Why should Adventists publish an article that argues for the chronological structure of the Book of Ezra? Have SDA scholars not settled the issue that Ezra has been composed in a thematic manner, not in a chronological manner?
The current Fall Sabbath School Quarterly of 2019 cautions: “Keep in mind that not everything presented in these books is written in chronological order, and that some points are composed in a thematic manner.” It further states that it is “very important” to keep in mind that the kings in Ezra are not mentioned in chronological order. If we don’t use the thematic approach we will be confusing to our members. It mentioned Ezra 4:6-24 as an example. The quarterly assumes that this passage is inserted before chapter 5 which continues the story of the opposition to the building of the temple. However the letters of Artaxerxes in Ezra 4 occurred after the events recorded in Ezra 5 and 6 dealing with Darius I. This is further based on the assumption that the kings mentioned in chapter 4 are the following: Ahasueras is Xerxes I and Artaxerxes is the same as Artaxerxes I in chapter 6 and 7. In other words there is only one king Artaxerxes, not two as the chronological structure of Ezra argues. The question is, “Are these assumptions correct?”
As consequence of adopting this thematic view we have lost the biblical evidence for the rebuilding of the city by the Jews as a result of the decree by Cyrus. Now we have no answer to the questions where is the evidence that the rebuilding of Jerusalem started with Cyrus in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 44:28;13:45. Now we can only say, This prophecy was never fulfilled. It never took place under Cyrus. The rebuilding of the city with its foundation and its walls began with Artaxerxes in Ezra 7.
In my research on the development of prophetic interpretation I found that since the first century AD commentators have interpreted Ezra in a chronological manner, not thematically. Since the Reformation nearly all commentators read Ezra in that manner. It was only since the latter part of the 19th century that the view arose among non-SDAs that there was only one Artaxerxes.
The early Adventists and Ellen G. White understood that Ezra was written in a chronological order. This approach showed that there were two kings with the name Artaxerxes. The first Artaxerxes was in Ezra 4 who was the false Smerdis who wrote a letter to stop the rebuilding of Jerusalem that was going on that had began under Cyrus’ decree (Isaiah 44:28;:13:45 ). The second Artaxerxes of Ezra 7 ordered the rebuilding of the city that had stopped under the Artaxerxes in Ezra 4. This view provides biblical evidence that the Jews had started the building of Jerusalem (Ezra 4:12) as result of the prophecy that it was Cyrus who was to begin rebuilding the city. The later decree of the Artaxerxes in Ezra 7 was to complete and finish the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
It was only since the 1950s that our SDA Bible Commentary adopted this new view promoted by non-SDAs (see SDA BC 4:347-351). After that time most SDA OT scholars have adopted that view. However, my research on the time line of prophecy has led me to a different conclusion that interprets the biblical data in a way that is fully in harmony with the classical interpretation of a chronological sequence of Ezra that was also endorsed by the Spirit of Prophecy.
In the light of the present promotion of the thematic view of the structure of Ezra I would like to invite the readership of ADvindicate to carefully read the attached paper that analyses the letters written by Artaxerxes that show clearly that the Bible narrative of Ezra supports the view that there were two kings with the same name Artaxerxes who wrote different letters regarding the rebuilding of Jerusalem. And the prophecy about Cyrus was fulfilled with the evidence in Ezra 4 showing that the Jews were rebuilding the city with its walls and foundation (Ezra 4:12),which process was stopped by the false Smerdis named Artaxerxes.
Current scholarship on Ezra interprets chapter 4 in a non-chronological manner. Little attention has been given to the nature of the letters of Artaxerxes in Ezra 4 and 7 and their value for the structure of Ezra 4.
This article attempts to investigate these letters in the light of their specific content, structure, composition, their audience, and context. The findings of this linguistic and contextual analysis of Artaxerxes’ letters seem to point out that the author of the letters of Ezra 4 and that of Ezra 7 is not the same person. Based on the internal evidence of the book of Ezra, this article suggests the need to adjust the thematic interpretation of Ezra 4 to one of a chronological explanation.
The research brings out significant arguments for a harmonious chronology of Ezra 4 that are necessary for a proper understanding of the historical interaction between the Persians rulers, the Samaritans, and the Jews between the time of Cyrus and Ezra and Nehemiah.
