Monday, November 8, 2010

Ezra, Chapters 1-4

Oh great, another two books that tell the exact same story. In this case, the return of the Israelites to their homeland after a year of exile in modern-day Iraq.

Chapter 1

God causes Cyrus, the king of Persia, who has just conquered Babylon, to decide to free the Israelites and let them rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. He also asks their neighbours to donate their old gold, silver, household goods and livestock to the Jews.

Chapter 2

An achingly boring list of all the families that went back to Jerusalem. They bring a choir of 200 and a bunch of livestock and treasure.

Chapter 3

The Israelites go back to Jerusalem, set up the temple, and immediately start barbecuing.

Chapter 4

The Israelites' old enemies approach them and say they've been worshipping god since they left, and they want to contribute to the temple. Jeshua, the new leader, rudely rebuffs them and, unsurprisingly, they start causing trouble. First, they bribe the officials to hold up the paperwork. Then, when that fails, they start petitioning the new king of Persia and all the other local kings to put a stop work order on the project. The gist of the letter: the Israelites are wicked and seditious, and if the king permits this building, they'll stop paying taxes. Wow, I'm surprised Pamela Gellar wasn't involved.

The king, no Michael Bloomburg, bless him, writes back and says, lo and behold, the Israelites are rebellious and seditious and he's going to stop all the permits for the temple. On receiving the response, the Syrians run right over to the temple work site and halt construction.

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