Teacher Notes

Bible Stories for Adults

Judah Returns from Captivity

Ezra & Nehemiah

Welcome and Announcements
    Next Week - Between the Testaments
    Bible Words to Remember:
      The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in sprit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. Psalm 34:18-19

Opening Prayer

Judah Exiled in Babylon
    Why had the Jews been exiled in Babylon? = Exiled, but not abandoned
      Nehemiah 9:16, 29-31 = They rejected God's commands & His prophets,
    What had God promised before the exile that comforted the Jews in Babylon?
      Isaiah 13:1, 17, 19; 14:1 = God will stir Medes (Persians) against Babylon & return Israel

    Did the Jews have any idea how long they would have to wait for this to happen?
      Jeremiah 29:10-14 = They would return after repenting and 70 yrs of exile
    What action did Daniel take when the 70 years were nearly complete?
      Daniel 9:1-3 = He prayed & fasted for God to return the Jews

The Edict of Restoration (Ezra 1)
    Who was responsible for sending the Jews back to Judah and why?
      Ezra 1:1-2 = God appointed Cyrus to build a temple in Jerusalem
    After being settled for 70 years, who gave up their homes and returned?
      Ezra 1:3, 5 = everyone whose heart God had moved (a sifting to get the most faithful)
    How could these people afford the move and living during the temple construction?
      Ezra 1:6 = Neighbors gave money, livestock, etc. per Cyrus' edict

    What important items did Cyrus send back with this first group of Jews?
      Ezra 1:7 = Gold & silver articles taken from the temple by Nebuchadnezzar
    How much wealth did the remnant bring?
      Ezra 1:8, 11 = 5400 gold & silver items
    Who was this Sheshbazzar that Cyrus appointed as governor over Judah?
      1 Chronicles 3:17-18 (Ezra 5:14b) = Jehoiachin's grandson, also called Zerubbabel

    How many Jews returned?
      Ezra 2:1, 64-67 = Over 42,000 plus 7500 servants (537 BC)

Reconstruction of the Temple (Ezra 3)
    What did the Jews begin to do after first settling in the towns?
      Ezra 3:1-2 = Rebuilt the altar & began sacrifices (7 months)
    What was their next step after building the altar and starting sacrifices?
      Ezra 3:8 = They began rebuilding the temple
    How did the Jews feel when they saw the temple foundations?
      Ezra 3:10-13 = They wept aloud & shouted for joy in celebration

Efforts Frustrated by Samaritans (Ezra 4)
    Who wanted to help rebuild the temple?
      Ezra 4:1-2 = Samaritans: We've sacrificed to God since Assyrians brought us here
    Were these really Israelites & did they follow Jehovah as the one true God?
      2 Kings 17:24, 28, 33 = Assyrians settled others in Samaria, taught to worship God
    Did the Jews accept this help & why or why not?
      Ezra 4:3 = No, the Samaritans weren't pure Israelites - Besides, the king only said us
    How did the Samaritans accept this rejection?
      Ezra 4:4-5 = They worked to frustrate the reconstruction efforts through lawyers...
    What happened as a result of this opposition?
      Ezra 4:24 = Reconstruction of the temple was stopped

Temple Construction Resumed (Ezra 5-6)
    Why did God raise the prophets Haggai and Zechariah?
      Haggai 1:3-4, 7-8 = To remind the people to build His temple
    Did the people listen to these prophets?
      Ezra 5:1-2 = Yes, the Jews began working on the temple again
    Did they meet any opposition this second time around? = Wrote a letter to King Darius
      Ezra 5:3, 5, 7, 17 = Yes, the Samaritans tried to stop them again &
    How did King Darius respond?
      Ezra 6:1-2 = He searched records & found Cyrus' Restoration edict
    What extra touch did Darius add?
      Ezra 6:7-8 = He ordered the Samaritans to stay away and to help financially
    What did the Jews do after the temple was completed?
      Ezra 6:15-16, 19 = They dedicated the temple & celebrated Passover in 515 BC

Reconstruction of the City Walls (Ezra 4)
    Was there any opposition when the Jews began to rebuild Jerusalem's city walls?
      Ezra 4:6 = Under Xerxes, the Samaritans tried again to thwart the Jews' efforts
      Note: King Xerxes married a Jew (Esther) who saved Jews from annihilation
    What did the Samaritans do after not being able to get Xerxes to stop the construction?
      Ezra 4:11-13 = Wrote to King Artaxerxes (Xerxes' son) warning of danger of revolt
    Did King Artaxerxes agree with their concern?
      Ezra 4:19, 21 = Yes, and he ordered the reconstruction to stop

