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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Zerubbabel

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ZERUBBABEL (meaning uncertain, perhaps ‘offspring of Babel’; the form Zorobabel is used in the Apocrypha). The son of Shealtiel, and related to the house of David. He was the leader of one of the bands that returned from the Captivity ( Ezra 2:2 , Nehemiah 7:7 ), and was at one time pechah or ‘governor’ of Judah ( Haggai 1:1 etc.). On the question of his Identity with Sheshbazzar , see Sheshbazzar. As the servant of the Lord, and as His specially chosen one, he is designated as one who is to be specially honoured in the ‘day of the Lord,’ for which reason he is called the ‘signet’ ( Haggai 2:23 ). Both Haggal and Zechariah point to Zerubbabel and the high priest Joshua as those who are to re-build the Temple ( Haggai 1:1-8; Haggai 2:9-18 , Zechariah 4:1-14 ); this was done, though after consideraable delay owing to enemies of the Jews; it was only after a special appeal had been made to Darius that the work was proceeded with unimpeded ( Ezra 6:1 ff.). From Zechariah’s fourth ‘night-vision’ ( Zechariah 3:1 ff., esp. Zechariah 3:8-10 ) we learn that Zerubbabel was looked upon as the coming Messiah; in this night-vision it is pointed out that Joshua and his fellows are a pledge and an earnest of the near approach of the Messiah the ‘Branch,’ as he is here called; the stone which is to adorn his crown is ready, and Jahweh Himself is about to engrave thereon a fitting inscription; when the Messiah comes, God will obliterate all guilt from the people, and peace shall rest upon the land (see Branch). Although Zerubbabel is not mentioned here by name, a comparison of the passages Zechariah 3:8-10; Zechariah 4:1-14; Zechariah 6:9-13 makes it reasonably certain that he is intended.

This period of Jewish history presents not a few very difficult problems; one of the burning questions has reference to the respective parts played in the rebuilding of the Temple, and the re-organization of the Jewish State generally, by the returned exiles, and by the ‘people of the land’ who had been left behind when the rest were carried off to Babylon; this question has an important bearing on the subsequent history of Judaism.

W. O. E. Oesterley.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Zerubbabel'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/z/zerubbabel.html. 1909.

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