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Date Posted：16/04/2008 8:06 AM
The book of Jeremiah
Problems for the British Israel theory in the book of Jeremiah
In what follows I have attempted to give an overall snapshot of the book of Jeremiah and how, when viewed in the broader context, it speaks decisively against the British Israel theory. Two of the particular aspects I wish to highlight is that of the Davidic Throne and the location of the 'promised land', though other British Israel subjects are touched upon. Jeremiah is of course one of the central figures in the whole British Israel theory, so it is worth having a look at what he says on the matter.
4Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. 6Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. 7But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. 8Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. 9Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
As the Lord said, "He put the words in Jeremiah's mouth". Jeremiah was in no way required to do any "physical" planting of the Throne, nation, priestly line etc.
Israel & the Kings of Judah
18For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land.
Part of Jeremiah's warnings were also to the families of the HOUSE OF ISRAEL (Jer 2:4)
4Hear ye the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel:
many of whom were at that time still in the northern regions (Jer 3:12)
12Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever.
Israel were dispersed in the Northern regions and not on their way to Britain as BI claims. Remember, these are the instructions given to Jeremiah. For further information about the 10 'lost' tribes if Israel still being in the local region, see the article on the book of Ezekiel)
13Then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings that sit upon David's throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness. 14And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.
This also applied to the female "Queen" line as God said that their rule would collapse (Jer 13:18 & 25).
18Say unto the king and to the queen, Humble yourselves, sit down: for your principalities shall come down, even the crown of your glory............................ 25This is thy lot, the portion of thy measures from me, saith the LORD; because thou hast forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood
Much of this was brought about not just because the immediate kings evils, but also because of the evils of the previous King Manasseh (the longest reigning king of all Jer 15:3-4).
3And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith the LORD: the sword to slay, and the dogs to tear, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy. 4And I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem.
For a fuller examination of the evil Kings of Israel, see the following link
Because of their evil, they were to cross over to a land that they did not know, "with their enemies" (Jer 15:14).
14And I will make thee to pass with thine enemies into a land which thou knowest not: for a fire is kindled in mine anger, which shall burn upon you.
Some very loose BI articles try to and claim that this land being referred to was Britain / Ireland, but the fact that it was to be "with their enemies", highlights this could not be the case. Of course soon after we read how Jeremiah went to both Babylon & Egypt "with his enemies". This was also a punishment / promise bestowed on the other rebellious people of Judah (Jer 16:13).
13Therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not, neither ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night; where I will not shew you favour.
Hardly the image of a promised land to start anew.
At the same time however, the Lord also hints at a restoration back to the land for them. This was to be back in the Canaan region, not Britain (Jer 16:14-15).
14Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; 15But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.
But again the Lord re-enforces he will destroy the Kings of Judah. In this respect, it is not just one of the Kings of Judah and not just one house, but he says he will destroy the "HOUSES of the KINGS of JUDAH" (all of chapter 19 should be read to get the feel) Jer 19:3,7,13
3And say, Hear ye the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle.
7And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hands of them that seek their lives: and their carcases will I give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.
13And the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah, shall be defiled as the place of Tophet, because of all the houses upon whose roofs they have burned incense unto all the host of heaven, and have poured out drink offerings unto other gods.
Moving on to chapters 21 & 22, God again reinforces his fury against all the Houses of the Kings of Judah. In these two chapters (which also should be read in full) God pronounces judgement on all the houses, Zedekiah, Jehoiakim, Coniah, Shallum. He seems to leave us in no doubt about his intent. Not only does he bring judgement on the kings, but also on the "House of David" as relating to these Kings (Jer 21:11)
11About the family of the king of Judah. Give ear to the word of the Lord; 12O family of David, this is what the Lord has said: Do what is right in the morning, and make free from the hands of the cruel one him whose goods have been violently taken away, or my wrath will go out like fire, burning so that no one may put it out, because of the evil of your doings.
Of course the Scriptures tell us that the family did not do 'right'.
When talking about Zedekiah sitting on the throne of David as this portion of text is, his house was "TO BECOME A DESOLATION" (Jer 22:5-6), through disobedience.
