. The Literary Activity of the Babylonian Period. The literary work of
this period took three distinct forms: (1) The collection, compilation,
and editing of earlier historical writings. It was probably during this
period that the narratives of Judges, of Samuel, and Kings, which carried
the history down into the exile itself, received their final revision.
(2) Earlier writings were revised or supplemented so as to adapt them to
the new and different conditions. Thus the sermons of the pre-exilic
prophets, as for example those of Amos and Isaiah, were then revised and
supplemented at many points. These earlier prophets had predicted doom and
destruction for their nation; but now that their predictions had been
realized what was needed was a message of comfort and promise. The
fulfilment of their earlier predictions had established their authority in
the minds of the people. The purpose of the later editors was evidently
to put in the mouth of these earlier prophets what they probably would
have said had they been present to speak at the later day to their
discouraged and disconsolate countrymen. Studied in the light of these two
fundamentally different points of view, the glaring inconsistencies which
appear in the prophetic books are fully explained and the consistency of
the earlier prophets vindicated.
The third form of literary activity is represented by the writings of
Ezekiel. With the authority of a prophet, he dealt directly with the
problem of his day, and the greater part of his book consists of the
records of his prophetic addresses or of epistles which he sent to his
scattered fellow-countrymen, even as Jeremiah wrote from Judah a letter to
the distant exiles in Babylon. His new constitution for the restored
Jewish state was also based on earlier customs and laws, but was adapted
to the new needs of the changed situation. He was not the only one to
undertake this task. Other priests gathered earlier groups of oral laws
and put in written form the customs and traditions of the pre-exilic
temple. At the same time they modified these earlier customs so as to
correct the evils which past experience had revealed.
III. The Holiness Code. The chief product of the literary activity of
the earlier part of the exile is the collection of laws found in the
seventeenth to the twenty-sixth chapters of Leviticus. Because of its
strong emphasis on the holiness of Jehovah and on the necessity that he
be worshipped by a people both ceremonially and morally holy, it is now
commonly designated as the Holiness Code. In theme, in point of view, in
purpose, and in literary form it has many close points of contact with the
writings of Ezekiel. In its original unity it evidently came from the
period and circle of thought in which the great priest-prophet lived.
His sermons, however, suggest that he was acquainted with its main
teachings. In distinguishing sharply between the Jerusalem priests and the
ministering Levites, and in prohibiting the marriage of a priest with a
widow, Ezekiel shows that his work represented a slightly later stage in
the development of Israel's religious standards. The most probable date,
therefore, for the Holiness Code is the decade between the first and
second captivity (597-586 B.C.).
Like every ancient lawbook the Holiness Code contains many laws and
regulations which evidently come from a much earlier period in Israel's
history. Some of its enactments are very similar to those of the primitive
codes of Exodus 21-23. In spirit it is closely related to the book of
Deuteronomy. It also reproduces many of the laws found in this earlier
code. Both codes represent the fruitage of the teaching of the pre-exilic
prophets and priests. Each contains ceremonial, civil, and moral laws; but
the emphasis on the ritual is more pronounced in the Holiness Code. It
consists of ten or eleven distinct groups of laws. In Leviticus 18 and 19
are found certain short decalogues. They probably represent the united
efforts of the Judean prophets and priests during the Assyrian period to
inculcate the true principles of justice, service, and worship in the
minds of the people. Some of the laws in these earlier decalogues are the
noblest examples of Old Testament legislation:
DUTIES TO OTHERS
[Sidenote: Kindness to the needy]
I. Thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy fields.
II. Thou shalt not gather the gleanings of thy harvest.
III. Thou shalt not glean thy vineyard.
IV. Thou shalt not gather the fallen fruit of thy vineyard.
V. Thou shalt leave them for the poor and the resident alien.
[Sidenote: Honesty in business relations]
VI. Ye shall not steal.
VII. Ye shall do no injustice, in measures of length, weight or of
VIII. Ye shall not deal falsely with one another.
IX. Ye shall not lie to one another.
X. Ye shall not swear falsely by my name.
JUSTICE TO ALL MEN
[Sidenote: Toward dependents]
I. Thou shalt not oppress thy neighbor.
II. Thou shalt not rob thy neighbor.
III. The wages of a hired servant shall not remain with thee all night
until the morning.
