Ezra, a scribe and priest, doesn’t start speaking about himself until chapter 7. Ancient copies of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah were written on the same scroll, and Jewish tradition holds that Ezra wrote both of them. The dates of writing are somewhere between 458 and 420 BC. I kind of doubt that Ezra was the author for both books, because the writer of Nehemiah starts out right away using the first person pronoun ‘I’. The two book deal with two periods of time: Ezra deals with the rebuilding of the temple, and Nehemiah deals with the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.
Yesterday in Ezra we heard about Cyrus’ decree to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, the return of the temple treasures that were taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, and the first large wave of returning exiles and their gifts to God.
Yesterday’s reading in Isaiah 29 included several verses quoted in the New Testament about Israel’s hypocrisy. Then at the end, did you catch who Isaiah was talking about?
29:18 NLT In that day the deaf will hear words read from a book,
and the blind will see through the gloom and darkness.
20 The scoffer will be gone,
the arrogant will disappear,
Isaiah was NOT talking about the healing of just any ordinary deaf and blind people, but those people previously mentioned: The Israelites who refused to open their ears or open their eyes— who refused to read a book given to them, and yet were arrogant scoffers.
If you are NOT reading a good meaning-based translation, then it is very likely that you will misunderstand today reading in Isaiah 30 verse 7. The Rahab mentioned is NOT the woman that received Joshua’s spies!
Up to yesterday’s reading, Paul has been more reserved in criticising the men who have come masquerading as apostles. Those men have been more forceful speakers than Paul, and it has seemed that Paul is only bold in his letters. He said,
10:12 NLT Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are!
But we will see that Paul takes his gloves off as we go forward. Yet, what he boasts about follows that verse he quoted from Jeremiah:
17 NLT As the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.”
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