Monday, January 16, 2012

The Story of Sheshbazzar

The book of Ezra tells us how after 70 years of Babylonian captivity the Jewish people returned to Judah and rebuilt Jerusalem temple. Rebuilding of the temple was quite complex process. Due to various circumstances the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem permanently delayed. Starting at the first year of the Persian king Cyrus the rebuilding of the temple ended only in the sixth year of Darius the king.

In the first chapter of the book (so called Story of Sheshbazzar) the Persian king Cyrus the Great issued an order and allowed the Jews return to Judah and rebuild the temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem. Then Cyrus sent to Jewish ruler Sheshbazzar the temple vessels which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon brought from the temple of Solomon before its destruction. In the following chapters of the book is given a list of people who returned from captivity and described the beginning of the process of rebuilding the temple. But in following chapters nothing is said about Sheshbazzar. In the next chapters of this book the main characters are Zerubbabel the governor, Joshua the high priest and Ezra the scribe later. Nothing is said about what happened with temple vessels which the Persian king Cyrus gave Sheshbazzar through his treasurer Mithredath. Consequently, the book contains a puzzle. Whither did Sheshbazzar disappear? And where did he put the temple vessels that he brought from Babylon?