Monday, September 10, 2012

4 Month Bible Challenge | Offical First Day; Nehemiah & Esther

If you read the post Read The KJV Bible in 4 Months then you know I have a huge task set in front of me. If you read the post Jump Start; Nehemiah, then you know I started this challenge two days early in hopes to get it going sooner. At that point I had read only 5 chapters. Now I am up to 15 read!

Today I read the remainder of Nehemiah. In the Jump Start; Nehemiah I talked about the verses which really stood out to me in the first 6 chapters. The rest of the chapters mostly focused on the register of the people (7:5-73), the reading of the law (8:1-8), the response of the people (8:9-18), the repentance of the people (9:1-38), the ratification of the covenant (10:1-27), the responsibilities of the covenant (10:28-39), repopulating the cities-Jerusalem (11:1-24), other cities (11:25-36), Priests and Levites (12:1-26), rededicating the wall (12:27-47), reforms in relation to non-Jews (13:1-3), reforms in relation to the priesthood (13:4-14), reforms in relation to the Sabbath (13:15-22), and reforms in relation to marriage (13:23-31).

Esther is one of the books of the Bible which I usually enjoy reading. Three chapters down tonight! Today I decided to split the chapters I needed to read into morning and night. I read 5 this morning and 5 this evening. Here is a little about the book of Esther as seen in the photo above.

Author: Uncertain.

Date: ca. 465 B.C.

Authorship: Though his name is unknown to us, the author was evidently a Jew (Jewish nationalism permeates the book) who was personally acquainted with details of the reign of Ahasuerus and the palace in Shushan. He must have written the book shortly after the close of Ahasuerus's reign, since that administration is spoken of in the past tense (10:2-3).

Historiccal Setting: The events of the book cover a 10-year portion (483-473) of the reign of Xerxes I (486-465). Ahasuerus is the Hebrew form of his name, equivalent to the Persian Khshayarsha and the Greek Xerxes. The events occurred between those recorded in the sixth and seventh chapters of Ezra.

Theme: Throughout the name of God is nowhere mentioned in the book, His sovereignty and providence are evident throughout. Vashti's dismissal, Esther's regal position, Ahasuerus's indebtedness to Mordecai discovered during a sleepless night, and the miraculous deliverance of the Jews all demonstrate God's control and care for His people. The book also explains the origin of the Feast of Purim on the thirteenth and fourteenth days of Adar (Feb.-Mar.), when Jews celebrate the deliverance from Haman.

Historical Accuracy: Objections raised about the historicity of Esther include the following: (1) Secular history fails to mention Vashti or Esther as queens during the reign of Xerxes (Ahasuerus). However, Herodotus, who often omits mention of important people, does report that Xerxes sought consolation in his harem after his defeat at Salamis, which was in the year Esther was made queen. (2) It is alleged (from Esther 2:5-6) that Xerxes was a near successor to Nebuchadnezzar, since the passage appears to say that Mordecai was deported by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 and yet was still living during the reign of Xerxes. However, the antecedent of who in verse 6 is not Mordecai but Kish, his great-grandfather. (3) Objection is raised concerning the account of the slaying of 75,000 enemies of the Jews in one day, and without apparent interference from the Persians (Esther 9:16-17). Though unusual, this was by no means impossible, in light of known Persian callousness towards human life and of the preplanned arming of the Jews (Esther 8:13).

Contents: Undoubtedly 4:14 is the best-known verse in the book, emphasizing the theme of God's control of all events.

Well, there you have a little info about the book of Esther! I love reading these little introductions to each book. I think it really helps me better understand what I am reading throughout the chapters. It's almost like reading the cover of a book from the library. :)

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