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

Chiasmus and Concentric Structure of divided by 4


4-1

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)
Former halfRelationLatter half
1 End of the Babylonian captivity (Ezr1:1-11)
Ezr1:1 the LORD inspired King Cyrus of Persia to issue this proclamation throughout his kingdom, both by word of mouth and in writing (Ezr1:1)
The LORD changes the mind of kings7 Passover (Ezr6:19-22)
Ezr6:22 They joyfully kept the feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days, for the LORD had filled them with joy by making the king of Assyria favorable to them, so that he gave them help in their work on the house of God, the God of Israel (Ezr6:22)
2 List of the returned exiles (Ezr2:1-70)
Ezr2:68 When they arrived at the house of the LORD in Jerusalem, some of the family heads made free-will offerings for the house of God, to rebuild it in its place. (Ezr2:68)
Offerings6 Completion of the temple (Ezr6:14-18)
Ezr6:17 For the dedication of this house of God, they offered one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, and four hundred lambs, together with twelve he-goats as a sin-offering for all Israel, in keeping with the number of the tribes of Israel. (Ezr6:17)
3 Worship restored at Jerusalem (Ezr3:1-7)
Ezr3:7 Then they hired stonecutters and carpenters, and sent food and drink and oil to the Sidonians and Tyrians that they might ship cedar trees from the Lebanon to the port of Joppa, as Cyrus, king of Persia, had authorized. (Ezr3:7)
The permission of Cyrus5 Restoration of the Temple resumed (Ezr5:1-Ezr6:14)
Ezr6:3 In the first year of King Cyrus, King Cyrus issued a decree: The house of God in Jerusalem. The house is to be rebuilt as a place for offering sacrifices and bringing burnt offerings. Its height is to be sixty cubits and its width sixty cubits. (Ezr6:3)

4-1-1

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)
Former halfRelationLatter half
1 End of the Babylonian captivity (Ezr1:1-11)
Ezr1:3 Whoever, therefore, among you belongs to any part of his people, let him go up, and may his God be with him! (Ezr1:3)
Start / interruption of construction4 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)
2 List of the returned exiles (Ezr2:1-70)
Ezr2:68When they arrived at the house of the LORD in Jerusalem, some of the family heads made free-will offerings for the house of God, to rebuild it in its place.
Dedication of the temple3 Worship restored at Jerusalem (Ezr3:1-7)
Ezr3:2Then Jeshua, son of Jozadak, together with his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, together with his brethren, set about rebuilding the altar of the God of Israel in order to offer on it the holocausts prescribed in the law of Moses, the man of God.

4-1-2

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)
Former halfRelationLatter half
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 / resume of construction7 Passover (Ezr6:19-22)
Ezr6:22 They joyfully kept the feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days, for the LORD had filled them with joy by making the king of Assyria favorable to them, so that he gave them help in their work on the house of God, the God of Israel.(Ezr6:22)
5 Restoration of the Temple resumed (Ezr5:1-Ezr6:14)
Ezr6:13 Then Tattenai, the governor of West-of-Euphrates, and Shethar-bozenai, and their fellow officials carried out fully the instructions King Darius had sent them. (Ezr6:13)
The command of Darius6 Completion of the temple (Ezr6:14-18)
Ezr6:14 The elders of the Jews continued to make progress in the building, supported by the message of the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, son of Iddo. They finished the building according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus and Darius (and of Artaxerxes, king of Persia). (Ezr6:14)

4-2

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)
      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
7 Passover (Ezr6:19-22)
Ezr6:22 They joyfully kept the feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days, for the LORD had filled them with joy by making the king of Assyria favorable to them, so that he gave them help in their work on the house of God, the God of Israel (Ezr6:22)
The LORD changes the mind of kings13 Nehemiah prays for his people (Ne1:1-Ne2:20)
Neh2:8 The king granted my requests, for the favoring hand of my God was upon me (Neh2:8)
8 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:
List of people12 List of the sinned people (Ezr10:18-44)
Ezr10:18Among the priests, the following were found to have taken foreign women for wives: Of the sons of Jeshua, son of Jozadak, and his brethren: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah.
9 The return to Jerusalem (Ezr8:15-36)
Ezr8:22 The favoring hand of our God is upon all who seek him, but his mighty wrath is against all who forsake him (Ezr8:22)
Wrath of God11 Foreign wives and their children rejected (Ezr10:5-17)
Ezr10:14 till we have turned away from us our God's burning anger over this affair (Ezr10:14)

4-2-1

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)
10 Denunciation of mixed marriages (Ezr9:1-Ezr10:4)
Former halfRelationLatter half
7 Passover (Ezr6:19-22)
Ezr6:21 The Israelites who had returned from the exile partook of it together with all those who had separated themselves from the uncleanness of the peoples of the land to join them in seeking the LORD, the God of Israel (Ezr6:21)
Uncleanness of Gentiles10 Denunciation of mixed marriages (Ezr9:1-Ezr10:4)
Ezr9:11 land unclean with the filth of the peoples of the land, with the abominations with which they have filled it from one end to the other in their uncleanness (Ezr9:11)
8 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:
People who go up to Jerusalem9 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. 8:19 They also sent us Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah, sons of Merari, and their brethren and their sons, twenty men. 8:20 Of the temple slaves (those whom David and the princes appointed to serve the Levites) there were two hundred and twenty. All these men were enrolled by name.