Issues in the Identification of the Artaxerxes of Ezra 4
Existent extra-biblical documents show that there were three Persian kings with the name Artaxerxes. The first was Artaxerxes Longimanus, who reigned during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah from 465 to 424 BC, the second was Artaxerxes Mnemon (404-359 BC), and the third was Artaxerxes Ochus (358-338 BC). This has led scholars to conclude that the Artaxerxes of Ezra 4:7 must be the Artaxerxes of Ezra 6:14 and Ezra 7:1.
As little attention has been given to analyzing the two letters written under the name Artaxerxes, we will proceed with this and see what impact it will have on our understanding of Ezra. The first letter is found in Ezra 4, the other in Ezra 7. According to the current non-chronological but thematical interpretation of Ezra 4, Artaxerxes I wrote both of these letters, with the letter in Ezra 7 written first, giving Ezra permission to restore Jerusalem and his nation, followed by the one in Ezra 4 calling for a cessation of the rebuilding of the city, written several years later. At this point one may like to raise the question, “How solid is the evidence that the Artaxerxes of Ezra 4:7 is the same person as the Artaxerxes of Ezra 7, as contemporary scholarship maintains?”
Let us now begin our analysis of the two letters in the Book of Ezra.
Internal evidence in Ezra
To establish if the Book of Ezra has one Artaxerxes or two, we will first consider the immediate context of the Artaxerxes of 4:7. Then we will consider the larger context of the two letters in chapter 4 and 7.
Immediate context of Artaxerxes’ letter in Ezra 4
According to the classical, older viewpoint, Ezra 4 discusses the continual opposition against the Jewish rebuilding efforts in a chronological order from Cyrus (536/535 BC) until the second year of Darius I (520 BC). During this time the Samaritans finally succeed in bringing the building process to a halt.
Chapter 4 mentions that the Samaritans wrote two letters to the Persian kings against the Jews. The first letter accused the Jews to Ahasuerus. The second letter was written to Artaxerxes, warning him that if the Jews succeeded in rebuilding the city they would rebel, and the king would lose his dominion over the region beyond the Euphrates River.
Artaxerxes responded with a letter issuing a command to the Jews prohibiting any further rebuilding of Jerusalem (522 BC). As a result of this letter the building of the Temple was discontinued till the second year of Darius I (520 BC) (Ezra 4:24).
At first glance, a straightforward natural reading of these events suggests that the letters in chapter 4 could have been written in a chronological sequence. If this understanding is correct, Artaxerxes’ letter (4:17-22) would have to be written decades earlier than the Artaxerxes letter in chapter 7. This would indicate that different persons would have written these letters.
Comparisons of the Artaxerxes’ letters in Ezra 4 and 7
An analysis of the letters by Artaxerxes in Ezra 4 and 7 provides further insight as to whether or not these letters had the same authorship. Careful comparison of the two Artaxerxes’ letters reveals significant differences in the way the writer addressed the recipients, his familiarity with the Jews’ recent history, the manner in which he communicated the letters, the motives underlying his actions, and the subject matters of the letters. Several of these aspects have not been addressed by contemporary scholarship.
Differences in addressing the letters
First, one notices differences in the way each of these letters were addressed. In Ezra 4:17, Artaxerxes began his letter simply with the words “To Rehum the commander ….” By contrast, in the letter of Ezra 7, Artaxerxes started by announcing himself as supreme ruler, “Artaxerxes, king of kings” (Ezra 7:12).
This difference shows the disparity in authority and governmental support of the authors of these letters. The manner in which the Artaxerxes of Ezra 7 addresses the recipients reveals kingly authority and dignity. The document has the authority of the king as well as that of his seven counselors, and is addressed to Ezra and all the treasurers of the region beyond the Euphrates. By contrast, the document sent by the Artaxerxes of Ezra 4 seems nothing more than a personal letter that lacks any kingly authority. It is only directed to local authorities and not to the Persian governmental authorities in charge of the Persian province beyond the River.
Differences in familiarity with Jewish history
Second, there are substantial differences in Artaxerxes’ familiarity with the God of the Jews and the Jewish experience. In Ezra 4 Artaxerxes did not seem to be well acquainted with the Jews. Following the charges of the Jewish adversaries, he launched an investigation into the history of the Jews to see how wicked they were. After he found out the rebellious history of the Jews, he issued orders stopping the building of the city, out of fear that it would have a damaging impact on the kings of Persia (Ezra 4:22).
