Chapters 1-2 established the continuity between preexilic Israel and those just returning from exile in terms of God’s gracious activity and the physical transplanting of the people themselves. Here the theme of continuity continues with the reestablishment of worship by those who had returned with The governor of Judah who helped rebuild the Temple after the exile More.
The first stage in the completion of God’s mission to restore the exiles to their homeland given through Persian leader who allowed Jewish exiles to return home. More, the Persian king (1:1-4), was completed in chapter 3 with the restoration of the altar and the resumption of sacrifices (3:1-6). The restoration of the altar began in “the seventh month,” an auspicious time with its celebration of the New Year, the A Day of Atonement is a ritual occasion of prayer and confession during which a community recalls its disobedience and wrongdoing. Among Christians such an occasion is known as a Day of Penitence. Among Jews Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement; its origins in... More, and the Festival of Booths. The New Year celebration would situate the community properly with respect to sacred time, and Booths would celebrate their return with reminiscences of God’s gracious deliverance of their forebears from Egypt as well as a recommitment to the A covenant is a promise or agreement. In the Bible the promises made between God and God's people are known as covenants; they state or imply a relationship of commitment and obedience. More. The Day of Atonement would not have been celebrated before the rebuilding of the The Jerusalem temple, unlike the tabernacle, was a permanent structure, although (like the tabernacle) it was a place of worship and religious activity. On one occasion Jesus felt such activity was unacceptable and, as reported in all four Gospels, drove from the temple those engaged... More.
The altar was restored in 538 B.C.E. Curiously, chapter 3 does not mention that a period of eighteen years elapsed before work on the ruined temple began in 520 B.C.E. (Haggai 1). The author of Scribe who helped establish Jewish practices in Jerusalem after the exile. More is much more interested in the theological importance of these events than in the accurate historical accounting of the events we might prefer.
In the rebuilding of the temple, continuity is once again stressed. This is most clearly seen in the intentional comparisons drawn between Solomon’s temple and the rebuilt edifice:
• Then (1 Chronicles 22:2-4) and now (Ezra 3:7), Lebanese cedars were imported for construction by masons and carpenters from Tyre and Sidon, who were paid in a similar fashion.
• Then (1 Kings 6:1) and now (Ezra 3:8), work begins in “the second month.”
• Then (1 Chronicles 23:4-32) and now (Ezra 3:8b-9), Levites oversee the work.
There are differences, however:
• Solomon’s temple had been financed through the generous contributions of Second king of Israel, David united the northern and southern kingdoms. More and Third king of Israel who was known for wisdom and building the first Temple More. Now, the congregation joins together in support of the task.
• Ezra 3:12-13 relates the people’s joy at the laying of the temple’s foundation. Their joy, however, is mingled with “weeping.” It is not known whether they wept for joy or because this temple was only an approximation of Solomon’s glorious edifice or because they would not live to see its completion.
Haggai clearly blames the eighteen-year delay in rebuilding the temple on the people’s selfish neglect (1:4). The author of Ezra sees the problem as external and blames the delay on the opposition of the surrounding peoples (Ezra 4:1-5), thus absolving the community of the charge of neglect. This opposition will continue throughout Ezra and The governor of Jerusalem who rebuilt the city walls after the exile More.