Jews in the Persian Period

Cyrus the Messiah, Lisbeth S. Fried, Bible Review 19, 5 (2003)
By November 16, 2015 Read More →

Cyrus the Messiah, Lisbeth S. Fried, Bible Review 19, 5 (2003)

Why Isaiah calls a non-Jewish king of Persia Israel’s anointed one The Persian emperor Cyrus is honored as the only foreigner in the Bible to be identified as the “messiah” or “anointed one” of YHWH, the Israelite God.1 Isaiah tells us that YHWH spoke “to his messiah, to Cyrus, whom I [YHWH] took by his […]

Ezra 1:5-11: The Vessels of the Temple
By November 12, 2015 Read More →

Ezra 1:5-11: The Vessels of the Temple

The biblical account sees the support for the return as coming both from the Jewish community in Babylonia as well as from the Persian ruler who returned the sacred vessels taken by the Babylonians when they sacked the Jerusalem Temple in 686 B.C.E. 5 Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and […]

The Declaration of Cyrus – The Rebuilding of Ancient Shrines
By November 12, 2015 Read More →

The Declaration of Cyrus – The Rebuilding of Ancient Shrines

A weakling has been installed as the king of his country… sacred cities inappropriate rituals… daily he did blabber [incorrect prayers]. He interrupted in a fiendish way the regular offerings… within the sacred cities. The worship of Marduk, the king of the gods, he [change]d into abomination. Daily he used to do evil against his […]

Did the Ark Stop at Elephantine? Bezalel Porten, BAR 21:03, May-Jun 1995.
By January 22, 2009 0 Comments Read More →

Did the Ark Stop at Elephantine? Bezalel Porten, BAR 21:03, May-Jun 1995.

Was the Ark of the Covenant taken from Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem during the reign of King Manasseh in the seventh century B.C.E. to an island called Elephantine in the Nile River? Was it housed there in a Jewish temple much like the one King Solomon built? These are the contentions of Graham Hancock in […]

Ezra 6: The Order to Rebuild
By April 8, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Ezra 6: The Order to Rebuild

Biblical sources assert that after sacrifices were quickly restarted after the Return, the building of the Temple was delayed. Eventually, permission was obtained from the Persian officials, as well as financial support, for the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. The book of Ezra reproduces an edict to this effect said to originate in the […]

Ezra 9-10 Expulsion of Foreign Wives
By April 8, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Ezra 9-10 Expulsion of Foreign Wives

Ezra was soon confronted with the problem of intermarriage of some Judeans with women from the neighboring nations. Reasoning that the Torah forbade such unions, Ezra forced these men to divorce their wives. 9-1 When this was over, the officers approached me, saying, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated […]

Nehemiah 7-8: The Reading of the Torah
By April 8, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Nehemiah 7-8: The Reading of the Torah

Soon after the arrival of Ezra in Judea in the middle of the fifth century B.C.E., the Judeans entered into a pact to observe the laws of the Torah. As part of this covenant renewal ceremony, the Torah was read aloud and explained. 7-73 When the seventh month arrived—Israelites being [settled] in their towns—8-1 the entire […]

Ezra 7-8: The Arrival of Ezra
By April 8, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Ezra 7-8: The Arrival of Ezra

Ezra arrived in Jerusalem to furnish the Temple, gather the Levites to minister there, and allow the returning exiles to sacrifice for the first time in the Temple. 7-1 After these events, 53 during the reign of King Artaxerxes of Persia, Ezra son of Seraiah son of Azariah son of Hilkiah… 6 that Ezra came up from […]

Ezra 3: The Beginning of Sacrifice
By April 8, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Ezra 3: The Beginning of Sacrifice

By 520 B.C.E., despite the fact that the Temple had still not been rebuilt, sacrifice began, as explained in this excerpt from the book of Ezra. 3-1 When the seventh month arrived—the Israelites being settled in their towns—the entire people assembled as one man in Jerusalem. 2 Then Jeshua son of Jozadak 52 and his brother priests, […]

Nehemiah 1-6: Rebuilding the Wall and Gates of Jerusalem
By April 8, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Nehemiah 1-6: Rebuilding the Wall and Gates of Jerusalem

Nehemiah, cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, hearing about the destruction of Jerusalem and the dire conditions there, takes it upon himself to go personally and implement the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. Each section was built privately by a group or family despite local opposition which caused the builders to have to arm themselves. Nehemiah […]