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The books of Ezra and Nehemiah represent a significant turning point in biblical history. They tell the story not only of the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem but also of the resurrection of God’s people from the death of exile. Hannah Harrington thus begins her commentary with an evocative description of these books as “the story of a new Israel forged out of the old” and “the text of a people clinging to their genealogical past and attempting to preserve their heritage while walking forward into uncharted territory.”
Throughout this commentary, Harrington combines analytical research on the language and culture behind the books of Ezra and Nehemiah with challenging thoughts for the Christian church today, bringing to bear a unique perspective on these books not as the end of Old Testament history but as early documents of the Second Temple period. Accordingly, Harrington incorporates a wealth of information from other Jewish literature of the time to freshly illuminate many of the topics and issues at hand while focusing on the interpretation and use of these books for Christian life today.
“Dr. Harrington skillfully engages the reader in understanding the text, setting, and possible dates of the events narrated in the Ezra and Nehemiah memoirs, as well as their relationship to Chronicles. In laying the foundation for her readers, Harrington constructs a clear path for navigating the narratives. Her astute exegesis and social science approach offer insights into social drama, group identity, and social boundaries reflected in Ezra-Nehemiah. This is a timely must-read for scholars, practitioners, or those seeking to explore community crisis and renewal issues and the far-reaching consequences of Ezra-Nehemiah on modern concepts of Jerusalem’s status, purity, marriage, and societal reconstruction.” — Mignon R. Jacobs, Virginia Union University
“Hannah Harrington makes a significant contribution to the study of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah while offering pastors, lay readers, and academics alike an accessible commentary. Informed by extensive study, Harrington’s volume interacts with a wide range of scholarship and takes seriously the importance of the ancient historical context of Ezra and Nehemiah for interpretation. Harrington deftly handles controversial critical questions and presents an erudite, faithful reading of these important biblical books with an eye to their theological message and implications for Christians today.” — Paul S. Evans, McMaster Divinity College