4-2-2

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
10 Denunciation of mixed marriages (Ezr9:1-Ezr10:4)
Ezr9:3 When I had heard this thing, I tore my cloak and my mantle, plucked hair from my head and beard, and sat there stupefied (Ezr9:3)
Grief13 Nehemiah prays for his people (Ne1:1-Ne2:20)
Neh1:4 When I heard this report, I began to weep and continued mourning for several days; I fasted and prayed before the God of heaven (Neh1:4)
11 Foreign wives and their children rejected (Ezr10:5-17)
Ezr10:11 But now, give praise to the LORD, the God of your fathers, and do his will: separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from these foreign women. (Ezr10:11)
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)

4-3

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)
  18 List of the returned exiles (Ne7:1-72a)
19 Ezra summons the people to obey the law (Ne7:72b-Ne8:18)
Former halfRelationLatter half
13 Nehemiah prays for his people (Ne1:1-Ne2:20)
Ne1:4When I heard this report, I began to weep and continued mourning for several days; I fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
Weeping19 Ezra summons the people to obey the law (Ne7:72b-Ne8:18)
Ne8:9"Today is holy to the LORD your God. Do not be sad, and do not weep"-for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law.
14 Organization of the work (Ne3:1-32)
list of people who restored the wall
List of people18 List of the returned exiles (Ne7:1-72a)
Ne7:5I came upon the family list of those who had returned in the earliest period. There I found the following written:
15 Hostile plots thwarted (Ne3:33-Ne4:17)
Ne3:33When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, it roused his anger and he became very much incensed.
Obstruction of enemy17 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),

4-3-1

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)
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."
Grief of Jews16 Nehemiah deals with oppression (Ne5:1-19)
Ne5:1Then there rose a great outcry of the common people and their wives against certain of their fellow Jews.
14 Organization of the work (Ne3:1-32)
sharing the work of constructing the wall (Ne3:1-32)
Restoration of the wall15 Hostile plots thwarted (Ne3:33-Ne4:17)
Ne3:38We, however, continued to build the wall, which was soon filled in and completed up to half its height. The people worked with a will.

4-3-2

16 Nehemiah deals with oppression (Ne5:1-19)
  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)
Former halfRelationLatter half
16 Nehemiah deals with oppression (Ne5:1-19)
Ne5:13I also shook out the folds of my garment, saying, "Thus may God shake from his home and his fortune every man who fails to keep this promise, and may he thus be shaken out and emptied!" And the whole assembly answered, "Amen," and praised the LORD. Then the people did as they had promised.
People say "Amen"19 Ezra summons the people to obey the law (Ne7:72b-Ne8:18)
Ne8:6Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people, their hands raised high, answered, "Amen, amen!" Then they bowed down and prostrated themselves before the LORD, their faces to the ground.
17 Intrigues of enemies foiled (Ne6:1-19)
Ne6:1 I had rebuilt the wall and that there was no breach left in it
Completion of the wall18 List of the returned exiles (Ne7:1-72a)
Ne7:1 When the wall had been rebuilt, I had the doors set up

4-4

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
19 Ezra summons the people to obey the law (Ne7:72b-Ne8:18)
Ne8:3and all the people listened attentively to the book of the law.
Listening to the book of the law of God25 The reforms of Nehemiah (Ne13:1-31)
Ne13:1At that time, when there was reading from the book of Moses in the hearing of the people, it was found written there that "no Ammonite or Moabite may ever be admitted into the assembly of God;
20 National confession (Ne9:1-37)
Ne9:4 Standing on the platform of the Levites were Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani, who cried out to the LORD their God, with a loud voice. (Ne9:4)
List of Levites24 Dedication of the city wall (Ne12:1-47)
Ne12:8 The Levites were Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, Mattaniah; the last-mentioned, together with his brethren, was in charge of the hymns, (Ne12:8)
21 List of covenant (Ne10:1-30)
List of covenant
List of the people23 People live inside and outside Jerusalem (Ne11:1-36)
List of people who live at Jerusalem

4-4-1

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)
Former halfRelationLatter half
19 Ezra summons the people to obey the law (Ne7:72b-Ne8:18)
Ne8:1 Now when the seventh month came, the whole people gathered as one man in the open space before the Water Gate, and they called upon Ezra the scribe to bring forth the book of the law of Moses which the LORD prescribed for Israel. (Ne8:1)
Commandments22 Covenant (Ne10:31-40)
List of commandments in the covenant
20 National confession (Ne9:1-37)
Ne9:14 Your holy sabbath you made known to them, commandments, statutes, and law you prescribed for them, by the hand of Moses your servant. (Ne9:14)
The law of Moses21 List of covenant (Ne10:1-30)
Ne10:30 join with their brethren who are their princes, and with the sanction of a curse take this oath to follow the law of God which was given through Moses, the servant of God, and to observe carefully all the commandments of the LORD, our LORD, his ordinances and his statutes. (Ne10:30)

4-4-2

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
22 Covenant (Ne10:31-40)
Ne10:31 Agreed, that we will not marry our daughters to the peoples of the land, and that we will not take their daughters for our sons. (Ne10:31)
Exclusion of foreigners25 The reforms of Nehemiah (Ne13:1-31)
Ne13:3 When they had heard the law, they separated from Israel every foreign element. (Ne13:3)
23 People live inside and outside Jerusalem (Ne11:1-36)
list of people who live in Jerusalem
List of people24 Dedication of the city wall (Ne12:1-47)
list of people who returned (Ne12:1-25)

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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