The Bible (6)
Three books are set in Babylon, after the residents have been taken prisoner there.
– The bible book Ester tells about the Judean girl Ester in Babylon. She becomes queen, because the king of Babel marries her. That gives her the opportunity to save her people if the whole people are killed.
– There were also two prophets in Babylon who transmitted God’s words: the prophet Daniel at the court of the king of Babel, and the prophet Ezekiel among the common people. Both were from the kingdom of Judah.
After 70 years of imprisonment, the Jews living in Babylon were allowed to return to their country.
– The Chronicles (report of the history of a country) are written for the Judeans who then went back. They briefly tell the history of the kingdom of Judah. The book starts with a family tree from Adam to King David. Then the kings of Judah are told. With this, the writer wants to encourage those who go back to Judah with him to rebuild the land.
– The Bible book Ezra tells how a group of Judeans from Babylon go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. This is done under the direction of the priest Ezra.
– Nehemiah tells how the walls of Jerusalem are being rebuilt. This happens thanks to the scribe and director Nehemiah.
– At that time there were a number of prophets who encouraged people to finish the work on the temple. Their words are written in the Haggai and Zechariah Bible books.
– In Malachi, God is calling his people for the last time to love Him again. Malachi prophesies about 80 years after Haggai and Zechariah. God has brought his people back to his own country, but soon they are no longer grateful to Him for that. They still make the sacrifices, but do not do this out of love but out of habit. That is why He is sending Malachi to ask them to return to Him.
Malachi is the last prophet from the Old Testament. After him, God is silent for 400 years. The Bible also tells nothing about the history of the people of Israel in those 400 years. Only through John the Baptist, in Jesus’ time, does God speak to the people again. The New Testament begins with this prophet.