All posts tagged: Ezra

Archaeological evidence of Nehemiah and Ezra’s return to Jerusalem

After the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem, destroyed the Jewish Temple and hauled off tens of thousands of Jews into captivity, the Jews were allowed to return to Judah after the Persians conquered Babylon. The Persian king, Artaxerxes, gave Nehemiah permission to return and rebuild the city of Jerusalem that lay in ruins. It seems that Nehemiah was essentially building what would serve as an outpost and provincial administrative center for the Persian empire, which explains why the Persian King provided material assistance for the rebuilding (Nehemiah 2:1-20). Over 42,000 Jews initially returned to Jerusalem for this rebuilding (Nehemiah 7:66). However, if this was an administrative center for the Persian Empire, one thing that puzzled archaeologists was the lack of Persian artifacts in Jerusalem from this period. But according to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) that all changed over the summer when archaeologists found evidence of two Persian royal seals from this period in a dig in Old Jerusalem. Seals were used to authenticate documents and goods. It involved an instrument on which the seal …

The Temple Mount Credit: Ben and Ash/Flickr/Creative Commons

Discovery of three small coins confirms the Jews ancient connection to the Temple Mount

Archaeologists working on the remains from the Temple Mount have discovered five small coins that speak of an incredible time of religious freedom in Israel’s history. Though only three of the coins are legible, they are dated to the fourth century. This puts them at the time when King Cyrus of Persia allowed the Jews to return their homeland from their Babylonian captivity and rebuild Jerusalem and the Jewish temple in 538 BC. The archaeologists believe the other two similarly sized undecipherable coins are from the same set. Seven millimeters wide, the coins have an image of a barn owl on one side. The Jews basically copied the Athenian Abol, a Greek coin used in ancient times. It is curious that they used the owl because it was considered unclean under Jewish law and it also represented the goddess Athena to the Greeks. Instead of having the Greek letters ΑΘΕ used to signify Athens, the three legible coins had the Aramaic word YHD. According to an article on ynetnews, this is the shortened version of …

Donald Trump Photo: Nathan Congleton/Flickr/Creative Commons

Did Donald Trump become a born-again Christian?

[UPDATED JUNE 29, 2016] If you want to have an interesting, perhaps even heated discussion, bring up Donald Trump with  your friends. People either love him or hate, there is little middle ground. But it looks like he is the Republican’s presumptive nominee for president and will be facing off with Hillary Clinton, the presumptive nominee for the Democrats. Dr. James Dobson, founder of the Christian organization Focus on the Family, recently reported that Donald Trump has become a born-again Christian. Dobson did not lead Trump to Christ but is reporting that he personally knows the person who did, but is not giving his name. In a meeting with several Evangelical Christians, Dobson said, “I don’t know when it was, but it has not been long. I believe he really made a commitment, but he’s a baby Christian.” In reference to Trumps language and rough edges, Dobson added, “You have got to cut him some slack. He didn’t grow up like we did.” Because of the interest in the news about Trump’s conversion, Dobson released …

Did you know that at one time, there were two Jewish Temples: The Elephantine Temple

[by Dean Smith] Even though there is no Jewish Temple today, at one point there were actually two temples in operation at the same time and it caused some conflict. In the late 1800s, ancient papyri showed up in Middle East antiquity markets that intrigued archaeologists. Written in Aramaic, the Jewish documents referred to a temple, but incredibly not the temple in Jerusalem, but a second one built hundreds of miles away in Egypt. Archaeologists finally tracked it down to Elephantine Island on the Nile River. Egypt’s dry climate slows papyri deterioration and further work at the temple site uncovered dozens more papyri including divorce documents, legal documents and letters.