Nehemiah Gets Involved (Nehemiah 2)
    Who was Nehemiah? = Cupbearer had to be a very trusted individual - threat of poisoning
      Nehemiah 2:1 = He was a Jew serving as cupbearer to King Artaxerxes
    For what did Nehemiah ask of King Artaxerxes? = He prayed before making request (v4)
      Nehemiah 2:4-5 = He asked for permission & authority to rebuild Jerusalem's city walls
    Besides letting him go and funding the effort, how else did Artaxerxes help Nehemiah?
      Nehemiah 2:9 = He sent Nehemiah with letters and military protection

    What did Nehemiah do as soon as he arrived in Jerusalem?
      Nehemiah 2:15-16 = He secretly inspected the city walls
    How did the Jews respond to Nehemiah's call to begin rebuilding the walls?
      Nehemiah 2:17-18 = They agreed and immediately began the work
      Nehemiah 3 = Various sections were assigned to different groups

Jerusalem's City Walls are Completed (Nehemiah 4, 6)
    Did they meet any opposition the second time around?
      Nehemiah 2:19-20 = Others asked: Are you rebelling against the king?
    How did the Samaritans respond when the walls started going up?
      Nehemiah 4:1-3 = The Samaritans ridiculed the Jews & their efforts
    How did the Samaritans respond when the wall reached half its height?
      Nehemiah 4:6-8, 11 = They planned to attack Jerusalem & end the work
    Did this threat stop the efforts?
      Nehemiah 4:16-18 = The Jews kept working but were always ready to defend
    What other opposition did Nehemiah resist? = Tried to draw Nehemiah out of town to harm him,
      Nehemiah 6:2, 5-10, 13 = Charged treason, & tried to discredit him

    How long did this reconstruction effort take?
      Nehemiah 6:15-16 = 52 days, To God's glory
    What did the Jews do after the city walls were completed?
      Nehemiah 12:27, 31, 40, 43 = Dedicated wall in huge celebration & parade on the wall
    How was Jerusalem populated?
      Nehemiah 11:1-2 = Ten percent of the Jews were chosen by lot to live in Jerusalem

Ezra Returns to Jerusalem (Ezra 7-8)
    Who was Ezra?
      Ezra 7:6 = Jewish scribe in Babylon, well versed in God's Law, descended from Aaron
    Why was Ezra sent to Jerusalem?
      Ezra 7:19-20, 25-26 = To outfit temple; teach & execute God's Law
    Why did King Artaxerxes go out of his way for the Jews like this?
      Ezra 7:23 = To win the favor of the Jews' god
    What did Ezra do before setting out for Jerusalem with ~2000 men & riches?
      Ezra 8:21 = Everyone fasted 3 days and asked God for a safe journey

Ezra's First Crisis (Ezra 9-10)
    What was the first problem Ezra was presented in Jerusalem?
      Ezra 9:1-2 = Jews had not stayed separate & had intermarried
    What did Ezra and the people agree to do?
      Ezra 10:11-12 = Remove foreign wives & their children from the community

Law Reform (Nehemiah 8-9)
    How did the people learn about God's Law?
      Nehemiah 8:2-3 = Ezra read the Book of the Law to the large assembly
    Did the people really want to learn God's Law or were they just watching a show?
      Nehemiah 8:5-6 = The people shouted Amen! bowed down & worshipped
    How did the people understand since they now spoke Aramaic?
      Nehemiah 8:8 = Levites translated the Hebrew to Aramaic

    How did the people respond when they realized how they had been sinning?
      Nehemiah 8:9 = They cried & mourned
    How did they respond later in the month after their situation sank in?
      Nehemiah 9:1-3 (8:1-9:37) = They were greatly moved & confessed their sins
      Nehemiah 9:38; 10:29 = Rededicated themselves & made an oath to keep God's Laws

Closing Prayer

Persian Rulers

Darius Cyaxares II
553-529 Cyrus the Great Died
529-522 Cambyses II Died
522-485 Darius I Died
485-465 Xerxes I Murdered
465-424 Artaxerxes I Died
424-424 Xerxes II Murdered (2 mo)
424-405 Darius II Died
405-359 Artaxerxes II Died
359-338 Artaxerxes III Murdered
338-336 Arses Murdered
336-333 Darius III Conquered
333- Alexander the Great (Greek)

Copyright © 1997 by Kurt Rosenhagen

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