Looking back at Ezra

Ezra is not a big book, but it is confusing with the crazy timeline in the middle chapters. It’s about the Israelites coming back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and their struggles to get it done. Not many women are mentioned in it and not one is named in the whole book.

There is this confusing thing where Jew, Judah, and Israel are being used in a manner that appears interchangeable for me. I have to wonder where it came from, but there’s no mention of it popping up this way in the study section of my Bible. There are several instances where they also talk about how it is the people of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin that show up in Jerusalem but then they reference Israel again and I get all confused all over again. To be fair though, this could simply be that only those of Judah and Benjamin of all the Israelites returned, meaning that only the “Jews” were allowed back since both were of the Kingdom of Judah instead of the Kingdom of Israel but that they were still considered Israelites in the grand scheme of things. We do know from chapter two that Israel was allowed to go back to their cities, so maybe they just weren’t involved in the building of the house of God, which would still be strange as that was part of the decree that let them go home and there I turn in circles again.

I saw on the Wikipedia page for Ezra that he is considered to be the writer of the Chronicles, so it would make sense that Israel is excluded only because he only wrote about Judah, but why wouldn’t they want to be a part of reconstructing the house of God? Well, they didn’t appear to have access to it for all of the previous books, so maybe it doesn’t have the same weight or bearing for them as for the people of Judah. I do recall that they built their own worship places in their own territory after the schism. Unfortunately, Wikipedia doesn’t help us with out with the timing of those middle chapters on their page on the Book of Ezra.

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