Presentation on theme: "After the Exile Second Temple Period. The Writings (Kethuvim) Psalms Job Proverbs Ruth Song of Songs Ecclesiastes Lamentations Esther Daniel Ezra-Nehemiah."— Presentation transcript:
After the Exile Second Temple Period
The Writings (Kethuvim) Psalms Job Proverbs Ruth Song of Songs Ecclesiastes Lamentations Esther Daniel Ezra-Nehemiah 1-2 Chronicles 1.Third main division of Hebrew Bible. 2.Miscellaneous collection of diverse literature (poetry, wisdom, history, etc.). 3.Mostly written or redacted in post-exilic period. 4.Some contain pre-exilic material. 5.Many reflect difficulties of rebuilding and readjustment under Persian control. 6.Not definitively canonized until c. 90 AD. 7.All are found in Christian OT, but in different order.
Persian Period (539-333 BCE ) Return and Rebuilding Books of Ezra and Nehemiah Counted as one book in Hebrew Bible. Maybe written in connection with 1-2 Chronicles. Probably written 400-350 BCE. Chronology and order of events recorded are unclear. 1)Were Ezra and Nehemiah contemporaries, or were they separated by decades? 2)Which came first?
Persian Period (539-333 BCE ) Return and Rebuilding The Cyrus Cylinder 1.Attributes Cyrus’ peaceful conquest of Babylon to Babylonian god Marduk. 2.Describes liberation of peoples, return of images of gods, rebuilding of temples. 3.Does not mention the Jews. 539 – Cyrus conquered Babylonia. 538 – “Edict of Liberation”: permitted/aided Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild temple (Ezra 1:1-4). Return was slow, piecemeal, came in several waves of returnees. Judah is not independent, but still a tiny subunit within vast Persian Empire, under foreign domination. Internally, Judah becomes a “theocracy” (“rule by God”), a temple-state. Internal authority is centered in temple (no kings). Role of high priest is elevated – becomes dominant political force in Jerusalem. King Cyrus of Persia Ends Jewish Exile
Persian Period (539-333 BCE ) Return and Rebuilding Four Key Leaders in Restoration 1.Sheshbazzar a.Descendant of Davidic royal house, led first band of returnees. b.Brought sacred vessels Nebuchadnezzar had taken from temple (Ezra 1:5-11). c.Laid foundation for temple but never finished it (Ezra 5:14-16). d.Disappears from history – don’t know what happened.
Persian Period (539-333 BCE ) Return and Rebuilding Four Key Leaders in Restoration 2.Zerubbabel a.Also of Davidic descent, led rebuilding of temple (Ezra 3-6; 520-515 BCE ). b.Known historically as the “Second Temple.” c.Faced opposition from indigenous people (later known as Samaritans) and from governor Tattenai. d.Rebuilding of temple was encouraged by prophets Haggai and Zechariah, who make much of Zerubbabel’s Davidic descent and high priest Joshua (both are called “anointed ones”).
Persian Period (539-333 BCE ) Return and Rebuilding Four Key Leaders in Restoration 3.Ezra (c. 458 or 398? BCE ) a.Chronology highly uncertain: could be before, after, or concurrent with Nehemiah. b.Scribe and priest, sent from Babylonia to Jerusalem to establish judicial system based on law of Moses (Ezra 7-8). c.Leads purge of intermarriages in which Israelite men divorce foreign wives, expel them and their children (Ezra 9-10). d.(Books of Ruth and Jonah take more inclusive view of foreigners.) e.Brought “the book of the law of Moses” (Pentateuch) to Jerusalem, held assembly for public reading and covenant ceremony (Neh. 8-9). f.(Jewish tradition: Ezra founded a succession of scribes who passed down authoritative interpretation of Torah.)
Persian Period (539-333 BCE ) Return and Rebuilding Four Key Leaders in Restoration 4.Nehemiah (c. 445-424 BCE ) a.Cupbearer to Persian King Artaxerxes, gets appointed governor with aim to rebuild walls of Jerusalem. b.Led rebuilding of city wall, gates, fortifications (Neh. 1-6). c.Again opposed by surrounding people (Sanballat, etc.). d.Later second term focused on religious reforms (Neh. 13): 1)Returned to Levites their share of tithes. 2)Enforced prohibition of labor on Sabbath. 3)Expelled non-Jews from Jerusalem. 4)Prohibited intermarriage with non-Jews.
Persian Period (539-333 BCE ) Return and Rebuilding Results of the Restoration 1.Beginnings of the “Diaspora” (dispersion of Jews outside Palestine) – many remained in Mesopotamia; later, others migrated to Egypt, Asia Minor, etc. 2.Judah has become a “theocracy” (“rule by God”), a temple-state. a.Still under control of Persia through civil governor. b.Internal affairs governed by religious authorities centered in temple. c.With absence of kings, role of high priest is elevated – becomes dominant political force in Jerusalem. 3.Three trends in Second Temple Judaism: a.Focus on Temple and its rituals. b.Focus on Torah – Jewish law became central in defining and holding Jewish life together. c.Focus on nationalism – concern to maintain distinctive identity as people of God by keeping distinctive traditions and practices (Sabbath-observance, kosher food laws, circumcision, etc.).
Hellenistic Period (333-143 BCE ) Cultures in Conflict 1.332 (or 333) – Alexander the Great conquered Palestine – brings influence of Greek language and culture. 2.323 – Alexander died, empire was divided among generals. 3.301-200 – Palestine is ruled by Ptolemies (Egypt) – relatively benign rule. 4.198-143 – Palestine is ruled by Seleucids (Syria) – increasing cultural pressures. a.Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164) begins program of forced “hellenization” – aristocratic Jews cooperate; ordinary Jews resist. b.167 – Desecration of Temple, persecution of faithful Jews. 5.Maccabean Revolt – resistance movement led by Judas Maccabeus and 4 brothers (sons of Mattathias). a.165 (or 164) – Temple captured, cleansed, rededicated (Hanukkah). b.143 – full Jewish autonomy; established Hasmonean dynasty which ruled Palestine (143-63). 6.Roman rule – begins in 62 BCE ; continues through NT era; 70 CE – Temple destroyed by Romans.
Hellenistic Period (333-143 BCE ) Cultures in Conflict Literature Related to Conflict with Hellenism 1.1 and 2 Maccabees (Apocrypha) – accounts of the persecution and revolt. 2.Book of Daniel (written c. 165; latest book of OT) a.Two parts: 1)Ch. 1-6 – Stories of faithfulness of Daniel and friends in spite of persecution by wicked ruler. 2)Ch. 7-12 – Symbolic visions of rise and fall of beastly pagan kingdoms (mocks Antiochus as “little horn speaking great things”); then God sits in judgment, takes dominion from beastly kingdoms, gives it to “one like a son of man” = saints of God who will rule in an everlasting kingdom. b.Message for readers at time of Seleucid persecution: 1)Call to faithfulness in time of persecution – be like Daniel. 2)Assurance that days of pagan rule are numbered – soon God will intervene and turn the tables. c.Daniel is one of the earliest Jewish “apocalypses;” earliest clear reference to resurrection of the dead.