IV. Thou shalt not curse the deaf.
V. Thou shalt not put a stumbling-block before the blind.
[Sidenote: Toward equals]
VI. Thou shalt not do injustice in rendering a judicial decision.
VII. Thou shalt not show partiality to the poor.
VIII. Thou shalt not have undue consideration for the powerful.
IX. Thou shalt not go about as a tale-bearer among thy people.
X. Thou shalt not seek the blood of thy neighbor [by bearing false
testimony in court].
ATTITUDE TOWARD OTHERS
[Sidenote: In the heart]
I. Thou shalt not hate thy fellow-countryman in thy heart.
II. Thou shalt warn thy neighbor and not incur sin on his account.
III. Thou shalt not take vengeance.
IV. Thou shalt not bear a grudge against the members of thy race.
V. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
IV. The Liberation of Jehoiachin and the Hopes of the Jews. The
liberation of Jehoiachin, the grandson of Josiah, from the Babylonian
prison where he had been confined since the first capture of Jerusalem was
the one event in the Babylonian period deemed worthy of record by the
biblical historians. The occasion was the accession of Nebuchadrezzar's
son Evil-merodach (Babylonian, Amil-Marduk). The act possessed little
political importance, for the Jews were helpless in the hands of their
Babylonian masters; but it evidently aroused the hopes of the exiles, and
especially that type of hope which centred in the house of David.
Ezekiel, in his ideal programme, assigned to the Davidic prince only minor
duties in connection with the temple, and transferred the chief authority
to the high priest and his attendants. But it is evident that Ezekiel did
not fully voice the hopes of the majority of the exiles. The late passage
in II Samuel 7:16, which contains the promise to David:
Thy house and kingdom shall always stand firm before me,
Thy throne shall be established forever,
expresses the prevailing belief in the days immediately preceding the
exile. The national hopes which looked to the descendants of the house of
David for fulfilment were inevitably modified, however, by the experiences
of the exile and strengthened by the liberation of Jehoiachin. The rule of
such kings as Manasseh and Jehoiakim had revealed the overwhelming evils
that unworthy rulers, even though of the house of David, could bring upon
their subjects. Josiah's reign, on the other hand, established new and
higher standards. The noble ethical and social ideals of Amos, Hosea, and
Isaiah had not wholly failed to awaken a response.
All of these varied influences are traceable in the two prophecies found
in Isaiah 9:1-7 and 11:1-10. Embodying as they do many of the social
principles for which Isaiah contended, it was natural that these anonymous
writings should afterward be attributed to that great statesman-prophet.
Jehovah, however, was the one supreme king whom Isaiah acknowledged; and
it was difficult to find in his strenuous life a logical or historical
setting for these kingly oracles. They also imply that the royal house of
Judah had been struck down, and that the new king is to rise out of a
background of gloom and is to inaugurate an entirely new era. The
character and rule of this king of popular hopes reflect many of the
traits of David and Josiah; but his aims and methods are in accord with
the moral and social standards of the great pre-exilic prophets. They
portray a temporal ruler; but the spirit which actuates him and the
principles which guide him are noble and unselfish. As subsequent history
clearly shows, the prophet or prophets who painted these portraits
apparently hoped that a son or grandson of Jehoiachin would realize them.
It is exceedingly probable in the light of the later predictions of Haggai
and Zechariah (Sections XCIV, XCV) that these prophecies were written not
long after the birth of Zerubbabel. The kingdom over which he was to rule
and to which he was to bring perfect justice and peace was the prophetic
counterpart of Ezekiel's priestly plan of the restored and redeemed
community. The ethical ideals thus concretely set forth were never fully
realized in Israel's troubled history; but they remain as valid and
commanding to-day as they were far back in the Babylonian period. The
abolition of all the insignia of war, the high sense of official
responsibility, the protection of the weak by the strong, and the reign of
perfect peace and harmony throughout all the earth are the goals for which
all earnest, consecrated souls in every age and race are striving. It is
natural and proper that the Christian Church should see in Jesus the
fullest and truest realization of these ancient kingly ideals.
