We have no information regarding Jerusalem during the period of the captivity, but fortunately Nehemiah, who was permitted to return and rebuild the defences about 445 B.C., has given a fairly clear description of the line of the wall which enables us to obtain a good idea of the extent of the city at this period.
The Temple had already been partially rebuilt by Zedekiah and his companions, but on a scale far inferior to the magnificent building of King Solomon, and Nehemiah devoted his attention to the reconstruction of the walls.
Nehemiah mentions a number of places on the eastern hill, including the tomb of David, the positions of which cannot with our present knowledge be fixed with any certainty.
After the restoration of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah, a considerable number of Jews returned to the city, but we know practically nothing of its history for more than a century until, in 332 B.C., Alexander the Great conquered Syria.
The oppression of Antiochus led to a revolt of the Jews under the leadership of the Maccabees, and Judas Maccabaeus succeeded in capturing Jerusalem after severe fighting, but could not get The sites shown on the plan are tentative, and cannot be regarded as certain; see Nehemiah ii.
The Pentateuch (or Hexateuch) was finally completed in its present form at some time before 400 B.C. The latest parts of the Old Testament are the books of Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah (c. 330 B.C.), Ecclesiastes and Esther (3rd century) and Daniel, composed either in the 3rd century or according to some views as late as the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (c. 168 B.C.).
Longimanus (465-425), attracts attention because the famous Jewish reformers Ezra and Nehemiah flourished under a king of this name.
44 8 -447), independent evidence for the position of Judah is needed, since a catastrophe apparently befell the unfortunate state before Nehemiah appears upon the scene.
- The biblical history for the Persian period is contained in a new source - the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, whose standpoint and period are that of Chronicles, with which they are closely joined.
2 In addition to this, the Egyptian story of the priest Uza-hor at the court of Cambyses and Darius reflects a policy of religious tolerance which illustrates the biblical account of Ezra and Nehemiah (Brugsch, Gesch.
4 See Ezra And Nehemiah with bibliographical references, also T.
But the curtain is raised for too brief an interval to allow of more than a passing glimpse at the restoration of Judaean fortunes; not until the time of Nehemiah, about 140 years after the fall of Jerusalem, does the historical material become less imperfect.
Nehemiah and Ezra.
It is the work of rebuilding and reorganization, of social and of religious reforms, which we encounter in the last pages of biblical history, and in the records of Ezra and Nehemiah we stand in Jerusalem in the very centre of epoch-making events.
Nehemiah, the cup-bearer of Artaxerxes at Susa, plunged in grief at the news of the desolation of Jerusalem, obtained permission from the king to rebuild the ruins.
It was insinuated that Nehemiah had his prophets to proclaim that Judah had again its own king; it was even suggested that he was intending to rebel against Persia!
Nehemiah naturally gives us only his version, and the attitude of Haggai and Zechariah to Zerubbabel may illustrate the feeling of his partisans.
Nevertheless the undaunted Judaean pressed on unmoved by the threatening letters which were sent around, and succeeded in completing the walls within fifty-two days.2 In the next place, Nehemiah appears as governor of the small district of Judah and Benjamin.
Nehemiah was faced with old abuses, and vehemently contrasted the harshness of the nobles with the generosity of the exiles who would redeem their poor countrymen from slavery.
Nehemiah also turns his attention to religious abuses.
With this Nehemiah brings the account of his reforms to a conclusion, and the words " Remember me, 0 my God, for good " (xiii.
The story of this scribe (now combined with the memoirs of Nehemiah) crystallizes the new movement inaugurated after a return of exiles from Babylonia.
22), Bagohi (Bagoas), governor of Judah, and Delaiah and Shelemiah sons of Sanballat (408-407 B.C.) They ignore any strained relations between Samaria and Judah, and Delaiah and Bagohi unite in granting permission to the Jewish colony to rebuild their place of worship. If this fixes the date of Sanballat and Nehemiah in the time of the first Artaxerxes, the probability of confusion in the later written sources is enhanced by the recurrence of identical names of kings, priests, &c., in the history.
- The biblical history for the period in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah is exceptionally obscure, and it is doubtful how far the traditions can be trusted before we reach the reign of Artaxerxes (Ezra vii.
