[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53 read within the book as a whole

Lisbeth S. Fried lizfried at umich.edu
Thu May 27 08:10:23 EDT 2004

Dear Harold,
I don't share your perspective of course.
You might find my article on Nehemiah interesting,
but more likely simply annoying. "The Political
Struggle of Fifth Century Judah," Transeuphratene
24 (2002): 61-73. I try to figure out what all
the antagonism was about between Nehemiah on the
one hand and Sanballat, etc. on the other. So,
it's a different perspective than the one you're used

> -----Original Message-----
> From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:b-hebrew-
> bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Harold R. Holmyard III
> Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004 6:42 AM
> To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: RE: [b-hebrew] Isaiah 53 read within the book as a whole
> Dear Liz,
> >It is still god-breathed and useful.
> >The point is to understand what is being said.
> >The point of the author of Ezra-Nehemiah is that the torah
> >(Moses' torah this time, since we're in the Hellenistic period now)
> >must be protected at all costs. Everything foreign and impure
> >must be kept out. The author used Nehemiah's memoir to make the
> >larger point. He embedded the memoir in the story he wanted to tell.
> >Nehemiah's memoir is just a tool to the larger story. It is the
> >larger story that is didactic.
> HH: You are right that these are valid meanings for Ezra-Nehemiah if
> one is summarizing the books in brief. But Ezra-Nehemiah is a
> chronicle about the return of the people from captivity to israel and
> the recommencement of national life. Ezra-Nehemiah gives us slices of
> life that have additional meanings.
> Nehemiah devotes six chapters to building the wall of Jerusalem,
> which allows security for the people. You might want to subtract
> chapter 5 from that grouping, but the context of the wall's
> construction in poverty and danger makes the condition of the people
> sold into slavery so poignant. I think the meaning of Nehemiah 1-6 is
> just what it appears to be. Nehemiah is one of the admirable
> characters of the Bible. The readers are supposed to appreciate him
> as a leader who feared and trusted God. They are supposed to admire
> the bravery, hard work, and endurance of the people in undertaking
> this task of rebuilding the wall. The whole episode is great. I don't
> see coercion on Nehemiah's part, far from it. God laid this idea on
> Nehemiah's heart (Neh 2:12), and He evidently laid it on the heart of
> the people to cooperate.
> HH: In the OT the narrator is assumed to present the actual
> situation, the viewpoint from God's perspective, as it were. This is
> true whether Ezekiel is narrating, or Jeremiah, Isaiah, Amos, Hosea,
> Zechariah, Daniel, Haggai, Ezra, Moses, or any of books of the
> prophets (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings). it is true of Esther and
> Chronicles. Yes, Nehemiah is giving us his perspective, but it is a
> reliable perspective. If he says the people had a will to work, that
> is part of the narrative structure of the book, and we are to accept
> it as a fact. If he claims the people were encouraged, saying that
> the rebuilding should start, then that is true.
> 					Yours,
> 					Harold Holmyard
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