Few people are familiar with the Biblical figure Nehemiah, and yet he was instrumental in the rebuilding and reestablishment of Jerusalem in the fifth century B.C. following the Babylonian exile. Although there is no consensus about the relative chronologies of the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah (the Biblical dates are unclear), Nehemiah’s return to Jerusalem probably preceded Ezra’s by a couple years.* Both men worked together to restore the city and rededicate its people to God.
Nehemiah was a high official in the Persian court of King Artaxerxes I at the capital city of Susa, which lay 150 miles east of the Tigris River in what is now modern Iran. Nehemiah served as the king’s cupbearer (Nehemiah 1:11), which evidently put him in a position to speak to the king and request favors from him. After hearing about the sad state of affairs in Judah, Nehemiah acquired the king’s permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and its fortifications. He is even given letters from the king to ensure safe passage and to obtain timber from the king’s forest for the gates and walls of Jerusalem.
Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem in 445 B.C. as the provincial governor of Judah/Yehud. He immediately surveyed the damage to the entire city on his well-known night journey around the walls (Nehemiah 2:12–15). He enlisted the help of the people to quickly repair the breaches in the wall. He also urged them to set up guards to defend against the constant threat of those who opposed their efforts, including the armies of Samaria, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites.
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As governor, Nehemiah says that he didn’t take advantage of food and land allotments that were allowed him due to his office, because there was already such a great burden on the people of his province (Nehemiah 5:14–19). He also made the other nobles and officials forgive all outstanding debts and ordered them to return all land and money that had been taken as taxes so the people would be able to feed themselves and their families.
The hurried work of repairing and rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls and gates was completed in just 52 days (Nehemiah 6:15). Another of Nehemiah’s accomplishments was to make a record and genealogy of all the nobles, officials and people who were then living in Judah.
The Book of Nehemiah is usually read together with the Book of Ezra as one long book. Nehemiah 8–10 is considered part of the so-called “Ezra Source” (which includes Ezra 7–10), while Nehemiah 1–7 and 11–13 are from a separate source that scholars call the “Nehemiah Memoir.” The Nehemiah Memoir is written in the first person and recounts details of Nehemiah’s life, his deeds and his administration of the province, probably meant to serve as an official record of his accomplishments to be deposited in the Temple archives (by genaa). The accounts are punctuated by prayers to God, such as “Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people” (Nehemiah 5:19).
The following text is the first portion of the Nehemiah Memoir (1:1–7:4) from the New Revised Standard Version. In it, Nehemiah describes his efforts to rebuild the city, even in the face of hostile neighbors.
1The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah. In the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capital, 2one of my brothers, Hanani, came with certain men from Judah; and I asked them about the Jews that survived, those who had escaped the captivity, and about Jerusalem. 3They replied, ‘The survivors there in the province who escaped captivity are in great trouble and shame; the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been destroyed by fire.’
4When I heard these words I sat down and wept, and mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 5I said, ‘O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments; 6let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for your servants the people of Israel, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Both I and my family have sinned. 7We have offended you deeply, failing to keep the commandments, the statutes, and the ordinances that you commanded your servant Moses. 8Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, “If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples; 9but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are under the farthest skies, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place at which I have chosen to establish my name.” 10They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great power and your strong hand. 11O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man!’
At the time, I was cupbearer to the king.
1In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was served to him, I carried the wine and gave it to the king. Now, I had never been sad in his presence before. 2So the king said to me, ‘Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This can only be sadness of the heart.’ Then I was very much afraid. 3I said to the king, ‘May the king live for ever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my ancestors’ graves, lies waste, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?’ 4Then the king said to me, ‘What do you request?’ So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5Then I said to the king, ‘If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favour with you, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my ancestors’ graves, so that I may rebuild it.’ 6The king said to me (the queen also was sitting beside him), ‘How long will you be gone, and when will you return?’ So it pleased the king to send me, and I set him a date. 7Then I said to the king, ‘If it pleases the king, let letters be given me to the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may grant me passage until I arrive in Judah; 8and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, directing him to give me timber to make beams for the gates of the temple fortress, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy.’ And the king granted me what I asked, for the gracious hand of my God was upon me.
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9Then I came to the governors of the province Beyond the River, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent officers of the army and cavalry with me. 10When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard this, it displeased them greatly that someone had come to seek the welfare of the people of Israel.
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11So I came to Jerusalem and was there for three days. 12Then I got up during the night, I and a few men with me; I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem. The only animal I took was the animal I rode. 13I went out by night by the Valley Gate past the Dragon’s Spring and to the Dung Gate, and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that had been broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire. 14Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool; but there was no place for the animal I was riding to continue. 15So I went up by way of the valley by night and inspected the wall. Then I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned. 16The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing; I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, and the rest that were to do the work.
17Then I said to them, ‘You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burnt. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, so that we may no longer suffer disgrace.’ 18I told them that the hand of my God had been gracious upon me, and also the words that the king had spoken to me. Then they said, ‘Let us start building!’ So they committed themselves to the common good. 19But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they mocked and ridiculed us, saying, ‘What is this that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?’ 20Then I replied to them, ‘The God of heaven is the one who will give us success, and we his servants are going to start building; but you have no share or claim or historic right in Jerusalem.’
1Then the high priest Eliashib set to work with his fellow-priests and rebuilt the Sheep Gate. They consecrated it and set up its doors; they consecrated it as far as the Tower of the Hundred and as far as the Tower of Hananel. 2And the men of Jericho built next to him. And next to them Zaccur son of Imri built.
3The sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate; they laid its beams and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars. 4Next to them Meremoth son of Uriah son of Hakkoz made repairs. Next to them Meshullam son of Berechiah son of Meshezabel made repairs. Next to them Zadok son of Baana made repairs. 5Next to them the Tekoites made repairs; but their nobles would not put their shoulders to the work of their Lord.