In Ezra 7, however, Artaxerxes appears to be well acquainted with the Jews and their history. The contents of the letter seem to point to a more intimate relationship between the king and Ezra, and when the king signed the document he knew what he was signing.
In this decree the king showed great respect for the God of Israel, whom he addressed as “the God of heaven” (Ezra 7:23). The king recognized that refusing to honor this God would bring “wrath against the realm of the king and his sons” (Ezra 7:23).
The king acknowledged Ezra as “the priest, a scribe of the Law of the God of heaven” (Ezra 7:12). The king’s decree allowed any Jew to return with Ezra to Jerusalem, provided lavish contributions for the temple services and its beautification, and granted a tax-exempt status to those who served in the temple (Ezra 7:16-20, 23, 24, 27).
Artaxerxes’ comment about Ezra’s “God-given wisdom” seemed to indicate the king was well acquainted with Ezra. From this relationship the king might have developed his great respect for Ezra’s God.
Artaxerxes’ great confidence in Ezra’s “God-given wisdom” was reflected in the king’s decree that commissioned Ezra to set up an administrative and judicial system that oversaw the whole area beyond the Euphrates River. The king went so far as to place this region under the jurisdiction of the law of Israel’s God and the law of the king of Persia, threatening transgressors of these laws with severe penalties (Ezra 7:25, 26). This action seemed to indicate that Ezra was a special representative of the Persian kingdom with extensive powers to set up a governing body to administer this extensive region. Again, this would indicate that different persons wrote the respective letters.
These differences have not yet been addressed by current scholarship.
Differences in communicating the letters
Third, there are also major differences in the manner the letters of Ezra 4 and 7 were communicated. In Ezra 4 Artaxerxes wrote a personal letter addressed directly to a local commander, a scribe, and representatives of the people settled in the region of Samaria, giving them orders to stop the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
By contrast, in Ezra 7 the Artaxerxes’ letter contained a decree that had the approval of the king and his counselors and was sent to Persian government officials—“the king’s satraps and the governors in the region beyond the River” (8:36). This meant that the Persian king and his counselors informed every official in the western Persian province beyond the River about the royal decree that gave Ezra full permission to appoint administrators and judges who were familiar with the laws of Moses and were able to teach them how to be in compliance with them (7:25).
According to the current “thematic” model by which most scholars view this book, the letter of Ezra 4 was actually supposed to have been composed after the one in Ezra 7. However, it seems out of the ordinary that in Ezra 4 the king would sent a personal letter to a group of foreign settlers that would abolish the earlier royal decree of Ezra 7:12, 13, that was sent to all government officials in the province beyond the River. The proper way to reverse a previous decree would be that Artaxerxes and his counselors again would inform the king’s satraps and governors about his change of mind regarding the Jews and their rebuilding operation.
Additionally, in light of the longstanding tradition that the laws of the Medes and Persians are unchangeable, this action would be contrary to the Empire’s policies. History shows several examples that the laws of the Medo-Persian Empire could not be changed (Dan 6:12-17; Esther 3:5-15; 8:4-12).
It seems that the writing of a personal letter to reverse Artaxerxes’ royal decree in favor of the Jews fits better the scenario of another Artaxerxes, who did not have full control over the whole Persian kingdom, issuing a command that went contrary to a royal law previously proclaimed. This may explain why Artaxerxes’ letter in Ezra 4:17 lacked the endorsement of other royal officials that accompanied the Artaxerxes’ letter in Ezra 7:14.
These differences still wait to be explained by the thematic interpretation of Ezra
Differences in motives underlying the king’s actions
The Artaxerxes’ letters reveal significant differences in the motives that led the writers to respond to the Jews in order that the Persian kingdom would prosper. The Artaxerxes of Ezra 4 took actions against the Jews out of fear that they would rebel and become autonomous, thereby causing damage “to the hurt of the kings” (4:22). The Artaxerxes of Ezra 7 took actions favorable to the Jews, subsidizing their temple and allowing them to have administrative and judicial autonomy over the whole of the region beyond the River, in order to avoid God’s “wrath against the realm of the king and his sons” (7:23).
The Artaxerxes of Ezra 4 curtailed the Jews in order to protect the Persian throne; the Artaxerxes of Ezra 7 granted the Jews great autonomy to protect the Persian throne. It is difficult to imagine that the same king wrote both letters only a few years apart with such conflicting motives, yet with the same purpose—to protect the Persian throne.
