- Slides: 25
Chapter 14: A Remnant Returns UNDERSTANDING THE SCRIPTURES
1. Return to Jerusalem (pp. 262– 265) ANTICIPATORY SET Imagine you are a Jew living in exile in Babylon. Respond to the following question: What would be your greatest desire? Read Ezra 1: 1– 7. How would you feel about Cyrus’s decree?
1. Return to Jerusalem (pp. 262– 265) BASIC QUESTIONS How did Belshazzar’s Babylonian Empire end? How was Cyrus a messiah to the Jews? What sorrows and joys did the remnant experience upon returning to Judah? KEY IDEAS God revealed to Belshazzar his reign was ending through the handwriting on the wall, which only the Prophet Daniel could interpret. Acting as an instrument of God, King Cyrus conquered Babylon and allowed the Jews to return to Judah; he even offered to help rebuild the Temple; he was thus a messiah to the Jews. A remnant returned to a destroyed city and built a much less grand Temple without the Ark.
1. Return to Jerusalem (pp. 262– 265) FOCUS QUESTIONS How enduring was Nebuchadnezzar’s empire? It took only one generation to fall from world domination to ruin. What was incongruous about Belshazzar’s Feast? Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar’s son and regent in Babylon, was throwing a huge feast at the same time the Persian army was advancing on his city. What sacrilege did Belshazzar perform? At his Feast, he and his guests drank to their pagan gods using the sacred vessels from the Temple of Jerusalem.
1. Return to Jerusalem (pp. 262– 265) FOCUS QUESTIONS What sign did Belshazzar receive at his Feast? A hand appeared and wrote on the wall. Extension: The (hand)writing on the wall, which refers to this incident, refers to, in common parlance, an unpleasant omen. What was Belshazzar’s sin according to the Prophet Daniel? Belshazzar knew from his father’s experience about the Most High God, but, instead of humbling his heart, he “lifted himself” against the Lord of Heaven. What was the meaning of the message Belshazzar received? Daniel explained God had numbered the days of his kingdom, he had been found lacking, and the Medes and Persians would divide the kingdom.
1. Return to Jerusalem (pp. 262– 265) GRAPHIC ORGANIZER Complete the following table about the handwriting on the wall.
1. Return to Jerusalem (pp. 262– 265)
1. Return to Jerusalem (pp. 262– 265) FOCUS QUESTIONS How was Cyrus as a leader? He conquered Babylon without shedding blood, and there was neither destruction nor a massacre afterward. He occupied the city in an orderly way and allowed conquered peoples to retain their customs and worship. What did Cyrus offer to any Jew who wanted it? He allowed the Jews to return to Judah, and his government assisted financially. What did Cyrus offer to rebuild? He offered to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.
1. Return to Jerusalem (pp. 262– 265) GUIDED EXERCISE Conduct a think / pair / share using the following question: Why was Cyrus a true messiah of the Jews? GUIDED EXERCISE A mini-lecture about understanding a language written without vowels. Lnggs wrttn wtht vwls r nt hrd t ndrstnd n cntxt. “Languages written without vowels are not hard to understand in context. ”
1. Return to Jerusalem (pp. 262– 265) FOCUS QUESTIONS Why is it literally true to say only a remnant returned to Jerusalem? Most Jews remained in Babylon instead of undertaking the arduous return. Only a small number of enthusiastic refugees returned to rebuild the city. What was the condition of Jerusalem after the Exile? It was in complete ruin, untouched for fifty years after its destruction. How was the Second Temple different from the First? The Second Temple was smaller and much less magnificent. In addition, it lacked the Ark of the Covenant, so the Holy of Holies was empty.
