Showing posts from February, 2012

Exiles' return

Who was Cyrus? Who was Darius? Who was Antaxerxes? What’s the connection between the books of Ezra and Chronicles? Who wrote “Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit”? Why was Daniel thrown to the lions? Who got tax-free status under Artaxerxes? Who ordered the removal of pagan wives? Who oversaw the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls? Which Jewish leader threatened to “lay my hands on” anyone who broke the Sabbath? After Babylon falls, Cyrus (the Mede, the conqueror) believes the gods will honor him for returning their peoples to their lands, including returning Jews to Jerusalem (Ezra 1). The book of Ezra continues the story from the end of the book of Chronicles, keeping the same priestly emphasis and suggesting the same person may have compiled both. Sheshbazzar and Zerubbabel lead the captives home (though many, including Daniel and Esther, and presumably Ezra at this time, choose to stay). Returnees rebuild the altar and star

After the Fall

How was Judah governed under Babylon? What happened to Jeremiah after Jerusalem fell? Was the name Ishmael (Israel’s brother) always despised by the Jews? What’s the connection between the fall of Jerusalem and the Exodus? What has Greece to do with the fall of Jerusalem? Who wrote the psalms? Who wrote about bones coming to life? Why did Isaiah write about Lucifer? Who was the creature of the night? What is the writing on the wall? Nebuchadnezzar replaced Judah’s king with a governor, Gedaliah, friend of Jeremiah and Baruch. But he was soon killed (2 Ki 25:22-26) by Ishmael (a member of the royal family), probably because he viewed Babylon favorably, as did Jeremiah (Jer 39, 40). Gedaliah ruled from Mizpah since Jerusalem was gone. Civil war ensues with Ishmael’s faction fleeing to Ammon and the remaining Judahites escaping to (rather than from) Egypt, against Jeremiah’s advice (Jer 42). Jeremiah is taken to Egypt and writ

Jerusalem Falls

Why couldn’t Daniel eat meat? Why did Daniel have to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream? Where does the expression “feet of clay” come from? Did Babylonian kings ever worship God? Where did Jeremiah come from? Which Jewish prophet was accused of defecting to Babylon? Which Jewish prophet was upset by the combination of church and state? Why is Egypt like an eagle? Which prophet wrote about how to cook dinner? What is the book of Lamentations? Daniel and his friends were among the cream of Judahite youth taken to Babylon in the first conquest (around 600BC). Fed the finest meals at court and taught by the best teachers, they were destined for greatness, but Daniel refuses the rich foods and insists on a vegetarian diet, presumably because he can’t be sure religious rules are followed in the kitchens (Dan 1). Meanwhile Judah’s less important people remain behind. The trainees' lives are endangered, less than 3 years in

Road to Babylon

Which two Old Testament characters complained that they couldn’t speak? Who condemned worship of the queen of heaven? Which prophet had no family? What’s the connection between Assyria and Babylon? Who is Nebuchadnezzar? Why did Daniel end up in Babylon? Who refused to eat expensive food? What people were compared to inexpensive figs? What’s the connection between Jehoiakim’s replacement Zedekiah and his uncle Mattaniah? Why might Jeremiah and Kings have been written by the same person or close friends? When God called him Jeremiah, a relatively well-off country priest (Jer 8, 32), complains he can’t   speak well, just as Moses did before, and Paul after (Jer 1). Judah is enjoying financial and spiritual success, so Jeremiah’s message of doom and gloom is, not surprisingly, unpopular. But Isaiah has already prophesied that Judah will be conquered. The prophet Nahum has written of the fall of Nineveh (Sennacherib’s Ass