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Posts Tagged ‘Ezra’

New things often begin in the Bible when YHWH rouses someone to action. The wordעור (English: to rouse, to stir up) clusters around such a moment, its latent connotative power poised to express activity over passivity, alertness over slumber, expectation conquering depression.

Characteristically, YHWH is able to rouse in just this way both his own people and those who do not call upon his name. The Medes, for example, seem particularly vulnerable to YHWH’s lighting of a purposeful fire under their quasi-imperial butts. (more…)

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No rigid insistence on independence gathers the entirety of the biblical witness under its stern gaze. The Jews have at times known how to thrive as imperial subjects. A similar tolerance for political dependence characterizes the New Testament documents. (more…)

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It seems nothing can be done in the Persian-administered province of Beyond-the-River without the signature of a far-off king. Letters go back and forth in the project of securing Persian support for this or that version of a future for what had been Judah before Nebuchadnezzer’s tolerance for its nonconformist people ebbed. (more…)

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Disappointment frequently dogs the story of the Jewish Commonwealth that was founded by the returnees from Babylonian captivity. The exilic prophets—at least those whose legacy found its way into the canonical vision of a people reborn against the strong currents of history—were better at cultivating expectation than at managing it. So the same narrative that crystallizes the unlikely rebirth of a Jewish people that should have faded into the historical mist under the strong hand of their Babylonian captors ends up hoping for more than Return produces. (more…)

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