Monday, 26 January 2015
Judaism, the First Phase: the Place of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Origins of Judaism,
Joseph Blenkinsopp, Eerdmans, 2009, page 115-6
Who was Nehemiah and how is he portrayed by the text? Belinkinsopp says:
Nehemiah is presented not only as a member of the upper-class 'golah' segment of the population ...
The text demonstrates this both by his official position in the Persian court and the access he had to upper levels of government, but by his not taking the govenor's allowances but instead feeding many at his own table and expense. But, Blenkinsopp continues:
... but also as an exponent of the rigorist legalism which characterised Ezra and his associates.
Both his aristocratic position and sectarian tendencies made for a conflictual relationship with both lay and priests in the province.
Expelling Tobiah from the Temple was an affront to the priestly aristocracy in the Land:
Nehemiah probably justified this overriding of priestly privilege by appeal to legal traditions either preseved or created ad hoc by the rigorist party to which he belonged.