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

Chiasmus and Concentric Structure of divided by 5


5-1

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)
Ezr1:1 In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, 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 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)
2 List of the returned exiles (Ezr2:1-70)
Ezr2:1 These are the inhabitants of the province who returned from the captivity of the exiles (Ezr2:1)
The exiles4 Resistance to rebuilding the Temple (Ezr4:1-24)
Ezr4:1 When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were building a temple for the LORD, the God of Israel, (Ezr4:1)

5-1-1

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)
Former halfRelationLatter half
1 End of the Babylonian captivity (Ezr1:1-11)
Ezr1:1In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD inspired King Cyrus of Persia to issue this proclamation throughout his kingdom, both by word of mouth and in writing:
The permission of Cyrus3 Worship restored at Jerusalem (Ezr3:1-7)
Ezr3:7Then 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.

5-1-2

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
3 Worship restored at Jerusalem (Ezr3:1-7)
see 4-1
see 4-15 Restoration of the Temple resumed (Ezr5:1-Ezr6:14)
see 4-1

5-2

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)
10 Denunciation of mixed marriages (Ezr9:1-Ezr10:4)
Former halfRelationLatter half
6 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)
Offerings10 Denunciation of mixed marriages (Ezr9:1-Ezr10:4)
Ezr9:4 I remained motionless until the evening sacrifice. (Ezr9:4)
7 Passover (Ezr6:19-22)
Ezr6:21 The Israelites who had returned from the exile (Ezr6:21)
Return from the exile9 The return to Jerusalem (Ezr8:15-36)
Ezr8:35 those who had returned from the captivity, the exiles (Ezr8:35)

5-2-1

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)
Former halfRelationLatter half
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

5-2-2

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
8 Heads of families who returned with Ezra (Ezr7:1-Ezr8:14)
Ezr7:26 Whoever does not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let strict judgment be executed upon him, whether death, or corporal punishment, or a fine on his goods, or imprisonment. (Ezr7:26)
Obedience to the law10 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)

5-3

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)
Former halfRelationLatter half
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

5-3-1

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
11 Foreign wives and their children rejected (Ezr10:5-17)
Ezr10:13 But the people are numerous and it is the rainy season, so that we cannot remain out-of-doors; besides, this is not a task that can be performed in a single day or even two, for those of us who have sinned in this regard are many (Ezr10:13)
Confession of sin13 Nehemiah prays for his people (Ne1:1-Ne2:20)
Neh1:6 may your ear be attentive, and your eyes open, to heed the prayer which I, your servant, now offer in your presence day and night for your servants the Israelites, confessing the sins which we of Israel have committed against you, I and my father's house included. (Neh1:6)

5-3-2

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)
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."
Shamed by foreigner15 Hostile plots thwarted (Ne3:33-Ne4:17)
Ne3:36Take note, O our God, how we were mocked! Turn back their derision upon their own heads and let them be carried away to a land of captivity!

5-4

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)
20 National confession (Ne9:1-37)
Former halfRelationLatter half
16 Nehemiah deals with oppression (Ne5:1-19)
Ne5:5 we have had to reduce our sons and daughters to slavery, and violence has been done to some of our daughters! (Ne5:5)
To become slaves20 National confession (Ne9:1-37)
Ne9:36 But, see, we today are slaves; and as for the land which you gave our fathers that they might eat its fruits and good things--see, we have become slaves upon it! (Ne9:36)
17 Intrigues of enemies foiled (Ne6:1-19)
Ne6:9They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, "Their hands will slacken in the work, and it will never be completed." But instead, I now redoubled my efforts.
Gaining a power19 Ezra summons the people to obey the law (Ne7:72b-Ne8:18)
Ne8:10for today is holy to our LORD. Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!"

5-4-1

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)
Former halfRelationLatter half
16 Nehemiah deals with oppression (Ne5:1-19)
Ne5:7After some deliberation, I called the nobles and magistrates to account, saying to them, "You are exacting interest from your own kinsmen!"
Nobles and magistrates18 List of the returned exiles (Ne7:1-72a)
Ne7:5When my God had put it into my mind to gather together the nobles, the magistrates, and the common people(Ne7:5)

5-4-2

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)
Former halfRelationLatter half
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

5-5

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)
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)
Fulfillment of the commandments25 The reforms of Nehemiah (Ne13:1-31)
The reforms of Nehemiah
22 Covenant (Ne10:31-40)
Ne10:38 they, the Levites, shall take the tithe in all the cities of our service. (Ne10:38)
The tithe for Levites24 Dedication of the city wall (Ne12:1-47)
Ne12:44 At that time men were appointed over the chambers set aside for stores, offerings, first fruits, and tithes; in them they were to collect from the fields of the various cities the portions legally assigned to the priests and Levites.(Ne12:44)

5-5-1

21 List of covenant (Ne10:1-30)
  22 Covenant (Ne10:31-40)
23 People live inside and outside Jerusalem (Ne11:1-36)
Former halfRelationLatter half
21 List of covenant (Ne10:1-30)
see 4-4
see 4-423 People live inside and outside Jerusalem (Ne11:1-36)
see 4-4

5-5-2

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
23 People live inside and outside Jerusalem (Ne11:1-36)
Ne11:20The rest of Israel, including priests and Levites, were in all the other cities of Judah, each man in his inheritance. (Ne11:20)
Heritage of Levites25 The reforms of Nehemiah (Ne13:1-31)
Ne13:10I learned, too, that the portions due the Levites were no longer being given, so that the Levites and the singers who should have been carrying out the services had deserted, each man to his own field. 13:11 I took the magistrates to task, demanding, "Why is the house of God abandoned?" Then I brought the Levites together and had them resume their stations. (Ne13:10-11)

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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