The return to the land of Israel was an event which really broadened
the world of the Israelites. When Jews began forming a Diaspora, it
clarified the concept that God was not just a local deity, but rather
the God of the universe. Babylon, in particular, appears as a true
cosmopolis until the time when Revelation was written.
As previously stated, the Persians, unlike the Babylonians, allowed a
moderate amount of home rule, which was eventually exploited to build a
second temple around 522BC, after prodding by Haggai and Zechariah.
This second temple was much smaller than the temple built by Solomon,
and those who had seen the first temple were struck by the difference
between the two.
Zechariah and Haggai prophesy that Zerubbabel will see the completion
of the temple, and for that, he is part of the earthly lineage of the
Christ. While the people set about funding the rebuilding of their own
homes, they do not do all they can to fund the rebuilding of the
temple. God, through Haggai, chastises the people for not funding the
process and afflicts the land with a drought as punishment. The
rebuilding of the temple takes seven years, and then 50 years after
that, Nehemiah, the governor arrives in the land. Ezra proclaims the
law to the people, and for the Jews, this triumphant echo of Moses
forms the end of the historical books of the Hebrew Scriptures.
The closing theme is Gerard Satamian’s Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com