V. The Rule of Nabonidus. The successors of Nebuchadrezzar proved weak
and inefficient. His dissolute son, Amil-Marduk, was soon murdered by his
brother-in-law Nergalsharuzur (Gk. Neriglissar). This ruler is probably
the Nergal-sharezer of Jeremiah 39:3 who directed the final capture and
destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. After reigning four years he died,
leaving the Babylonian empire to his young son, who soon fell a victim to
a conspiracy of his nobles. They placed on the throne a certain Nabuna'id,
who is known to the Greek historians as Nabonidus. He appeared to be more
interested in excavating ancient ruins and in rebuilding old temples than
in ruling his subjects. By his arbitrary religious policy and his neglect
of the popular gods of the Babylonians, he completely alienated the
loyalty of his people. During the latter part of his reign, which extended
from 555 to 538 B.C., he left the government largely in charge of his son
Belsharuzur, the Belshazzar of the story in Daniel.
VI. Rise and Conquests of Cyrus. While the Babylonian empire was sinking
into decay, the Median kingdom on the north and east experienced a
sweeping revolution. Its cause was the discontent of the older Median
population under the rule of the more barbarous Umman-Manda. These later
Scythian conquerors had, under their king Cyaxares, broken the power of
Assyria and fallen heir to its eastern territory. The older elements found
a leader in Cyrus, the king of Anshan, a little state among the mountains
of Elam, northeast of Babylonia. From contemporary inscriptions it appears
that the followers of Astyages, who succeeded Cyaxares to the Median
throne, rebelled against their king and delivered him over into the hands
of Cyrus. As soon as Cyrus became master of the Median Empire, he proved
an able commander, a skilful politician, and a wise statesman. Recognizing
that he could hold in control the diverse and turbulent elements in his
heterogeneous kingdom only as he kept them actively occupied, he at once
entered upon a series of campaigns which in the end left him undisputed
master of southwestern Asia. In 547 B.C., two years after he became king
of Media, he crossed the Tigris and conquered Mesopotamia, which had been
held for a time by the Babylonians, Apparently he did not assume the title
King of Persia until 546. Appreciating the great strength of Babylon, he
did not at first attempt its capture, but began at once by intrigue to
pave the way for its ultimate overthrow. In 545 he set out on a western
campaign against Croesus, the king of Lydia, the ancient rival of Media.
After a quick and energetic campaign, Sardis, the rich Lydian capital,
was captured, and Cyrus was free to advance against the opulent Greek
colonies that lay along the eastern shores of the Aegean. These in rapid
succession fell into his hands, so that by 538 B.C. he was in a position
to advance with a large victorious army against the mistress of the lower
VII. His Capture of Babylon. The campaigns of Cyrus were naturally
watched with keen interest by the Jewish exiles in Babylonia. The songs in
Isaiah 14, 15, and 21:1-10, and Jeremiah 51:29-31, voice their joyous
expectation of Babylon's impending humiliation. In a contemporary
inscription Cyrus has given a vivid account of the fall of the capital.
Early in October of the year 538 B.C. he assembled a large army on the
northern borders of Babylonia. Here a battle was fought in which the
Babylonians were completely defeated. The town of Sippar quickly
surrendered to Cyrus's general, and two days later the Persian army
entered Babylon. The record states that the gates of the mighty city were
opened by its inhabitants, and Cyrus and his followers were welcomed as
deliverers. King Nabonidus was captured and banished to the distant
province of Carmania, northeast of the Persian Gulf. In the words
of Cyrus: "Peace he gave the town; peace he proclaimed to all the
Babylonians." In the eyes of the conquered, he figured as the champion
of their gods, whose images he restored to the capital city. The temples
as well as the walls of Babylon were rebuilt, and the king publicly
proclaimed himself a devoted worshipper of Marduk and Nebo, the chief gods
of the Babylonians. Thus from the first the policy of Cyrus in treating
conquered peoples was fundamentally different from that of the Babylonians
and Assyrians. They had sought to establish their power by crushing the
conquered rather than by furthering their well-being; but Cyrus, by his
many acts of clemency, aimed to secure and hold their loyalty.
