Study Questions: Ezra, Nehemiah,
Haggai, and Zechariah/Malachi and Daniel
The last two classes deal with a very complicated
period of Hebrew history, and I will end up lecturing for most of these
classes rather than leading discussion. It will help, however, if
you read through some portions of the books listed above. Also, it’s
well worth recording your thoughts on these readings in your journals.
1. Read Ezra Ch. 1 and Ch. 3-7. What
difficulties do the Jews face as they try to rebuild Jerusalem and the
temple? What helps them overcome these difficulties? Note
especially the role of leaders like Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Haggai,
Zechariah, and Ezra himself. Also note the contrasting attitudes
of Persian leaders, e.g., Cyrus and Artaxerxes.
2. Skim through Nehemiah. Note that much of
this book is Nehemiah’s account of his own role in helping the
rebuilding of Jerusalem and in restoring the Jewish people. Note
the problems he faces. What does Nehemiah seem proud of in terms
of his own record/conduct? What obstacles does he face?
What seems to be his motivation?
3. If you have time, skim through Haggai and
Zechariah. Note the problems in the Jewish community that these
two prophets address. How would their prophetic message have
helped in rebuilding Jerusalem and in helping reforms among the Jewish
people? What aspects of their teachings might have helped the
Jewish people survive even after the temple was destroyed and the Jews
were removed from their land again?
4. Read all of Malachi. What is the condition
of the Jewish people as he writes? What are the particular
problems he addresses? How is the situation different from that
addressed by earlier prophets, e.g., Isaiah and Jeremiah? What
keys to Jewish survival do you see here?
5. If you have time, look at the visions in the
second half of the book of Daniel. Is there anything here that
seems key to the survival of the Jewish people? How would having
the book of Daniel have helped the Jewish people go through difficult
times, e.g., the time of Antiochus Epiphanes?