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in the Chronicler's history. The story of the reform in the matter
of foreign wives differs only in the nature of the case from the
stories told by him of the reforms of Asa, Jehoshaphat, and
Hezekiah. The manner of the narrative is just the same, and the
properties and personages are as nearly identical as they can be.
The details introduced by way of embellishment (Ezra's violent
manifestations of grief; the storms of rain; the stairs on which the
Levites stood, etc.) are like the similar ones found in every part
of the earlier history, devised solely with the purpose of giving
life to the story, not in order to give it the semblance of truth —
and it does not, indeed, sound in the least like truth. And finally,
the account of the signing. of the covenant is, as I have just shown,
one of the Chronicler's specialties, a thing which he brings into
his history over and over again. And all the items of the covenant
are those which he reiterates elsewhere, in about the same words,
in such chapters as II Chron. 31 and Neh. 13.

In all this there is not a word which sounds like popular tra-
dition, nor a single incident which stands outside the direct line of
the Chronicler's tendency. As for names of persons and places,
what appears to be opulence in this regard is really the extreme of
poverty. We have only the same old threadbare stuff, names of
"the chief of the people, the priests, and the Levites" which have
been para'ded in every chapter of the book since the time of Moses.
"Ezra" himself is the personification of the Chronicler's interests,
completely identical with the Nehemiah of Neh. 13 and {mutatis
mutandis) with each of the long list of ecclesiastical heroes and
reformers created by the Chronicler and introduced by him into
his history of the Judean kingdom. It is a most significant fact,
among others, that the Chronicler did not know who the governor
of Judea was during the first part of the reign of Artaxerxes II.
He could not leave him out, and therefore speaks of him simply as
"the Tirshatha" in Neh. 7:70, 8:9, and 10:2 (see the note on the
last-named passage)." He did have at his command, as a matter

IS It appears to be a similar instance of caution when he employs the term, without the
name, in Ezr. 2 : 63 and Neh. 7 : 65. The reason for this is obvious. The prophecy of Hairgai
^▼es Zerubbabel the title JinB "governor," while the Aramaic tale, incorporated by the
Chronicler, says expressly (Ezr. 5:14) that Sheshbazzar was the nn& *' governor" of the

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The Ezra Story in Its Original Sequence 289

of course, a list of the high-priests during the Persian period.
Regarding the list, which was probably correct in the main, so far
as the names contained in it are concerned, I shall have more to
say later. It is uncertain whether he intended the persons named
in Ezr. 10:6, "the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib," to
belong to the high-priestly line, or not (cf. Neh. 13:4); if that
was his intention, so much the worse for his chronology.

Certain words of Bernheim, Die historische Methode\ p. 426,
are so nearly applicable to the present case that they are worth
quoting. He writes: "In einer eigenthamlichen Lage befindet
sich die Kritik manchen Zeugnissen gegentlber, die, einzig in ihrer
Art, durch andere Quellen weder positiv noch negativ zu kontrol-
lieren sind, weil aus derselben Zeit, bzw. tlber dieselben Thatsachen
gar keine anderen Quellen erhalten sind, wfthrend wir obendrein
wissen, dass die Zeugnisse nicht durch weg Zuverlassig sind ; . . . .
und aus einer gewissen Schwiiche des Gemftts sind wir geneigt,
obwohl wir nicht recht trauen, dieselben gelten zu lassen, solange
wir sie nicht kontrollieren kOnnen, weil wir gar keine Kenntnis
tlber die betrefifenden Thatsachen besitzen, falls wir sie aufffeben."
In one respect, indeed, the case before us differs slightly from the
one described by Bernheim, in that the documents which he char-
acterizes are "not altogether trustworthy;" while in the
writings of the Chronicler we have the work of an author who is
well known tons as thoroughly untrustworthy, and, what is
far more important, as one who composes history with a motive
which is obviously furthered by this very narrative.
That being the case, it is plain that no use whatever can be made
of any part of the Ezra story as a source for the history of the
Jews in the Persian period. The same is of course true of Neh.
7:1-69 and chaps. 11-13, with the solitary exception of the list
of high-priests in 12:10f., 22, where we are able partially to
control the Chronicler's statements by the help of other sources.

The translation which here follows is based on an emended
text, the reason for the emendation being given in each case.

