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BIBLE STUDY > Bible Study: EZRA AND NEHEMIAH WK # 2

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message 1: by Evangelist (new)

Evangelist Jordan (chosenwithcare) | 1972 comments Mod
“Re-Building God’s Temple”

Subject: Historical Background:

Scripture Reading: Ezra and Nehemiah

The following dates can help supply an overview of the historical period of Ezra and Nehemiah: 722 B.C. The ten northern tribes of Israel were taken into captivity in Assyria. 605 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, attacked the southern kingdom of Judah and began taking part of the Jews into Babylonian captivity. This deportation included Daniel and Ezekiel. 586 B.C. - Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the temple, carrying more Jews into Babylonian captivity. 539 B.C. - The Medo-Persian Empire conquered Babylon. 538 B.C. - Cyrus, king of Persia (550 to 530 B.C.) authorized the first return of the Jews to Palestine under the leadership of Zerubbabel, governor of Judah. 516 B.C. - The rebuilding of the temple of Jerusalem, begun under Zerubbabel, was completed. This was authorized by an edict of Darius, king of Persia (521 to 486 B.C.). (Note: There is a time-gap in the book of Ezra of about 58 years, between chapters 6 and 7, occurring from the time of the rebuilding of the temple to the time of the second return of the Jews from Babylon under Ezra.) 458 B.C. - The second return of exiled Jews from Babylon to Judea began under the leadership of Ezra, authorized by Artaxerxes, king of Persia (464 to 423 B.C.). The spiritual restoration of the Jews in Jerusalem was led by Ezra. 444 B.C. - Nehemiah went to Jerusalem and led the rebuilding of the city’s walls. The walls of Jerusalem were dedicated, followed by Israel’s spiritual renewal under Ezra and Nehemiah. The 70 years of Babylonian captivity prophesied by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25:11-12) are reckoned in two ways: either as beginning in 605 B.C. with the first deportation of the Jews to Babylon and ending in 536 B.C. with the first return of the Jews to their homeland under Zerubbabel, or beginning with the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and the completion of the rebuilding of the same in 516 B.C. Either time-period has its supporters.
Ezra and Nehemiah are part of the grouping of Scripture called “the post-captivity historical books” which also includes the book of Esther. There is also a grouping called “the post-captivity prophetic books” which includes Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Haggai and Zechariah very clearly overlap the stories in Ezra and Nehemiah and we’ll pull some material out of each during our study of the years of rebuilding. While not specifically labeled as “post-captivity books”, there are also some bits of Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel that have some overlap in time with these books or relate to them, and the demolition of the Temple and the capture and deportation of the people of Judah is detailed at the end of 2nd Chronicles and 2nd Kings. Also of note, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, separate in our Bible’s today, were one book in the earliest Hebrew manuscripts. Through time, the book of Nehemiah has at times been called “Ezra II” and “the second book of Esdrae” or “2nd Esdras”. The NIV Study Bible suggests the following timeline: Ezra was written around 440 B.C. and Nehemiah around 430 B.C., and Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the seventh year of the rule of Artaxerxes I (458 B.C.) while Nehemiah arrived in the king’s 20th year (445 B.C.). Ezra: According to the introduction to Ezra in the NLT Study Bible, Ezra was a very impressive person. They say this: “Tradition says that Ezra wrote most of 1st and 2nd Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Psalm 119 and that he led the council of 120 men who formed the Old Testament canon.” Babylonia, Persia, and the important foreign names… Babylon was in the southern part of Mesopotamia, about 50 miles south of modern Bagdad. Babylonia and its northern neighbor, Assyria, were the power centers throughout the Old Testament. Nebuchadnezzar II followed his father, Nabopolassar, who ushered in Babylonia’s golden age when he freed Babylonia from Assyria by destroying Nineveh. It was Nebuchadnezzar II who sacked Jerusalem in 587-586 B.C. After several lesser Babylonian kings, Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered Babylonia in 540 B.C. Cyrus was known for respecting the customs and religions of the lands he conquered. Doing so led stability to his rule. Cyrus is mentioned in several books, including Ezra and Isaiah. After Cyrus’s 2 eldest sons were killed, Darius I (the Great) took the throne in 522 B.C. Darius replicated Cyrus’ policy of benevolence to non-Persian religions in his conquered territories. Darius is referred to in the book of Daniel. That was just a bit to get us started with this new study on (Ezra and Nehemiah “Building God’s Temple”). I believe this is a good study for our relationship with the God.

