The characteristic features of the book are the importance assigned to the personality of Zerubbabel, who, though a living contemporary, is marked out as the Messiah; and the almost sacramental significance attached to the temple.
In the book of Zechariah Zerubbabel has already fallen into the background and the high priest is the leading figure of the Judean community.
An immense body of exiles is said to have returned at this time to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel, who was of Davidic descent, and the priest Jeshua or Joshua, the grandson of the murdered Seraiah (Ezra i.
15); and Zerubbabel is the one to take in hand and complete the great undertaking (Zech.
In Zerubbabel the people beheld once more a ruler of the Davidic race.
So Haggai sees in Zerubbabel the representative of the 5 There is an obvious effort to preserve the continuity of tradition (a) in Ezra ii.
- There is another remarkable gap in the historical traditions between the time of Zerubbabel and the reign of Artaxerxes I.
Nehemiah naturally gives us only his version, and the attitude of Haggai and Zechariah to Zerubbabel may illustrate the feeling of his partisans.
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.
Although there is no psalm which can be shown with any probability to be pre-exilic, it is not impossible that there are some which date from as early a time as the age of Zerubbabel, by whose appointment national hopes were raised to so high a pitch.
7-10, is most easily understood of the time when the Lord who had shown Himself strong and mighty by His victories over the heathen returned in triumph to His Temple in 164 B.C. - in the days of Zerubbabel or of Nehemiah Jehovah had not recently shown Himself " mighty in battle."
Supported by the prophets, Zerubbabel and Joshua set about the work, and the elders of Judah built and the work went forward (Ezra v.
As by rights the Messianic kingdom should follow immediately on the exile, it is probable that the prophet designs to hint in a guarded way that Zerubbabel, who in all other places is mentioned along with Joshua, is on the point of ascending the throne of his ancestor David.
Beside a lighted golden candlestick of seven branches stand two olive trees - Zerubbabel and Joshua, the two anointed ones - specially watched over by Him whose seven eyes run through the whole earth.
Zerubbabel is certainly meant here, and, if the received text names Joshua instead of him (vi.
2 Zerubbabel and Joshua, the prince and the priest, are the leaders of the community.
The former prophecy is closely linked to the situation and wants of the community of Jerusalem in the second year of Darius I., and relates to the restoration of the temple and, perhaps, the elevation of Zerubbabel to the throne of David.
- xiv., however, " there is nothing about the restoration of the temple, or about Joshua and Zerubbabel; but we read of the evil rulers, foreign and native alike, who maltreat their subjects, and enrich themselves at their expense.'
The descendants of Zerubbabel seem to be reckoned to six generations (the Septuagint reads it so as to give as many as eleven generations), and this agrees with the suggestion that Hattush (verse 22), who belongs to the fourth generation from Zerubbabel, was a contemporary of Ezra (Ezra viii.
Susanna, where the point lies in the name Daniel " God is judge "), Esther, Judith, Tobit (and the Ahiqar cycle of stories), the story of Zerubbabel (i Esd.
It was, however, only very gradually that the figure and name of the Messiah acquired the prominence which they have in 2 The hopes which Haggai and Zechariah connect with the name of Zerubbabel, a descendant of David, hardly form an exception to this statement.
In the latter part of the 6th century we find some restoration, some revival of the old monarchy in the person of Zerubbabel (520 B.C.); but again the course of events is problematical (JEws, § 20).
As regards the situations which presuppose the ruin of Jerusalem and a return of exiles, the obscure events after the time of Zerubbabel cannot be left out of account.
Even in the beginning of the 2nd century B.C., when Ben Sira praises notable figures of the exilic and post-exilic age (Zerubbabel, Jeshua and Nehemiah), Ezra is passed over (Ecclesiasticus xlix.