Jews at the timo when the foundation of the temple was laid. In the face of those con-
flicting statements, there was only one prudent course. It was doubtless from the same
motive— caution— that the ("hronicler choso the unusual term Kr)t?*in '* Tirshatha." Just
as soon as he gets back to firm ground, in Neh. 12:26, he writes '^Nehemiah the gover-
nor" (nnon).

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Our massoretic text is in the main excellent, standing probably
very close to what the Chronicler himself wrote. The other texts
(rendered by I Esdras, Theodotion, and Jerome) are inferior.
I have omitted the lists of names and the long prayer in Neh. 9,
as not essential to my present purpose, which is to print the
narrative as it originally stood.


(Ezr. 8:1-36; Neh. 7:70-73a)

Ezr. 8* And these are the chief of the fathers,^ and their
genealogy, those who went up with me from Babylonia*^ in the
reign of Artaxerxes the king. 'Of the sons of Phinehas, Ger-
shom, .... etc. [Then follows^ in vss. 2-14, the list,

composed in the Chronicler^ s characteristic manner.) ^*I

assembled them at the river which flows into the Ahava,** and
there we encamped for three days. And I took account of the
people,* and of the priests, but of the sons of Levi I found none
there. ^*So I sent Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib,*
Nathan, Zachariah, and MeshuUam, chief men; and Joiarib and
Elnathan, men of discernment; "directing them to Iddo, who
was the chief in the place Casiphia. And I instructed them

^For a tranelation of the narrative immediately preceding, Eee above,.

XXIV, 279-81.

I' or. Ezr. 1:5, and especially I Esdr. 5:4. See the texts and annotations
given above, XXIV, 12-28.

^"Babylonia," not "Babylon;" cf. my notes, above, on II Chron. 36:20,
Ezr. 5: 12, 6: 1.

''The name is known only from this chapter, and the translation is
accordingly uncertain.

'The Chronicler has no fixed order of mentioning these three classes:
"people (or, 'Israel*), priests, Levites." The order found here occurs very
frequently; thus I Chron. 9:2, 23:2, II Chron. 17:7f. (contrHst 19:8), 3i:30,
35:8f., Ezr. 1:5, I Esdr. 4:53flP., Ezr. 2:2flP., 6:16, 7:7, 13, 9:1, Neh. 8:13,
10:28, 11: 3. See also above, p. 2a3, note.

'The "Eloathan" which follows this name in MT is due to the error of a
copyist whose eye strayed to the same pair of names just one line
below. Our text is otherwise correct. Cf. with this vs. II Chron. 17: 7! The
Chronicler's style is not like that of any one else.

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what to say to Iddo my brother,*^ and to the Nethinim in the
place Casiphia, to bring us servants for the house of our God.
"And by the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a
man of understanding, of the sons of Mahli, son of Levi, son of
Israel; even^ Sherebiah, with his sons and his brethren, eighteen;
"Also Hashabiah and^ Jeshaiah, of the sons of Merari, with their
brethren* and their children, twenty. ^And of the Nethinim,
whom David and the princes gave for the service of the Levites:
two hundred and twenty Nethinim, all registered by name.

**And I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we
might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a
prosperous journey, for ourselves, our little ones, and all our
goods. "For I had been ashamed to ask of the king an armed
and mounted guard, to protect us from enemies on the way;
because we had said to the king: The hand of our God is upon
all those who seek him, for good; but his power and his wrath
are against all who forsake him. **So we fasted, and besought
our God for this, and he accepted our prayer.

^*And I set apart twelve men of the chief priests, ....
Sherebiah and Hashabiah and ten of their brethren.^ **And I
weighed out for them the silver, and the gold, and the vessels;
the offering for the house of our God which the king, and his
counselors and princes, and all Israel there present had offered.
*I weighed into their hand six hundred and fifty talents of
silver, and one hundred silver vessels worth .... talents;^ one
hundred talents of gold; "twenty bowls of gold worth a thousand

«It is obvious that D'»D"»n3n WK must be divided a'lrnrm '»nK.

^The occasional use of an "explicative waw'' in both the Hebrew and
the Aramaic of the Greek period is well attested. Cf. my notes, above, on
I Esdr. 3:1, 6, Ezr. 6:8, 9; further, I Chron. 28:1, Neh. 8:13, 9:16, 10:29.
Theodotion's Hebrew had here V^2 n«l ©m, instead of T»3n TOnth.

» Reading D^ and DTT'nK.

