Presentation on theme: "Religion 9 April 2013 Mrs. Kenny. Cyrus – King of Persia –took over Babylon in 539 B.C. then freed the exiles the next year. After the Babylonian."— Presentation transcript:
Cyrus – King of Persia –took over Babylon in 539 B.C. then freed the exiles the next year. After the Babylonian Exile, the people of Israel became known as Jews (from: “Judah”); The terms Judah and Judaism also started to be used. Chapter 9 = The Restoration (time when exiles returned to Jerusalem)
Those who returned to Judah were thought of as “the remnant” – the people the Zephaniah and other prophets spoke about in previous chapters. This time period gave the Jews a strong spiritual center they could bring to foreign lands such as: Egypt, Greece, and other places around the Mediterranean Sea where Jews formed communities.
Spiritual boundaries became important. They allowed Jews to say “This is who we are.” The Jewish faith as we now recognize it was born during this time.
The period of restoration when the exiles returned to Judah began in 538 B.C. The exiles set spiritual boundaries that defined who they were and allowed their faith to survive in foreign lands.
Jelly Telly! 1 Chronicles: Jelly Telly! 1 Chronicles: The two Books of Chronicles, written after the rebuilding of the Temple, retell Israel’s history, emphasizing the ideals of David and Solomon but omitting their sins. They reminded the Jews that they were called to be a holy nation, not an empire.
Question: What kind of boundaries did the returning exiles need to set? Answer: Not the geographical kind, but the spiritual kind that defines the limits of a person or group. Question: What did the Chronicler’s history emphasize about David and Solomon? Why was the history written this way? Answer: The Chronicler presented David as a liturgist and leader in worship, in order to inspire the Jerusalem community to return to a vibrant religious life. Chronicles’ story of Solomon is told with emphasis on his wealth, his building and dedication of the Temple, and his wisdom – no mention of his idolatry.
Ezra is a priest and scribe who led a religious renewal about 100 years after the return to Jerusalem.
The Book of Ezra and Third Isaiah describe the exiles, who expected a glorious homecoming, being disappointed to find Jerusalem in ruins and resentment from the poor residents there. The exiles begin to rebuild the Temple, but after they refuse the Samaritans’ offer of help, the Persian king halts construction for 18 years. The Jews of the south consider the Samaritans to be inferior because of their weakened tribal identity and religious fidelity through marriages to foreigners.
Third Isaiah says true fasting is acting compassionately toward those in need. Third Isaiah tries to stir the community out of its apathy, promising one who will bring all God’s glory to earth and make Israel a light to the nations. This notion, called universalism, envisions all nations coming together under God’s reign.
In Luke’s gospel, Jesus proclaims that He is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy. The overall theme of the Book of Isaiah is God’s love for Israel and tender care for Zion.
Question: What do the exiles find when they return to Jerusalem? Answer: They find nothing but a miserable little village perched on a pile of rubble – its wall and Temple in ruins – and ahead of them a future promising nothing but hardship. Judah is an impoverished land, and its residents resist the exiles. Question: Why are the exiles prejudiced toward the Samaritans? Answer: The exiles consider themselves to be the true Israel. Because the Samaritans are descendants of not only the Jews but also the foreign settlers of the north (Samaria), the Jews of the south regard them as inferior.
Question: According to Third Isaiah, what is the true fasting that God desires? Answer: Working for the release of the unjustly imprisoned, freeing the oppressed, sharing bread with the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and clothing the naked. Question: What is meant by the notion of universalism in Second and Third Isaiah? Answer: The dream that God’s love for Israel will make it a light to the nations, ultimately bringing together all nations and peoples of the earth under His Reign.
The prophet Haggai urges the Jerusalem community to rebuild the Temple in order to preserve its faith and religious identity. But the people focus on the building project instead of their need to recommit themselves to God’s call.
