Saturday, January 25, 2014

1 Esdras, Chapters 6 & 7

Chapter 6

Construction of the temple continues apace. A new governor of Syria is on the scene and he has a friend named Sathrabuzanes. They come to the construction site and demand to see their building permits and documentation for the workers. Somehow they fob the officials off, but clearly whatever bribes they paid weren't enough, because they go home and write to Darius about the temple and how the prophets refused to identify the workers except as servants of the lord (v. 13) and had a crazy story about how there was a temple there before but the Jews pissed off god and they got kidnapped and taken to Babylon and meanwhile the Chaldees destroyed the temple. Then Cyrus set them free and now they're rebuilding and if the officials don't believe the prophets, they should look in Cyrus' records and send permission from the current king, who already gave them permission a few chapters ago, but continuity is not the bible's strong suit and the Apocrypha are even worse.

So Darius, apparently forgetting something he did just a few months ago, orders a search of the Babylonian archives and lo and behold, they find the roll with the blueprints. Conveniently, the roll, or possibly the accompanying letter from Darius, instructs the Syrians to leave the Jews alone on penalty of hanging. He also donates even more money and provisions than before.

Chapter 7

Sisinnes and Sathrabuzanes stop seeking bribes and start overseeing the temple construction. It ends in the sixth year of Darius' reign and they immediately set about barbecuing a whackload of animals for the next seven days.

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