1. Return to Jerusalem (pp. 262– 265) CLOSURE Free write for five minutes about Cyrus as a legitimate messiah.
1. Return to Jerusalem (pp. 262– 265) HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Study Questions 1– 9 (p. 271) Practical Exercise 1 (p. 272) Workbook Questions 1– 11 Read “Trouble with the Samaritans” through “The Promise Unfulfilled” (pp. 266– 269)
1. Return to Jerusalem (pp. 262– 265) ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT A class discussion using the following question: Based on the messianic prophecies presented in this chapter, can Cyrus be considered the promised messiah?
2. A Purified Israel (pp. 266– 269) ANTICIPATORY SET A paragraph shrink on the paragraph “The Jews who came back. . . ” (p. 266). Was separation a wise policy?
2. A Purified Israel (pp. 266– 269) BASIC QUESTIONS Why did the Samaritans put obstacles in the way of rebuilding the Temple? What were Ezra’s contributions to right Jewish practice? After idolatry, what was Israel’s biggest problem, and what was the solution to it? What was the status of God’s promises regarding Jerusalem? KEY IDEAS Because of Israel’s realization it must separate from paganism, especially from marrying pagan women, the Jews alienated their Samaritan neighbors, who made it difficult to rebuild the Temple. Ezra “purified” Judea, ending pagan intermarriage, and edited the standard version of the Torah. Hypocrisy became a big obstacle to Jewish life, the essence of which was love of neighbor. The promises of Jerusalem’s greatness remained unfulfilled.
2. A Purified Israel (pp. 266– 269) FOCUS QUESTIONS What was deficient about the faith of the Samaritans? Though they worshiped the one true God, he was only one of many gods they honored. How did the Samaritans thwart the rebuilding of the Temple? Because the Jews’ separation offended them, the Samaritans stirred up trouble with the Persian bureaucracy and had permission for the Temple‑building revoked and withheld the promised funds. Who was responsible for the resumption of the building of the Temple? Haggai and Zechariah chided Jews who were building splendid houses for themselves while the Lord’s house stood half‑built. These citizens then provided the funds, and the building of the Temple resumed with neither official permission nor imperial funding.
2. A Purified Israel (pp. 266– 269) GUIDED EXERCISE A think / pair / share using the following question: What Persian principle of law legitimized the rebuilding of the Temple?
2. A Purified Israel (pp. 266– 269) FOCUS QUESTIONS What was the dream of Ezra and Nehemiah? At a time when Jerusalem was a tiny Jewish colony surrounded by hostile neighbors, these two Jewish political leaders dreamed of a purified Israel in the Promised Land. Why did Ezra see divorcing pagan wives as matter of life and death for Israel? Throughout history wives often got their way with respect to religion. Therefore, if Jewish men were married to foreign wives, they would quickly revert to paganism, thus incurring God’s punishment instead of his blessing. What contribution did Ezra make to the Torah? Ezra’s edition of the Torah became the standard version.
2. A Purified Israel (pp. 266– 269) FOCUS QUESTIONS What became a major problem for the Jews? Since pagan worship was no longer the Jews’ main problem, the biggest problem became hypocrisy. Rich Jews were cheating and oppressing poor Jews and making few offerings in the Temple to atone for injustice. What was lacking with the animal sacrifices of hypocrites? Instead of offering their best, they would sacrifice the blind, sick, or lame animals of their flock. God did not ultimately desire sacrifice; what did he truly desire? He wanted people to treat each other well.
2. A Purified Israel (pp. 266– 269) GRAPHIC ORGANIZER Complete the following table to organize the unfulfilled promises about Jerusalem.
2. A Purified Israel (pp. 266– 269)
2. A Purified Israel (pp. 266– 269) CLOSURE Free write for five minutes either supporting or criticizing Ezra’s desire for all Jewish men to put away—that is, divorce—their pagan wives.
2. A Purified Israel (pp. 266– 269) HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT Study Questions 10– 16 (p. 271) Practical Exercises 2– 3 (p. 272) Workbook Questions 12– 28
2. A Purified Israel (pp. 266– 269) ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT Free write about each of the good actions described in Zechariah 7: 9– 10 (p. 268) as an example of the commandment to love neighbor as self.