6Joiada son of Paseah and Meshullam son of Besodeiah repaired the Old Gate; they laid its beams and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars. 7Next to them repairs were made by Melatiah the Gibeonite and Jadon the Meronothite—the men of Gibeon and of Mizpah—who were under the jurisdiction of the governor of the province Beyond the River. 8Next to them Uzziel son of Harhaiah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs. Next to him Hananiah, one of the perfumers, made repairs; and they restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall. 9Next to them Rephaiah son of Hur, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs. 10Next to them Jedaiah son of Harumaph made repairs opposite his house; and next to him Hattush son of Hashabneiah made repairs. 11Malchijah son of Harim and Hasshub son of Pahath-moab repaired another section and the Tower of the Ovens. 12Next to him Shallum son of Hallohesh, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, made repairs, he and his daughters.
13Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the Valley Gate; they rebuilt it and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars, and repaired a thousand cubits of the wall, as far as the Dung Gate.
14Malchijah son of Rechab, ruler of the district of Beth-haccherem, repaired the Dung Gate; he rebuilt it and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars.
15And Shallum son of Col-hozeh, ruler of the district of Mizpah, repaired the Fountain Gate; he rebuilt it and covered it and set up its doors, its bolts, and its bars; and he built the wall of the Pool of Shelah of the king’s garden, as far as the stairs that go down from the City of David. 16After him Nehemiah son of Azbuk, ruler of half the district of Beth-zur, repaired from a point opposite the graves of David, as far as the artificial pool and the house of the warriors. 17After him the Levites made repairs: Rehum son of Bani; next to him Hashabiah, ruler of half the district of Keilah, made repairs for his district. 18After him their kin made repairs: Binnui, son of Henadad, ruler of half the district of Keilah; 19next to him Ezer son of Jeshua, ruler of Mizpah, repaired another section opposite the ascent to the armoury at the Angle. 20After him Baruch son of Zabbai repaired another section from the Angle to the door of the house of the high priest Eliashib. 21After him Meremoth son of Uriah son of Hakkoz repaired another section from the door of the house of Eliashib to the end of the house of Eliashib. 22After him the priests, the men of the surrounding area, made repairs. 23After them Benjamin and Hasshub made repairs opposite their house. After them Azariah son of Maaseiah son of Ananiah made repairs beside his own house. 24After him Binnui son of Henadad repaired another section, from the house of Azariah to the Angle and to the corner. 25Palal son of Uzai repaired opposite the Angle and the tower projecting from the upper house of the king at the court of the guard. After him Pedaiah son of Parosh 26and the temple servants living on Ophel made repairs up to a point opposite the Water Gate on the east and the projecting tower. 27After him the Tekoites repaired another section opposite the great projecting tower as far as the wall of Ophel.
28Above the Horse Gate the priests made repairs, each one opposite his own house. 29After them Zadok son of Immer made repairs opposite his own house. After him Shemaiah son of Shecaniah, the keeper of the East Gate, made repairs. 30After him Hananiah son of Shelemiah and Hanun sixth son of Zalaph repaired another section. After him Meshullam son of Berechiah made repairs opposite his living quarters. 31After him Malchijah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the temple servants and of the merchants, opposite the Muster Gate, and to the upper room of the corner. 32And between the upper room of the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and the merchants made repairs.
Read about Nadav Na’aman’s examination of the Biblical and archaeological evidence for King David’s Palace and the Millo in Bible History Daily.
1Now when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he mocked the Jews. 2He said in the presence of his associates and of the army of Samaria, ‘What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore things? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish it in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish—and burnt ones at that?’ 3Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, ‘That stone wall they are building—any fox going up on it would break it down!’ 4Hear, O our God, for we are despised; turn their taunt back on their own heads, and give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. 5Do not cover their guilt, and do not let their sin be blotted out from your sight; for they have hurled insults in the face of the builders.
6So we rebuilt the wall, and all the wall was joined together to half its height; for the people had a mind to work.
7But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and the gaps were beginning to be closed, they were very angry, 8and all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. 9So we prayed to our God, and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.
10But Judah said, ‘The strength of the burden-bearers is failing, and there is too much rubbish, so that we are unable to work on the wall.’ 11And our enemies said, ‘They will not know or see anything before we come upon them and kill them and stop the work.’ 12When the Jews who lived near them came, they said to us ten times, ‘From all the places where they live they will come up against us.’ 13So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. 14After I looked these things over, I stood up and said to the nobles and the officials and the rest of the people, ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your kin, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.’
15When our enemies heard that their plot was known to us, and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his work. 16From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and body-armour; and the leaders posted themselves behind the whole house of Judah, 17who were building the wall. The burden-bearers carried their loads in such a way that each laboured on the work with one hand and with the other held a weapon. 18And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built. The man who sounded the trumpet was beside me. 19And I said to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people, ‘The work is great and widely spread out, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. 20Rally to us wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet. Our God will fight for us.’
21So we laboured at the work, and half of them held the spears from break of dawn until the stars came out. 22I also said to the people at that time, ‘Let every man and his servant pass the night inside Jerusalem, so that they may be a guard for us by night and may labour by day.’ 23So neither I nor my brothers nor my servants nor the men of the guard who followed me ever took off our clothes; each kept his weapon in his right hand.
1Now there was a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish kin. 2For there were those who said, ‘With our sons and our daughters, we are many; we must get grain, so that we may eat and stay alive.’ 3There were also those who said, ‘We are having to pledge our fields, our vineyards, and our houses in order to get grain during the famine.’ 4And there were those who said, ‘We are having to borrow money on our fields and vineyards to pay the king’s tax. 5Now our flesh is the same as that of our kindred; our children are the same as their children; and yet we are forcing our sons and daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have been ravished; we are powerless, and our fields and vineyards now belong to others.’
6I was very angry when I heard their outcry and these complaints. 7After thinking it over, I brought charges against the nobles and the officials; I said to them, ‘You are all taking interest from your own people.’ And I called a great assembly to deal with them, 8and said to them, ‘As far as we were able, we have bought back our Jewish kindred who had been sold to other nations; but now you are selling your own kin, who must then be bought back by us!’ They were silent, and could not find a word to say. 9So I said, ‘The thing that you are doing is not good. Should you not walk in the fear of our God, to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies? 10Moreover, I and my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Let us stop this taking of interest. 11Restore to them, this very day, their fields, their vineyards, their olive orchards, and their houses, and the interest on money, grain, wine, and oil that you have been exacting from them.’ 12Then they said, ‘We will restore everything and demand nothing more from them. We will do as you say.’ And I called the priests, and made them take an oath to do as they had promised. 13I also shook out the fold of my garment and said, ‘So may God shake out everyone from house and from property who does not perform this promise. Thus may they be shaken out and emptied.’ And all the assembly said, ‘Amen’, and praised the Lord. And the people did as they had promised.
