Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Interesting Random Facts--Zerubbabel

One of the challenges of our poor 7th grade Bible teacher was to get us through all the Old Testament stories without us wasting too much time laughing at all the funny sounding names.
"Okay, okay, I know it's a funny name, but it's actually a very serious story," he would constantly be saying.

Zerubbabel was one of the favorites.   (As my 7th grade teacher pronounced it, it was "Zer-rub-bub-bel".  If that isn't a lot of fun to just play with on your tongue, I don't know what is.)

The other day, for no reason, I found myself thinking about this silly name, and so here I am with interesting random facts about Zerubbabel.

Zerubbabel was the Persian appointed governor of Judea during the return from exile.
Christine Hayes, in her lectures on the Old Testament, points out that the Old Testament prophets Zechariah and Haggai initially had high hopes for Zerubbabel.  They saw him as the Messiah.  (Some of the prophecies that were originally intended for Zerubbabel were later appropriated by the Christians to refer to Jesus).
But, Zerubbabel strangely disappears from the Old Testament narrative without any explanation.  Christine Hayes hypothesizes that the Persians must have gotten rid of him, because he was becoming dangerous.  So then the Old Testament Prophecies shifted over to the high priest Joshua.  See HERE:

These visions focus hope on Zerubabbel, the governor, and on the priest Joshua, the high priest Joshua. And the idea is that they'll rule in a kind of diarchy as monarch and priest. At the same time, however, it seems that the Persians got rid of Zerubabbel. He was ousted perhaps because messianic hope was starting to gather around Zerubabbel. So Zechariah's prophesies seem to be adjusted to refer solely to Joshua. Although they originally referred to Zerubabbel, and although chapter 6 in particular seems to refer originally to Zerubabbel, it is altered so that it now depicts Joshua as a shoot or a branch from Jesse's stock — Jesse's stock, meaning a Davidide. (David's father was Jesse; so to say a root from Jesse's stock is to say a Davidide.) It says that Joshua will rebuild the sanctuary; he will wear the royal insignia, although he is the priest. The elevation, however, of the high priest is a feature of the post-exilic period. It's a feature of Judah in the post-exilic period, the high priest coming to take [on] some of the trappings of royal office.
* Other notes:
Some Christian group out there has written a musical about Zerubbabel.  The Troubabble of Zerubbabel

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