(c) In the 10th year (445 B.C.) Nehemiah returned with permission to rebuild the walls, the citadel and the governor's house (Neh.
On the other hand, a place can hardly be found for the history of Ezra before the appearance of Nehemiah; he moves in a settled and peaceful community such as Nehemiah had helped to form, his reforms appear to be more mature and schematic than those of Nehemiah; and, whilst Josephus handles the two separately, giving Ezra the priority, many recent scholars incline to place Nehemiah's first visit before the arrival of Ezra.'
Next, since there are three distinct sources, for (a) above, and for the work of Nehemiah and of Ezra, implicit reliance cannot be placed upon the present sequence of narratives.
13) or Nehemiah (i.
5, 17), should now interfere when Nehemiah was armed with a royal mandate (Neh.
This agrees substantially with the independent records of Nehemiah, and unless we assume two disasters not widely separated in date - viz.
7) to frighten Nehemiah (Neh.
15 seq., 20 seq.), and it may possibly be gathered that Nehemiah at once departed to justify himself (Neh.
In the records of Nehemiah the ruins of the city are extensive (ii.
13), and the tradition that Nehemiah rebuilt this Temple (Jos.
And iv.) from a subsequent stage when the first inhabitants of Jerusalem correspond in the main to the new population after Nehemiah had repaired the ruins (I Chron.
The criticism of the history of Nehemiah, which leads to this conjecture, suggests also that if Nehemiah repulsed the Samaritan claims (ii.
With Nehemiah and Ezra we enter upon the era in which a new impulse gave to Jewish life and thought that form which became the characteristic orthodox Judaism.
Laws were 1 It is at least a coincidence that the prophet who took the part of Tobiah and Sanballat against Nehemiah (vi.
The work represented in Nehemiah and Ezra, and put into action by the supporters of an exclusive Judaism, certainly won the day, and their hands have left their impress upon the historical traditions.
This again simply means that the Mosaism of Ezra or Nehemiah must have differed essentially from the priestly teaching prior to their arrival.
The reforms of Nehemiah were directed towards the establishment of a religious community at Jerusalem, in which the rigour of the law should be observed.
(1883); Ancient Empires of the East (1884); Introduction to Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther (1885); Assyria (1885); Hibbert Lectures on Babylonian Religion (1887); The Hittites (1889); Races of the Old Testament (1891); Higher Criticism and the Verdict of the Monuments (1894); Patriarchal Palestine (1895); The Egypt of the Hebrews and Herodotus (1895); Early History of the Hebrews (1897); Israel and the Surrounding Nations (1898); Babylonians and Assyrians (1900); Egyptian and Babylonian Religion (1903); Archaeology of the Cuneiform Inscr.
14); and when Nehemiah prepared to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem an Ammonite was foremost in opposition (Neh.
S That Joel wrote not only after the exile but after the work of Ezra and Nehemiah may be viewed as confirmed by the allusions to the walls of Jerusalem in ch.
By the earlier Greek authors (Herodotus, Thucydides and often in Xenophon) it is rendered by i»rapxos lieutenant, governor," in the documents from Babylonia and Egypt and in Ezra and Nehemiah by pakha, " governor "; and the satrap Mazaeus of Cilicia and Syria in the time of Darius III.
Ben Sira indeed in his list of worthies mentions Zerubbabel, Joshua and Nehemiah; but Zerubbabel and Joshua he must have known from the books of Haggai and Zechariah, and he may well have been acquainted with that document relating to Nehemiah which the Chronicler incorporated with his book.
In Nehemiah xii.
41 the gild of singers as a whole is called Bne Asaph, as it was apparently in the time of Nehemiah (Neh.
Malachi, Ezra and Nehemiah, like Haggai and Zechariah, are still very far from holding that the sin of Israel lies all in the past.
There is nothing even to connect these Jews with Palestine; they may have formed a part of the very considerable Jewish community which we know to have been settled in Egypt as early as the 5th century B.C. On the other hand, it is extremely improbable that the Jews of Judaea, whom Nehemiah had entirely detached from their immediate neighbours, would have taken part in any general rising against Persia.