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

Chiastic Structure and Concentric Structure and Parallel of each pericope

[1]End of the Babylonian captivity  (Ezra 1:1-11)
  A(1:1-4)  Command of King Cyrus
    B(1:5-6)    Ezr1:5 everyone, that is, whom God had inspired to do so--prepared to go up to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem.
  A'(1:7-11)  Command of King Cyrus
   A: Command of King Cyrus. B: Construction of the temple.

[2]List of the returned exiles  (Ezra 2:1-70)
  A(2:1-2a)  Ezr2:1 These are the inhabitants of the province who returned from the captivity of the exiles
    B(2:2b-67)    List of the people
  A'(2:68-70)  Ezr2:70 Thus all the Israelites dwelt in their cities.
   A: Return. B: List of the people.

[3]Worship restored at Jerusalem  (Ezra 3:1-13)
  A(3:1-5)  Ezr3:2 set about rebuilding the altar of the God of Israel
    B(3:6-7)    Ezr3:6 though the foundation of the temple of the LORD had not yet been laid. (3:6)
  A'(3:8-13)  Ezr3:10 the builders had laid the foundation of the LORD'S temple
   A: Construction of the temple. B: The foundation of the temple of the LORD had not yet been laid.

[4]Resistance to rebuilding the Temple  (Ezra 4:1-24)
  A(4:1-6)  Ezr4:5 They also suborned counselors to work against them and thwart their plans (4:5)
    B(4:7-16)    The letter of the governor
    B'(4:17-22)    The letter of the king
  A'(4:23-24)  Ezr4:23 they went in all haste to the Jews in Jerusalem and stopped their work by force of arms. (4:23)
   A: Interference. B: Letters.

[5]Restoration of the Temple resumed  (Ezra 5:1-6:13)
  A(5:1-5)  Ezr5:3 At that time there came to them Tattenai, governor of West-of-Euphrates, and Shethar-bozenai, and their fellow officials
    B(5:6-17)    The letter of the governor
    B'(6:1-12)    The letter of the king
  A'(6:13)  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.
   A: Acts of the governors. B: Letters.

[6]Completion of the temple  (Ezra 6:14-18)
  A(6:14-15)  Ezr6:14 They finished the building according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus and Darius
    B(6:16-17)    Ezr6:16 celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. (6:16)
  A'(6:18)  Ezr6:18 Finally, they set up the priests in their classes and the Levites in their divisions for the service of God in Jerusalem, as is prescribed in the book of Moses.
   A: Obedience to the LORD. B: The dedication of the temple.

[7]Passover  (Ezra 6:19-22)
  A(6:19)  6:19 The exiles kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. (6:19)
    B(6:20-21)    6:20 sacrificed the Passover for the rest of the exiles, for their brethren the priests, and for themselves. (6:20)
  A'(6:22)  6:22 They joyfully kept the feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days (6:22)
   A: The festivals of the LORD. B: Sacrifice of the Passover.

[8]Heads of families who returned with Ezra  (Ezra 7:1-8:14)
  A(7:1-6)  Ezr7:1 After these events, during the reign of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, Ezra, son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah
"Ezr7:9 on the first day of the fifth month he arrived at Jerusalem, for the favoring hand of his God was upon him. (7:9)"   
      C(7:11-26)      The letter of the king
"Ezr7:28 I therefore took courage and, with the hand of the LORD, my God, upon me, I gathered together Israelite family heads to make the return journey with me.(7:28)"   
  A'(8:1-14)  Ezr8:1 This is the list of the family heads who returned with me from Babylon during the reign of King Artaxerxes:
   A: Going up from Babylon. B: The hands of the LORD. C: The letter of the king.

[9]The return to Jerusalem  (Ezra 8:15-36)
  A(8:15-20)  Ezr8:17 instructing them what to say to Iddo and his brethren, and to the temple slaves in Casiphia, in order to procure for us ministers for the house of our God.
"Ezr8:22 The favoring hand of our God is upon all who seek him, but his mighty wrath is against all who forsake him."   
      C(8:28-30)      Words of Ezra
"Ezr8:31 The hand of our God remained upon us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way."   
  A'(8:35-36)  Ezr8:36 who gave their support to the people and to the house of God.
   A: The house of God. B: The hands of the LORD. C: Words of Ezra.

[10]Denunciation of mixed marriages  (Ezra 9:1-10:4)
  A(9:1-2)  Words of the people
    B(9:3-9:15)    Prayer of Ezra
  A'(10:1-4)  Words of the people
   A: Words of the people. B: Prayer of Ezra.

[11]Foreign wives and their children rejected  (Ezra 10:5-17)
  A(10:5-9)  Ezr10:9 All the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered together in Jerusalem within the three-day period (10:9)
    B(10:10-11)    Words of Ezra
    B'(10:12-14)    Words of the people
  A'(10:15-17)  10:17 By the first day of the first month they had passed judgment on all the men who had taken foreign women for wives.
   A: Obedience of the people. B: Dialogue between Ezra and the people.

