THE POLITICAL BACKGROUND OF ZERUBBABEL'S MISSION AND THE SAMARITAN SCHISM by OTHNIEL MARGALITH Rarnat-Gan 1. "Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves ... will build unto the Lord God of Israel, as king Cyrus, the king of Persia, hath commanded us" (Ezra iv 3). Commentators have long disputed the possible reasons and motives for this reply, which is said to have been given by Zerub- babel and "the chiefs of the fathers" of the Jerusalem community to the "adversaries of Judah and Benjamin". Bearing in mind Thucydides' dictum' that the speeches which the historian reports in his history are not verbally exact protocols but rather ` `what the author thinks would have been appropriate for the person to have said at the occasion", we must inquire into the motives which the author of the book of Ezra-Nehemiah ascribes to Zerubbabel-an author (whoever he may have been) who lived at least 80-100 years after the event. As I have shown elsewhere, Ezra was no zealous religious leader of a Jewish revival, but a political commissar appointed by the Persian king to fortify a Persian frontier-post against the Greek invasion
Vetus Testamentum – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1991
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