Overview of: 1Ezra (KJV: 1Esdras) from the Apocrypha
This book has been given various names. In the Greek LXX this book is
titled IEsdras while our canonical books of Ezra and Nehemiah combined
are titled 2Esdras. In the Latin Vulgat our book of Ezra is 1Esdras;
Nehemish is 2Esdras and this book is titled "3Esdras" In the KJV it
is titled "1Esdras".
This book is synoptic (parallel) to Ezra-Nehemiah and reproduces the
material of 2Chron. 35:1-36:23; most of Ezra and Neh. 7:38-8:12 along
with one added story. The added story (3:1-5:6) recounts how three of
Darius' guards (one of whom is Zerubbabel) debate which is strongest:
wine; the king, women or truth. Zerubbabel argues that women are
stronger than a king, but that truth is stronger than either. His
argument is so good that Darius rewards him by allowing him to return
to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple.
This book is clearly of ancient Jewish origin. The first century
Jewish Historian Josephus tends to follow 1Ezra rather than the
canonical account in Ezra-Nehemiah in his history of the time period.
Also Josephus regards the additional story as fact and includes a
version of it (Ant. 11:3:2) in his Antiquities of the Jews.
The book of 1Ezra was originally written in Hebrew, but the Hebrew
seems to have been lost. All modern translations have been made from
the Greek version. The original Hebrew seems to have survived as
recently as 1611. The translators of the 1611 Edition KJV included
marginal notes to their text of "1Esdras" giving alternate renderings
of words from "the Hebrew" (in such passages as 3:13; 4:14; 7:5, 9;
8:23, 32, 50, 57, 66, 79, 96). At least two of these marginal notes
are to words found in the added section (3:1-5:6) and could not have
refered to parallel readings in Ezra/Nehemiah.
Altough we at the INJS are still looking for any extant copy of the
Hebrew for this book, none is currently known to exist. Moreover this
book was never included in the canon of the Peshitta, so no Aramaic
version has come down to us either. The HRV version of 1Ezra will
seek to reconstruct the original Hebrew text behind the Greek text of
1Ezra, by comparing the text with the known Hebrew text of the
parallel sections of 2Chon.; Ezra and Nehemiah. We will also
implement the information in the KJV marginal notes referring to the
reading of "the Hebrew".
The HRV translation of this book is available at http://www.lulu.com/nazarene
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