Instead of the same person issuing conflicting laws for the Jews based on conflicting motives, it seems much more plausible that these letters were written by two different persons, each one called Artaxerxes.
The argument that Artaxerxes I was temperamental and unstable throughout his life does not seem reasonable. The high reputation this king has among Persian historians challenges the way some scholars have portrayed Artaxerxes to prove his unreliability. There is no hard evidence in Persian history that would suggest such drastic changes in the king’s policies. Again, one should keep in mind the unchangeableness of Persian law at that time. The author plans to deal with this aspect of Artaxerxes in another paper.
Again, these differences have yet to be sufficiently addressed.
Differences in subject matters of a conflicting nature
The subject matters of Artaxerxes’ letters are of an opposite nature. In Ezra 4 Artaxerxes took actions restricting the rights of the Jews, bringing the rebuilding of Jerusalem to a halt (4:21, 22).
In Ezra 7 Artaxerxes extents the rights of Jews, allowing them to beautify the temple, give them great autonomy by extending their judicial powers over the inhabitants of the Persian province beyond the River, and to provide religious instruction to those unfamiliar with the Jewish religious laws. The king even gave them rights to administer the death penalty, banishment, or imprisonment to anyone refusing to obey the Law of the God of Israel and the laws of the king (7:25, 26).
Instead of the same person issuing these conflicting commands, it seems more plausible that these letters were written by two different persons, each one called Artaxerxes.
Scholars have addressed the issue of the conflicting decrees of Artaxerxes for centuries. The current dominant view that arose more than 100 years ago solved these conflicting matters by suggesting that the events in Ezra 4 should not be interpreted in a strict chronologic sequence. This view asserts that the chapter lists the narratives thematically, providing a summary in 4:6-23 of all opposition against the restoration of Jerusalem and temple beyond the reign of Darius through the reign of Artaxerxes I, mentioning events under Darius’s son Xerxes, also called Ahasuerus (4:6), and his son Artaxerxes 1 (4:7-23).
This hypothesis of a non-chronological thematical arrangement of the events in chapter 4 has been the accepted approach to explain the strange sequence of events as to why, in Ezra 7, Artaxerxes rules in favor of the Jews by restoring the city and nation, and a few years later changes his mind when he, in Ezra 4, rules against the Jews by commanding them to cease rebuilding Jerusalem.
One would expect the decree in favor of the Jews to precede the decree that terminated these favors, especially because many Old Testament historians assume that the rebuilding of the city did not take place until the reign of Artaxerxes I during the ministry of Ezra or Nehemiah.
Instead of accepting the thematical theory in interpreting Ezra 4, one should investigate the question as to whether it could be possible that both the rebuilding of the temple as well as the city were going on simultaneously during the governorship of Zerubbabel, which spans the time from Cyrus till Darius I. If there is evidence for the rebuilding process during this time, then the reference to the rebuilding of the city in Ezra 4:11-16 could have been located in the period between Cyrus and Darius I. It also would mean that the events in Ezra 4 could be placed in a chronological sequence, which would support the view that the Artaxerxes of Ezra 4 is not the same as the Artaxerxes of Ezra 7.
We will now consider some indicators that point in this direction.
Simultaneous rebuilding of temple and city
For the possibility that the building of the temple and the city had been going on simultaneously, we need to look at the role Cyrus played in the liberation of the Jews.
Assuming the Book of Isaiah was written by the prophet bearing this name in the 8th century BC, we see that more than a century before Cyrus’ birth this prophet had predicted that the Lord would raise up Cyrus to liberate the Jews (Isaiah 44:24, 28 and 45:1, 13). This is especially clear from Isaiah 45:13: “I [the Lord] have raised him [Cyrus] up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways; he [Cyrus] shall build My city and let My exiles go free, not for price nor reward.”
The Book of Ezra contained the record of Cyrus’ decree calling on the Jews to return to Jerusalem and to build the temple (Ezra 1:1-4). Many Jews responded, and under the leadership of Zerubbabel they returned to Palestine. First they began with the building of the altar (3:2). In the second year of their return they laid the foundation of the second temple (3:8-10).