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14Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of King Artaxerxes, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the food allowance of the governor. 15The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people, and took food and wine from them, besides forty shekels of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God. 16Indeed, I devoted myself to the work on this wall, and acquired no land; and all my servants were gathered there for the work. 17Moreover, there were at my table one hundred and fifty people, Jews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations around us. 18Now that which was prepared for one day was one ox and six choice sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and every ten days skins of wine in abundance; yet with all this I did not demand the food allowance of the governor, because of the heavy burden of labour on the people. 19Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people.
1Now when it was reported to Sanballat and Tobiah and to Geshem the Arab and to the rest of our enemies that I had built the wall and that there was no gap left in it (though up to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates), 2Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, ‘Come and let us meet together in one of the villages in the plain of Ono.’ But they intended to do me harm. 3So I sent messengers to them, saying, ‘I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it to come down to you?’ 4They sent to me four times in this way, and I answered them in the same manner. 5In the same way Sanballat for the fifth time sent his servant to me with an open letter in his hand. 6In it was written, ‘It is reported among the nations—and Geshem also says it—that you and the Jews intend to rebel; that is why you are building the wall; and according to this report you wish to become their king. 7You have also set up prophets to proclaim in Jerusalem concerning you, “There is a king in Judah!” And now it will be reported to the king according to these words. So come, therefore, and let us confer together.’ 8Then I sent to him, saying, ‘No such things as you say have been done; you are inventing them out of your own mind’ 9—for they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.’ But now, O God, strengthen my hands.
10One day when I went into the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah son of Mehetabel, who was confined to his house, he said, ‘Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, tonight they are coming to kill you.’ 11But I said, ‘Should a man like me run away? Would a man like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!’ 12Then I perceived and saw that God had not sent him at all, but he had pronounced the prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13He was hired for this purpose, to intimidate me and make me sin by acting in this way, and so they could give me a bad name, in order to taunt me. 14Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, according to these things that they did, and also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who wanted to make me afraid.
15So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. 16And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem; for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God. 17Moreover, in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and Tobiah’s letters came to them. 18For many in Judah were bound by oath to him, because he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah son of Arah: and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berechiah. 19Also they spoke of his good deeds in my presence, and reported my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to intimidate me.
1Now when the wall had been built and I had set up the doors, and the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed, 2I gave my brother Hanani charge over Jerusalem, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel—for he was a faithful man and feared God more than many. 3And I said to them, ‘The gates of Jerusalem are not to be opened until the sun is hot; while the gatekeepers are still standing guard, let them shut and bar the doors. Appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, some at their watch-posts, and others before their own houses.’ 4The city was wide and large, but the people within it were few and no houses had been built.
This Bible History Daily feature was originally published in August 2012.
* See Aaron Demsky, “Who Returned First—Ezra or Nehemiah?” Bible Review, April 1996.
Dorothy Resig Willette is the former Managing Editor of Biblical Archaeology Review.
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I wonder if there might be some significance to the notion that it took 52 days to complete. If you have a year exactly equal to 364 days (the ‘solar’ year used by the Book of Jubilees), then 52 days is exactly one-seventh of a year. Ironic, that the ‘work’ of rebuilding the wall was done in a kind of “sabbath” [i.e. seventh] of one year, since work was not to be done on a ‘sabbath’. Symbolically, it might’ve made more sense for the building of the wall to take place over the course of 312 days [i.e. 52 x 6 days], with the next 52 days being a symbolic ‘sabbath’ of rest following all that work.
interesting question, Wasen,t Nehemiah considered an eunich? Being a representative of the king to rebuild jerusalem was such a great feat that he would not have time for a family either.
Thanks for the article. Nehemiah’s leadership style is not the most common. I wonder if we know or have a way of knowing if he was married at the time of the story or if he had been married at all at any time?
Tonya…gonna have to chew on this for awhile! Thanks for the insight! The KING is coming soon and HE IS A JEW, YESHUA HA’MA’SHIACH/JESUS THE CHRIST!
Really insightful article! Thank you!!
Daniel 9:25 is tied to the 490 weeks of years when Nehemiah restored the walls in Jerusalem. From the coming forth means the times were set at the finish. Ok so I’ll show you something that ppl don’t see and it’s on the 490 weeks of years prophecy Jeremiah wrote but Daniel was given the chronology on it. Ok here is Nehemiah chapter 1 says, 1 The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah:
In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa….
Ok kislev is November, and notice it says the 20th year of the king? Ok here is chapter 2 of Nehemiah…..
2 In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king.
Ok Nissan is April and in the 20th year of the king. Notice it went backwards in time? It went from November in the 20th year in chapter 1 to April in the 20th year in chapter 2. Interesting. Anyways, so ppl pin point the building of the walls by Nehemiah being in the 20th year of this king which is Darius the great who was married to queen Esther. But that’s not when he built the walls, it’s only when he inspected it for 3 days!! Chapter 5 says, he finished the wall in the 32nd year of the king!!! That’s 12 years later than what ppl think!! Chapter 6 says this, 6:15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.
So it only took 52 days to build this wall, so from this time, it’s 492BCE. So take 492BCE in Jeremiahs prophecy on the 490 years and until messiah the prince, what’s that put us at? 492BCE minus 490 years leaves us at the Birth of Christ at 2BCE!! The prophecy says…..Daniel 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
So from the restoring of the wall in 492BCE to messiah the Prince in 2BCE, that equals 490. See how ppl don’t continue reading to see that the wall was continued in the 32nd year?! Chapter 13 says… Nehemiah 13:6 6 But in all this time was not I at Jerusalem: for in the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon came I unto the king, and after certain days obtained I leave of the king:
7 And I came to Jerusalem, and understood of the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God.
Neamiah returned to king Darius when he finished building the walls. Now the 70 is a dual prophecy and the 2nd part is due to be fulfilled soon!! Israel became a nation 69 years ago!! At the 70 year time, we go into great tribulation, the final 3 and a half years. Seek God’s knowledge now!! God bless those truly seeking Him
This is my understanding. In the reign of King Artaxerxes, Scribe Ezra, was authorised to take charge of the Jewish nation. Ezra 7:13-28. The Jewish community in Jerusalem had been there for 80 years. Without military escort, Ezra left Babylon 457 BC, with 5,000 Jews, priests and Levites bearing rich gifts and treasures. Four months later, they arrived in Jerusalem. Ezra soon noticed that contrary to the Jewish law, even Jews of high standing and the priests, had intermarried with pagan, non-Hebrew women. Ezra insisted upon the dismissal of these wives. There was no other mention of him, until after the rebuilding of the city walls. Then Nehemiah asked Ezra to read the Law of Moses to the people.
