Post Exile Jerusalem
Ezra 1:1 to 9:1
1:1 During the very first year under the rule of King Cyrus, the new king of Persia, the Jews enslaved in Babylon got some excellent news. The king posted a written public notice that read as follows:
God has told me to be the boss over the whole damn world. That includes Jerusalem so any Jews that want to leave Babylon should go back and rebuild the temple over there or something. Maybe those that want to remain living in Babylon could donate money or livestock to the cause.
Thank you for your support. Yaay Persia.
Yours truly, KC.
Some Jews they went, and some Jews they stayed.
4:1 Upon arriving in Jerusalem the returning Yahvists got into a big conflict with the remnant of the Jerusalem citizens that had managed to avoid the capture and exile to Babylon, i.e. the left-behinders. These left-behinders had come to live a different lifestyle than the returning go-backs. For one thing the modernized left-behinders were tolerant of inter-racial and inter-ethnic marriage. The go-backs were not.
The left-behinders launched a legal battle with the go-backs over who should be hired to rebuild the temple. The go-backs were eventually awarded the contract but their adversaries continued to hire lawyers to file injunctions and complaints and otherwise hinder their efforts.
9:1 When the Yahvistic prophet Ezra found out that some of the Jews had inter-ethnic tolerance and often married non-Jews, he was very angry and a little depressed. He made a long speech to the Lord about the importance of racial purity and racist segregation. At stake was what it takes to be considered a true Jew. Ezra put out the word that everyone who wanted to be a true Jew should come to Jerusalem. After three days any late comers were excluded. Too late, too bad.
Next, anyone who showed up with a foreign wife was kicked out. The first rule of Jew Club is that only Jews who are married to Jews can be in the club. In general, only Jews who behave the way Ezra thinks Jews should behave are eligible for membership. Ezra explicitly let everyone know that being a real Jew meant total racial and ethnic purity and everyone else was excluded. NO SHIKSAS!
Next: Sword and Hammer
The Bible According to Brad