"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Rebuilding of the Temple
Ezra 1:1-4; 3:1-4, 10-13 Commentary
by Michael J. Chan
Cyrus’ decree allowing Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the temple is found not only in Ezra 1 but also in 2 Chronicles 36:22-23.
In fact, according to the Jewish canon, the decree of Cyrus is the very last verse in the Bible. And this is in contrast to the Christian canon, which ends in Malachi 4, a text that expresses hope for Elijah’s return (Malachi 4:5-6). The decree of Cyrus is a deeply significant event in Persian period literature, because it signaled the restoration of God’s “house” (temple), which was the primary ritual means by which God was available to Israel. Divine demands and promises were attached to this institution, and its loss was nothing short of devastating.
But the book of Ezra’s accounting of this significant event is more than just the recounting of history. For Ezra, it is the fulfillment of prophecy, and in particular, the prophecy of Jeremiah: “In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, in order that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus of Persia … ...
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Summer 2020 Readings
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL200: Rebuilding the Temple
December 13, 2015
This podcast discusses Ezra 1:1-4; 3:1-4, 10-13, the Narrative Lectionary reading for Dec. 13, 2015. Note that the accompanying Gospel reading has been expanded to Luke 2:25-32.