Deuterocanonical Question


Im doing a study in the book of Nehemiah and I want to get a better idea of how long it took to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. The first 13 years after Ezra's group came home was met with a lot of obstruction. After that, however, they built the wall in record time. Then the city construction details get a bit hazy.

So I wondered if some of my catholic Bible reading friends have a few more details that they can give me? Any extra info on how long construction took in the Deuterocanonical books? :idea:


Not really, that I can think of.

Tobit– A nice little love story. One of my favorite books of the Bible
Judith– I think it’s from the same period as Ezra–Nehemiah. But Judith is more about some of the wars after the exile, as they fought to keep their new independence.
1/2 Maccabees– The Maccabean revolt. 1 Maccabees is notable for mentioning the miracle of Hanukkah. Both are notable for containing references to prayer for the dead and the resurrection of the body.
Wisdom/Sirach– Two more books in the same vein as Proverbs.
Baruch– Umm… I haven’t actually read this one. I was going to over the summer, but then school happened. It’s from the part I didn’t manage to get to in 60 days. What I do know, though, is that it’s one of the Major Prophets. So I’d imagine it’s similar to Isaiah or Daniel.
“Additions” to Esther– Sorry, no extra details here about the reconstruction. We do, however, get more details about the story of Esther. Including, but not limited to, the text of several of the letters sent.
“Additions” to Daniel– Again, part I haven’t read. But I know it contains the Song of the Holy Children which is possibly my single favorite canticle in the Bible.


During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.[1] The oldest part of the city was settled in the 4th millennium BCE, making Jerusalem one of the oldest cities in the world.[2]

Given the city’s central position in both Israeli nationalism and Palestinian nationalism, the selectivity required to summarise more than 5,000 years of inhabited history is often[3][4] influenced by ideological bias or background (see Historiography and nationalism). For example, the Jewish periods of the city’s history are important to Israeli nationalists, whose discourse states that modern Jews descend from the Israelites and Maccabees,[5][6] while the Islamic periods of the city’s history are important to Palestinian nationalists, whose discourse suggests that modern Palestinians descend from all the different peoples who have lived in the region.[7][8] As a result, both sides claim the history of the city has been politicized by the other in order to strengthen their relative claims to the city,[3][4][9][10][11] and that this is borne out by the different focuses the different writers place on the various events and eras in the city’s history.

What is today known as the “Old City” was laid out by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century, when he began to rebuild Jerusalem as a pagan city. In 130, Hadrian visited the ruins of Jerusalem remaining after the First Roman-Jewish War of 66–73. He rebuilt the city, renaming it Aelia Capitolina in 135 CE. Hadrian placed the city’s main Roman Forum at the junction of the main Cardo and Decumanus, now the location of the (smaller) Muristan. Hadrian built a large temple to the goddess Venus, which later became the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.[28] He placed restrictions on some Jewish practices, which caused a revolt by the Judeans, led by Simon Bar Kokhba. Hadrian responded with overwhelming force, putting down the rebellion, killing as many as a half million Jews, and resettling the city as a Roman colonia. Jews were forbidden to enter the city but for a single day of the year, Tisha B’Av, (the Ninth of Av), the fast day on which Jews mourn the destruction of both Temples. For the next 150 years, the city remained a relatively unimportant pagan Roman town.


I too have an interest in the Deuterocanonical books. I find they offer valuable lessons in how God still interacts with His people, all His people. Hope this info helps:

The books of Ezra and Nehemiah were originally written as one book in the Hebrew Bible and in the Septuagint. They belong to the historical books of the Old Testament. They were written from the return from exile in 538 B.C. to about 410 B.C… The author is the same scholar who wrote 1 and 2 Chronicles (since the four books make up one complete unit of Jewish history) and whose identify is unknown although some scholars think Ezra was the author, but there is no evidence to support this.

The theme of the book is restoration of the Jewish religion based on the Law of Moses and worship of Yahweh in the Temple in Jerusalem. The two books recount history from 538 to 410 B.C. They are not a work of scientific history but a work of theology as the books focus on how God acts in history.

There were 3 waves of deportation of the Jews to Babylon in 606, 597 and 586 B.C.
There were 3 waves of return. The first in 538 led by Zerubbabel, second in 457 led by Ezra and the third in 444 led by Nehemiah.

Ezra was a priest, a direct descendant of Aaron the first high priest and Ezra was also a scribe. Nehemiah was the king of Persia’s cupbearer. I don’t have any info on Zerubbabel.

Nehemiah rebuilt the city wall while Ezra rebuilt the people’s spirit.
The rebuilding of the Temple was completed and dedicated in 515 B.C and the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem under Nehemiah took place from 445 to 433 B.C.

I have some other info from a prior bible study. I will look for it and see if it offers any other information.
Advent Blessings as we await the coming of our Savior, Jesus.


Do you have any info on the last date given here of about 410 BC? I had a look at your links but there is only mention of the earlier history of Esra and Nehemiah.

Also, if anyone has any clues as to the date Malachi wrote his prophecy I would be grateful. (probably whistling for the moon but its worth a try :whistle: )


NAB has it as “Shortly before Nehemiah’s arrival in Jerusalem (455 BC)”


[quote="Cyberseeker, post:5, topic:348399"]
Do you have any info on the last date given here of about 410 BC? I had a look at your links but there is only mention of the earlier history of Esra and Nehemiah.

Also, if anyone has any clues as to the date Malachi wrote his prophecy I would be grateful. (probably whistling for the moon but its worth a try :whistle: )


NAB Introduction to the Book of Ezra states that the Book of Ezra is divided as follows:
I. The Return from Exile (1, 1-6,22)
II. The Deeds of Ezra (7, 1-10, 44)


List of the kings of Persia, with dates of reigns will be useful for dating the events mentioned in Ezra-Nehemiah:

Cyrus........................................538-529 B.C.
Cambyses.................................529-521 B.C.
Darius I......................................521-485 B.C.
Xerxes.......................................485-464 B.C.
Artaxerxes I...............................464-423 B.C.
Darius II.....................................423-404 B.C.
Artaxerxes II...............................404-358 B.C.
Artaxerxes III..............................358-337 B.C.
End of the Persian Empire (Defeat of Darius III)....331 B.C.

Listen to this link:

Scroll down to Program #9 - The Exile.

Regarding Malachi, the source I'm using states the middle of the 5th century B.C. about 450 B.C. [Source: Inside The Bible by Kenneth Baker, S.J.


Thanks for all the replies. :)

Just to let you know what I working on ... In Daniel there is a curious description which has puzzled Bible students. He speaks of 49 years, plus 434, plus 7 years until Messiah. Why doesn’t he simply say 490 and be done with it?

Some say of the first ‘49’ that it meant it would take 49 years for the city to be rebuilt. It is known that rebuilding was delayed by ‘troubled times’, so much so that the Emperor had to despatch Nehemiah to Jerusalem to kick-start the stalled project 13 years after he made the decree. However, the rest of Nehemiah’s account suggests that the cities and towns were established quickly after that.

A better explanation of the ‘49 years’ IMO is that they end with the final prophet Malachi, whose ministry came slightly after Nehemiah, and after which the Old Testament prophets fell silent. He was the last; there were no more. So, I believe the first stage of Daniel’s words predicted the closing of the remaining prophets, closing, as best as we can judge, after the Sabbath of 409 BC.

Problem is there is precious little historical stuff for this period except to say it was in the time of Darius Nothus of Persia.

Ancient biblical history is a special interest of mine. :cool:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit