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OT Survey I. Ezra and Nehemiah. Ezra/Nehemiah as Two Books. Modern versions split them First Hebrew MS to split them: 1448 AD Latin Vulgate split them: ~400 AD Origen first split them: ~225 AD. Ezra/Nehemiah as One Book. All Hebrew MSS before 1448 AD Masoretes considered them one: >600 AD

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Ot survey i

OT Survey I

Ezra and Nehemiah


Ezra nehemiah as two books
Ezra/Nehemiah as Two Books

  • Modern versions split them

  • First Hebrew MS to split them: 1448 AD

  • Latin Vulgate split them: ~400 AD

  • Origen first split them: ~225 AD


Ezra nehemiah as one book
Ezra/Nehemiah as One Book

  • All Hebrew MSS before 1448 AD

  • Masoretes considered them one: >600 AD

  • Josephus considered them one? ~100 AD

  • Apocrypha considered them one? ~100 BC


4 esdras 14 28 48 rsv
4 Esdras 14:28-48 (RSV)

“‘Hear these words, O Israel. At first our fathers dwelt as aliens in Egypt, and they were delivered from there, and received the law of life, which they did not keep, which you also have transgressed after them. Then land was given to you for a possession in the land of Zion; but you and your fathers committed iniquity and did not keep the ways which the Most High commanded you. And because he is a righteous judge, in due time he took from you what he had given. And now you are here, and your brethren are farther in the interior. If you, then, will rule over your minds and discipline your hearts, you shall be kept alive, and after death you shall obtain mercy. For after death the judgment will come, when we …”


4 esdras 14 28 48 rsv1
4 Esdras 14:28-48 (RSV)

“ . . . shall live again; and then the names of the righteous will become manifest, and the deeds of the ungodly will be disclosed. But let no one come to me now, and let no one seek me for forty days.’ So I took the five men, as he commanded me, and we proceeded to the field, and remained there. And on the next day, behold, a voice called me, saying, ‘Ezra, open your mouth and drink what I give you to drink.’ Then I opened my mouth, and behold, a full cup was offered to me; it was full of something like water, but its color was like fire. And I took it and drank; and when I had drunk it, my heart poured forth understanding, and wisdom increased in my breast, for my spirit retained its memory; and . . .”


4 esdras 14 28 48 rsv2
4 Esdras 14:28-48 (RSV)

“ . . . my mouth was opened, and was no longer closed. And the Most High gave understanding to the five men, and by turns they wrote what was dictated, in characters which they did not know. They sat forty days, and wrote during the daytime, and ate their bread at night. As for me, I spoke in the daytime and was not silent at night. So during the forty days ninety-four books were written. And when the forty days were ended, the Most High spoke to me, saying, ‘Make public the twenty-four books that you wrote first and let the worthy and the unworthy read them; but keep the seventy that were written last, in order to give them to the wise among your people. For in them is the spring of understanding, the fountain of wisdom, and the river of knowledge.’ And I did so.


24 books of the hebrew canon
24 Books of the Hebrew Canon

1 Genesis

2 Exodus

3 Leviticus

4 Numbers

5 Deuteronomy

6 Joshua

7 Judges

8 Ruth

9 Samuel (1)

10 Samuel (2)

11 Kings (1)

12 Kings (2)

13 Chronicles (1)

14 Chronicles (2)

15 Ezra

16 Nehemiah

17 Esther

18 Job

19 Psalms

20 Proverbs

21 Ecclesiastes

22 Song of Solomon

23 Isaiah

24 Jeremiah

25 Lamentations

26 Ezekiel

27 Daniel

28 Hosea

29 Joel

30 Amos

31 Obadiah

32 Jonah

33 Micah

34 Nahum

35 Habakkuk

36 Zephaniah

37 Haggai

38 Zechariah

39 Malachi

28 The Twelve


24 books of the hebrew canon1
24 Books of the Hebrew Canon

1 Genesis

2 Exodus

3 Leviticus

4 Numbers

5 Deuteronomy

6 Joshua

7 Judges

8 Ruth

9 Samuel

10 Kings

11 Chronicles

12 Ezra

13 Nehemiah

14 Esther

15 Job

16 Psalms

17 Proverbs

18 Ecclesiastes

19 Song of Solomon

20 Isaiah

21 Jeremiah

22 Lamentations

23 Ezekiel

24 Daniel

25 The Twelve


24 books of the hebrew canon2
24 Books of the Hebrew Canon

1 Genesis

2 Exodus

3 Leviticus

4 Numbers

5 Deuteronomy

6 Joshua

7 Judges

8 Ruth

9 Samuel

10 Kings

11 Chronicles

12 Ezra/Nehemiah

13 Esther

14 Job

15 Psalms

16 Proverbs

17 Ecclesiastes

18 Song of Solomon

19 Isaiah

20 Jeremiah

21 Lamentations

22 Ezekiel

23 Daniel

24 The Twelve


Ezra nehemiah as one book1
Ezra/Nehemiah as One Book

  • All Hebrew MSS before 1448 AD

  • Masoretes considered them one: >600 AD

  • Josephus considered them one? ~100 AD

  • Apocrypha considered them one? ~100 BC

  • Septuagint considered them one: ~250 BC

  • Structure shows they are one (see Dorsey)


Time period of ezra nehemiah
Time Period of Ezra/Nehemiah

  • Jacob born: 2006 BC (Gen 47:9)

  • Jacob enters Egypt: 1876 BC (Exod 12:40-41)

  • Exodus from Egypt: 1446 BC (1 Kings 6:1)

  • Solomon’s Temple Construction Begins: 966 BC

  • Northern Kingdom exiled: 722 BC (2 Kgs 17)

  • Southern Kingdom exiled: 586 BC (2 Kgs 25)

  • Decree of Cyrus: 539 BC (2 Chr 36 = Ezra 1)

  • Temple Rebuilt: 516 BC (Ezra 6:15)

  • Ezra returns: 458 BC (Ezra 7:7)

  • Wall Rebuilt: 445 BC (Neh 2:1; 6:15)

  • Nehemiah returns to Susa: 432 BC (Neh 13:6)

  • Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem: ??? BC (Neh 13)


Time period of ezra nehemiah cont
Time Period of Ezra/Nehemiah (cont…)

  • Before 1150 BC – Egypt controls Palestine

  • 1150 – 1010 BC – Philistines/Israel fight for Palestine

  • 1010 – 930 BC – Israel dominates Palestine

  • 930 – 850 BC – No major empire in Palestine

  • 850 – 612 BC – Assyria the premier power

  • 612 – 539 BC – Bablyon the premier power

  • 539 – 333 BC – Persia the premier power

  • Alexander the Great, Maccabean revolt, Rome


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  • Babylon






Kings of persia
Kings of Persia

  • Cyrus the Great (559-530)

    • Also referred to as “Darius the Mede” (?)

    • Founder of the Persian Empire

    • God’s “Messiah” (Isa 45:1)

    • King when Zerubbabel and company returned

  • Cambyses II (530-522)

  • Darius (521-486)

    • King when temple was completed (Ezra 5-6)

    • Haggai 1:1, Zechariah 1:1

  • Xerxes = Ahasuerus (486-465) – Ezra 4:6

    • Esther’s husband

  • Artaxerxes (464-424)

    • King served by Ezra and Nehemiah


Location of ezra nehemiah in canon
Location of Ezra/Nehemiah in Canon

English

Hebrew

  • Joshua

  • Judges

  • Ruth

  • Samuel

  • Kings

  • Chronicles

  • Ezra

  • Nehemiah

  • Esther

[Torah]

[Historical Books]

[Former Prophets]

(Joshua through Kings)

[Latter Prophets]

(Isa, Jer, Ezek, 12)

  • [Writings]

  • Psalms/Job/Proverbs

  • Megilloth (The 5 Scrolls)

  • Daniel

  • Ezra-Nehemiah

  • Chronicles


Purpose statement of ezra nehemiah
Purpose Statement of Ezra/Nehemiah

  • On the one hand, Israel should recognize that God is working “behind the scenes” to bless them in accord with His promises. However, Israel must also recognize that it still lacks a circumcised heart and must therefore seek God in prayer and diligently pursue obedience before they can expect their final restoration.