A visionary concerned with the coming of the messiah Universal theme: the Messiah will be a Davidic king who would rule in peace and justice, uniting all the nations in the worship of God Painting by Michaelangelo in Sistine Chapel (Rome)
2 halves: 1 st written by Zechariah himself (shortly after Haggai) 2 nd – anonymous prophet 200 years later Three parts: 8 visions, 4 sermons, 2 burdens Painting by Michaelangelo in Sistine Chapel (Rome)
Zechariah foresees the coming of a messiah, a Davidic king who would unite all nations in peace and justice under God. First Zechariah sees Zerubbabel, the heir to David’s throne, as a messianic figure. Second Zechariah expects the messiah not to be a rich and powerful king but a peaceful messiah of the poor who will ride a white donkey. Early Christians and perhaps Jesus himself saw this and Zechariah’s image of a shepherd (allegory in Chapter 11) as referring to Christ.
Jesus: Knew the book of Zechariah and chose (as a peaceful king) to ride into Jerusalem on a white donkey on Palm Sunday Used Zechariah and Ezekiel to perceive himself as the Good Shepherd
Book written between 515-445 B.C. Pen name meaning “my messenger” Criticizes the bad conditions: Blemished sacrifices Men leaving Jewish women for rich pagan women God will send a messenger to prepare people for judgment
Tells people to tithe: donate 10% of their income Only repenting saves people! Contrary to the people’s hopes, the Second Temple is no guarantee of righteousness.
Question: What According to the Book of Haggai, when the people finally get around to building the new Temple, what do they focus on? What should they focus on? Answer: They focus on the building project’s size and furnishings, instead of the state of their lives and their worship. Question: How does the image of the Messiah differ between the first half of Zechariah and the second half? Answer: First Zechariah sees Zerubbabel, the heir to David’s throne, as a messianic figure. Second Zechariah expects a peaceful messiah of the poor, not a rich and powerful king. Question: What behaviors does the prophet Malachi object to among the priests? What does Malachi object to among the people? Answer: Malachi objects to the priests’ offering blemished, lame, and blind animals as sacrifices in the Temple. He objects that the exiles have divorced their Jewish wives and married rich pagan women in order to live more prosperously, and that the offerings in the Temple storehouses have been stolen.
Book: from Nehemiah’s journals, that were meant for God alone Begins in 445 B.C.
Nehemiah, a Jew that served the Persian king as Judah’s governor, involves the entire Jerusalem community in rebuilding the city’s walls. Nehemiah He is a model public servant, who insists on justice and leads by serving.
He sets strict boundaries, sealing the city gates to prohibit trade on the Sabbath and condemning Jews who marry foreigners, in order to preserve the people’s religious commitment and unity.
Ezra, a faithful priest and scribe who lived in Babylon, leads the Jews in Jerusalem to reject their past sins and commit themselves to the Law. Ezra On another visit to Jerusalem years later, he tells the Jews they must abandon their foreign wives and children, reinforcing Nehemiah’s boundaries to ensure the survival of Judaism.
Scripture scholars speculate that the books of Ruth and Jonah critique the exclusivist policies of Nehemiah and Ezra. The Book of Joel focuses on a locust plague that symbolizes the coming of God’s judgment on the unfaithful Jews. Obadiah, the Bible’s shortest book, condemns Edom for its fratricide.
Question: When Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem, what is the first project he calls the people to work on? Answer: Rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Question: Give examples of characteristics that make Nehemiah a model public servant. Answer: He involves the whole community in rebuilding the city walls. He insists on justice for all, ordering rich people to repay poor people they have cheated. He refuses to use an expense account, to benefit from taxes, or to take land for himself. He sets a table with food and wine for the workers rebuilding the walls, at his own expense.