Outlines for Ezra and Nehemiah: God Restores His people to their Homeland:

1. The first return under Zerubbabel and the rebuilding of the temple (Ezra 1-6).
2. The second return under Ezra and the spiritual restoration of the people (Ezra 7-10).
3. The rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem under Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1-7)
4. The spiritual renewed of God’s people under Ezra and Nehemiah (Nehemiah 8-13).


WEEK # 2 QUESTIONS:
Questions for Review

1. Into which section of the OT were the books Ezra and Nehemiah originally placed?
2. Why do you suppose they were linked so closely together as one book?
3. In what respect did the offices of the two men differ?
4. What did both men undertake as leaders?
5. Who possibly compiled both books?
6. Identify the following dates:
-722 B.C.
- 605 B.C.
- 586 B.C.
- 539 B.C.
- 516 B.C.
- 458 B.C.
- 444 B.C.

7. In which two differing ways are the 70 years of Babylonian captivity reckoned?
8. Under which leader was the following undertaken:
- The first return of exiles?
- The second return of exiles?
- The rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem?
- The rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem?
-The spiritual renewals of the Jews in Jerusalem?
9. Under which Persian kings did the above events occur?
10. Give the basic outline for Ezra and Nehemiah with chapter divisions.

Weekly Word # 2: Holy of Holies

Our weekly reading for this week: Ezra 4-6


message 2: by Evangelist (new)

Evangelist Jordan (chosenwithcare) | 1972 comments Mod
Sharing………

Remember this from our study (Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation) last year? Some dates maybe a little off from what I gathered at that time. It’s interesting!!!

DANIEL AND HIS TIME:

The name "Daniel" means "God is my judge" which provides a hint of one of the key themes in this book: God will judge the nations of men. Daniel was a person of deep and abiding faith...

* As a youth, he purposed not to defile himself –(Daniel 1:8)
* When old, he persisted in serving God despite threats against his life – (Daniel 6:10)

God blessed Daniel because of his faith...

* He rose to great heights in the kingdoms of Babylon and Persia - (Daniel 2:48; 6:1-3)
* He served as a statesman, a counselor to kings, and a prophet of
God

Daniel was contemporary with two other great prophets: Jeremiah and
Ezekiel...

* Jeremiah prophesied in Jerusalem before and during the Babylonian exile (626-528 B.C.)
* Ezekiel prophesied in Babylon among the exiles (592-570 B.C.)
* Daniel prophesied in the capital of Babylon (605-586 B.C.)


Nothing is known of his personal life outside of the book. He descended from one of Judah's prominent families, if not from royal blood (Daniel 1:3). At an early age (likely in his teens) Daniel along with others was taken from his family to be trained in the courts of Babylon (Daniel 1:3-4). Whether he ever married is uncertain.

Some key dates and events will help appreciate the times in which Daniel lived...

* 612 B.C. - Fall of Nineveh, capital of Assyria Assyria had ruled the world since the days of Tiglath-Pileser (845 B.C.). Nabopolassar came to the throne in Babylon and rebelled against the Assyrians in 625 B.C.
Nebuchadnezzar, son of Nabopolassar, was the general who led the Babylonian army against Nineveh, defeating it in 612 B.C.

* 605 B.C. - Battle of Carchemish, establishing Babylonian domination
Pharaoh-Necho of Egypt came to fight the Babylonians at Carchemish. Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Egyptians, chasing them south through Judah. At Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar heard of his father's death; he returned to assume the throne in Babylon. The first group of Jewish captives were taken, along with Daniel and his friends (Daniel 1:1-4).