Examples of zerubbabel ezra and nehemiah
Examples of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah

  • Love for God’s law

  • Love for Israel and Jerusalem in particular

  • Courage against opposition

    • Based on a trust in God’s promises

    • Preceded by prayers of faith

  • Passionate obedience


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Major Themes

  • God

    • His absolute sovereignty (1:2, 5:11-12; 6:9-10; 7:12, 21-23; Neh 1:4-5; 2:4, 20)


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“The phrase ‘God of heaven’ is typical of post exilic language. It occurs with reference to Yahweh in the decree of Darius (Ezra 6:9-10), as well as in that of Artaxerxes I (7:12, 21, 23). Nehemiah, in his famous prayer in the presence of this same Artaxerxes, addressed Yahweh in the same terms. The reason is obvious, for the setting of the accounts is no longer the narrow confines of Palestine and the chosen people but it is international. The miraculous return and restoration of the pitiful exile community against overwhelming odds certified that Israel’s God is no parochial deity; rather, He is god of heaven itself.”

Eugene Merrill, “A Theology of Ezra-Nehemiah and Esther,” 191


Ot survey i

Major Themes language. It occurs with reference to Yahweh in the decree of Darius (Ezra 6:9-10), as well as in that of Artaxerxes I (7:12, 21, 23). Nehemiah, in his famous prayer in the presence of this same Artaxerxes, addressed Yahweh in the same terms. The reason is obvious, for the setting of the accounts is no longer the narrow confines of Palestine and the chosen people but it is international. The miraculous return and restoration of the pitiful exile community against overwhelming odds certified that Israel’s God is no parochial deity; rather, He is god of heaven itself.”

  • God

    • His absolute sovereignty (1:2, 5:11-12; 6:9-10; 7:12, 21-23; Neh 1:4-5; 2:4, 20)

    • His providential hand

      • Decree of Cyrus – “Yahweh stirred up the spirit of Cyrus”

      • Return of Jews – “Everyone whose spirit God had stirred up”

      • Thwarting opposition – “But the eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews, and they did not stop them”

      • Source of joy – “Yahweh had caused them to rejoice, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them”

      • Foiling plots – “God had frustrated their plan”

      • Nations observe – “They recognized that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God”

      • Giving ideas – “My god put it into my heart to assemble the nobles”


Major themes continued
Major Themes (continued…) language. It occurs with reference to Yahweh in the decree of Darius (Ezra 6:9-10), as well as in that of Artaxerxes I (7:12, 21, 23). Nehemiah, in his famous prayer in the presence of this same Artaxerxes, addressed Yahweh in the same terms. The reason is obvious, for the setting of the accounts is no longer the narrow confines of Palestine and the chosen people but it is international. The miraculous return and restoration of the pitiful exile community against overwhelming odds certified that Israel’s God is no parochial deity; rather, He is god of heaven itself.”

  • His providential hand (continued)

    • “The king granted [Ezra] all he requested because the hand of Yahweh his God was upon him”

    • “On the first of the fifth month [Ezra] came to Jerusalem, because the good hand of his God was upon him.”

    • “Thus I [=Ezra] was strengthened according to the hand of Yahweh, my God, upon me”

    • “According to the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of insight…”

    • “The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him”

    • “The hand of our God was over us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy”

    • “The king granted them to me because the good hand of my God was on me”

    • “I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me”


Major themes continued1
Major Themes (continued…) language. It occurs with reference to Yahweh in the decree of Darius (Ezra 6:9-10), as well as in that of Artaxerxes I (7:12, 21, 23). Nehemiah, in his famous prayer in the presence of this same Artaxerxes, addressed Yahweh in the same terms. The reason is obvious, for the setting of the accounts is no longer the narrow confines of Palestine and the chosen people but it is international. The miraculous return and restoration of the pitiful exile community against overwhelming odds certified that Israel’s God is no parochial deity; rather, He is god of heaven itself.”

  • The law of God

    • Israel is in a strait because of disobedience to it (Neh 1:8; 9)

    • Temple built in accordance with it (Ezra 3:2)

    • Ezra comes to instruct them in it (Ezra 7; Neh 8)

    • Present commitment to it (Neh 10; 12:44; 13:3)

    • Confronting present sin (Ezra 10; Neh 13)

  • Confrontation and confession of sin

  • Prayer

  • Joy and sorrow

  • The Priests, Levites, and the Temple


Interpretative issues
Interpretative Issues language. It occurs with reference to Yahweh in the decree of Darius (Ezra 6:9-10), as well as in that of Artaxerxes I (7:12, 21, 23). Nehemiah, in his famous prayer in the presence of this same Artaxerxes, addressed Yahweh in the same terms. The reason is obvious, for the setting of the accounts is no longer the narrow confines of Palestine and the chosen people but it is international. The miraculous return and restoration of the pitiful exile community against overwhelming odds certified that Israel’s God is no parochial deity; rather, He is god of heaven itself.”

