REL113: Old Testament Faith and History, week 9.
Chronicler’s History, Restoration. RJDKnauth
Read 1-2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and Hill ch. 13-14. Review Friedman ch. 8 and 13.
The “Chronicler” - Starting over again, re-telling the
story from Adam to the exile and restoration.
One continuous history, 3 editions (not exactly corresponding to Chronicles/Ezra/Nehemiah, but close).
General theme of Repentance and Restoration.
Rival history to the Deuteronomistic History, intended to
supercede it (?).
Same sources, different perspective:
1. Leaves out Kings of Northern Israel (they are gone, so information about them is irrelevant).
2. Elaborates on building of Solomon’s Temple (special interest in period when temple is being re-built), and the various religious rituals associated with it (being re-created at this time), including Passover celebration and antiphonal choral singing.
3. Portrayal of Manasseh as paradigm of repentance instead of paradigm of evil on whom the exile is blamed (as in the Deuteronomistic History), fitting in with a general theme of repentance and restoration in the work.
4. Even evaluation of kings (good, bad, good, bad, good, bad, etc.) as opposed to Dtr’s downward spiral – again reflects general theme of repentance and restoration.
Priestly redaction of Pentateuch (Ezra?) – giving shape to an old tradition from a particular perspective.
Historical background of Exile and Restoration (Persian
Period; 2nd Temple Period):
597 Partial deportation of Judah to Babylon (aristocracy, incl. Jehoiachin, Ezekiel). Zedekiah appointed king.
587/6 Nebuchadnezer invasion destroys Jerusalem (incl. Temple). Deportation of aristocracy to Exile in Babylon.
Babylonian appointed governor in Judah assassinated, many flee to Egypt (taking Jeremiah against his will).
561 Evil-Merodach releases Jehoiachin from prison. Deuteronomistic History and Jeremiah both end with this.
Disintegration of Babylonian empire, willing surrender to the Persians under Cyrus in 538 BCE.
538 “Cyrus Edict” in Chronicles and Ezra, and also on Cyrus Cyllinder (contemporary)! Begin Persian Period.
Cyrus the Persian as “God’s Anointed” Messiah in 2nd Isaiah, releases Israelites to return and rebuild temple.
Supplies provided, temple treasure returned (parallel to “plundering Egyptians,” Ark Narrative, Slave release).
Most are reluctant to go: born in Babylon, cosmopolitan city, comfortable. Return to a ruins.
(False) Portrayal of Babylonian Exile as Slavery parallel to slavery in Egypt, expect new “Exodus.”
“P” revised to convince Israelites to return (50th year Jubilee, year of Lord’s favor, new Exodus)
Small return w/ Sheshbazar (Zerubbabel?): Davidic heir (thru Jehoiachin) to restore royal line (but nothing came of it)
Note while Cyrus Edict comes after 50 years, Chronicles records exile as lasting 70 years (1st return was small).
522 Darius takes over the Persian empire, re-authorizes building of temple after Samaritan opposition, letters.
Zerubbabel returns with (re-)authorization to build temple after local objections. Begin "Restoration" Period (?)
Note some confusion in time line - Z. sent in response to opposition in wake of Z's dedication...
Rebuilding Temple a disappointment – not the same as glory days of Solomon. Depressing, discouraged.
Prophetic response of Haggai (eye witness of 1st temple), Zechariah (born in Babylon) of minor prophets.
516 Dedication of 2nd Temple under Zerubbabel “scion (heir) of David” (according to Haggai & Zechariah).
Marks 70th anniv. of destr. of 1st temple in 586 – assoc. w/ 70 year exile = lack of temple. Begin 2nd Temple Period.
458 Ezra arrives in Jerusalem, sent by King Artaxerxes to encourage native Israelite worship.
445 Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem, appointed as Governor by Artaxerxes, but then returns to Babylon.
433 Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem, sent by King Artaxerxes.
Rebuilding walls of Jerusalem. Opposition from local inhabitants (Samaritans).
Problem of intermarriage becomes major issue.
Public Reading of Law, covenant renewal: need for translation/interpretation (Hebrew/Aramaic?)
330 Alexander the Great conquers Persian Empire for Greeks! End of Persian period, beginning of Hellenistic.
70 C.E./A.D. 2nd Temple destroyed by Romans. End of 2nd Temple Period.
Back to REL 113 Syllabus