Nehemiah was cup-bearer to Artaxerxes. He asked the king for permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem & was sent from Susa the Persian capital as Governor in 445 BC. Defying the opposition of Judah’s enemies on all sides—Samaritans, Ammonites, Arabs and Philistines, the original walls of the City of David were rebuilt by the people in 52 days, working with a trowel in one hand & a sword in the other. The ruins on the Western Hill were not occupied again until the Hellenistic period of Alexander the Great.
The al so important, yet lost and presently under known appearance and working of the “Urim and Thummim” (Neh 7:65), was ignored in the text of the report concerning the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem.
As can be understand now, from the studies in Intelligence, we know this device was a cube shaped set of 5 geometric solids.
A link to the Universal (as it is now called) can demonstrate ALL the genealogy on the book of Genesis, using that demo as part of the theory verification:
I looked up the complete article from your website. My biggest problem with the article is your third supposition, quoted below:
“The third key to interpretation of the prophecy is to understand the time period meant by the Hebrew word “weeks” שבעי (BHS, Strong’s OT: 7620) in verse 25. As already mentioned, most traditional expositors have interpreted the word “weeks” in that verse to mean a “week of years.” In other words, a week in Daniel is interpreted as meaning a period of seven years. In such a scenario, the seven weeks then become forty-nine years, and the sixty-two weeks become 434 years. However, “week of years” is not the meaning of the word “weeks” used to specify the seven weeks and sixty-two weeks in verse 25. In that verse, the word “weeks” is used in the same way that, elsewhere in the Book of Daniel, Jewish calendar units were used as cryptic references to Jewish festivals. In the eighth chapter of Daniel, the phrase “evening-morning”(s) was used to indicate Passovers. In the twelfth chapter, the word “days” was used to indicate Day(s) of Atonement. Here in the ninth chapter, the word “weeks” means Feast of Weeks, or, focusing on the main festival day as shorthand, it means the Day of Pentecost. Thus, the time periods being designated in verse 25 are seven Pentecosts and sixty-two Pentecosts. Accordingly, it can be seen that the time period covered by the prophecy of the seventy weeks is seventy years, not 490 years. For the purpose of brevity, the word “week” in this chapter will hereafter represent the Day of Pentecost, although using the full fifty-day time period of the Feast of Weeks will work equally well in the interpretation offered in this chapter.”
Where do you get the following statement from? “In the eighth chapter of Daniel, the phrase “evening-morning”(s) was used to indicate Passovers.” If you are talking about Daniel 8:14, I do not see anything about Pesach.
Also, where do you get the following statement from? “In the twelfth chapter, the word “days” was used to indicate Day(s) of Atonement.” I assume you are talking about Daniel 12:11-13, which says the following:
“11 And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days. 12 Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days. 13 But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.”
I do not see a reference to Yom Kippur in these verses. “The end of days” never refers to Yom Kippur in the Tanach.
Your theory is very interesting, but based on these statements alone, I cannot justify the 70 weeks referring to 70 years (or 70 Shavuot).
[…] hidden behind weed-like wildflowers that grew out of cracks in the wall. No, this was by no means a wall of Nehemiah, no rebuild per se, yet it did show evidence of repair. Most significant were its cracks, which […]
[…] I was having one of those days. Despite the free time, which is a rarity in my life, beautiful breezy weather and a book I can’t stop reading, my mood was, let’s put it nicely, stormy. As the fingers flipped through the pages of the Book I always run to when in need of comfort, I read the story of Nehemiah — the non-cribber, man of action, a go-getter and also the man behind the wall. […]
On this phillipians 2:7…! Terrill T.C
[…] like in Nehemiah’s time, we are living within broken down walls. Our lives are in ruin and we co-exist under the […]
It is interesting reading thoughts, theories and views expressed by all posted on this page from 2012 to 2014. I am not a scholar or a biblical archaeologist, just someone who has viewed Nehemiah’s role and strategies as a ‘model of best practise’ in leadership and how to empower a community/ people. As a leader with strong Christian values holding various ministerial positions in government at a state and federal level within our country, the writings of Nehemiah was my blue print on how to be strategic, diplomatic and never forgetting my purpose. I cannot say whether or not I agree or disagree with comments posted by previous contributors, but I thank you all of increasing my knowledge of the many ways in which we can view the bible. As a mentor to others you aspire to be leaders in their community, I have referred to Nehemiah’s strategic approach to reforming the hopes and aspirations of a people and nation many times. Rhema I have received from what Nehemiah did: he had a burden for his people; he went out and did want God wanted him to do; God did not give him a timeframe to do it in; and Nehemiah obeyed. Nehemiah understood the urgency of rebuilding the wall and because he was obedient to God, it was completed in 52 days (Nehemiah 6:15). At the end all glory to God was given.
Have a blessed day one and all.
It’s notable (and probably an important lesson) how the High Priest, Eliashib (Neh 3:1) was actually in cahoots with the enemies of Judah (Neh 2:10; Neh 13:4, 7, 28).
Just shows to go you that, just because a guy pulls up his sleeves, and is the first one to jump in and work, it sometimes doesn’t mean what it appears to mean. Kind of like a pervert pedophile looking for a job with the boy’s choir or the boy scouts, I guess.
This is a powerful teaching… It takes me back to when I was wrapping up my pursuit towards my diploma… And ministered to me was God needed you left out so he Nehemiahed you left out it’s not that you did something wrong Terrill T.C a.k.a Relic
Amazing issues here. I’m very glad to look your post. Thanks a lot and I am taking a look ahead to contact you. Will you please drop me a mail?
