ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Faith and Determination of Ezra

Updated on November 24, 2013

It's All About Rebuilding

Jerusalem Construction Workers
Jerusalem Construction Workers

Ezra's One-Way Ticket Out of Babylon

The Book of Ezra tells of a man who is the direct descendant of Moses' brother Aaron, the first high priest of the Hebrews. About 60 years after Jerusalem was destroyed and survivors taken to Babylon about 500 miles to the east, a new day was born when Cyrus, King of Persia, decided to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. This occurred at least fifteen generations after Moses and his brother Aaron led the Hebrews out of Egypt to the Promised Land of what is today Israel. Ezra, who led the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple lived in the Sixth Century BC.

Why did Cyrus decide to rebuild the temple? It was for the same reason that many leaders did things in ancient times. God told him to do it. It was done not for the God of Persia but for the God of Israel.

The Book of Ezra was written by Hebrew scholars. Some say it was written by God. It is not part of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, which tell of Moses and the journey to the Promised Land. Moses lived over 400 years before Ezra. Another 400 years before Moses was when Jacob (called "Israel") lived and immigrated into Egypt. Jacob descended from Isaac and Abraham. They descended from Noah and his family, who in turn had descended through the generations from Adam and Eve. This is why we can apply the word "ancient" to many of the happenings in the Bible even before the birth of Jesus, which itself was in ancient times.

The Hebrew captives returning from Babylon to Jerusalem numbered 42,360 people according to the Book of Ezra. Surrounding peoples in the lands outside Jerusalem wanted to participate in the rebuilding of the temple but were excluded from the task. Jealous and resentful, they retaliated by warning the Persian rulers that Jerusalem residents were rebellious troublemakers.

The Persian authorities governing the territory thereupon halted reconstruction of the temple. But when Darius became King of Persia, rebuilding resumed. The excluded outsiders again became angry and challenged Darius' authority to order the resumption of the building of the temple.

Darius searched for documents to prove that the reconstruction was according to the law. He found the original written orders of Cyrus to rebuild the temple. This settled the matter.

Then Ezra was chosen to come to Jerusalem from Babylon. He was a priest and a scribe. He was appointed to be the man in charge of the Jerusalem temple project. The temple was to be rebuilt just as beautifully as the original one. The journey of Ezra and his followers back to Jerusalem dramatizes the return of the Hebrews to their city in order to recapture their religious faith.

But separation from the surrounding non-Jewish people always seemed important to the ancient Hebrews. Intermarriage with Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, and Amorities was considered wrong. These were "pagans."

Ezra told those men who'd taken pagan wives to "put away" their wives (divorce them) because the "holy seed" of Hebrews should not be "mixed with other peoples."

The Book of Ezra affords a glimpse into the mind-set of ancient people who have created a view of God that adheres to western religions even to this day. But the segregationist attitudes fly in the face of modern progressive ideas.

The key to the importance of the Book of Ezra is that the rebuilding of something destroyed is symbolic of the continued vitality of the Hebrew people and their religion. The preservation of tradition is very important to the Hebrew people, carried forward into the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religions that dominate western values. The temple in Jerusalem had to be rebuilt so that the manifestation of religion could be preserved.

Rebuilding World Trade Center

New York
New York

Reconstruction After War

In America, the period after the Civil War was referred to as "reconstruction," but the gist of that effort was more to reform society toward civil rights rather than to reconstruct the devastated buildings and farms of the South, which also was part of the Reconstruction Era.

In ancient Jerusalem, reconstruction done by Ezra was to rebuild the temple that was destroyed by the Babylonians.

Following the Second World War a lot of rebuilding had to take place because of the destruction of the bombings of famous cities. The magnitude was far greater than Jerusalem in the time of Ezra. The world war cost 60 million lives. But the reconstruction of the cities was done with the same heart and soul that it took to reconstruct the temple.

America rebuilt the World Trade Center area after it was destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001.

The United Nations is dedicated to rebuilding nations that suffer war and destruction, especially in Africa and Latin America. Again, as with Ezra, the impulse is to help war-torn societies and rebuild so that the spirit of the people can be restored. The United Nations believes that by rebuilding a sustainable nation, future wars will be deterred.

Violence has a terrible effect not only on the structures in the war-torn cities, but on the economy of a nation and the morale of its society, as it did when Babylon desecrated Jerusalem.

But Jerusalem was brought "out of the ashes" by Ezra, just as modern cities have been reconstructed to become thriving metropolises where economic opportunity and individual rights prevail. Looking at modern comparisons to events of the Old Testament makes the power of faith, humanity, and religion seem all the more obvious.


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)