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Literary structure (chiasmus, chiasm) of Book of Ezra and Nehemiah

Chiasmus and Concentric Structure of divided by 3


3-1

1 End of the Babylonian captivity (Ezr1:1-11)
  2 List of the returned exiles (Ezr2:1-70)
    3 Worship restored at Jerusalem (Ezr3:1-7)
      4 Resistance to rebuilding the Temple (Ezr4:1-24)
        5 Restoration of the Temple resumed (Ezr5:1-Ezr6:14)
      6 Completion of the temple (Ezr6:14-18)
    7 Passover (Ezr6:19-22)
  8 Heads of families who returned with Ezra (Ezr7:1-Ezr8:14)
9 The return to Jerusalem (Ezr8:15-36)
Former halfRelationLatter half
1 End of the Babylonian captivity (Ezr1:1-11)
Ezr1:5Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin and the priests and Levites--everyone, that is, whom God had inspired to do so--prepared to go up to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem.
People and priests and Levites going up to Jerusalem9 The return to Jerusalem (Ezr8:15-36)
Ezr8:15There I perceived that both laymen and priests were present, but I could not discover a single Levite.
2 List of the returned exiles (Ezr2:1-70)
Ezr2:1These are the inhabitants of the province who returned from the captivity of the exiles,
List of people who returned8 Heads of families who returned with Ezra (Ezr7:1-Ezr8:14)
Ezr8:1This is the list of the family heads who returned with me from Babylon during the reign of King Artaxerxes:
3 Worship restored at Jerusalem (Ezr3:1-7)
Ezr3:4 They also kept the feast of Booths in the manner prescribed, and they offered the daily holocausts in the proper number required for each day.(Ezr3:4)
Festivals of the LORD7 Passover (Ezr6:19-22)
Ezr6:19 The exiles kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. (Ezr6:19)
4 Resistance to rebuilding the Temple (Ezr4:1-24)
Ezr4:24 Thus it was that the work on the house of God in Jerusalem was halted. This inaction lasted until the second year of the reign of Darius, king of Persia.(Ezr4:24)
Interruption / completion of construction6 Completion of the temple (Ezr6:14-18)
Ezr6:15 They completed this house on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. (Ezr6:15)

3-1-1

1 End of the Babylonian captivity (Ezr1:1-11)
  2 List of the returned exiles (Ezr2:1-70)
    3 Worship restored at Jerusalem (Ezr3:1-7)
  4 Resistance to rebuilding the Temple (Ezr4:1-24)
5 Restoration of the Temple resumed (Ezr5:1-Ezr6:14)
Former halfRelationLatter half
1 End of the Babylonian captivity (Ezr1:1-11)
see 5-1
see 5-15 Restoration of the Temple resumed (Ezr5:1-Ezr6:14)
see 5-1
2 List of the returned exiles (Ezr2:1-70)
see 5-1
see 5-14 Resistance to rebuilding the Temple (Ezr4:1-24)
see 5-1

3-1-2

5 Restoration of the Temple resumed (Ezr5:1-Ezr6:14)
  6 Completion of the temple (Ezr6:14-18)
    7 Passover (Ezr6:19-22)
  8 Heads of families who returned with Ezra (Ezr7:1-Ezr8:14)
9 The return to Jerusalem (Ezr8:15-36)
Former halfRelationLatter half
5 Restoration of the Temple resumed (Ezr5:1-Ezr6:14)
see 1-1-1
see 1-1-19 The return to Jerusalem (Ezr8:15-36)
see 1-1-1
6 Completion of the temple (Ezr6:14-18)
see 1-1-1
see 1-1-18 Heads of families who returned with Ezra (Ezr7:1-Ezr8:14)
see 1-1-1

3-2

9 The return to Jerusalem (Ezr8:15-36)
  10 Denunciation of mixed marriages (Ezr9:1-Ezr10:4)
    11 Foreign wives and their children rejected (Ezr10:5-17)
      12 List of the sinned people (Ezr10:18-44)
        13 Nehemiah prays for his people (Ne1:1-Ne2:20)
      14 Organization of the work (Ne3:1-32)
    15 Hostile plots thwarted (Ne3:33-Ne4:17)
  16 Nehemiah deals with oppression (Ne5:1-19)
17 Intrigues of enemies foiled (Ne6:1-19)
Former halfRelationLatter half
9 The return to Jerusalem (Ezr8:15-36)
see 1-1
see 1-117 Intrigues of enemies foiled (Ne6:1-19)
see 1-1
10 Denunciation of mixed marriages (Ezr9:1-Ezr10:4)
see 1-1
see 1-116 Nehemiah deals with oppression (Ne5:1-19)
see 1-1
11 Foreign wives and their children rejected (Ezr10:5-17)
see 1-1
see 1-115 Hostile plots thwarted (Ne3:33-Ne4:17)
see 1-1
12 List of the sinned people (Ezr10:18-44)
see 1-1
see 1-114 Organization of the work (Ne3:1-32)
see 1-1