Lots of debate here and that is ok as long as we remember that “in-fighting” amongst believers only makes the unbelievers more of an unbeliever. Truth of the matter is we will NEVER know all the facts and truths in this life…..only the next. There is only ONE expert….the God of the Bible. I enjoyed reading it all but it did leave a bad taste in my mouth as I thought how much unbelievers love to see us disagree with one another…just some food for thought to all. God bless.
[…] Biblical Archaeology Society […]
Thats not true if you hold to Chronicles and Kings you can see some major discrepencies. There is a way to solve these problems but they do not wish to handle it that way. It would mean they would have to admit the redactions. That is to steep a cost and it would make them question why they hold the Babylonian traditions alive.
[…] In it, Nehemiah describes his efforts to rebuild the city, even in the face of hostile neighbors: Nehemiah—The Man Behind the Wall – Biblical Archaeology Society Daniel 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to […]
The prince (lowercase p) is not Jesus Christ. Christ is clearly cut off at the determination of the 69th week. The 70th week does not start until the Anti Christ appears who make a covenant with many for one heptad (week) a 7 year period. The people of the prince to come were in fact those who destroyed the temple under Titus in 70 A.D. The prince to come is key to understanding these verses. The man of sin will in fact make a military protective covenant with Israel which ushers in the rapture of the called out born again church and begins the ticking on Israel for the last week. Israel is not serving God as of now and so time is not calculated because of that. Israel is God’s earthly time clock.
This printer even prints a color photo in black and white or
sepia. Photo printing devices nowadays are manufactured in different sizes
and packages. Put in your recipe box or binder and keep the card template you used on
file and then when you come across a new recipe just add it to the card and file.
There is certainly a lot to learn about this subject.
I really like all of the points you’ve made.
The picture of a statue of Nehemiah in this Bible History Daily article caused me to be suspicious.
Of course, no artist can claim knowledge of what any biblical character looked like. Not even Michelangelo and his David!
However, there is a world of difference between an artist’s own title to his work and the labeling of a picture hundreds of years later without any proof of the artist’s original intention.
So I embarked on a little detective work.
The caption reads Nehemiah/Photo: Foto Marburg/Art Resource, NY.
This company acts as an image bank/agency – they own, or represent photographers (and artists, if recent), with regard to copyright. They make their money by licensing temporary rights for a specific use to newspapers, magazines and other media.
I found the picture on their website under the caption “A prophet or Nehemiah – west facade, south portal, right side, mid-12th c. Location: St. Lazare, Avallon, France”.
So this is how it works – Foto Marburg has plenty of Abrahams, Davids, Jesuses (Jesi?) etc., but apparently no available stock photo of a work from the Middle Ages whose artist actually recorded that his intention was to depict Nehemiah.
So Foto Marburg – for the rare occasion that a client specifically wants a Nehemiah – labels a statue by an unknown artist thus, taking care to cover themselves legally by stating that actually it’s a prophet OR (possibly) Nehemiah (when, of course, neither may be true, but “prophet” is wide enough by definition).
Along comes Bible History Daily, rents the picture, crops it to show just the face and upper portion of the body. A claim to an artist’s impression of Nehemiah’s likeness is thus born.
And the plot thickens…
A survey of websites with information on the town of Avallon and its church with its unusual, single portal statue (the front entrance of most mediaeval churches with such statues are usually lined by several of them on either side), ALL refer to it as depicting “a prophet”.
Nowhere, absolutely nowhere, current or in historical records of the past almost one thousand years, is there any reference to Nehemiah!
The church is named after St Lazare (Lazarus of Bethany, whom Jesus raised from the dead – Gospel of John, 11) and, historically, was a famous place of pilgrimage because of its claim to have a piece of Lazarus’skull as a relic, reputed to have the power to cure leprosy.
Thus, if our anonymous artist had any intention, it would have been much more likely that this statue is his rendition of Lazarus rather than Nehemiah!
[…] study is all about destiny and reversal of destiny. Our Sunday sermons at church have focused on Nehemiah heeding God’s calling to re-build his beloved home. It’s just out there, bigger than I can […]
[…] The night following the release of these articles, I just finished reading the story of Nehemiah. […]
hi, im from indonesia
im so interested with 12 gates of jerusalem. i found map of 12 gates of jerusalem according to nehemiah.
12 gates in that map is still remain today?
[…] Nehemiah was a high official in the Persian court of King Artaxerxes I at the capital city of Susa, which lay 150 miles east of the Tigris River in what is now modern Iran. Nehemiah served as the king’s cupbearer (Nehemiah 1:11), which evidently put him in a position to speak to the king. After hearing about the sad state of affairs in Judah, Nehemiah acquired the king’s permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and its fortifications. He is even given letters from the king to ensure safe passage and to obtain timber from the king’s forest for the gates and walls of Jerusalem. (Site from http://www.biblicalarchaelogy.org) […]
[…] Nehemiah was a high official in the Persian court of King Artaxerxes I at the capital city of Susa, which lay 150 miles east of the Tigris River in what is now modern Iran. Nehemiah served as the king’s cupbearer (Nehemiah 1:11), which evidently put him in a position to speak to the king and request favors from him. After hearing about the sad state of affairs in Judah, Nehemiah acquired the king’s permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and its fortifications. He is even given letters from the king to ensure safe passage and to obtain timber from the king’s forest for the gates and walls of Jerusalem. (Site from http://www.biblicalarchaelogy.org) […]
@ Willaim … If you can make that translation fit history, more power to you. In the past 2000 years, no one else has. My interpretation fits both Scripture and history. It is correct.
I have read your theory and I do understand your position. In my opinion it does not represent a reasonable interpretation of the available Scriptural evidence. Your interpretation of a verse does not make it any more the word of God than does mine.
You made an important statement:
“….but I remind you that that is not what God said through the prophet Daniel in verse 25. I’ll stick with what the biblical text states, that the key time-location events are the decree of Caesar in 44 BCE and the building of the broad place and moat in 43 BCE.”
I have included Daniel 9:25 below just to be perfectly clear just “what the biblical text states”. Right or wrong the rest is just opinion.
