Week 3 - The Persian Period
The Persian Empire—a realm that stretched from the Indus Valley to the fringes of the Aegean Sea profoundly and forever influenced the course of Jewish history. The empire was established by Cyrus the Great. His rise to power not only involved conquest and empire-building; it also brought sweeping cultural change and enlightened leadership that reshaped the ancient world. His policies and decrees set in motion events that would fulfill biblical prophecies and alter the destiny of the Jewish people, leading to their return from exile and the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.
During this time, the Old Testament books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi uncover the challenges and triumphs of the Jewish people as they navigated life under Persian rule. We'll see how their faith was tested and strengthened, how their identity was preserved amidst diversity, and how their experiences during this period laid the groundwork for future generations.