3-2-1

9 The return to Jerusalem (Ezr8:15-36)
  10 Denunciation of mixed marriages (Ezr9:1-Ezr10:4)
    11 Foreign wives and their children rejected (Ezr10:5-17)
  12 List of the sinned people (Ezr10:18-44)
13 Nehemiah prays for his people (Ne1:1-Ne2:20)
Former halfRelationLatter half
9 The return to Jerusalem (Ezr8:15-36)
Ezr8:18They sent to us--for the favoring hand of our God was upon us--a well-instructed man, one of the sons of Mahli, son of Levi, son of Israel, namely Sherebiah, with his sons and brethren, eighteen men.
Favoring hand of God13 Nehemiah prays for his people (Ne1:1-Ne2:20)
Ne2:8The king granted my requests, for the favoring hand of my God was upon me.
10 Denunciation of mixed marriages (Ezr9:1-Ezr10:4)
Ezr10:3 Let us therefore enter into a covenant before our God to dismiss all our foreign wives and the children born of them, in keeping with what you, my lord, advise, and those who fear the commandments of our God. Let the law be observed! (Ezr10:3)
Divorced Gentile wives12 List of the sinned people (Ezr10:18-44)
Ezr10:19 They pledged themselves to dismiss their wives, and as a guilt-offering for their guilt they gave a ram from the flock (Ezr10:19)

3-2-2

13 Nehemiah prays for his people (Ne1:1-Ne2:20)
  14 Organization of the work (Ne3:1-32)
    15 Hostile plots thwarted (Ne3:33-Ne4:17)
  16 Nehemiah deals with oppression (Ne5:1-19)
17 Intrigues of enemies foiled (Ne6:1-19)
Former halfRelationLatter half
13 Nehemiah prays for his people (Ne1:1-Ne2:20)
Ne1:3and they answered me: "The survivors of the captivity there in the province are in great distress and under reproach. Also, the wall of Jerusalem lies breached, and its gates have been gutted with fire."
Restoration of the wall17 Intrigues of enemies foiled (Ne6:1-19)
Ne6:15The wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul; it had taken fifty-two days.
14 Organization of the work (Ne3:1-32)
sharing the work of constructing the wall (Ne3:1-32)
Devotion to restoration of the wall16 Nehemiah deals with oppression (Ne5:1-19)
Ne5:16Moreover, though I had acquired no land of my own, I did my part in this work on the wall, and all my men were gathered there for the work. 5:17 Though I set my table for a hundred and fifty persons, Jews and magistrates, as well as those who came to us from the nations round about, 5:18 and though the daily preparations were made at my expense--one beef, six choice muttons, poultry--besides all kinds of wine in abundance every ten days, despite this I did not claim the governor's allowance, for the labor lay heavy upon this people.

3-3

17 Intrigues of enemies foiled (Ne6:1-19)
  18 List of the returned exiles (Ne7:1-72a)
    19 Ezra summons the people to obey the law (Ne7:72b-Ne8:18)
      20 National confession (Ne9:1-37)
        21 List of covenant (Ne10:1-30)
      22 Covenant (Ne10:31-40)
    23 People live inside and outside Jerusalem (Ne11:1-36)
  24 Dedication of the city wall (Ne12:1-47)
25 The reforms of Nehemiah (Ne13:1-31)
Former halfRelationLatter half
17 Intrigues of enemies foiled (Ne6:1-19)
Ne6:1When it had been reported to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and our other enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and that there was no breach left in it (though up to that time I had not yet set up the doors in the gates),
Enemies25 The reforms of Nehemiah (Ne13:1-31)
Ne13:28One of the sons of Joiada, son of Eliashib the high priest, was the son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite! I drove him from my presence.
18 List of the returned exiles (Ne7:1-72a)
Ne7:5I came upon the family list of those who had returned in the earliest period.
List of people who returned24 Dedication of the city wall (Ne12:1-47)
Ne12:1The following are the priests and Levites who returned with Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra,
19 Ezra summons the people to obey the law (Ne7:72b-Ne8:18)
Ne8:4Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that had been made for the occasion; at his right side stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, and on his left Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, Meshullam.
List of leaders23 People live inside and outside Jerusalem (Ne11:1-36)
Ne11:3These are the heads of the province who took up residence in Jerusalem.
20 National confession (Ne9:1-37)
Ne9:2 Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all who were of foreign extraction, then stood forward and confessed their sins and the guilty deeds of their fathers. (Ne9:2)
Forgiveness of sins22 Covenant (Ne10:31-40)
Ne10:34 for the showbread, for the daily cereal offering, for the daily holocaust, for the sabbaths, new moons, and festivals, for the holy offerings, for sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and for every service of the house of our God. (Ne10:34)

3-3-1

17 Intrigues of enemies foiled (Ne6:1-19)
  18 List of the returned exiles (Ne7:1-72a)
    19 Ezra summons the people to obey the law (Ne7:72b-Ne8:18)
  20 National confession (Ne9:1-37)
21 List of covenant (Ne10:1-30)
Former halfRelationLatter half
17 Intrigues of enemies foiled (Ne6:1-19)
see 1-1-2
see 1-1-221 List of covenant (Ne10:1-30)
see 1-1-2
18 List of the returned exiles (Ne7:1-72a)
see 1-1-2
see 1-1-220 National confession (Ne9:1-37)
see 1-1-2

3-3-2

21 List of covenant (Ne10:1-30)
  22 Covenant (Ne10:31-40)
    23 People live inside and outside Jerusalem (Ne11:1-36)
  24 Dedication of the city wall (Ne12:1-47)
25 The reforms of Nehemiah (Ne13:1-31)
Former halfRelationLatter half
21 List of covenant (Ne10:1-30)
see 5-5
see 5-525 The reforms of Nehemiah (Ne13:1-31)
see 5-5
22 Covenant (Ne10:31-40)
see 5-5
see 5-524 Dedication of the city wall (Ne12:1-47)
see 5-5

Citations of the Bible are from New American Bible, New Revised Standard Version and New Jerusalem Bible.

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Literary Structure of the Bible by Hajime Murai is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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