•'Probably something has fallen out after the numeral "twelve," either
the single word D^l^niQ*! or else a longer passage. We should expect twelve
priests and twelve Levites, cf. vss. 30 and 33. The b before "Sherebiah"
was pretty certainly written by the Chronicler himself.

•The numeral seems to have fallen out; it must have stood just after the
word " talents."

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292 The American Journal of Semitic Languages

darics;" and twelve vessels of fine polished bronze," precious as
gold. ^And I said to them:° Ye are holy unto Yahw6, and the
vessels are holy, and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering
to Yahw6 the God of your fathers. ^ Watch and keep them,
until ye weigh them out before the chief priests and Levites and
the chief of the fathers of Israel, in Jerusalem, inP the chambers
of the house of Yahw6. "So the priests and the Levites received
the weight of the silver and the gold, and the vessels, to bring
them to Jerusalem to the house of our God.
April 12 "And we set out from the river Ahava on the twelfth** day of
the first month, to go to Jerusalem. And the hand of our God
was upon us, and he delivered us from the power of the enemy
and the lier-in-wait, on the way. '^So we came to Jerusalem,
August 1 and there we abode for three days. ''And on the fourth day the
(See 7: 8 f.) silver, the gold, and the vessels were weighed in the house of our
God, under the direction of Meremoth the son of Uriah, the
priest, with whom was Eleazar the son of Phinehas; and with
them were Jozabad the son of Jeshua and Noadiah the son of
Binnui, the Levites. "(They received) the whole by number
and by weight,*^ and all of the weight was written down at that

'"The children of the exile, those who had just come from the
captivity, offered whole burnt offerings to the God of Israel: twelve
bullocks for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and
twelve he-goats for a sin offering ; all this as a whole burnt offering
to Yahw6. *'And they delivered the orders of the king to his
satraps and the governors of the province Beyond the River;*

™ The word 'JID'llK , derived from 6apetK6sy originated in the Greek period
and was formed after the analogy of "jTaDIl, "drachma." The
Chronicler uses it also in I Chron. 29:7.

"The numeral here was originally *W^ D'»3T3D, as I Esdr. 8:56 (Wico 5iJo)
shows. See also Josephus, Antt xi, 136. ntins is construct state, and
in32p (a noun, of course, with collective meaning) is probably correct.

° Cf. I Chron. 15: 12, II Chron. 29: 5, 35: 3-6. Very characteristic.

P The text is slightly corrupt.

4 The Chronicler's favorite number, again, for this most important date.

'The same peculiar construction, and the same words, in I Chron. 28:14fiF.

* Concerning these officers, see above, XXIV, 246 f .

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The Ezra Story in Its Original Sequence 293

these accordingly aided the people and the house of God.
Neb. 7'** And some of the chief of the fathers made donations to
the work. The Tirshatha' gave into the treasury a thousand
drachmas" in gold, fifty basins, thirty priests' garments, and five
hundred [minas of silver] / "And some of the chief of the fathers
gave to the treasury of the work'^ twenty thousand drachmas of
gold, and two thousand and two hundred minas of silver. "And
that which the rest of the people gave was twenty thousand
drachmas of gold, two thousand minas of silver, and sixty-seven
priests' garments.

'■"And the priests, the Levites, the porters, and the singers,
some of the people, and the Nethinim, even all Israel, dwelt in
their cities.""


(Neh. 7:736—8:18)

7'* And when the seventh month was come, the children of
Israel being in their cities,^ 8* all the people assembled as one
man at the open place before the water gate;' and they sent word
to Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the Law of Moses, which
Yahw6 had commanded to Israel. ^So Ezra the priest brought
the law before the congregation, both men and women, and all that
could hear with understanding, on the first day of the seventh October 1
month. 'And he read in it, over against the open place before the
water gate, from early morning until midday, before the men and
women and all who could understand; and the ears of all the

' 1 hat is, the governor of Judea. The Chronicler employs the title in
£zr. 2: 63, Neh. 7:65, 8:9, and (probably) 10: 2; in these passages, also, as a non-
committal designation, the name not being given. "Nehemiah" in 8:9 and
10:2 is an interpolation; see the notes on the two passages.

"Observe the Greek word.

"" It is probable, as many have observed, that the words D'^Jlp Sl^p origi-
nally stood between T and tD'On.

'With this whole passage cf. I Chron. 29:6ff. (obviously the work of the
same hand!), II Chron. 29:31 ff.. 35:7 ff.

