Review of Schweitzer, Steven J. “Zerubbabel.”

Schweitzer, Steven J.  “Zerubbabel.” In The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism, edited by John J. Collins and Daniel C. Harlow, 1359-60.  Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010. [Israel/Second Temple/Zerubbabel]

This article points out that information concerning Zerubbabel in the Bible comes from the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Chronicles.  The author appears to be more interested in Zerubbabel’s origin than his leadership of returning exiles from Babylon or his work on the temple.  He points out that 1 Chronicles 3:19 identifies Zerubbabel as a Davidide, but the other books declare him to be the “son of Shealtiel.”  Though there may be some reasons found in Zech. 6:9-14 to support Chronicles, Schweitzer does not believe one can be dogmatic about it.  Other references suggest Zerubbabel was the primary leader of the community of returnees from Babylon and the construction of the temple, but our author does little with this.  He points out that there is an “unparalleled account” about Zerubbabel in 1 Esdras, and by this he means there are no other sources with a parallel story.  The only references to Zerubbabel in the New Testament are his appearance in the genealogies of Christ found in Matthew and Luke.  Schweitzer concludes that this unexpected appearance “is the only commonality occurring between David and Joseph, which serves only to complicate the relationship of these two lists, which are otherwise independent.” (p. 1360)

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