Monday, February 08, 2010
Hugh Williamson on Ezra 2
Hugh Williamson, Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford Uni, and a good Tyndale Fellowship man(!) has a superb Ezra-Nehemiah commentary on the WBC series. I found his initial "Explanation" of Ezra 2 (on the list of those who came out of exile) rather hilarious and then quite useful.
"Chapters like Ezra 2 are among the most uninviting portions of the Bible to the modern reader both because of their tedious nature and because of their overtones of racial exclusivism and pride. However fascinating the chapter may be to the antiquarian, it is unlikely that this enthusiasm will ever be shared by more than a few. It is more prudent to admit the difficulties from the start and to suggest instead one or two points of value that emerge from a consideration of the list as a whole".
Those considerations are:
1. Continuity between pre-exilic Israel and the community of restoration.
2. The importance of people and land in God's promises
3. A concern for pedigree and purity can easily turn into pride and superiority.
"Even if our negative feelings towards this chapter can help eliminate this prideful attitude from the Church and the individual believer, it will have played a valuable role within the total context of Scripture".