  • Historical confusion in Ezra 4?

  • Who is Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah (Ezra 1:8, 11; 5:14, 16)?


Next week
Next Week language. It occurs with reference to Yahweh in the decree of Darius (Ezra 6:9-10), as well as in that of Artaxerxes I (7:12, 21, 23). Nehemiah, in his famous prayer in the presence of this same Artaxerxes, addressed Yahweh in the same terms. The reason is obvious, for the setting of the accounts is no longer the narrow confines of Palestine and the chosen people but it is international. The miraculous return and restoration of the pitiful exile community against overwhelming odds certified that Israel’s God is no parochial deity; rather, He is god of heaven itself.”

Esther


Josephus against apion 1 8 38 41
Josephus, language. It occurs with reference to Yahweh in the decree of Darius (Ezra 6:9-10), as well as in that of Artaxerxes I (7:12, 21, 23). Nehemiah, in his famous prayer in the presence of this same Artaxerxes, addressed Yahweh in the same terms. The reason is obvious, for the setting of the accounts is no longer the narrow confines of Palestine and the chosen people but it is international. The miraculous return and restoration of the pitiful exile community against overwhelming odds certified that Israel’s God is no parochial deity; rather, He is god of heaven itself.”Against Apion, 1:8:38-41

“For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another [as the Greeks have] but only twenty-two books, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine; and of them five belong to Moses, which contain the laws and the traditions of the origin of mankind until his death. This interval of time was little short of three thousand years; but as to the time from the death of Moses until . . .


Josephus against apion 1 8 38 411
Josephus, language. It occurs with reference to Yahweh in the decree of Darius (Ezra 6:9-10), as well as in that of Artaxerxes I (7:12, 21, 23). Nehemiah, in his famous prayer in the presence of this same Artaxerxes, addressed Yahweh in the same terms. The reason is obvious, for the setting of the accounts is no longer the narrow confines of Palestine and the chosen people but it is international. The miraculous return and restoration of the pitiful exile community against overwhelming odds certified that Israel’s God is no parochial deity; rather, He is god of heaven itself.”Against Apion, 1:8:38-41

“. . . the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, who reigned after Xerxes, the prophets, who were after Moses, wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct of human life. It is true, our history has been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but has not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there has not been an exact succession of prophets since that time.”


The 22 books of josephus
The 22 Books of Josephus language. It occurs with reference to Yahweh in the decree of Darius (Ezra 6:9-10), as well as in that of Artaxerxes I (7:12, 21, 23). Nehemiah, in his famous prayer in the presence of this same Artaxerxes, addressed Yahweh in the same terms. The reason is obvious, for the setting of the accounts is no longer the narrow confines of Palestine and the chosen people but it is international. The miraculous return and restoration of the pitiful exile community against overwhelming odds certified that Israel’s God is no parochial deity; rather, He is god of heaven itself.”

  • 5 Belong to Moses

  • 13 from Moses to Artaxerxes

  • 4 poetic/practical

1 Genesis

2 Exodus

3 Leviticus

4 Numbers

5 Deuteronomy

6 Joshua

7 Judges

8 Ruth

9 Samuel (1)

10 Samuel (2)

11 Kings (1)

12 Kings (2)

13 Chronicles (1)

14 Chronicles (2)

15 Ezra

16 Nehemiah

17 Esther

18 Job

19 Psalms

20 Proverbs

21 Ecclesiastes

22 Song of Solomon

23 Isaiah

24 Jeremiah

25 Lamentations

26 Ezekiel

5

27 Daniel

28 Hosea

29 Joel

30 Amos

31 Obadiah

32 Jonah

33 Micah

34 Nahum

35 Habakkuk

36 Zephaniah

37 Haggai

38 Zechariah

39 Malachi

10

13

6

12

1

11

2

3

7

8

4

5

9