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September 15   - Day 258
* Scriptures below
* Introduction to the book of Ezra
* BOOKS on Ezra,
* Study Index: Ezra
* Chart: Kings of Judah and Israel
* Chart: Middle East history
* Timeline: Some prophets of Judah and Israel

Rebuilding Begins in Jerusalem
Ezra 1-4

Scripture: (107vs) 2Ch 36:22-23; Ezra 1-4:5; Psalm 126

DATE: ca 539 BC - King Belshazzar lost the Babylonian Empire in one night when Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Great took the kingdom of Babylon
DATE: ca 539 BC - Probably Darius the Mede was also named Cyaxares II, 62 year old uncle of Cyrus the Great, referred to in the book of Daniel.
DATE: ca 538 BC - "Decree of Cyrus" by Cyrus the Great gave the Jews (Judahites) permission to return to the Judah (Yehud) province to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem.
DATE: ca 537 BC - Darius the Mede died and Cyrus was sole king, per and

DATE: ca 539 BC - the first year of Cyrus king of Persia

  * 2Ch 36:22-23 (2vs)   - "Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia.."

  * Ezra 1 (11vs)   - Inspired by God, Cyrus king of Persia made a decree in his first year reigning over what had been the Babylonian empire, giving the Jews permission to return to Judah and Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple

  * Ezra 2 (70vs)   - Lists of the men who returned to Judah from captivity

  * Psalm 126 (6vs)   - "When Yahweh brought back those who returned to Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing.."

DATE: ca 539 BC - 1st year - 7th month - of Cyrus king of Persia to the 2nd year

  * Ezra 3 (13vs)   - The people gathered in Jerusalem, built the altar of the God of Israel, celebrated the feast of tents, then ordered and gathered supplies and organized the workman and priests for laying the foundation of the temple

  * Ezra 4:1-5 (5vs)   - local area adversaries made the work on building the temple stop for many years

PERSIA Persia (Persian Empire) aka Achaemenid Empire c 550-330 BC; with maps; included what had been Babylon, 539 BC
DATE: ca 539 BC - King Belshazzar lost the Babylonian Empire in one night when Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Great took the kingdom of Babylon
DATE: ca 539 BC - Probably Cyaxares II was Darius the Mede, uncle of Cyrus the Great, referred to in the book of Daniel. Darius was 62 years old when he and nephew Cyrus took the kingdom of Babylon in 539 BC, and he died about two years later in 537/536 BC (9-14)
DATE: ca 538 BC "Decree of Cyrus" by Cyrus the Great gave the Jews (Judahites) permission to return to the Judah (Yehud) province to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem. (9-15)
DATE: ca 537 BC 42,360 people returned to Judah and during the 2nd year the priests Zerubbabel and Jeshua had organized the workers and laid the foundation of the Temple
DATE: ca 537-520 BC adversaries to Israel frustrated and delayed the rebuilding of the Temple about 17 years
DATE: ca 530-522 BC - Cyrus's son, Cambyses II (also called Artaxerxes) ruled Persian Empire, but spent much time in Egypt
DATE: ca 522 BC - A usurper sometimes known as Smerdis reigned 7 months
DATE: ca 522-485 BC - Darius I the Great ruled Persian Empire
DATE: ca 520 BC - renewed construction work began on the Second Temple in the reign of Darius I the Great
DATE: ca 515 BC - construction of the Second Temple was completed during the reign of Darius I the Great
DATE: ca 485-465 BC - Xerxes I the Great, son of Darius I, ruled Persian Empire and married Esther

ASSYRIA Second Empire of ASSYRIA with maps; 746-609 BC
* Assyria Timeline Chart
* The ancient city NINEVEH on the Tigris River was the capital
* Founding king Tiglath Pileser, 745727 BC, ruled during reigns of Menehem (Israel) and Uzziah (Judah)
* By 722 BC, the people of Israel had been moved and the land had become part of Assyria
* Conquered by Assyria in 717 BC, the Syrian city of Carchemish was on the west bank of the Euphrates River
* Waning Assyrian Power (D. Bratcher)
* In 609 BC, Assyria had weakened and fallen to Babylon
* About 604 BC, Carchemish was the scene of Egypt's defeat (King Necho II) by Babylonia (King Nebuchadnezzar II)

BABYLONIANEO BABYLONIAN Empire with maps; ca. 627-539 BC
* Nebuchadnezzar II's father, Nabopolassar, established the Chaldean era of the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 626 BC, rebelling against Assyria
* Nabopolassar was king when the Assyrian capital Ninevah was sacked (612 BC)
* Nebuchadnezzar had been the Chaldean king of the Babylonian Empire 19 years when Jerusalem fell in 586 BC
* In 586 BC, almost all the remaining Jews of Judah were taken from the Promised Land northeast into the captivity promised by their God.