Ezra 4 shows how the news of the rebuilding of the temple aroused the opposition of the Samaritans and their vigorous attempts to stop the rebuilding efforts (4:1-23). The letter of complaint by the opposition mentioned that the Jews were rebuilding the city, its foundations and walls (4:9-16). Although there is no biblical record of a decree by Cyrus referring to the rebuilding of Jerusalem, in the light of Isaiah’s prophecy that Cyrus was to rebuild Jerusalem, it is not at all inconceivable that the Jews had assumed that Cyrus’ decree implied permission to rebuild the city and its walls upon their return to Palestine.
This means that the efforts of the Jews to rebuild the city, as reported in the letter of the opposition in Ezra 4, could very well have taken place before the reign of Darius I, which would support a chronological sequence of this chapter.
This scenario would show that Ezra 4:24 is indeed a true summary of the results of the events of 4:7-23, described during the rebuilding of the city under Zerubbabel prior to Darius I. This could indicate that the two kings Ahasuerus and Artaxerxes (4:6, 7) could respectively be the two Persian kings, Ahasuerus and Artaxerxes, who ruled between Cyrus and Darius I.
An often-cited objection in the past against the chronological interpretation has been that the Samaritans identified the Jews who were rebuilding Jerusalem as, “the Jews who came up from you [Artaxerxes I] have come to us at Jerusalem” (4:12). This has been seen as definitive evidence that it referred to the Jews who had returned under Ezra to Palestine in 457 BC which means that the letter was sent to Artaxerxes I.
The phrase “from you to us” (Ezra 4:12), however, does not necessarily have to mean that the Jews came from Artaxerxes I. It could also be a general statement that referred to the Jews who had come from Persia during the first and largest Jewish migration under King Cyrus. We should keep in mind that the local population had been conspiring against the Jewish exiles already “all the days of Cyrus” (Ezra 4:5).
If the Samaritans wrote this letter of complaint to the second Persian king that ruled after Cyrus, this would have been in 522 BC. By that time the Jews would have been fully involved in rebuilding the Temple for over 10 years after their return from Babylon. It may be assumed that many lived in Jerusalem itself or its immediate vicinity. They needed shelter and would be inclined to begin building houses. It seems only natural that a number of them would have begun to build houses in Jerusalem. This would certainly qualify as being a part of rebuilding the city. It should not be surprising if they had started to rebuild the foundation and walls that were necessary to protect them against the efforts of their enemies to stop the rebuilding process. Extra-biblical records from Jewish history supports this scenario.
Extra biblical evidence
1st Decree for the return of Jews: Cyrus permits the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem
The first extra-biblical historical source that comments extensively on the Jewish experience during the Persian times is the commentary of the first century AD Jewish historian Flavius Josephus. This historian gives the reason why Cyrus decided to give the Jews permission to rebuild Jerusalem. Josephus mentioned that Cyrus got acquainted with God’s plan for his life “by his reading the book which Isaiah left behind him of his prophecies.”
The impact of Isaiah’s prophecies on Cyrus was profound. Josephus wrote that when Cyrus read these prophecies “and admired the Divine power, an earnest desire and ambition seized upon him to fulfill what was so written.” Next, he “called for the most eminent Jews that were in Babylon” and gave them permission “to go back to their own country, and to rebuild their city Jerusalem, and the temple of God.” Cyrus promised that
he would assist them in their efforts and “write to the rulers and governors that were in the neighborhood of their country of Judea, that they should contribute to them gold and silver for the building of the temple, and besides that, beasts for their sacrifices.” 
Cyrus’ letter to the Syrian governors about the rebuilding of Jerusalem and Temple
Josephus added that Cyrus also sent a letter to the Syrian governors “Sisinnes and Sathrabuzanes,” informing them that he had requested the Jews to return to their country to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. Cyrus wrote, “I have given leave to as many of the Jews that dwell in my country as please to return to their own country, and to rebuild their city, and to build the temple of God at Jerusalem on the same place where it was before.” In addition, Cyrus commanded that the taxes of the Samaritans were to pay for the temple sacrifices. Anyone who disobeyed the king’s instructions was to receive the death penalty.
After Cyrus’ death the Jewish opposition tried to stop the rebuilding of the city and the temple
Josephus mentioned that after Cyrus’ death the Jewish opposition wrote a letter of complaint to the king of Persia, stating that the Jews who had returned from Babylon “are building that rebellious and wicked city, and its market places, and setting up its walls, and raising up the temple.”