'Cf. I Chron. 9:2 and Ezr. 2:1 (end)! Our text of the verse is probably
just what the Chronicler wrote.

y Compare I Chron. 13:2, which is an instructive parallel.

'See above, pp. 199, 213; and compare also II Chron. 5:3, 29:4.

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294 The American Journal of Semitic • Languages

people were attentive to the book of the law. *And Ezra the
scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood* which had been made for the
purpose; and there stood beside him Mattathiah, Shema, Anaiah,
Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his- right hand ; and at his left
hand Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, and
Zechariah.^ '^And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the
people (for he was above the people), and as he opened it they all
stood up. 'Then Ezra blessed Yahw6, the great God; and all the
people answered, Amen, amen, lifting up their hands, and they
bowed down and worshi[)ed Yahw6 with their faces to the ground.
'Moreover Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai,
Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah,
the Levites,^ instructed the people in the law, while all remained
in their places. * And they read in the book of the law distinctly,**
and gave the sense, so that the reading was understood.

'And the Tirshatha,® and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the
Levites who taught the people, said to all the people : This day is
holy unto Yahw6 your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the
people wept, when they heard the words of the law. ^"They*^ also
said to them: Go, eat the fat and drink the sweet, and send por-
tions to him that hath no provision ; for this day is holy unto our
Lord. And be ye not distressed; for the joy of Yahw6 is your

*Cf. the brazen pulpit used by Solomon on a similar occasion, II Chron.
6:13 (not in Kings). Just as Neh. 7:70-72 is repeated from I Chron. 29:6-8,
so the whole scene in Neh. 8 is, in its main features, a repetition of the one
pictured in II Chron., chaps. 5-7. See my Composition, p. 59.

''Neither Greek version gives "Meshullam," and it obviously originated
in a marginal variant of bbtolQ or ^^l^tDP . These twelve names are intended
as those of laymen; cf. 10:15-28, and Ezr. 10:2(>-43.

^ Omit T . The number of these names was probably twelve originally, but
there is no good ground for emending the test. In Theodotion's original, the
resemblance of y^lOT^ to 0^3*^(212) had caused the accidental omission of
eleven words.

"^The usage elsewhere, and the evident intent of the grammatical con-
nection here, combine to render this meaning certain.

*The words Kin iT^ianS are a later addition, as the old Greek version
shows. See the note on 7:70. Theodotion's original had simply substituted
the name "Nehemiah," both here and in 10:2.

'Third pers. sing, for indefinite subject, as very often elsewhere. So
also vs. 18.

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The Ezra Story in Its Original Sequence 295

strength. "And the Levites quieted all the people, saying: Be
still, for the day is holy; neither be ye distressed. ^^So all the
people went away, to eat and drink, and to send portions, and to
make great rejoicing, for they gave heed to the things which had
been told them'.

*'Then were assembled | « on the following day the chief of the October 2
fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra
the scribe, even that they might give attention to the words of the
law. "And they found written in the law, that Yahw6 had given
command, through Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell
in booths during the festival of the seventh month; **and that
they should proclaim** and publish in all their cities and in Jeru-
salem, saying: Go forth to the mountain, and bring olive branches,
and branches of wild olive, also of the myrtle, and the palm, and
other leafy trees, in order to make booths according to the pre-
scription. **So the people went forth, and brought them; and they
made for themselves booths, upon their own roofs, and in their
courts, and in the courts of the house of God; also in the open
places before the water gate and the gate of Ephraim. *'And all
the congregation, those who had returned from the captivity,^
made booths and dwelt in them; for the children of Israel had not
done thus from the days of Joshua the son of Nun unto that day.^
And there was very great rejoicing. ^'^ And they read in the book

«f Here ends the fragment originally plucked from the middle of the old
Greek translation, and known to us as " First Esdras." See XXIII, 141.

''A good example of the Chronicler's careless way of narrating (cf. above,
XXIV, 229). What here follows is, of course, not what they found in the law,
but what Ezra said to those who had come to him. (It is possible, to be sure,
that the original text had "ItDX n-QK*^"! in place of n'OXT.)

'Cf.Ezr. 6:21, 8:35.

