Thursday, 22 January 2015
Judaism, the First Phase: the Place of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Origins of Judaism,
Joseph Blenkinsopp, Eerdmans, 2009, page 70
Commenting on the way that Ezra (ch 9-10) has borken up marriages and excluded women (and their children) who were not part of the golah group, Blenkinsopp points out that:
The exclusion of unqualified members from the 'golah' community isrepeated, unexpectedly, in Negemiah 9:2 in preparation for celebrating a penitential service on the twenty-fourth of the seventh month. In this instance, howver, those of Israelite stock (lit., "the seed of Israel") separated out all foreigners - that is, non-'golah' members, Jewish or non-Jewish - not just women.
Repeated again in Nehemiah 13:1-3, Blenkinsopp show that this was directed against Jew who had married 'out'. Apparently members of the golah elite had taken the lead in marrying into local families - exactly what the Persians wanted to happen, in order to be a force for stability and peace in their satrapies and provinces.
Once again, we seem to see a zealous religious group trying, possibly in vain and very much against the prevailing tide, to keep their ideals and standards clear and pure.