Daniel 9:25 25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
@ William … You say that building the Temple is the de facto event in building Jerusalem, but I remind you that that is not what God said through the prophet Daniel in verse 25. I’ll stick with what the biblical text states, that the key time-location events are the decree of Caesar in 44 BCE and the building of the broad place and moat in 43 BCE. If you will read chapters six and seven in my book (link given above), you will see just how precisely the interpretation I have given fits recorded history and the Scriptures. May God bless your search for understanding.
Nice talking to you. You too offer an interesting interpretation. Here is how I understand it.
Verse 24 gives the big picture overview of what takes place during the entire 70 weeks.
Verse 25 states the following: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem – unto the Messiah.”
The word “restore” is –shuwb- it’s primary meaning is to return or turn back. Looking at the verse in this context brings a little different picture.” The command starts the process and the focus of the command is to “return and build Jerusalem”. In my opinion the underlying text does not say anything about “restoring Jerusalem to a messiah.” The text clearly states it will be 7 sevens from the “command” unto the “Messiah”. Here is a simple equation of the 1st part of that verse:
Command (7 sevens) = Messiah.
I personally do not think Daniel 9 can be separated from the context of that time. When Daniel received the vision, the 70 years of the captivity period spoken of in Jeremiah 25 were just drawing to a close. Just a few years later Cyrus gave his “command”(at the prompting of YHWH) which allowed the people to return and rebuild the temple. This event symbolically and chronologically marked the end of the 70 years of Jerusalem’s desolation.
Sometime during the next 16 years (between 1st year of Cyrus & 2nd year of Darius Hystaspes) construction of the 2nd temple stopped. The temple lay uncompleted. During this time according to Haggai 1 the people were busy working on their own houses. What many commentators fail to notice is that up until the 2nd year Darius (Hystaspes) Judah & Jerusalem were still under a period of 70 years of divine indignation (Zech.1). This divine anger ended in the 2nd year of Darius. If you count the years backwards you will find the 70 years of divine anger began at the departure of the Shekinah from the temple as described in Ezekiel.
Zechariah 1:12 Then the angel of YHWH answered and said, O YHWH of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?
Notice then what YHWH says in verse 16: “I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall built in it, saith YHWH of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.”
I am returned “shuwb”, the same word used in Daniel 9:25. This decree or command by YHWH (in the 12th month, 2nd year of Darius) followed a similar decree given to Haggai just a few months earlier(Hag.1). YHWH was telling the people to “shuwb” or return and build His house that they were neglecting. Building Jerusalem had been going on since the 1st year of Cyrus, that was never the issue.
Contextually it was all about returning to the temple construction which had stopped. This is where I admittedly find it frustrating when discussing this subject. Building the temple of Jerusalem is in fact “building Jerusalem”. Nothing else would qualify. YHWH’s house is the heart of Jerusalem, without it’s completion nothing else matters. It’s is the literal and symbolic event which marked Jerusalem’s restoration.
Really consider the words below. These take place in the 2nd year of Darius. Notice the importance YHWH, not man, places on the construction efforts:
Zechariah 1:13-16 And YHWH answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words. 14 So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith YHWH of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. 15 And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. 16 Therefore thus saith YHWH; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith YHWH of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.
This is the command to return and build Jerusalem. Nothing symbolically or literally even comes close to this command by YHWH, a command which was witness by both Haggai and Zechariah. The words of Ezra 6 lays it all out in chronological order. They are appropriate here again:
Ezra 6:14 14 And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel,….”
Again I ask you to consider. If building the temple (YHWH house) in Jerusalem does not qualify as the de facto event in building Jerusalem then nothing does. It is the bedrock foundation upon which Jerusalem’s restoration began.
Moving on to the 62 seven’s they have nothing to do with the original command to return and build Jerusalem. It is during 62 sevens that the wall and the street were built again. These are just chronological events which take place after the first 7 sevens. Then after the 62 7- sevens the Messiah is cut off.
Well, there you have it, that’s how I see it anyway 🙂
@ William … You have offered an interesting interpretation, but it is based on rebuilding the Temple, whereas Daniel 9:25 mentions restoring Jerusalem to a messiah (anointed one)/political leader, but does not say anything at all about rebuilding the Temple. None of the Persian-era decrees fit the text of Daniel 9. The only decree that does fit, and fit exactly using all of the biblical text, is the decree issued by Julius Caesar in 44 BCE that was recorded by Josephus as mentioned above. That decree restores Jerusalem to a messiah (anointed one)/political leader (in this case, the high priest and ethnarch Hyrcanus II), and indicates that the seventy weeks will be fulfilled AFTER the broad place and moat has been rebuilt, an event that happened between 44 BCE and 43 BCE, when Antipater, appointed by Rome to assist Hyrcanus govern the city of Jerusalem, is known to have rebuilt the wall and tower gate (with the broad place for assembling troops behind the tower) and restored the moat in front of the wall by clearing out the rubbish that had been used by Pompey in 63 BCE to fill in the moat so his Roman troops could use siege engines against the wall. Once the defenses had been rebuilt by Antipater, the seven weeks and sixty-two weeks and one week (totaling seventy weeks) could begin, and that is exactly what happened. Daniel 9 did two things. It identified the time of the introduction of the new covenant prophesied by Jeremiah that would be offered to Israel by John the Baptist, and it identified the anointed one, Jesus, who would confirm that new covenant during the Passion Week. Of all of the English translations of Daniel 9:25, Young’s Literal Translation is perhaps the best (but still imperfect), saying “And thou dost know, and dost consider wisely, from the going forth of the word to restore and to build Jerusalem till Messiah the Leader [is] seven weeks, and sixty and two weeks: the broad place hath been built again, and the rampart, even in the distress of the times.” A good fulfillment paraphrase of verse 25, substituting real events and real names from history for the biblical language, would read something like this: “Observe with your eyes and calculate with your mind, that after the issuance of the decree by Julius Caesar to Hyrcanus II, high priest and ethnarch (the anointed one-prince) of the Jews, restoring him to rule in Jerusalem (the first restoration) and granting him permission to rebuild its fortifications, until his repatriation from Parthia to Jerusalem by Herod (the second restoration), there will be seven Pentecosts, followed by sixty-two Pentecosts. Before the seven Pentecosts begin, the tower gate with its broad place and the wall with its trench in front that were destroyed by Pompey in 63 BCE will have been rebuilt” (from my book Lifting the Veil on the Book of Daniel, page 92, or see full discussion at http://www.prophecysociety.org/books/LV2012/LV-091.html ).