[12]List of the sinned people  (Ezra 10:18-44)
   the list of those who took to wife a woman of Gentiles

[13]Nehemiah prays for his people  (Neh 1:1-2:20)
  A(1:1-11)  Ne1:3 The survivors of the captivity there in the province are in great distress and under reproach.
    B(2:1-9)    Dialogue between the king and Nehemiah
      C(2:10-16)      Ne2:12 I had not told anyone what my God had inspired me to do for Jerusalem
    B'(2:17-18)    Dialogue between the people and Nehemiah
  A'(2:19-20)  Ne2:19 On hearing of this, Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite slave, and Geshem the Arab mocked us and ridiculed us.
   A: Insults and words of Nehemiah. B: Dialogue with Nehemiah. C: What the LORD had inspired.

[14]Organization of the work  (Neh 3:1-32)
   the list of persons who join building the temple

[15]Hostile plots thwarted  (Neh 3:33-4:17)
  A(3:33-38)  Interference of enemies and construction of the wall
    B(4:1-4)    Interference of enemies and words of the Judahites
    B'(4:3-4)    Interference of enemies and words of the Judahites
  A'(4:5-17)  Interference of enemies and construction of the wall
   A: Interference of enemies and construction of the wall. B: Interference of enemies and words of the Judahites.

[16]Nehemiah deals with oppression  (Neh 5:1-19)
  A(5:1-5)  Ne5:4To pay the king's tax we have borrowed money on our fields and our vineyards.
    B(5:6-8)    Condemnation of Nehemiah
      C(5:9-12a)      Commands of Nehemiah
    B'(5:12b-13)    Curse of Nehemiah
  A'(5:14-19)  Ne5:15 The earlier governors, my predecessors, had laid a heavy burden on the people, taking from them each day forty silver shekels for their food;
   A: Burdens of the people. B: Condemnation of Nehemiah. C: Commands of Nehemiah.

[17]Intrigues of enemies foiled  (Neh 6:1-19)
  A(6:1-8)  Intimidation of enemies
    B(6:9)    Prayer of Nehemiah
        D(6:10-13)        False prophecy
    B'(6:14)    Prayer of Nehemiah
  A'(6:15-19)  Intimidation of enemies
   A: Intimidation of enemies. B: Prayer of Nehemiah. C: False prophecy.

[18]List of the returned exiles  (Neh 7:1-72a)
The gatekeepers and the singers and the Levites   
    B(7:5-60)    List of the people
    B(7:61-62)    Ne7:61 The following who returned from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer were unable to prove that their ancestral houses and their descent were Israelite
    B'(7:63-65)    Ne7:64 These men searched their family records, but their names could not be found written there; hence they were degraded from the priesthood, (7:64)
    B'(7:66-71)    Total number of the people
The gatekeepers and the singers and the Levites   
   A: The gatekeepers and the singers and the Levites. B: List of the people. C: Being unable to prove that their ancestral houses and their descent were Israelite.

[19]Ezra summons the people to obey the law  (Neh 7:72b-8:18)
  A(7:72b-8:8)  Reading the book of the law
    B(8:9-12)    To celebrate with great joy
    B'(8:13-15)    Reading the book of the law
  A'(8:16-18)  Sukkot
   A: Reading the book of the law. B: The festivals.

[20]National confession  (Neh 9:1-37)
P(9:1-3)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. (9:2)
  A(9:4-8)  Ne9:8 When you had found his heart faithful in your sight, you made the covenant with him to give to him and his posterity the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and Girgashites. These promises of yours you fulfilled, for you are just. (9:8)
    B(9:9-15)    Ne9:9 You saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, you heard their cry by the Red Sea
      C(9:16-21)      Betrayal
        D(9:22-25)        Ne9:23 "You made their children as numerous as the stars of the heavens, and you brought them into the land which you had commanded their fathers to enter and possess. (9:23)
      C'(9:26-31)      Betrayal
    B'(9:32-35)    Ne9:32 take into account all the disasters that have befallen us
  A'(9:36-37)  Ne9:36 the land which you gave our fathers
   A: The land which you gave our fathers. B: Sufferings. C: Betrayal. D: Fulfillment of the promise.

[21]List of covenant  (Neh 10:1-30)
  A(10:1)  Ne10:1 we are entering into a firm pact, which we are putting into writing (Ne10:1)
    B(10:2-28)    List of people who swore
  A'(10:29-30)  Ne10:30 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)
   A: The covenant. B: List of people who swore.

[22]Covenant  (Neh 10:31-40)
   List of oaths

[23]People live inside and outside Jerusalem  (Neh 11:1-36)
   The list of people who live in Jerusalem

[24]Dedication of the city wall  (Neh 12:1-47)
  A(12:1-26)  The list of priests
Ne12:27 the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem    
  A'(12:31-47)  The list of choirs
   A: The list of the people. B: The dedication of the wall of Jerusalem.

[25]The reforms of Nehemiah  (Neh 13:1-31)
  A(13:1-3)  Ne13:3 When they had heard the law, they separated from Israel every foreign element.
    B(13:4-14)    Ne13:9 Then I gave orders to purify the chambers, and I had them replace there the utensils of the house of God, the cereal offerings, and the incense. (13:9)
    B'(13:15-22)    Ne13:22 Then I ordered the Levites to purify themselves and to go and watch the gates, so that the sabbath day might be kept holy. (13:22)
  A'(13:23-31)  Ne13:28 One 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.
   A: Mixed. B: Rituals.

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

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