VIII. His Treatment of Conquered Peoples. Cyrus showed the same wisdom
in his treatment of the many petty peoples who had been ground down under
the harsh rule of Babylon. In one of his inscriptions he declares: "The
gods whose sanctuaries from of old had lain in ruins I brought back again
to their dwelling-places and caused them to reside there forever. All of
the citizens of these lands I assembled and I restored them to their
homes" (Cyrus Cyl., 31, 32). In the light of this statement it is clear
that the Jews, in common with other captive peoples, were given full
permission to return to their homes and to rebuild their ruined temple.
The decree of Cyrus recorded in the Aramaic document preserved in Ezra
6:3-5 is apparently the Jewish version of the general decree which he
issued. It is also possible that he aided the vassal peoples in rebuilding
their sanctuaries; for such action was in perfect accord with his wise
policy. He also intrusted the rulership of different kingdoms as far as
possible to native princes. In the Greek book of I Esdras has been
preserved a list (which has fallen out of the biblical book of Ezra) of
those who availed themselves of Cyrus's permission to return to Palestine.
It includes simply the priest Jeshua, or Joshua, the lineal heir of the
early Jerusalem priestly line of Zadok, and Zerubbabel, a descendant of
the Judean royal family. They doubtless took with them their immediate
followers and were probably accompanied by a few exiles whose loyalty
impelled them to leave the attractive opportunities in Babylon to face the
dangers of the long journey and the greater perils in Palestine.
From Jeremiah 41:5 and Haggai 2:14 it appears that a rude altar had been
built on the sacred rock at Jerusalem and that religious services were
held on the site of the ruined temple soon after its destruction in 586
B.C. With the gifts brought back by Zerubbabel and his followers, daily
sacrifices were probably instituted on the restored altar under the
direction of the priest Joshua (cf. Hag. 2:10-14). In the light, however,
of the oldest records it is clear that the revival of the Judean community
in Palestine was gradual and at first far from glorious. The Jews were a
broken-hearted, poverty-stricken, persecuted people, still crushed by the
great calamity that had overtaken their nation. The general return of the
exiles was only a dream of the future, and, despite the general permission
of Cyrus, the temple at Jerusalem still lay in ruins.
Section XCIV. THE REBUILDING OF THE TEMPLE
[Sidenote: Hag. 1:1-6]
In the second year of Darius the king, in the first day of the sixth
month, this word of Jehovah came by Haggai the prophet: Speak to
Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son
of Jehozadak the high priest, saying, 'Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, "This
people say: The time has not yet come to rebuild the temple of Jehovah."'
Then this word of Jehovah came by Haggai the prophet: Is it a time for
you yourselves to dwell in your own ceiled houses, while this temple lies
in ruins? Now therefore, thus saith Jehovah of hosts, 'Consider your past
experiences. Ye sow much, but bring in little; ye eat, but ye do not have
enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled; ye clothe yourselves, but not so
as to be warm; and he who earneth wages, earneth wages in a bag with
[Sidenote: Hag. 1:7-11]
Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, 'Consider your experiences. Go up to the
mountains, and bring wood and rebuild the temple; then I will be pleased
with it, and I will reveal my glory,' saith Jehovah. 'Ye looked for much,
and it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I blew upon it. Why?'
saith Jehovah of hosts. 'Because of my temple that lieth in ruins, while
ye are running each to his own house. Therefore the heavens withhold the
dew, and the earth withholdeth its fruit. And I have called forth a
drought upon the land and upon the mountains, and upon the grain and the
new wine and the oil and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and
upon men and animals, and upon all the labor of the hands.'
[Sidenote: Hag. 1:12-15a]
Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Joshua the son of Jehozadak the
high priest, with all the rest of the people, obeyed the command of
Jehovah their God and the words of Haggai the prophet, as Jehovah their
God had sent him to them. The people also feared before Jehovah. And
Jehovah stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel,
governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak the high
priest, and the spirit of all the rest of the people, so that they
came and worked on the temple of Jehovah of hosts, their God, in the
twenty-fourth day of the sixth month.
[Sidenote: Hag. 1:15b-2:5]
In the second year of Darius the king, on the twenty-first day of the
seventh month, this word from Jehovah came by Haggai the prophet: Speak to
Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua, the son of
Jehozadak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people, saying,
'Who is left among you that saw this temple in its former glory? and how
do you see it now? Is it not in your eyes as nothing? Yet now be strong, O
Zerubbabel,' is the oracle of Jehovah; 'and be strong, O Joshua, son of
Jehozadak, the high priest, and be strong, all ye people of the land,' is
the oracle of Jehovah, 'and work, for I am with you,' is the oracle of
Jehovah of hosts, 'and my spirit abideth in your midst; fear not.'
