Return

Return

After the Israelites spent decades in exile, they finally were able to return home. Due to comfort and convenience, some Israelites never returned. A remnant came back to the land to reestablish the nation and await the Messiah.

Life In Exile

  • Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther conclude the historical section of the Old Testament, and they highlight Israel’s return to their land.
  • Some of the prophets speak to their return and the post-return problems.

Rebuilding the Promised Land

  • King Cyrus led Persia to capture Babylon in 538 BC. Shortly after, he issued a decree to allow Jews to return to their homeland (Ezra 1:2-4).
  • Under the leadership of Zerubbabel (direct line from King David), the first task, amidst great opposition, when they return is to rebuild the temple (Ezra 1-6).
  • The prophet Haggai addresses those who are more concerned with reestablishing their house than God’s house: “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?” (Hag. 1:4).
  • 57 years after the temple is finished, Ezra, from the lineage of Aaron and skilled in the Law, was allowed to go back to Jerusalem to reinstate the religious community (Ezra 7-12).
  • God shows his sovereignty over the nations and his keeping of Israel by placing Esther as queen for “such a team as this” (Est. 4:14).
  • Nehemiah is sent to fortify the city by rebuilding the walls in order to establish the nation against continual opposition (Neh. 1:3).
  • Nehemiah proves himself to be a great leader in how he motivates the Israelites to finish the job.
  • On one such occasion, he told these builders to go to battle and stationed their families behind them so they would fight with fervor (Neh. 4:13-14).
  • After the wall is complete, Israel settles into the new normal and yet become complacent in their worship yet again.
  • The prophet Malachi rebukes the people and calls for reform.
  • In the final words of the Old Testament, Malachi prophesies of the Day of the Lord coming (Mal. 4:1), and that one is coming to prepare the way (Mal. 4:5).
  • After this book, the page after represents 400 years of silence from God.

15 Key Words

  1. Creation
  2. Fall
  3. Flood
  4. Covenant
  5. Placement
  6. Exodus
  7. Commandments
  8. Wanderings
  9. Canaan
  10. Cycle
  11. Rejection
  12. Kingdom
  13. Division
  14. Exile
  15. Return