Question: What two reforms does Nehemiah enforce? Why were these important boundaries? Answer: After he discovers the Jerusalem farmers and merchants conducting trade on the Sabbath, he orders the city gates sealed before the Sabbath and opened only when it is over. He curses and orders beaten the Jews who married foreign women and whose children cannot even speak Hebrew. He warns the other Jews not to allow their children to marry foreigners. The boundaries were important in order to preserve a clear Jewish identity so that the Jews could go forward with undivided hearts and as a united people.
Question: What was Ezra’s greatest gift to Judaism? How has this gift helped Judaism to survive? Answer: His preaching of the Law, or Torah, provided a kind of constitution for the Jews to root their lives in a common faith and common code of behavior. Judaism has survived because it is centered in the Bible. As people of the book, they could continue faithfully even after the Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70. Question: What does the plague of locusts in the Book of Joel symbolize? Answer: It symbolizes the coming catastrophe of God’s judgment on the people for their continuing infidelity.
After Alexander the Great conquers the Persian Empire in 330 B.C. The Greek Empire dominates and often persecutes the Jews in Judea. King Antiochus Epiphanes persecutes the Jews, many of whom remain faithful.
Judas Maccabeus* and his brothers wage a military campaign against the Greeks. They win a degree of independence for Judea, and regain control of the Jerusalem Temple. *Maccabeus means “the hammer”
The Second Book of Maccabees describes the same period of persecution, including the martyrdom of a mother and her seven sons. Maccabees
Persecution: Eleazar (a Jewish elder) won’t even eat meat that looks like pork for fear of scandalizing the young (a.k.a. being a bad example to younger Jews), and pays the price with his life. (2 Maccabees 6:18-31)
The Jewish feast of Hanukkah originated in the eight-day celebration which followed the rededication of the Temple. Hanukkah (They were cleaning out the Temple after the Greeks had desecrated it.)
E. Keeping the Faith Alive Under Fire This story and the Book of Daniel point to belief in resurrection. The author of the Book of Daniel, an apocalyptic writer who used Babylon at the time of the Exile as the setting, inspired the Jews to nonviolent resistance against the Greeks. The Romans conquered the Greeks in 63 B.C.
Question: Besides the Greeks’ persecution of the Jews, what aspects of Greek domination threatened traditional Jewish life? Answer: The allure of the sophisticated Greek lifestyle and bold new way of thinking, including the language, philosophy, and customs. Question: In what ways does King Antiochus Epiphanes persecute Jews in Jerusalem? Answer: He sends soldiers to burn houses, kill people, and build a citadel for housing a continuing military presence and for the protection of apostate Jews. When these measures fail to counter Jewish resistance, he orders everyone in his realm to embrace his religion under penalty of death. The Temple is also defiled.
Question: Why does Eleazar not eat meat that looks like pork, though doing so would save his life? Answer: He didn’t want to scandalize all the young who were watching him. That is, he felt it would compromise his faith if he even pretended to eat pork, and he did not want to set that kind of example for the young.
Question: What story in the Second Book of Maccabees gives testimony to the belief in a resurrection and afterlife? Answer: The story of a mother and her seven sons who were arrested for refusing to eat pork. As the sons go to their deaths, they proclaim their belief they will live again after death. Question: What event in Jewish history is celebrated each year on the feast of Hanukkah? Answer: The rededication of the Temple, after the Greeks have defiled it.
Question: Contrast the Maccabees’ strategy of resisting the Greeks with that of the author of the Book of Daniel. Answer: The Maccabees focused on human power and might to set things right. The author of Daniel held out God’s love and justice as the ultimate power that saves. Question: In whom do Christians see fulfilled Daniel’s prophesy of the coming reign of “one like a son of man” (Dan 7:13)? Answer: Jesus Christ
Question: Why does apocalyptic literature, like that in the Book of Daniel, use strange symbolic images and code language? What is the intent of the authors of this type of literature? Answer: To keep the true subject of the writing secret from the oppressors. The authors’ intent was not to predict real events in the future but to give hope and inspiration to those oppressed by powerful forces.