1:1-11 Are the wills of men independent of God's SOVEREIGNTY?
(esp. v.5; See also 7:27; compare Exodus 31:1-11; 36:1-5; Haggai 1:14;
2:1-70 What did the remnant returning from Babylon realize
was the primary reason for their release? (compare 1:5 with vv.59,62-63,68-70)
The priority and time of the Temple's rebuilding is central to the significance
of the 70 years of Jer. 25:11; in turn, the beginning and termination of
this period are crucial to the GENTILE TIMES (appointed times of the nations,
NWT) dogma, which fixes 1914. See Daniel 9 for that prophet's view of the
relation of the 70 years to Yahweh's worship.
3:1-13 For those returning, the restoration at Yahweh's worship
in Jerusalem was a proof of what? (v.11; compare Jer.31:1-6; Psalms
4:1-24 What do vv.12-20 indicate was the local understanding
as to the beginning of Gentile rule over Jerusalem? Connect the rebellious
city (NAS) with the last days of the former Temple. -- 2 Chronicles 36:10-14.
The rebellious king was actually Nebuchadnezzar's puppet appointee, vassal
king Zedekiah. Independent Israelite rule of Jerusalem was therefore over
long before the destruction of Solomon's Temple and the city, from which
event The Watchtower dates the appointed times of the nations (Luke 21:24).
5:1-17 When asked for authorization by pagan officials, how
did Jewish elders designate the Deity? Why would Jews of such obvious
religious conviction avoid the use of the Tetragram? Compare Joseph before
Egyptians,including Pharaoh (Genesis 39:9; 40:8; 41:16, 25, 28, 32, 51,
52), Daniel before Nebuchadnezzar's court (Daniel 2:28,29,37,44,45; 4:24,25,26).
According to The Watchtower, Joseph & Daniel are good examples of/for
Jehovah's Witnesses. What happened?
6:1-12 What does even Persian King Darius seem to realize
about the connection of the NAME and the temple?
6:13-22 Only after which event do the sons of Israel seek
(NAS), search for the God of Israel by His NAME? (esp. v.21; compare
7:1-28 Why wouldn't Artaxerxes, despite his evident fear of
the God of Jerusalem (NAS, v.19), use the Tetragram? It is widely acknowledged
by O.T. scholars that God of Heaven (vv.12,21,23) is a circumlocution to
avoid the use of the NAME -- out of reverence, not reluctance born of disrespect.
Artaxerxes follows the pattern of Nebuchadnezzar, who likewise learned
to fear the God of Israel (v.15) without becoming a "Jehovah's Witness".
-- cf. Dan.12:47; 4:2,3,34-37. Notice too the contrast with Ezra (vv.27,28),
who is returning to Jerusalem, the restored temple worship, and covenantal
use of the NAME in the land.
8:1-36 According to Ezra's faith (v.22), of what was the safe
return of the exiles an evidence?Again, note the context of the ONLY
uses of the NAME (v.28,29,35). It may be a fruitful study to compare the
lists of names of individual returnees in Ezra 1 and Ezra 8. The comparative
scarcity of compounds containing the short form --IAH (Jah) in chapter
one is a likely indication that the generation of Jews born in Babylon
did not feel free to use the covenant NAME. That sentiment may well have
changed by the time of Ezra's return, a generation or more after the restoration
of temple worship in Jerusalem. See also chapter 10 list.
9:1-15 When praying regarding the guilt and unfaithfulness
of His people, what form of address does Ezra use to his God? What
contrast do we observe when Ezra praises God for His grace (v.8; favor,
NWT) and righteousness (v.15)? (Note also Shecaniah's admission, 10:2-4)
Compare Daniel, who only uses the NAME when beseeching Yahweh's covenant
renewal and revival -- Daniel 9.
10:1-44 When urging all the restored remnant to COVENANT separation
from their foreign wives, what form of address does Ezra encourage them
to adopt in confessing to God? (vv.3,11) God of your fathers is no
redundant appendage. It is a reminder of Yahweh's covenant faithfulness,
in contrast to Israel's unfaithfulness (vv.10,13). Compare the contemporary
exhortation of Malachi (1:2; 2:4-10; 3:6,7; 4:4-6).