II. Composition of the Books

Books: This is understood both by the arrangement of the material and by its nature. The one book Ezra-Nehemiah is the second half of a large work, of which I and II Chronicles are the first half. The divisions of Ezra-Nehemiah are Ezra i.-vi., vii.-x., Nehemiah i.-xiii. These three parts are constructed on the

1. Analysis of the Books

same plan, each narrating the story of a return of the Jews under special authority and with grants from the Persian kings under Zerubbabel and Joshua, Ezra and Nehemiah, and telling the weighty consequences for the temple community in the Holy Land. There resulted the completion of the temple, the restoration of the public service, the binding together of the community by prohibition of foreign marriages, the securing of political independence of the neighboring peoples through completion of the wall of the repeopled capital, and adoption by the community of the law-book of Moses (Ezra vi., x.; Neh. iii. sqq., viii.).

These results are interwoven into the history of the times. The first step was taken under Cyrus and continued under Darius, the second in the seventh year of Artaxerxes, the third in the twentieth and thirty-second year of the same Artaxerxes. The Persian succession was well known to the author, who in Ezra iv. rr7 names successively Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes. During that period fell the decrees which were the legal basis of the Jewish community and the contests the successful issue of which consolidated that community and impressed upon it a distinctive character. The seventh year of the Artaxerxes of Ezra vii.

2. The Sources Employed

year of an Artaxerxes who lived some sixty Employed. years later under whom the events of Neh. i.-xiii. happened. Nor may it be held that the author dealt with fic titious dates and decrees. Such suspicions are ex cluded by the quality of the material, which the writer has brought together and made to serve his purpose. The books are a mosaic. The author doubtless obtained the list of the returning exiles from the Books of the Kings of Israel and Judah. He also employed the "Memoirs" of Ezra, those of Nehemiah, and a reputed report of Tabeel and his com panions (Ezra iv. 7) directed to Artaxerxes. Here the Masoretic text is the result of a complete misunder standing. The author of it made out of the original "with the permission of Mithredath "the series" Bish lam, Mithredath," producing a triple authorship for a document which is only referred to and not given, since the document in Ezra iv. 11-16 is specifically stated to be by others (verses 8-9). It is to be noted also that iv. 12 refers to the building of the city and iv. 24 to the building of the temple, and that if the traditional theory were correct, the author would have confused entirely different events and blended the accounts as though they referred to one and the same thing. Similarly out of the reports of Nehemiah, narrated in the first person, the writer built up a story in which seven successive steps in the progress of the work of rebuilding the wall appear, which is a reconstruction by the Chronicler of the order of events as they probably lay in the original documents. Into this is woven an account of the introduction of the lawbook, explained by the union of efforts by Ezra and Nehemiah for that purpose. This part is probably taken as an excerpt from ,ths memoirs of Ezra.

In defense of the author's stylistic method it must be remembered that he was writing for his contemporaries, probably using documents stored in the Jewish archives; that he was not concerned with historical matters of detail the interest in which is

8. The great to moderns; and that he had Author's a comprehensive view of the whole pose. work of restoration of the Jewish commonwealth, which he put for ward in the shape of a mosaic the joining of which is not always close and the parts of which are not well coordinated. It was his idea to set forth that as the Samaritans of the time of Zerubbabel hindered the work commanded by Cyrus, so they continued their attempts at hindrance in the days of Artaxerxes. He desired in his notes of time (Ezra vii. 1; Neh. i. 1, ii. 1, viii.-xiii.) to indicate the cooperation of Ezra and Nehemiah in the work. The question has been raised whether the narrative as it stands is the result of wilful perversion of the sources, or of misunderstanding, or whether it conforms to the facts. Nehemiah reports that to him had come sad accounts of the ruinous state of the walls and city of Jerusalem; the apology of Tabeel narrates that the work of reconstruction had been prohibited and forcibly prevented through a denunciation to the Artaxerxes who sent Jews back to Jerusalem. But who could be so influen tial and so secure in bringing about the restoration of Jerusalem as those who had come with letters missive from the king directed to the accomplishment of this task of restoration? The general out line of history as made out by the author agrees with the facts as presented by his sources.

(A. Klostermann.)

Bibliography: Texts are issued by S. Baer in the Baer and Delitsech series, Leipsic, 1882; in the Polychrome Bible. by H. Guthe, New York, 1901; and a new text is by M. L&hr in the new Biblia Rebraica begun by R. Kittel, Leipsic, 1905. The best commentaries are by J. D. Michaelis, Frankfort, 1720; C. F. Keil, Leipsic, 1870, Eng. transl., Edinburgh, 1873; G. Rawlinson and others in Pulpit Commentary, 1880; E. Berthesu and V. Ryssel, Leipsic, 1887; H. E. Ry:a, in Cambridge Bible, 1893. Discussions on special topics are: R, smend, Die Listen den Biixher Ears and Nehemiah, Basel, 1881; A. van Hoonacker, N&tsnie et EBdras, nouvelle hypothdse Bur la chronologie, Gand, 1890; idem, Nekemie en t'an .80 d'Artaxerxes 1. et EBdras en Van 7 d'Artaxerxes ll., ib. 1892; idem, Zorobabel el Is second temple, ib. 1892; idem, Nouvelle itudessur la reetauration juive, Paris, 1896 (a reply to Hostere, be-


low); p. H. Hunter, After the Exile, Edinburgh. 18~: G. 13awlineon, in Men of the Bible Series, London, 1891; W. H. Koctere. Het Herstel van Israel, Leyden, 1893: A. H. Sayse. ltrod.Mon to . . . Esro. Nehemiah a"l Either, London, 1893; idem, Higher Uria^d the Monuments, ib. 1894; E. Meyer, BntatehurW des J~S^' fume, Halle, 1898 (cf. J. Wellhausen in OGA, 1897; ii. 89 sqq.); C. C. Torrey, COftipositi"n and Historic Valr·- ^f Ezra and Nehemiah. in ZATW. Giessen, 1898; T.

C Jewish RsisPious life after the Exile, New York, 1898; P. W. H. Kettlewell, Books of Esra a~ Nelwmiah, London, 1901; E. Schrader, in TSK, 1867, pp. 4~"504; idem, KAT, i. 294-297: DB i. 821-824; BB, ii. 147814g8, Consult also the works on the history of Israel and on introduction to the Old Testament, especially Driver, Introduction, pp. 507 sqq.


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