Common relatives in the Babylonian captivity (Lk 3:27-3:27)

“The son of Joanan,

The son of Rhesa,

The son of Zerubbabel,

The son of Shealtiel,

The son of Neri.”

 

τοῦ Ἰωανὰν τοῦ Ῥησὰ τοῦ Ζοροβάβελ τοῦ Σαλαθιὴλ τοῦ Νηρεὶ

 

Finally, we find 2 common names from Matthew, chapter 1:12, when he was describing people during the Babylonian captivity.  Here Matthew and Luke have an agreement on 2 people, Zerubbabel and Shealtiel.  These 2 individuals can be found in 1 Chronicles, chapter 3:10-20, after the Israelites from Judah and Jerusalem were deported to Babylon, Jechoniah became the father of Salathiel (Σαλαθιήλ).  Jechoniah was the son of King Jehoiakim and grandson of King Josiah who had ruled Judah in 598 BCE.  Jechoniah was exiled for 37 years as indicated in 2 Kings, chapter 25.  Salathiel or Shealtiel was his oldest son, but he had at least 5 other brothers.  According to 1 Chronicles, Salathiel had no children, so that his brother Pedaiah was the father of Zerubbabel (Ζοροβαβέλ), not him.  Zerubbabel was the leader of the tribe of Judah at the time of their return from captivity, as his name appears over 25 times in the scriptural writings.  The Persian king appointed Zerubbabel the governor of Judah, where he rebuilt the Jerusalem Temple.  He also had a Persian name of Sheshbazzar as described in 1 Esdras, chapters 1-3.  Here Luke said, without any comment, that the son of Joanan (τοῦ Ἰωανὰν), the son of Rhesa (τοῦ Ῥησὰ), the son of Zerubbabel (τοῦ Ζοροβάβελ), the son of Shealtiel (τοῦ Σαλαθιὴλ), the son of Neri (τοῦ Νηρεὶ).

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The genealogy during the Babylonian captivity (Mt 1:12-1:12)

“After the deportation to Babylon,

Jechoniah was

The father of Salathiel.

Salathiel was

The father of Zerubbabel.”

 

Μετὰ δὲ τὴν μετοικεσίαν Βαβυλῶνος Ἰεχονίας ἐγέννησεν τὸν Σαλαθιήλ, Σαλαθιὴλ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ζοροβαβέλ,

 

Based on the text in 1 Chronicles, chapter 3, after the Israelites from Judah and Jerusalem were deported to Babylon (Μετὰ δὲ τὴν μετοικεσίαν Βαβυλῶνος), Jechoniah (Ἰεχονίας) became the father of Salathiel (Σαλαθιήλ).  Jechoniah was the son of King Jehoiakim and grandson of King Josiah who had ruled Judah in 598 BCE.  Jechoniah was exiled for 37 years as indicated in 2 Kings, chapter 25.  Salathiel or Shealtiel was his oldest son, but he had at least 5 other brothers.  According to 1 Chronicles, Salathiel had no children, so that his brother Pedaiah was the father of Zerubbabel (Ζοροβαβέλ), not him.  Zerubbabel was the leader of the tribe of Judah at the time of their return from captivity, as his name appears over 25 times in the scriptural writings.  The Persian king appointed Zerubbabel the governor of Judah, where he rebuilt the Jerusalem Temple.  He also had a Persian name of Sheshbazzar as described in 1 Esdras, chapters 1-3.  This Greek text used the term “begat” (ἐγέννησεν) to represent the relationships between these men.  However, it seems perfectly acceptable to simply call them the father instead of saying “fathered them.”

Zerubbabel (Sir 49:11-49:11)

“How shall

We magnify Zerubbabel?

He was

Like a signet ring        

On the right hand.”

Zerubbabel was the governor of Judah appointed by the Persian King Darius I, thus ending the Babylonian captivity, sometime between 538-520 BCE. He was the grandson of one of the last kings of Judah, King Jehoiachin. In this new role, he was actually an official governor in the Persian state for the area of Judah, but he was born and raised in Babylon. He along with Jeshua began to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. There is some confusion with the name of Sheshbazzar, who either was his uncle or another name for him. Some hold that Sheshbazzar was appointed by King Cyrus as the governor of Judah in 538 BCE. Then King Darius I named Zerubbabel. Both are mentioned in the Book of Ezra, chapter 2. Zerubbabel was also mentioned by the Minor Prophets, Haggai and Zechariah. Finally, there is the idea of the signet ring. Does it apply to temporal power or the restored power of Yahweh? Interesting enough, Sirach does not mention Ezra at all among his famous men.

The reply of the elders at Jerusalem (Ezra 5:11-5:16)

“This was their reply to us. ‘We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth. We are rebuilding the house that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished. But because our ancestors had angered the God of heaven, he gave them into the hand of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house and carried away the people to Babylonia. However, King Cyrus of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, made a decree that this house of God should be rebuilt. Moreover, the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which King Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem and had brought into the temple of Babylon, these King Cyrus took out of the temple of Babylon. They were delivered to a man named Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor. He said to him. ‘Take these vessels! Go and put them in the temple in Jerusalem! Let the house of God be rebuilt on its site!’ Then this Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the house of God in Jerusalem. From that time until now it has been under construction. It is not yet finished.’”

Governor Tattenai gave the Jewish side of the story, explaining why they were doing such a thing as building a house of God. They were rebuilding the house of God on the same spot where the Temple used to be. Their ancestors had angered God, so that the Chaldeans with King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple and took the people into captivity. Then King Cyrus issued a decree that the Temple be built again. In fact, he gave the gold and silver vessels that originally came from Jerusalem that were in the Babylonian temple to Sheshbazzar, who was the governor in Jerusalem. Thus for the last few years, they have been building this unfinished Temple.

King Cyrus returns the vessels of the house of Yahweh (Ezra 1:7-1:11)

“King Cyrus himself brought out the vessels of the house of Yahweh which King Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and placed in the house of his gods. King Cyrus of Persia had them released into the charge of Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. This was the inventory. There were thirty gold basins, one thousand silver basins, twenty-nine censers or knives, thirty gold bowls, four hundred and ten silver bowls, and one thousand other vessels. The total of the gold and silver vessels was five thousand four hundred. All these Sheshbazzar brought up, when the exiles were brought up from Babylonia to Jerusalem.”

The king himself, King Cyrus, brought the sacred vessels that King Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem about a hundred years earlier. They had been in the house of other gods. I wonder if they needed to be sanctified or purified. His treasurer was called Mithredath. They were given to Sheshbazzar, who was the prince or governor of Judah. There is a question whether this is the same person as Zerubbabel, who is a governor of Judah. However, there could have been many governors. They had an inventory. The numbers seem to change in each translation. Even so, they are fairly close. There were 30 gold basins and gold bowls as well as 1,000 silver basins and 410 silver bowls. There were 29 knives or censors and over 1,000 other vessels. The total was about 5,400. Sheshbazzar brought these back to Jerusalem with some other exiles.