''Meaning, of course, that the festival had not before been observed so
universally and completely, since the time of Joshua. The state-
ment is merely a parallel to the one found in II Chroo. 35: 18. The Chronicler
had several times, in the earlier history, mentioned the celebration of this
festival, and with emphasis. See not only Ezr. 3:4, but especially II Chron.
7:8ff., 8:13, in both of which passages he has deliberately
altered the text of Kings. He could not possibly have put into his
book, here in the Ezra story, a flat contradiction of the statement which he
had previously made with so evidently studied purpose.

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296 The American Journal op Semitic Languages

of the law of God day by day, from the first day unto the last.
October 22 So they observed the feast seven days, and on the eighth day was
a festal assembly, according to the ordinance.


(Ezr. 9:1— 10:4^)

Ezr. 9 *Now when these things were finished, the chief men
November (?) drew near to me, saying: The people of Israel, the priests, and
the Levites, have not separated themselves from the peoples of the
land, with* all their abominations, namely the Canaanites, Hittites,
Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, and
Amorites. '^Por they have taken of their daughters, for them-
selves and for their sons, and thus the holy race hath been mixed"*
with the peoples of the land. Moreover, the hand of the chief men
and the rulers hath been foremost in this trespass. 'When I
heard this thing, I rent my garment and my cloak, and plucked out
some of the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat as though
stunned. *Then were assembled unto me all those that trembled
at the words of the God of Israel, because of the trespass of the
men of the exile; but I continued sitting as though stunned, until
the evening offering. *And at the time of the evening offering
I arose from my humiliation, even with my garment and my cloak
rent; and I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto
Yahw6 my God.° *And I said: O my God, I am confounded and
ashamed to lift up° my face unto thee ; for our sins have multiplied
exceedingly ,P and our guilt hath mounted high as the heavens.
^ Since the days of our fathers we have been exceeding guilty, unto

^I believe that the reading of our text (with D) is correct. This is prob-
ably one of the Chronicler's ellipses.

»Cf. Ps. 106:35, and especially Neh. 9: 2, 13:3. (In the last-named pas-
sage Meyer, Entstehung, p. 130, would emend to "Arabs"!)

"Cf. II Chron. 6:13. This part of the Ezra story is written in the
Chronicler's liveliest style — not, however, a whit more lively than 10:1-14,
where the story is told of Ezra in the third person. See above, pp. 199, 212.
The prayer which follows is also thoroughly characteristic.

° With the peculiar interjection of "^nbK at this point, cf. the similar case
in I Chron. 29:17.

p The impossible TCt^*[ is merely dittography of the following tDKI .

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this day; and for our sins, we, our kings, and our priests, have
been given into the power of the kings of the lands, for slaughter,
for captivity, for plundering, and for humiliation, as at this day.
*But now for a moment grace hath been given from Yahw6 our
God, to save for us a remnant, and to give us a secure fastening
in his holy place ; that our God may restore the light to our eyes,
and grant us a little reviving in our bondage. ®Por bondservants
we are;^ yet in our bondage our God hath not forsaken us, but
hath extended to us favor in the sight of the kings of Persia, to
grant us a reviving, to raise up the house of our God, and to repair
its ruins, and to give us a wall of protection' in Judea and Jeru-
salem. *^Now therefore, O our God, what shall we say after this?
for we have forsaken thy commandments, "which thou didst com-
mand by thy servants the prophets, saying:* The land which ye
are entering, to possess it, is a land foul with the filth of the
heathen peoples, with their abominations, since they have filled it
from end to end with their uncleanness. "Now therefore give
not your daughters to their sons, nor take for your sons their
daughters, nor seek their peace or their welfare, for ever;' that
ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and make it the
perpetual inheritance of your children." ''And after all that hath
come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great guilt, — and yet
thou, O our God, hast spared us, punishing'' less than our sins
deserve, and hast given us such a remnant as this, — '*shall we
again break thy commandments, and intermarry with the people of
these abominations? Wouldest thou not be angry with us to the
point of cutting us off without residue or remnant? "O Yahw6,
God of Israel, thou dealest righteously, that we are left a remnant

•iCf. especially Neh. 9:36.

'This is of course figurative!

^The manner of the following quotation, given as from " the Prophets '*
(by which word he means primarily Moses) and not truly representing any
single passage, is exactly what we have already noticed in II Chron. 36:2L
(see the note, XXIV, 12). The Chronicler quotes as he writes — carelessly
and irrespODsibly.

<A11 this is a most instructive example of misquotation!

"Cf. I Chron. 28:8 (not in Sam.-Kings).

"" The Hebrew contains one of the Chronicler's ellipses.

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