Excerpt from The Biblical Museum, Vol. 5: A Collection of Notes Explanatory, Homiletic, and Illustrative, on the Holy Scriptures; Old Testament, Containing the Books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and Job
An examination of the work itself indicates a strong probability that docu ments were its main source. The decree of Cyrus (i. 2 the letter of Rehum (iv. 8 the reply of Artaxerxes (iv. 17 the letter of Tatnai (v. 7 the decree of Darius (vi. 3 are plainly documents. Copies of them would necessarily exist in the Persian archives in Ezra's time, and might probably exist also at Jerusalem. The lists contained in chaps. I. And ii. Con sisting as they do almost wholly of names and numbers, must also, it would seem, have been derived from documents, since they are far too exact to be the result of mere inquiry. This conclusion, which it would be natural to draw from Ezra alone, is confirmed by a comparison of Ezra ii. With Nehemiah vii. And Esdras v., which contain lists parallel to those in Ezra ii., but clearly not drawn from them - lists of which the most reasonable account is, that they were taken from the same document that the writer of Ezra used, a document which was illegible in parts, and in others difficult to decipher. If this be allowed, then the documentary portion of the first section of Ezra will amount to 112 verses out of 157, or to considerably more than two-thirds of the whole and Ezra's own direct contributions to the narrative will be reduced to 45 verses, or loss than three-fourths.
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