The Jewish canon ends the Hebrew Scriptures after the return from the
Babylonian Exile. While the canon continues for Christians, there is
not much Scripture for the 500 years between the return from Babylon
and the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. There are many events that
occurred in this time, and placing them into a context is important.
The return from exile was did not result in all the Jews returning, nor
did they return to a land empty of their kinsmen. Many Jews remained in
Babylon, which would remain there for many years after, even compiling
the authoritative Babylonian Talmud there. Many lower-class people were
allowed to stay in Israel when they were taken into exile, and the
influx of that many people posed problems for them. After the conquest
of the northern tribes, foreigners came into that land and promoted a
form of worship that would become the Samaritans.
The temple had been destroyed, and the rebuilt temple was only a shadow
of its original glory. After its completion, Ezra gathered the Jews and
read them the Law, which chastened them and convinced them to return to
the worship of the true God.
The closing theme is Gerard Satamian’s Chansons Sans Paroles Op. 2 Pastorale, from the album Dry Fig Trees. www.magnatune.com