This letter is similar in content to the letter of the Jewish opposition in Ezra 4:11-16 written to the Artaxerxes of Ezra 4:7, 8. In Josephus’ writings, this letter provides historical evidence that already after Cyrus’ death, during Zerubbabel’s governorship, the building of the temple, as well as city, were going on simultaneously.
Between Cyrus and Darius the building of the city and temple was brought to a halt
Josephus remarked that the opposers of the Jews were successful in interrupting the rebuilding of the city and the temple, bringing it to a complete halt. In his reply to the Jewish enemies the Persian king wrote: “I give order, that the Jews shall not be permitted to build that city, lest such mischief as they used to bring upon kings be greatly augmented.”
Upon reception of the king’s letter the Jewish opposition went to Jerusalem and “forbade the Jews to build the city and the temple,” bringing the rebuilding efforts to a complete stop until “the second year of the reign of Darius.” The termination date of this interruption was confirmed in Ezra 4:23.
2nd Decree of the return of Jews under Zerubbabel: Darius’ decree includes the resumption of the rebuilding of city and temple and a return of other exiles
Josephus reported that at the beginning of Darius’ reign Zerubbabel returned to Persia, “for there had been an old friendship between him and the king.”
The historian commented that because of a personal request of Zerubbabel, King Darius gave permission to resume the rebuilding of Jerusalem. The king followed this up by sending “letters to those rulers that were in Syria and Phoenicia to cut down and carry cedar trees from Lebanon to Jerusalem, and to assist him [Zerubbabel] in building the city.” Josephus concluded his remarks, saying, “And all that Cyrus intended to do before him, relating to the restoration of Jerusalem, Darius also ordained should be done accordingly.”
Darius’ letters decreed that the Jewish “captives who should go to Judea should be free.” Next, the Jews chose rulers from among themselves to travel to Jerusalem with many other Jewish exiles.
Opposition requests Darius to stop the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple
Josephus reported renewed attempts by the opposition to stop the rebuilding, stating that the Samaritans had written to Darius, accusing the Jews of “how they fortified the city, and built the temple more like to a citadel than to a temple; and said, that their doings were not expedient for the king’s affairs.”
Darius rejects the opposition’s request and reaffirms the decree of Cyrus
In response to the complaint Darius ordered a search in the royal archives that brings to light a book containing the decree of Cyrus regarding the temple, a decree similar to that of Ezra 6:5-12. Darius affirmed the validity of Cyrus’ decree and rejected the oppositions demand to stop the rebuilding process.
From the analysis of the Artaxerxes’ letters is seems there is good evidence that these were written by two different persons. If this is correct, it has implications for the chronology of Ezra 4. Instead of a thematic interpretation of the correspondence in this chapter, it should be interpreted in a chronological way.
The chronological interpretation is supported by the historian Josephus, who indicated that the rebuilding of both the temple and the city were decreed by Cyrus. This implies that the rebuilding of the city continued from Cyrus onward with a major interruption that came as a result complaints of the Jewish opposition and a decree by the Artaxerxes—also called the false Smerdis—of Ezra 4:7, 8, to halt the rebuilding efforts. The historical chronological structure of Ezra 4 to 7 was also followed by the Seventh-day Adventist pioneer and prophetess, Ellen G. White.
 Antiquities, book 11, chapter 1, section 2.
 Antiquities, book 11, chapter 1, section 3.
 Antiquities, book 11, chapter 2, section 2.
 Although, according to Josephus, the letter was addressed to Cambyses, the similarities with the letter of opposition to Artaxerxes (Ezra 4:11-16) would suggest that this letter was the letter written to the Artaxerxes of Ezra 4:8.
 Antiquities, book 11, chapter 2, section 1.
 Antiquities, book 11, chapter 2, section 2.
 Antiquities, book 11, chapter 2, section 2.
 Antiquities, book 11, chapter 3, section 1.
 Antiquities, book 11, chapter 3, section 7.
 Antiquities, book 11, chapter 3, section 8.
 Antiquities, book 11, chapter 3, sections 8 to 10.
 Antiquities, book 11, chapter 4, section 6.
 Antiquities, book 11, chapter 4, section 6 and 7.
 Ellen G. White, “The Return pf the Exiles—No. 5,” Review and Herald, Dec 5, 1907; Prophets and Kings, Chap. 45, 46.
 Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, in Josephus Complete Works. Translated by William Whiston (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1960), book 11, chapter 1, section 2.re
Dr. P. Gerard Damsteegt is a retired professor of church history at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University.