[Sidenote: Hag. 2:6-9]
For thus saith Jehovah of hosts: 'Yet a little while, and I will shake the
heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land. And I will shake
all nations, and the precious things of all nations shall come; and I will
fill this temple with glory,' saith Jehovah of hosts. 'The silver is mine,
and the gold is mine,' is the oracle of Jehovah of hosts. 'The later glory
of this temple shall be greater than the former,' saith Jehovah of hosts;
'and in this place will I grant prosperity,' is the oracle of Jehovah of
[Sidenote: Hag. 2:10-14]
In the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius,
this word of Jehovah came by Haggai the prophet: Thus saith Jehovah of
hosts: 'Ask of the priests a decision, saying, "If one bear holy flesh in
the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt touch bread, or pottage, or
wine, or oil, or any food, shall it become holy?"' And the priests
answered and said, No. Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by reason
of a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests
answered and said, It shall be unclean. Then answered Haggai and said, So
is this people and so is this nation before me, is the oracle of Jehovah;
and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is
[Sidenote: Hag. 2:15-19]
And now, I pray you, think back from this day, before a stone was laid
upon a stone in the temple of Jehovah; how were ye? When ye came to a heap
of twenty measures, there were but ten; when ye came to the wine vat to
draw out fifty vessels, there were but twenty. I smote with blasting and
with mildew and with hail all the work of your hands; yet ye turned not to
me, is the oracle of Jehovah. Think back from this day, think! Is the seed
yet in the granary, yea, the vine and the fig tree and the pomegranate and
the olive tree have not brought forth; from this day will I bless you.
[Sidenote: Hag. 2:20-22]
This word of Jehovah came the second time to Haggai in the twenty-fourth
day of the month: Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, and say: 'I will
shake the heavens and the earth; and I will overthrow the throne of
kingdoms; and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations;
and I will overthrow the chariots, and those who ride in them; and the
horses and their riders shall come down, each by the sword of his brother.
[Sidenote: Hag. 2:23]
'In that day,' is the oracle of Jehovah of hosts, 'I will take thee, O
Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel,' is Jehovah's oracle, 'and
will make thee as a seal-ring, for I have chosen thee,' is the oracle of
Jehovah of hosts.
[Sidenote: Ezra 5:3-5]
At that time Tattenai, the governor of the province beyond the River, and
Shethar-bozenai and their associates came to them, and spoke thus to them,
Who gave you permission to build this temple and to finish this wall? And
who are the builders who are carrying this through? But the eye of their
God was upon the elders of the Jews, so that they did not make them cease,
until a report should come to Darius and a written decision concerning it
[Sidenote: Ezra 6:1-5]
Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the archives
where the official documents from Babylon had been deposited. And at
Ecbatana, the royal palace in the province of Media, a roll was found, and
in it was thus written: A record: In the first year of Cyrus the king,
Cyrus the king made a decree: 'Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem,
let the house be rebuilt, where they offer sacrifices and bring him
offerings made by fire; its height shall be sixty cubits, and its breadth
sixty cubits. It shall be constructed with three layers of huge stones and
one layer of timber; and let the expenses be paid out of the king's
treasury. Also let the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which
Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple at Jerusalem and brought to Babylon,
be restored and brought to the temple which is at Jerusalem, each to its
place; and you shall put them in the house of God.'
[Sidenote: Ezra 6:6-12]
Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the province beyond the River,
Shethar-bozenai, and the rulers of the province beyond the River, go away
from there; let the work of this house of God alone; let the elders of the
Jews rebuild this house of God in its place. Moreover I make a decree in
regard to what you shall do for these elders of the Jews for the building
of this house of God: that out of the king's wealth from the tribute of
the province beyond the River the expenses be exactly paid to these men,
and that without delay. And whatever is needed, both young bullocks and
rams and lambs for burnt-offerings to the God of heaven, also wheat, salt,
wine, and oil, according to the direction of the priests at Jerusalem, let
it be given to them day by day without fail, that they may regularly offer
sacrifices of sweet savor to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of
the king and of his sons. Also I have made a decree, that whoever shall
make this command invalid, a beam shall be pulled out from his house, and
he shall be impaled upon it, and his house shall for this be made a refuse
heap. And the God who hath caused his name to dwell there shall overthrow
all kings and peoples who shall put forth their hand to make invalid the
command or to destroy the house of God at Jerusalem. Exactly will it be
[Sidenote: Ezra 6:13,14]
Then Tattenai, the governor of the province beyond the River, and
Shethar-bozenai, and their associates did exactly as Darius the king had
given command. And the elders of the Jews built and prospered. And they
finished the building according to the command of the God of Israel and
according to the decree of Cyrus and Darius.
