Hope Amidst Ruin : A Literary and Theological Analysis of Ezra

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-12-01
  • Publisher: BJU Press
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The book of Ezra deals with building the second temple, restoring the worship of Yahweh, and breaking the habits that undermined Israel's spiritual integrity. In Hope Amidst Ruin, A. Philip Brown II analyzes the book's use of chronology, plot, and point of view, demonstrating that Ezra composed this historical narrative to teach postexilic Israel about the goodness and holiness of their God. The themes of hope and holiness flow throughout the book as the Returnees learn anew of God's promises to the just and of His wrath against those who abandon Him. Purification and separation from evil is necessary for the Israelites to be restored to true fellowship with Yahweh.

Author Biography

A. Philip Brown II (PhD, Bob Jones University) is an associate professor at God's Bible School and College in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hope Amidst Ruin is the published version of his dissertation, "A Literary and Theological Analysis of the Book of Ezra" (2002).

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. x
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Abbreviationsp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
Difficultiesp. 1
Needp. 2
Previous Worksp. 3
Delimitationsp. 9
Subject and Methodologyp. 10
The Application of Literary Analysisp. 11
The Application of Biblical-Theological Analysisp. 12
Hearing the Message in the Reading Processp. 13
Conclusionp. 14
Temporal Ordering in Ezra: Part Ip. 15
Temporal Notationsp. 17
Temporal Notations and Narrative Structurep. 20
Temporal Notations and Narrative Chronologyp. 25
Chronologyp. 28
Anachrony: Chronological Anomaliesp. 29
The Chronology of Ezra's Eventsp. 29
Artaxerxes Then Dariusp. 30
"After These Things ..."p. 34
"Cyrus and Darius and Artaxerxes"p. 39
The End Before the Beginningp. 41
Conclusionp. 42
Temporal Ordering in Ezra: Part IIp. 44
The Chronological Order of Ezra and Nehemiahp. 44
Rejection and Rearrangement of the Narrative Orderp. 48
Rejection of Anachrony: Forced Chronologyp. 52
Anachrony Accepted and Explainedp. 58
Temporal Proportioning in Ezrap. 62
Conclusionp. 64
An Analysis of Plot in Ezrap. 66
Plot Structure in Ezrap. 69
Plot Compositionp. 73
Selection of Eventsp. 73
Omissionp. 74
Inclusionp. 75
Arrangement of Eventsp. 82
Presentation of Eventsp. 85
Conclusionp. 90
An Analysis of Point of View in Ezrap. 92
Point of Viewp. 92
Point of View and Biblical Theologyp. 94
Point of View in Ezrap. 96
The Narrator and His Intrusionsp. 96
Elaborative Intrusionsp. 98
Explanatory Intrusionsp. 101
Shifts Between Third- and First-Person Narrationp. 103
Characterization and the Narrator's Point of Viewp. 108
Internal Perspectivep. 109
Direct Characterizationp. 112
Conclusionp. 114
Yahweh: God of Israel, God of Heaven and Earthp. 116
The Immanence of Godp. 117
The Sovereign Power of Godp. 118
Initiating the Temple Reconstructionp. 119
Overturning Opposition to the Temple Reconstructionp. 123
Completing the Temple Reconstructionp. 124
The Faithfulness of Godp. 125
God's Faithfulness to His Wordp. 125
"The Word of Yahweh by the Mouth of Jeremiah"p. 127
Fulfillment in Ezra of Jeremiah's Restoration Promisesp. 130
God's Faithfulness to His Peoplep. 133
The Gracious Goodness of Godp. 136
The Righteousness of Godp. 138
The Supremacy of Yahwehp. 141
Conclusionp. 143
Holiness in Ezra: Separated from Uncleanness and Seeking the Lordp. 146
Ezra 2: Priests Profaned from the Priesthoodp. 146
Ezra 4: Syncretists Rejectedp. 148
Ezra 6: Separatists Welcomed in Worshipp. 149
Ezra 8: Holy Guards Required for Holy Vesselsp. 151
Ezra 9-10: Mixed Marriages Separatedp. 152
The Peoples of the Lands and the Foreign Women: A Spectrum of Viewsp. 154
The Peoples of the Lands: Pagan Foreignersp. 154
The Peoples of the Lands: Non-Golah Jewsp. 157
The Peoples of the Lands: Synthetic Viewsp. 160
The Peoples of the Lands and the Foreign Women: The Biblical Datap. 161
The Identity of the Wives: Ezra's Terminologyp. 162
The Nature of the Problem: Ezra's Prayerp. 167
The Solution to the Problem: Ezra's Rationalep. 170
The Peoples of the Lands and the Foreign Women: The Importance of Holinessp. 175
Ezra the Priest and Scribe: Holiness Modeledp. 176
Conclusionp. 177
7p. 180
Continuity with Preexilic Israelp. 180
Genealogical Continuity in Ezrap. 181
The Lists of Returnees in Ezra 2 and Ezra 8p. 181
The Genealogy of Ezrap. 186
Geographical Continuity in Ezrap. 187
National Continuity in Ezrap. 188
Spiritual Continuity in Ezrap. 189
Worship Renewalp. 189
A Guilty Remnantp. 192
Conclusionp. 194
Hope for the Future: The Nexus of Ezra's Theological Messagep. 195
The Existence and Nature of Hope in Ezrap. 196
The Grounds of Ezra's Hope: Ezra's Theological Messagep. 198
Conclusionp. 200
A Reader's Guide to the Theological Message of Ezra: A Literary-Theological Synthesisp. 201
Ezra 1-6: The First Return and the Temple Rebuiltp. 202
Return Under Cyrus (Ezra 1-2)p. 202
Ezra 1-First Return Initiatedp. 202
Ezra 2-First Return Completedp. 203
Thematic Summaryp. 204
Rebuilding the Temple (Ezra 3-6)p. 205
Ezra 3-Temple Construction Startedp. 205
Ezra 4-Successful Opposition to God's Peoplep. 206
Ezra 5:1-6:12-Reversal of Opposition to God's Peoplep. 208
Ezra 6:13-22-Temple Construction Completedp. 209
Thematic Summaryp. 211
Thematic Sequence and Message Development in Ezra 1-6p. 211
Ezra 7-10: The Second Return and the Community Purifiedp. 212
Return Under Artaxerxes (Ezra 7-8)p. 212
Ezra 7-Ezra's Credentials and Artaxerxes' Commissionp. 212
Ezra 8-Preparation, Journey, and Arrival of the Second Returnp. 214
Thematic Summaryp. 216
Purification of the Community (Ezra 9-10)p. 217
Ezra 9-Mixed Marriages Discoveredp. 217
Ezra 10-Mixed Marriages Dissolvedp. 219
Thematic Summaryp. 220
Thematic Sequence and Message Development in Ezra 7-10p. 220
Parallelism and Antithesis: Ezra in Retrospectp. 221
Conclusionp. 223
Conclusionp. 224
Literary Analysisp. 224
Theological Analysisp. 227
Literary-Theological Synthesisp. 230
Prospects for Further Studyp. 230
Then and Now: Homiletical Values in Ezrap. 231
Appendix: References to God in Ezrap. 233
Selected Bibliographyp. 235
Literary Analysisp. 235
Theological Analysisp. 243
p. 259
p. 270
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