Friday, March 16, 2007

1200BC to 100BC Old Testament (Continued)

Ezra. Led band of 1500 Jews back to Jerusalem after Babylonian captivity. With Nehemiah, tells of journey and attempts to reestablish temple and morally purify Jewish community.

Nehemiah. Jewish patriot. Persian king Artaxerxes appointed him governor of Judea. Reforms instituted by Nehemiah and Ezra. Rebuilding of walls of Jerusalem after Babylonian captivity, reading of Law of Moses by Ezra, public confession of sin, and dedication of walls.

Esther. Haman secures decree to kill all Jews and hang Mordecai. Persian king has married Esther who exposes Haman's plot. Haman hanged on the gallows he had erected for the hanging of Mordecai. Feast of Purim celebrated in commemoration of this event.

Job. Greatest poetic drama in the Old Testament. Undeserved suffering and God's justice. Is suffering always punishment for sin? Job tested. Wealth vanishes. His children die. He is smitten with boils. Does not "curse God and die." Faith is rewarded.

Psalms. 117 hymns. Many ascribed to David.

Proverbs. Maxims and pithy statements about sin and righteousness. Common sense observations. Solomon?

Ecclesiastes. All is vanity. Rejoice in labor, the gift of God. Despairing tone. To everything a season.

The Song of Songs. Love idyll. Oriental love poem? Allegory of union between Christ and the Church?

Isaiah. Foresees Babylonian Exile. Urges Jews not to lose their faith. Foretells Nehemiah's return to Jerusalem. The life of the Messiah is foretold in Isaiah.

Jeremiah. Fall of city of Jerusalem to Babylonians. True root of religion is heart not Temple. God promises Restoration of Israel and "new covenant."

Lamentations. Jeremiah? Acrostics. Laments misery, suffering from destruction of Jerusalem. Offers repentance for sins of people.

Ezekiel. Prophet during Babylonian exile. Moral responsibility of Jews in captivity. Calls for return to godliness and faith.

Daniel. Continued praying to his own God during Babylonian captivity. Cast into den of lions. Interpreted dreams of Nebuchadnezzar and handwriting on Belshazzar's wall.

Hosea. Life of Hosea with his unfaithful wife, i.e., God's trials with sinful Israel. Catalog of Israel's idolatrous impieties. Call to repentance. Promise of God's blessing.

Joel. Plague of locusts and terrible drought. Repentance, fasting urged. Foretells return of God's love and restored wealth of land.

Amos. Foretold destruction of Israel because of corruption, immorality, social injustice. Five visions, last of which promised redemption and rebuilding of Israel after all sinners have died "by the sword."

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