An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 8 - Prophetic Truth - Page 158 of 304
called those who had returned under the Royal command and protection those
that had 'escaped' or those who were 'left'.
When the wall was finished 'the houses were not yet builded' (Neh. 7:1
-4), and when the feast of the seventh month was kept (Neh. 8) 'the
foundation of the temple was not yet laid' (Ezra 3:1 -6).  When the people at
last dwelt in their 'ceiled houses', the house of the Lord still lay waste
(Hag. 1:1 -4).
Our next inquiry must be in connection with the various kings and the
dates that are given in Ezra -- Nehemiah, so that we may, as far as possible,
pursue the chronology of the Scriptures a little further.  We have arrived at
405 b.c.  (by taking 4004 as the date of Christ's birth), and have noted that
there is only a small discrepancy between the system we have followed and
that which we now feel obliged to adopt, namely, that of The Companion Bible.
It is quite immaterial, but it will simplify our study immensely, if we
acknowledge the difficulty of adjusting these dates to modern reckoning and
adopt the dates given in The Companion Bible for the Ezra -- Nehemiah period.
It will make no difference in the long run, as there is no data upon
which to build an unbroken chronology from Nebuchadnezzar to Christ, our
latest point must be Malachi, which leaves an unchartered gap of about 400
years, in which all apparent discrepancies are swallowed up.
'The twentieth year of Artaxerxes' (Neh. 1:1; 2:2).  Here are two
references to a particular year.  Can we arrive at any certainty as to this
period?  The first thing will be to inquire as to the king named Artaxerxes.
Strictly speaking, Artaxerxes is not a private name, but an appellative
like Pharaoh, that could belong to any number of kings.  Artaxerxes really
means 'Great King' (arta, 'great', and kshatza, 'king').  The testimony of
the Behistun Rock (see The Berean Expositor, Vols. 4 and 5, pages 78 -81)
enables us to see that this Artaxerxes was the great king Astyages (of
Herodotus), the Arsames (of Darius Hystaspes' Inscription), the husband of
Esther, the father of Cyrus, the Ahasuerus of Esther 1:1 and Darius the Mede
of Ezra 6:14 and Daniel 5:31.  The interested reader will find in Appendix 57
of The Companion Bible a very full analysis of the testimony of antiquity to
the person and relation of the Persian kings mentioned in Scripture.  The
subject, however, is too technical to discuss here.  We give the following
genealogy taken from the history of Herodotus, the Behistun Rock, and the
cylinder of Cyrus.
It will be perceived that 'the Queen' of Nehemiah 2:6 is none other
than Esther, who, being a Jewess, would further Nehemiah's request to visit
the city of his fathers.