NEARLY ONE hundred years after Cyrus issued his decree allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem, the walls of the Holy City still had not been rebuilt.
Nehemiah, cupbearer to the Persian king Artaxerxes, was granted permission to return to Judah for twelve years and oversee the rebuilding of the walls and gates of Jerusalem. We discuss the opposition to Nehemiah, from without and within, and how he directed his crews to work while prepared to defend themselves. Continue reading
THE SECOND group to return from Babylon to Jerusalem was led by Ezra the priest, who secured permission from the Persian king Artaxerxes in 458 B.C. It was a four-month journey, which the Jews undertook without an armed guard, something that was unheard of in a time when caravan raiders were likely to prey on unsuspecting travelers — especially a group loaded down with more than 30 tons of gold and silver! Continue reading
AN ASTUTE listener pointed out that we skipped chapter 9 of Deuteronomy way back between studies #44 and #45, so we begin this week by correcting that oversight. (Thank you, Marilyn!)
We find a wonderful nugget in Moses’ directions to the Israelites, based on the intriguing link between the Hebrew word for “cities” and the Aramaic word for “Watchers.”
Then we move to the climax of the Book of Esther, in which Haman gets his comeuppance, which was more gruesome than you’ve been taught. (The Hebrew word translated “gallows” really means “pike,” or something similar. Think Vlad the Impaler, and you get the idea.) Continue reading