8/4/2019 0 Comments
Welcome, welcome, welcome my friends.
Let us start to study another book of the Holy Bible with another courageous man, Nehemiah, who God used in a powerful manner, just as He did with Joshua. [See the series in this room, from February 24, 2019 - June 19, 2019,]
For today, Sunday August 4, 2019, since your 'first read', July 21, 2019, as we continue from July 24, 2019; July 28, 2019; July 31, 2019, let's continue our study in 'Nehemiah' in more detail. First some background information. We will continue to post on a 'weekly' basis with this material.
“Before Nehemiah - Background and Setting”: True to God’s promise of judgment, He brought the Assyrians and Babylonians to deliver His chastisement upon wayward Judah and Israel. In 722 B.C. the Assyrians deported the 10 northern tribes and scattered them all over the then known world (2 Kings chapter 17). Several centuries later (ca. 605 – 586 B.C.), God used the Babylonians to sack, destroy, and nearly depopulate Jerusalem (2 Kings chapter 25), because Judah had persisted in her unfaithfulness to the covenant. God chastened His people with 70 years of captivity in Babylon (Jer. 25:11). audio-bible.com/bible/bible.html
During the Jews captivity, world empire leadership changed hands from the Babylonians to the Persians (ca. 539 B.C.; Dan. Chapter 5), after which Daniel received most of his prophetic revelation (compare Dan. Chapters 6, 9 – 12). On passing, Persia is now called - Iran. audio-bible.com/bible/bible.html
As you have had chance to read the Book of Ezra, audio-bible.com/bible/bible.html, it begins with the decree of Cyrus, a Persian king, to return God’s people to Jerusalem to rebuild God’s house (ca. 539 B.C.), and chronicles the reestablishment of Judah’s national calendar of feasts and sacrifices. Zerubbabel and Joshua led the first return (Ezra chapters 1-6), and rebuilt the temple. Esther gives a glimpse of the Jews left in Persia (ca. 483 – 473 B.C.), when Haman attempted to eliminate the Jewish race. Ezra (chapters 7-10), recounts the second return led by Ezra (in 458 B.C.). Nehemiah chronicles the third return to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem (ca. 445 B.C.). audio-bible.com/bible/bible.html.
At that time in Judah’s history, the Persian Empire dominated the entire Near Eastern world. Its administration of Judah, although done with a loose hand, was mindful of disruptions or any signs of rebellion from its vassals. Rebuilding the walls of conquered cities posed the most glaring threat to the Persian central administration. Only a close confidant of the king himself could be trusted for such an operation. At the most critical juncture in Judah’s revitalization, God raised up Nehemiah to exercise one of the most trusted roles in the empire, the King’s cupbearer and confidant.
Life under the Persian king Artaxerxes (ca. 464 – 423 B.C.), had its advantages for Nehemiah. Much like Joseph, Esther, and Daniel, he had attained a significant role in the palace which then ruled the ancient world, a position from which God could use him to lead the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls in spite of its implications for Persian control of that city.
Several other historical notes are of interest. First, Esther was Artaxerxes’ stepmother (Esther 1:9), and could have easily influenced him to look favorably upon the Jews, especially Nehemiah.
Second, Daniels’s prophetic 70 weeks began with the decree to rebuild the city issued by Artaxerxes in 445 B.C., (compare chapters 1 and 2; see Daniel 9:24-26).audio-bible.com/bible/bible.html
Third, the Elephantine papyri (Egyptian documents), dated to the late 5th century B.C., support the account of Nehemiah by mentioning Sanballat the governor of Samaria (2:19), Jehohanan (6:18; 12:23), and Nehemiah’s being replaced as governor of Jerusalem by Bigvai (ca. 410 B.C.; Neh. 10:16). audio-bible.com/bible/bible.html
Finally, Nehemiah and the 'book' of Malachi represent the last of the Old Testament canonical writings, both in terms of the time the events occurred (chapter 13; Malachi. Chapters 1-4), and the time when they were recorded by Ezra. audio-bible.com/bible/bible.html
Thus, the next messages from God for Israel do not come until over 400 years of silence had passed, after which the births of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ were announced (Matthew. chapter 1; Luke chapters 1 and 2). audio-bible.com/bible/bible.html
With the full Old Testament revelation of Israel’s history prior to Christ’s incarnation being completed, the Jews had not yet experienced the fullness of God’s various covenants and promises to them. While there was a Jewish remnant, as promised to Abraham (compare Genesis 15:5), it does not appear to be even as large as the time of the Exodus (Numbers 1:46). The audio-bible.com/bible/bible.html
Jews neither possessed the Land (Genesis 15:7), nor did they rule as a sovereign nation (Genesis 12:2). The Davidic throne was unoccupied (compare 2 Samuel 7:16), although the High-Priest was of the line of Eleazar and Phinehas (compare Numbers 25:10-13). God’s promise to consummate the New Covenant of redemption awaited the birth, crucifixion, and resurrection of Messiah (compare Hebrews Chapters 7 – 10).
We shall continue with more on the 'the themes' on our Post 6, Wednesday August 7, 2019, after which, we will take a two-week pause, to review and reflect on what has been posted.
I do pray that you understand more why it would be helpful for your understanding by reading both, Ezra and Esther, as we are studying 'Nehemiah'. Thank you for returning.
Take you time and glance through the Book of Ezra as well as Esther, as well. You will get a better understanding as we discuss the 'final touches' through 'Nehemiah'. Amen. Amen.
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So, welcome to all the 'rooms' where 'themes' will guide you to understand a 'life in the Faith of Jesus Christ'. Come as often as you like - 24/7 days per year. Thank you, and let me hear from you with any suggestions or questions. Satira M. Quarles