* 597 B.C. - A second remnant taken to Babylon Jehoiachin (Jeconiah, Coniah) followed the reign of his father, Jehoiakim. He lasted just three months, when Nebuchadnezzar took him and 10,000 Jews to Babylon (2 Kings 24:8-16). This second group of captives included Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:1-3)

* 586 B.C. - Fall of Jerusalem and the temple destroyed Zedekiah was installed as king in Jerusalem, but was weak and vacillating. Eleven years later, Jerusalem was totally devastated by Babylonian forces (2 Kings 25:1-10). A third group was (2 Kings 25:11-12, 22; Jeremiah 39:11-14; 40:1-6).

* 536 B.C. - Babylon falls, and the first remnant returns to Jerusalem Cyrus, king of Persia, sends the first remnant back under the leadership of Zerubbabel. (Ezra 1:1-5; 2:1-2).
The foundation of the temple was soon started, but the temple was not completed until 516 B.C. (Ezra 3:8-13; 6:14-16).

* 457 B.C. - A second remnant returns to Jerusalem. Ezra the priest returns with this group (Ezra 7:1-8:36). He leads a much-needed revival (Ezra 9:1-10:44).

* 444 B.C. - A third remnant returns to Jerusalem. This group is led by Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:1-2:20). Under his leadership, the walls of Jerusalem are rebuilt (Nehemiah 3:1-7:73). Together with Ezra, they restore much of the religion (Nehemiah 8:1-13:31).

Daniel lived through much of these times (605-534 B.C.). He was among the first group of captives taken to Babylon (Daniel 1:1-4). He continued there over the entire 70 years of captivity; (Daniel 1:21; 10:1) cf. (Daniel 9:1-2; Jeremiah 25:11; 29:10). Daniel was certainly a remarkable man. His greatness was recognized by his contemporary, Ezekiel (Ezekiel 14:14, 20; 28:3).


message 3: by Evangelist (new)

Evangelist Jordan (chosenwithcare) | 1972 comments Mod
Our Weekly Prayer:

Father God, we come to in Jesus’ name, we honor You, we give glory and praise for the things You have done; Thank You for the gift You have put in our lives. Thank You for understanding us, and for Your grace and mercy in our lives. Help us to accept Your discipline, and honor Who You are. Please bless us so we want disappoint You. Help us to make it our priority to obey You in everything. Forgive us so we can enter into Your presence with thanksgiving in our hearts. Bless us to bold to come before You with all our problems, and our praises. We will enter Your gates with thanksgiving in our heart, and into Your courts with praises. Thank You, Father. Bless us to learn from all the mistakes we learn about King Hezekiah in this study. Help us to be bold like Ezra, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Zerubbabel, and all those prophets who came before us. Help us not to accept anything from the enemy, in Jesus’ name. Bless us to keep our temple clean and presentable and acceptable for Your Holy Spirit to dwell in us always. Thank You for Jesus bringing us out of captivity and darkness, and place us in Your marvelous light. AMEN.


message 4: by Evangelist (new)

Evangelist Jordan (chosenwithcare) | 1972 comments Mod
Week # 2 our weekly word………Holy of Holies

The significance of the Holy of Holies to Christians is found in the events surrounding the crucifixion of Christ. When Jesus died, an amazing thing happened: “When Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:50-51). The veil was not torn in half by any man. It was a supernatural event done by the power of God to make a very specific point: because of the death of Christ on the cross, man was no longer separated from God. The Old Testament temple system was made obsolete as the New Covenant was ratified. No longer would we have to depend on priests to perform once-a-year sacrifices on our behalf. Christ’s body was “torn” on the cross, just as the veil was torn in the temple, and now we have access to God through Jesus: “we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place (Holy of Holies) by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body” (Hebrews 10:19-20). We are free to go to the Throne of grace and be in the presence of God, which is the Holy of Holies.


message 5: by Evangelist (new)

Evangelist Jordan (chosenwithcare) | 1972 comments Mod
Enjoying this study!

