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History in the Bible

Sep 17, 2017

After Sheshbazzar's failure, the second wave of returnees are led by the enigmatic figures of the supposed Davidic king Zerubbabel and the high-priest Joshua. Those returning spurn those who stayed behind, implying that the only real Jews are those who were exiled. Zerubbabel inexplicably disappears from the narrative at the moment of his triumph. The book of Esdras Alpha rehabilitates him.

The prophets Haggai and Zechariah are sources for the period. Zechariah writes the first apocalypse. I finish with the puny prophet Joel, who turns plowshares into swords, and pruning hooks into spears.