I don’t think the prophecy of Daniel 9 gets the attention it deserves in regards to the influence it has had on Biblical and secular chronology. 1st century BCE Jewish messianic expectants considered the prophecy so important that today over 2000 years later we have a Rabbinic chronology which leaves out over 120 year of Persian chronology.
If you sort through the rather scarce historical references of Messianic expectancy in the 1st century BCE you will find like Newton and Davidson that a huge portion of the Persian era was “eclipsed”. Although Newton believed the early messianic expectants based their counting from the 1st year of Cyrus, it is more likely as Davidson noted, the 2nd year of Darius Hystaspes which was the basis for the chronological errors that crept into the early rabbinic chronology.
Each new “messiah” or their followers claim fulfillment of the prophecy based on a 2nd year of a Persian “Artaxerxes”. After each failed attempt a new “Artaxerxes” was chosen in order to make the prophecy work. In this way the Persian era was “eclipsed”. The Scriptural basis for their calculations was likely Ezra 6:14
Ezra 6:14 And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.
Notice the context. This verse describes the “commands” which were instrumental in the rebuilding of the Temple and it’s eventual completion. The 1st part of the verse says they “builded and prospered” through the prophesying of Haggai and Zechariah. Why is this important? Because Haggai and Zechariah prophesied due to the command of YHWH.
Cyrus’s decree initially started the process, but then it was interrupted and the Temple construction stopped. According to Haggai 1, YHWH then spoke to Haggai and asked him why the people were building their own houses when the Temple was not completed. The symbolic focal point of the rebuilding efforts, the Temple, “lie waste”. So we have:
1. Cyrus’s decree which started contruction of the temple.
2. YHWH’s decree in the 2nd year of Darius Hystaspes (through Haggai & Zechariah) to restart contruction of the temple which had stopped sometime earlier.
3. Joshua & Zerubbabel restarted construction but their enemies lodge a protest with Darius Hystaspes.
4. Darius Hystaspes checks the records and confirms that in fact Cyrus’s did issue a decree and therefore the contruction could go on. Only four years later the Temple was completed in the 6th year of Darius.
Here is where the problem develops in the chronology. Of the three “commands” to rebuild the temple as mentioned in Ezra 6, clearly the “command” by YHWH through Haggai and Zechariah would be the one a Messianic Zealot or their followers would use to base their claim for the fulfillment of Daniel 9. No self respecting Jewish zealot would have based it upon a command given by men. They knew that the command given by YHWH was in the same year as the command given by Darius, “Artaxerxes”, son of Hystaspes in his 2nd year. Notice the verse again.
“And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.”
“and Artaxerxes” comes from the waw proceeding Artaxerxes. English translators have taken the liberty of translating it “and” denoting another separate “Artaxerxes”. Contextually there is no evidence for another “Artaxerxes” who was instrumental in getting the temple “builded and finished” by the 6th year as stated in Ezra 6. The waw would have been more accurately translated as a hendiadys where the 2nd word specifies the first. The early Messianic expectants would have understood the verse to mean: “according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, -even- Artaxerxes. Thus “Artaxerxes” is not another Persian ruler but a title which defines Darius son of Hystaspes. This then would naturally explain the chronological flow of Ezra. Ezra 6 ends with completion of the temple in the 6th year of Darius –even- Artaxerxes. Ezra 7 begins with Ezra going up to Jerusalem in the 7th year of “Artaxerxes the king”. Based on Ezra 6:14 this was none other than Darius son of Hystaspes.
This single letter and it’s use is the basis for the120 years of missing chronology as well as Christian chronologist’s attempts to show that Nehemiah and Ezra were contemporary with “Artaxerxes” Longimanus.
Each time a new Messianic zealot came along and needed a new basis for claiming a fulfillment of Daniel 9 they would conveniently associate the command given by YHWH in the 2nd year of Darius even Artaxerxes with the 2nd year of a new “Artaxerxes” thus “eclipsing” the Persian period by jumping from one to another. As noted earlier a variation on this tradition has been carried on by Christians today in their association of “Artaxerxes” with the Persian Longimanus. Only this time the Christian chronologists have removed the contextual necessity of association between the “command” given by YHWH and the 2nd year of Darius –even- “Artaxerxes”. They instead have claimed an unknown and contextually inaccurate addition to those original commands which started and completed the contruction of the 2nd temple as specified in Ezra 6.
Note: I would like to make a clarification to my other post. I said, “Christian chronologists have preserved this same reckoning of Ezra and Nehemiah because it is the only way to show that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel 9.” I meant to say: “Christian chronologists have preserved this same reckoning of Ezra and Nehemiah because it is the only way they can show that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel 9.”
I would also like to address a comment regarding “Yeshu, the Roman Fabrication.” Yeshua being a Roman fabrication is as reasonable and historically accurate as those who say Israel is a British one.
Respectfully, Nathaniel, you are incorrect in your interpretation. Daniel 9 is about Jesus. The prophecy fits his advent exactly. See http://www.prophecysociety.org for a fuller explanation than can be provided in this forum. May God bless your search.
Daniyel 9 has nothing to do with Yeshu, the Roman fabrication.
It also has nothing to do with “feasts of weeks,” nor does Daniel say anything at all about “seventy weeks.”
The word used in Daniyel is shavuim, while the word for weeks is shavuot.
Daniyel 9:23 says that at the beginning of Daniyel’s supplications “yatsa davar.”
Daniyel 9:25 says that the first seven shavuim begin “min motsa davar” in Daniyel’s own lifetime, whenever his supplications began (naturally, when the Temple was destroyed).
