Mon, 2 November 2009
The return to the land of Israel was an event which really broadened the world of the Israelites. When Jews began forming a Diaspora, it clarified the concept that God was not just a local deity, but rather the God of the universe. Babylon, in particular, appears as a true cosmopolis until the time when Revelation was written.
As previously stated, the Persians, unlike the Babylonians, allowed a moderate amount of home rule, which was eventually exploited to build a second temple around 522BC, after prodding by Haggai and Zechariah. This second temple was much smaller than the temple built by Solomon, and those who had seen the first temple were struck by the difference between the two.
Zechariah and Haggai prophesy that Zerubbabel will see the completion of the temple, and for that, he is part of the earthly lineage of the Christ. While the people set about funding the rebuilding of their own homes, they do not do all they can to fund the rebuilding of the temple. God, through Haggai, chastises the people for not funding the process and afflicts the land with a drought as punishment. The rebuilding of the temple takes seven years, and then 50 years after that, Nehemiah, the governor arrives in the land. Ezra proclaims the law to the people, and for the Jews, this triumphant echo of Moses forms the end of the historical books of the Hebrew Scriptures.
The closing theme is Gerard Satamian's Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com