Wednesday, January 22, 2014

1 Esdras, Chapter 5: Jesus is on the list

Even though we've just proven that women are the most powerful, the headmen of each tribe are preparing to go back to Jerusalem with their families, slaves and animals. Darius sends some of his troops and a band along. We are then treated to a boring list of names and numbers. None of it is significant except that there are several people named Jesus in their midst. The only funny name is Meani. Anyone whose name isn't on the list is barred from the priesthood.

So they all arrive eventually and they set the temple back up. Seven months later, the men, who again, were just judged as helpless in the face of pretty women, meet up for a barbecue, because they're surrounded by hostile tribes and sense that the answer is to grill meat. It's also the feast of the tabernacles, so they offer even more burnt flesh. They decide to keep meeting regularly for barbecues, even though the temple isn't ready yet.They also give the carpenters money and sustenance, as well as the cedar haulers who will be bringing materials in from Lebanon.

The next year, they finally lay the foundation stone for the temple. They appoint Jesus the head priest. Then the rest of the priests line up in their Sunday best and have a party. The people hear and come to investigate, as do their enemies, who now know they're free. This inspires the people to volunteer their free labour for the temple, but Jesus and Zorobabel turn them down, saying it's a priest thing. The enemies don't go away, and start sabotaging the building.

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