Book of Nehemiah

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Ketuvim (writings) of the Tanakh
Sifrei Emet (poetic books)
חמש מגילות- Megillot (fixed rollers)
Old Testament history books

Names indented after the ÖVBE
: Deuterocanonical (Catholic and Orthodox) or Apocrypha (Protestant)

The book of Nehemiah (also 2nd book of Ezra ) is a book in the Jewish Tanakh and in the Christian Old Testament of the Bible .

Structure and content

Since the Middle Ages , the book of Nehemiah has been divided into 13 chapters.

  • Cape. 1: Nehemia in Susa (Persia)
  • Cape. 2.1–7.3: Nehemiah's journey to Jerusalem and rebuilding of the city wall
  • Cape. 7.4–72: lists of names
  • Cape. 8–10: Reading of the Torah by Ezra , penitential prayer and commitment of the people
  • Cape. 11–12: Lists of names
  • Cape. 12: 27–43: Consecration of the city wall
  • Cape. 13: Reforms of Nehemiah

The main themes of the book are the rebuilding of the wall and the city of Jerusalem under the governor Nehemiah as well as the reading of the Torah by the scribe Esra and the subsequent reforms during the Achaemenid rule in Judah (Jehud) .

Related to the book of Ezra

The book of Nehemiah is an integral part of the book of Ezra – Nehemiah in the Hebrew Bible , and both parts belong together in the Septuagint . In the Vulgate , however, Nehemiah was referred to as the “Second Book of Ezra” and thus separated from the “First Book of Ezra ”. Later this second part was named after Nehemiah, so that the Book of Ezra now only refers to the first part of the book. That Esra – Nehemiah was originally a single book is not only proven by all medieval Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, but also by Josephus , the Talmud and Jerome . Protestant and modern Hebrew Bibles, however, contain two books in the wake of the Vulgate, named after their main characters: Ezra and Nehemiah. In any case, the two books are closely related; Esra appears in both parts. For the different ways of counting other books connected with the name Ezra see the list of biblical books # History books .

The narrated order of the events in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah does not match the order of the Persian kings known from other ancient sources. In the Greek 3rd Ezra the text is therefore partly arranged differently. A particular problem is the question of which of the Persian kings who bore the name Artaxerxes is meant in the various places in Esra-Nehemia. The alternation of first-person and he-reports, Hebrew and Aramaic sections, narratives, reports, lists and prayers can at least in part be explained by the use of older sub-templates.

Authorship and classification

In the modern historical-critical research since Martin Noth the books of Ezra-Nehemiah often as part of a well 1 / 2 Chronicles comprehensive "Chronicler work" understood. More recently this thesis has been advocated less, because the differences between Esr – Neh on the one hand and Chronicle on the other are emphasized more strongly. The book of Ezra – Nehemiah cannot be written before 400 BC. Although opinions differ as to whether it can be expected to emerge in the Persian or Hellenistic period (after the campaigns of Alexander the Great ). It is also presumed that the author or the authors or final editors of the Nehemia book refer to extensive source writings, e.g. B. the so-called Nehemiah source or memorandum mentioned in Neh 1,1  EU and the so-called Ezra source (Neh 8-10), could and have done so. However, the authenticity of these sources is increasingly being called into question, which in turn has an impact on the dating.

  • Period of the narrated time (Ezra – Nehemiah): 538–430 BC Chr. (108 years)
  • Date (time of writing): 4th century BC Chr. (Or later)

Historical context

The time of Ezra and Nehemiah was a time of tremendous philosophical currents and upheavals that produced well-known thinkers, philosophers and founders of religions. Known approximate contemporaries were: Buddha , Confucius , Socrates , Plato , Aristotle . Ezra as the innovator and sometimes even as the creator of Judaism as we know it today fits well into this series.

“A very strong factor is the passion for survival that dominates this people [the Jews] and has actually allowed them to survive. The whole legislation of Ezra and Nehemiah has no other aim, and God knows it was successful. "

The person of Nehemiah

Nehemiah ( Hebrew נְחֶמְיָה neçämjah , German ' Jah has comforted' ; in the Septuagint : Νεεμιας Neëmias ) was a Babylonian Jew. If the dating in Neh 5.14  EU , as most assumed, refers to Artaxerxes I and is historically reliable, Nehemiah, who is said to have been the cupbearer of the king in the Achaemenid residence city of Susa , was born in 444 BC. Appointed governor of the Persian province of Yehud . Nehemiah saw to it that the city walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt and drafted a reform of the religious regulations. The priest Esra was responsible for the implementation of the reforms. Central aspects of his reform were the observance of the Sabbath , the ban on marrying “strange” women, and the raising of tithes .

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b W. H. Schmidt: Introduction to the AT , p. 162.
  2. Antje LabahnChronistisches Geschichtswerk (ChrG). In: Michaela Bauks, Klaus Koenen, Stefan Alkier (eds.): The scientific biblical dictionary on the Internet (WiBiLex), Stuttgart 2006 ff.
  3. ^ WH Schmidt: Introduction to the AT , pp. 163-164.
  4. Thomas Hieke Esra-Nehemia-Book (WiBiLex) , section 2.2. Possible sources for Ezra-Nehemiah .
  5. On the dating of the Ezra Nehemia book in WiBiLex