Ezra and Nehemiah, and the wall built during their time, have nothing to do with Daniel 9. Trying to apply that prophecy to the Persian period is simply incorrect. No one has made it fit the biblical text that way. The decree signified by Daniel 9 that starts the 70 weeks is the decree issued by Julius Caesar in 44 BCE, that says: “Gaius Caesar, consul the fifth time [in 44 BCE], hath decreed, That the Jews shall possess Jerusalem, and may encompass that city with walls; and that Hyrcanus, the son of Alexander, the high priest and ethnarch of the Jews, retain it in the manner he himself pleases; and that the Jews be allowed to deduct out of their tribute, every second year the land is let [in the Sabbatic period], a corus of that tribute; and that the tribute they pay be not let to farm, nor that they pay always the same tribute.” … Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 14.10.5 (Whiston translation). The 70 weeks are thus seventy “Feasts of Weeks” and are divided into three divisions: 7 weeks from 42-36 BCE, 62 weeks from 35 BCE-27 CE, and the final week ending in 28 CE at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. This interpretation fits the 70 weeks in all ways. The dating of the ministries of Nehemiah and Ezra have been juggled to fit both Jewish and Christian misinterpretations of Daniel 9, unfortunately, and repeated so often that they have become “gospel” in their respective circles. Still, they are incorrect.–Dan Bruce, The Prophecy Society
Nehemiah 12 identifies those “chief of their fathers” who went up with Jeshua and Zerubabbel in the 1st year of Cyrus. Nehemiah 10 identified many of those same men as being sealed with Nehemiah in the 20th year of “Artaxerxes”. Notice the common names are in the same order in both lists.
If the “Artaxerxes” of Nehemiah is Longimanus then this would mean those “chiefs of their fathers” were at the most conservative estimation, 122 years old. If the “Artaxerxes” of Nehemiah references Darius son of Hystaspes their minimum age would have been 66 years.
Nehemiah 12 states Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam(Shallum), Talmon and Akkub all lived in the days of Joiakim, Nehemiah and Ezra. (Neh.12:25-26.) Joiakim was the son of Jeshua the high priest.(who came up with Zerubabbel) Talmon and Akkub were porters who kept the gates during the time Nehemiah was in Jerusalem. (Neh. 11:18-19; 1Chron. 9:1-19) They were also present at the completion and dedication of the wall.
Interestingly, after the completion of the wall, the people gathered in the 7th month, dwelt in booths and read the law according to the Torah. (Neh.8) This likely indicates this was a Sabbath year.
So why did chronologist place a gap in chronology between Ezra 6 &7 – between Jeshua/Zerubabbel and Ezra/Nehemiah? I think Isaac Newton’s explanation gets the closest:
“They seem to have grounded their opinion on the 70 weeks, which they reckoned form the 1st year of Cyrus. But afterwards, in applying the prophecy to Theudas, and Judas of Galilee, and at length to Bar Cochab, they seem to have shortened the reign of the Kingdom of Persia.” (Chron. of Ancient Kingdoms Amended)
Christian chronologists have preserved this same reckoning of Ezra and Nehemiah because it is the only way to show that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel 9.
The liberal wants to revise history by dithering about “dates” . Here is God’s version of ‘revising history’. A race of slaves emerge from slavery to become a nation. A conquered people emerge from horrific suffering to reform their nation with the sanction of the conqueror to even rebuild their walls. Reversing these often repeated, monstrous trends of history is God’s hand unparalleled among ANY people to demonstrate His glory.
David Rohl’s chronology works only if one disregards major portion of the Hebrew Scriptures. That’s too big a price to pay. If the Bible chronology is followed exactly as written, the reigns of the Hebrew kings synchronize perfectly with one another, without having to disregard Scripture and without having to accept long co-reigns not supported in the biblical text, and those reigns synchronize perfectly with the traditional chronology of Egypt as proposed by Ken Kitchen. The new chronology I have introduced in my book Sacred Chronology of the Hebrew Kings (available for reading free on my website) shows how the chronologies of the Bible, Egypt, and Assyria are in perfect agreement when the correct chronology for the kings is used. The traditional Bible chronology based on Thiele’s harmonization of the Hebrew kings and the Rohl chronology for Egypt are incorrect. The Finklestein chronology, which dismisses the biblical record, is also incorrect.–Dan Bruce, The Prophecy Society
David Rohl’s chronology works only if one disregards major portions of the Hebrew Scriptures. That’s too big a price to pay, and unnecessary. If the Bible chronology is followed exactly as written, the reigns of the Hebrew kings synchronize perfectly with one another, without having to disregard Scripture and without having to accept long co-reigns not supported in the biblical text, and those reigns synchronize perfectly with the traditional chronology of Egypt as proposed by Ken Kitchen. The new chronology I have introduced in my book Sacred Chronology of the Hebrew Kings (available for reading free on my website) shows how the chronologies of the Bible, Egypt, and Assyria are in perfect agreement when the correct chronology for the kings is used. The traditional Bible chronology based on Thiele’s harmonization of the Hebrew kings and the Rohl chronology that shortens the chronology of Egypt are incorrect. Neither can be made to match the biblical record. The Finklestein chronology, which dismisses the biblical record almost entirely, is also incorrect.–Dan Bruce, The Prophecy Society
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Very good study. I would like to see more biblical dating using David Rohl’s new Chronology. I think he has placed Israel History in proper date chronology. How about it? Bring in the new Chronology.
Ezra went up in the 7th year of Artakhshast (Ezra 7:7-10), 13 years before Nehemyah’s first documented time in Yerushalayim if they are they same Artakhshast. Since Ezra and Nehemyah were together in Yerushalayim at some point (Ezra 8:9) it is unlikely to have been a different Artakhashast in each story. And it could not (as Josephus says) be Khshayarsha, who only reign 20 years.
According to Jewish tradition the Artakhshast of Ezra and Nehemyah is the same as Daryavesh I. So that the Mikdash would have been completed in his 6th year (Ezra 6), and Ezra would have led the return in his 7th year. That would put Ezra’s aliyah around 515 BCE, and Nehemyah’s time in Yerushalayim from around 502 BCE to 490 BCE.
Ezra’s genealogy would make him impossibly old in the 7th year of Artaxerxes I, as his father was killed when the Mikdash was destroyed. Even in the the 7th year of Daryavesh I he could be no younger than 70.
I have seen some [arguing for Artaxerxes I] say that his genealogy leaves out some generations, but it doesn’t really make sense that there should be a gap of 128 years right between his last ancestor in his genealogy and himself/his first dateable appearance.