EGYPT a neighbor of Judah
* 610 BC Pharaoh Necho II began his reign (610-595 BC)
* 609 BC on Necho's way to meet the Babylonians at Carchemish in Syria, Judah's King Josiah tried to stop Egypt from the intended battle. Josiah was killed at Megiddo and buried at Jerusalem.
* From 609-605 BC Judah was under Egyptian control after the death of King Josiah. Pharaoh Necho established Josiah's second son Jehoiakim the puppet king of Judah.
* Egypt established an outpost in the northern Syria city of Carchemish
* In 605 BC Nebuchadezzar drove Egypt out of Carchemish and south toward Palestine. At this time Nebuchadezzar became sole king of Babylonia at the death of his father and co-reigner, Nabopolasser.
* 606/5 BC was Jehoiakim's 4th year as king and Nebuchadnezzar's 1st year solo reigning
* 604 BC Jehoiakim of Judah switched loyalties from Egypt to Babylonia as the latter moved into the coastal regions of Philistine territory, northeast of Egypt and southwest of Judah.
* By 601 BC Nebuchadezzar was at war with Egypt led by Pharaoh Necho, but Babylonia - unable to conquer Egypt - soon returned home.
* Seeing Egypt's apparent victory, Jehoiakim of Judah switched loyalties back to Egypt, away from Babylonia.
* 598 BC Nebuchadezzar sent his army to retake Judah from its Egyptian allegiance. Then Jehoiakim suddenly died, and his son Jehoiachin became king.
598 BC * Jehoiachin had reigned 3 months in 598 BC when he surrendered Jerusalem to Babylonia, as the prophet Jeremiah had told his father must be done. Thousands went into Babylonian exile, including Daniel and Esther.
* In 595 BC Egypt's Necho II died and his son Psamtik II began to reign (595589 BC)
* By 594 BC Judah's king Zedekiah believed prophets other than Jeremiah and hoped for other local countries to resist Babylonia with him
* In 589 BC with only Tyre, Egypt, and perhaps Ammon supporting Judah, Babylonian troops returned to capture most of Judah except for Jerusalem
* In 589 BC Egyptian Pharaoh Psamtik II died and his son Apries (aka Hophra) began to reign (589-570 BC)
* In 588 BC Jerusalem was under siege. When Egypt's Pharaoh Hophra sent an army to aid Jerusalem, Babylonia left the siege to turn back the Egyptian forces.
* The remaining Jews believed God had delivered Jerusalem, until Babylonian forces returned from defeating Egyptian forces.
* In July of 587 BC the Babylonian siege finally succeeded to breach the walls of Jerusalem and conquer the city.
* Pharaoh Hophra (aka Apries) stayed in power until overthrown by army general Amasis in 570 BC

JUDAH: Later prophets relay God's warnings, plans:
* Jeremiah prophesied from the reign of Josiah past the destruction of Jerusalem
* Zephaniah prophesied during the reign of Josiah
* Habakkuk likely prophesied during the reign of Josiah

* Daniel born during Josiah; into exile from Judah to Babylon in Jehoiakim reign
* Ezekiel was probably exiled from Judah to Babylon with Jehoiachin

* Ezra followed Daniel and preceeded Nehemiah
* Nehemiah supplemented and completed Ezra's rebuilding history
* Malachi was probably contemporary with Nehemiah
* Haggai prophesied after Israel's return from the Babylonian captivity during 2nd temple
* Zechariah prophesied after Israel's return from the Babylonian captivity during 2nd temple

Chart of the Final KINGS of Judah
NOTE: The reasons the kings of Judah after Josiah were wicked are listed in 2Ch 36:12ff.
God required the land of Judah (Israel) to be cleansed by the people going to Babylon for 70 years
Josiah Jehoahaz Jehoiakim
* Josiah born to Amon
(Josiah's son)
(Josiah's son)
(Jehoiakim's son)
(Josiah's son)
* age8- became King

* 14- son Jehoiakim born

* Jehoiakim born

* 16- son Jehoahaz born
* Jehoahaz born
* 2 years old

* 18- celebrated Passover
* 2 years old
* 4 years old

* 21- (13th yr of reign)
    Jeremiah, Habakkuk
* 5 years old
* 7 years old

* 29- son Zedekiah born
* 13 years old
* 15 years old

* Zedekiah born
* 39 Josiah died

* 23- made king; 3 months * 25- made king; 11 yrs

* 10 years old
(buried in Judah)
(died in Egypt)
* 27- son Jehoiachin born
* Jehoiachin born
* 12 years old

* 28-* 1
* 13
In the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim (B.C. 606), Nebuchadnezzar (in his first year reigning Jer 25:1) carried Daniel with other youths of Jewish nobility and articles from the temple, off to Babylon. 2Kings 24:1-7 and 2 Chronicles 36:5-7

* 36- Jehoiakim died in Babylon
* 8- made king; 3 mo 10 da
* removed to Babylon
* 21- made king; 11 yrs

* 19- prison, Babylonia * 32- taken to Babylonia

* 45- released 2Ki 25:27 (Babylonia)

of JUDAH around Jerusalem of ISRAEL (taken by Assyria) of neighbor countries
At Amon's assasination, his son Josiah began a 31yr reign
At Josiah's death, his younger son Jehoahaz (Shallum) began a 3 mo reign
Pharaoh Necho removed Jehoahaz (Shallum) to die in Egypt.
Egypt's Necho made Josiah's son Jehoiakim (Eliakim) king; 11 yr reign
    In Jehoiakim's 4th yr as king, Nebuchadnezzar began his reign of Babylon.
    Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon conquered Assyria as well as Egypt
Jehoiakim was exiled to Babylon; his 8yo son Jehoiachin (Jeconiah, Coniah) king 3 mos
Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took 8yo Jehoiachin to jail him in Babylon; later released
Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon made Jehoiachin's uncle Zedekiah (Mattaniah) king, 11 yrs.

Zedekiah (Mattaniah) was the last king of Judah

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