I. The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah are
the chief sources of information regarding Jewish history during the
Persian period. They fall into nine general divisions: (1) the return of
the Babylonian exiles and the revival of the Judean community, Ezra 1-4;
(2) the rebuilding of the temple, 5-6; (3) Ezra's expedition and the
priestly reformation, 8-10, and Nehemiah 8-10; (4) Nehemiah's work in
rebuilding the walls, Nehemiah 1:1-7:5; (5) census of the Judean
community, 7:6-69; (6) measures to secure the repopulation of Jerusalem,
11; (7) genealogy of the priests and Levites, 12:1-26; (8) dedication
of the walls, 12:27-43; and (9) Nehemiah's later reform measures,
12:44-13:31. It is evident that Ezra and Nehemiah were originally one
book, and that they come from the same author as I and II Chronicles.
This important fact is demonstrated by the presence of the same marked
characteristics of thought and literary style in both of these books. The
closing verses of II Chronicles are also repeated verbatim at the
beginning of Ezra.
Throughout these books the interest is religious and ceremonial rather
than civil and national. They constitute in reality a history of the
Jerusalem temple and its institutions. The whole may properly be
designated as the "Ecclesiastical History of Jerusalem." It traces the
history of Jerusalem and the southern kingdom from the earliest times to
the close of the Persian period. Its author, who is commonly known as the
Chronicler, evidently lived during the earlier part or middle of the Greek
period. Certain characteristics of his literary style and point of view
indicate that he wrote about 250 B.C. His peculiarities and methods of
writing are clearly revealed by a comparison of the older parallel history
of Samuel-Kings with the books of Chronicles. In general he lacks the
historical spirit and perspective of the earlier prophetic historians. He
also freely recasts his record of earlier events in order to bring it into
accord with the traditions current in his own day. Above all he aimed to
establish the authority and prestige of the Jerusalem temple, and to prove
that Jehovah "was not with Israel" (II Chron. 25:7), which was represented
in his day by the hated Samaritans. The hatred engendered by the Samaritan
feud explains many of the peculiarities of the Chronicler. He was, in
fact, an apologist rather than a historian. Thus post-exilic institutions,
as, for example, the temple song service with its guilds of singers, are
projected backward even to the days of David, and the events of early
Hebrew history are constantly glorified. The numbers found in the
earlier, prophetic sources are magnified, and at every point it is easy to
recognize the influence of the Chronicler's familiarity with the splendor
and magnificence of the great Persian and Greek empires, and of his
desire to inspire his fellow-Jews with national pride and with loyalty to
their religious institutions.
II. The Chronicler's Conception of the Restoration. Fortunately the
Chronicler did not depend entirely upon traditions current in his day, or
upon his own conceptions of the early history, but quoted freely from
earlier sources. As a result a large portion of the prophetic history of
Samuel and Kings is reproduced verbatim in I and II Chronicles. For the
Persian period, regarding which he is our chief authority, he apparently
quoted from three or four documents. In Ezra 4:7-23 is found a brief
description in Aramaic of the opposition of Judah's neighbors to the
rebuilding of the walls, probably in the days of Nehemiah. In Ezra 5 and 6
there is another long quotation from an Aramaic document that describes a
similar attempt to put a stop to the rebuilding of the temple in the days
of Haggai and Zechariah. The Chronicler evidently believed that the second
temple was rebuilt, not by the people of the land to whom Haggai and
Zechariah spoke, but by Jewish exiles who on the accession of Cyrus had
returned in great numbers from Babylon. He assumed that Judah had been
depopulated during the Babylonian exile, and that the only people left in