Studying and answering those questions was great! I am looking forward to the spiritual side of this study too. Glory to God!!


message 6: by Evangelist (new)

Evangelist Jordan (chosenwithcare) | 1972 comments Mod
WEEK # 2 QUESTIONS/ANSWERS


1. Into which section of the OT were the books Ezra and Nehemiah originally placed?
They were placed in the Historical post-captivity, and in the section books from Joshua to Esther.
2. Why do you suppose they were linked so closely together as one book?
I believe what the research it was because tradition say that Ezra wrote most of the first and second Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Psalm 119, but the two books were separated at some post of it translation.
3. In what respect did the offices of the two men differ?
Ezra was a scribe and of the priestly descent; Nehemiah was a cup-bearer to the King of Persia. They were contemporaries. Both men were leaders.
4. What did both men undertake as leaders?
They both were attacked by the enemy in the ministry God called them too. Ezra went through dangerous territories to get to Jerusalem; Nehemiah was attacked by Sanballat and Tobiah while rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
5. Who possibly compiled both books?
It is reported that Ezra did both books and II Chronicles according to Jewish tradition.
6. Identify the following dates:
- 722 B.C. The ten northern tribes of Israel were taken into captivity in Assyria.

- 605 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, attacked the southern kingdom of Judah and began taking part of the Jews into Babylonian captivity.

- 586 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the temple, carrying more Jews into Babylonian captivity.

- 539 B.C. The Medo-Persian Empire conquered Babylon.

- 516 B.C. The rebuilding of the temple of Jerusalem, begun under Zerubbabel, was completed. This was authorized by an edict of Darius, king of Persia

- 458 B.C. The second return of exiled Jews from Babylon to Judea began under the leadership of Ezra, authorized by Artaxerxes, king of Persia

- 444 B.C. Nehemiah went to Jerusalem and led the rebuilding of the city’s walls. The walls of Jerusalem were dedicated, followed by Israel’s spiritual renewal under Ezra and Nehemiah.

7. In which two differing ways are the 70 years of Babylonian captivity reckoned?
– The duration of the Babylonian captivity was precisely 70 years;
– The reason for that captivity is that the Israelites had failed to observe 70 Sabbath years. (I will post a separate post on this soon).

8. Under which leader was the following undertaken:
- The first return of exiles? (During Cyrus's rule, Zerubbabel led the exiles back to Jerusalem to rebuild the altar and temple foundations (Ezra 3:2-3, 10). 538 BC No rebuilding work was able to be done in this period (Ezra 4:25). In the reign of Darius, the temple was rebuilt. Haggai and Zechariah were prophets.)
- The second return of exiles? (Book of Nehemiah; In the 20th year of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, (445/444 BC), Nehemiah was cup-bearer to the king. Learning that the remnant in Judah were in distress and that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down, he asked the king for permission to return and rebuild the city.)
- The rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem? (This was done first)
- The rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem? (A third wave returns with Nehemiah in 445 BC. They rebuild the city walls and gates but not many houses.)
-The spiritual renewals of the Jews in Jerusalem? (A second party returns with Ezra about 80 years later. They make spiritual and religious restoration and reform.)

9. Under which Persian kings did the above events occur?
- The first return of exiles? (King Cyrus) (Re-building Temple)
- The second return of exiles? (King Artaxerxes) (Re-building Walls)
-The spiritual renewals of the Jews in Jerusalem? (King Artaxerxes, known as Xerxes, and Ahasuerus, which was king of Persia) (Ezra 4:24-5:2; Haggai 1:1-15)

10. Give the basic outline for Ezra and Nehemiah with chapter divisions.

1. The first return under Zerubbabel and the rebuilding of the temple (Ezra 1-6).
2. The second return under Ezra and the spiritual restoration of the people (Ezra 7-10).
3. The rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem under Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1-7)
4. The spiritual renewed of God’s people under Ezra and Nehemiah (Nehemiah 8-13).


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