Monthly Archives: January 2011

01/25/2011 Ezra 8

This chapter details the return of the people of Judah from Babylon to 
Jerusalem. This group included more than 1,000 men as well as women and 
children. It took about 4 months to travel the 900 miles of the trip. They were 
carrying the gold, silver, and bronze of the original temple. This included 
about 26 tons of silver and lots of gold and bronze. They had convinced King 
Artaxerxes that their king was so strong they didn't need an armed guard to 
protect them. That made Eza nervous. We got into a discussion of what it means 
to be sacred. No really good answer except something. Set apart for the worship 
of God. We also talked about the meaning of the chapter four us today and 
thought it represented our coming to God. 

01/18/2011 Ezra 7

Ezra sent to Jerusalem
They were just gone 70-80 years but many generations, and they must have had 
conflicting feelings about going back to Jerusalem. What prompted Cyrus to send 
them back and King Ataxerxes to write the letter to the people of Jerusalem 
giving them all the resources they needed to rebuild the temple? Was he just 
covering his bases or were the Jewish people just a pain in the butt so he 
wanted to get rid of them? Mark suggested that this is like us being in the 
captivity of sin and breaking out of it into freedom. Good thought because 
otherwise it is just a historical image. 

01-11-2011 Ezra 5-6

This was the story of how the building of the temple was being delayed by local 
authorities. They had to write to King Darius who relayed the original memo 
writ5en by King Cyrus about sending the Jews back to Jerusalem. It also included 
the help that should be provided from local taxes to help rebuild the temple. It 
appears that Cyrus was trying to appease and get rid of a troublesome people. 
The demonstrated a very high loyalty to their God. There was a significant 
offering when the temple was completed. It was however a tenth of the offering 
when Solomon completed the temple. This temple was 60 cubits square whereas the 
temple of Solomon was thought to be 40 cubits long by 20 cubits wide by 30 
cubits high. There was a high wall around a courtyard that included the temple. 

01-04-2011 Ezra 4

The Jews returned from captivity in Babylon and under the authority of Cyrus, 
king of Persia set about to rebuild the temple. This account tells how some 
people tried to join the group building the temple and they were rebuffed by the 
people returning from Babylon, principally the leaders Zerubbabel and Jeshua. 
Then Bishlam and his colleagues wrote to king Artaxerxes to. Stop the rebuilding 
because it was being done by insurrectionists. The king stopped the rebuilding 
for about 15 years, until king Darius I.  This was all being done while the 
people who inhabited the area the Jews moved back to were operating under the 
philosophy of Zoeoasterism which essentially was trying to contrast truth vs 
lies. I think they would accept the concept of any god as long as the people 
were searching for truth. This contrasted with the returning Jews who believed 
in one God, namely Jehovah. The returning Jews may have believed that the people 
who had stayed had collaborated with the Babalons in the original captivity of 
the Jews and thus the people were distrustful about their sincerity.