5But if you will not hear these words, I swear by myself, saith the Lord, that this house will become a desolation. 6For thus saith the Lord unto the king's house of Judah: thou art Gilead unto me, and the head of Lebanon: yet surely I will make thee a wilderness, and cities which are not inhabited.
The judgement is brought upon the house, not just the individual. The Lord then goes on and deals with all the other kings in a similar manner, one by one (22:11; 22:18;22:24) in a very definite and precise order to show the end of all these houses. God had pronounced a final judgments on these kings of the house of David and indeed on the house of David in some measure.
11For thus said the LORD touching Shallum the son of Josiah king of Judah, which reigned instead of Josiah his father, which went forth out of this place; He shall not return thither any more: 12But he shall die in the place where they have led him captive, and shall see this land no more.
18Therefore thus said the LORD concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah; They shall not lament for him, saying, Ah my brother! or, Ah sister! they shall not lament for him, saying, Ah lord! or, Ah his glory! 19He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem.
24As I live, said the LORD, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet on my right hand, yet would I pluck you there; 25And I will give you into the hand of them that seek your life, and into the hand of them whose face you fear, even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans.
Was all lost.......of course not, God is faithful.
Jeremiah 23 then begins with another warning to the shepherds, but also further develops the theme of a return to their home land for them (Jer 23:3).
3And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.
When all the Kings had been cut off and the destruction of the house of David was upon us and all hope seemed lost, we now see the promise, the Branch of Righteousness to come out of David, a King, the LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Jer 23:5
5Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will raise to David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
The Lord gives the prelude of how he was going to fulfil the promise to David even though he had just pronounced judgement and destruction upon ALL the Kings of Judah of the House of David. In chapter 24, the good and bad figs are then brought into focus with an open promise that the good figs, those who were originally carried away with Jeconiah, were to be brought back and planted in the land of their nativity and that God would "BUILD THEM UP AND PLANT THEM" (Jer 24:4-7).
4Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 5Thus said the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good. 6For I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up. 7And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return to me with their whole heart.
This is of course a direct fulfillment of Jeremiah's "commission", all fulfilled within the pages of scripture itself (Jer 1:10). No need for Britain or Ireland or QEII.
8And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil; surely thus said the LORD, So will I give Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in this land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt: 9And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places where I shall drive them. 10And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave to them and to their fathers.
Zedekiah and his house did not fare well at all in God's pronouncements and they did not continue the Throne. How one could possible consider these 'bad cursed and vile' figs to carry the throne is a strange concept indeed. See also Jer 29:15-20 along with the previous references chap 21,22. For a fuller examination of the Good Figs and Bad Figs and one Revival interpretation of such, see the linked article.
4Thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon; 5Build you houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; 6Take you wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that you may be increased there, and not diminished. 7And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray to the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall you have peace. 8For thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the middle of you, deceive you, neither listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. 9For they prophesy falsely to you in my name: I have not sent them, said the LORD. 10For thus said the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. 11For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, said the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12Then shall you call on me, and you shall go and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart. 14And I will be found of you, said the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places where I have driven you, said the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place from where I caused you to be carried away captive.
This return was to occur after the 70 years, which it did (see article on the return of Israel of the captivity). As a side, one also needs to be mindful of the often expressive language used in the book of Jeremiah when reading it. But this is easier to pick up on when the whole book is read in one sitting. Note the reference to the gathering back from 'among the nations'.
3For, see, the days come, said the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, said the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. 4And these are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah.
All this is given in the context of the very practical and literal idea of the return as put forth in chapter 29. Further on in verse 9 we read that DAVID THEIR KING was to be raised up in this land following the return (which of course Christ was).
9But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up to them.
Again this was spoken to both Judah and Israel (see back vs. 4).
Jeremiah chapter 31 then talks again about the general return and that "in that day" (following the return) that he would make a new covenant with the House of Israel, which of course was done through Christ with the culmination on the day of Pentecost at JERUSALEM in among people from all of Israel.
31Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:....... After those days, said the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
So what of Jeremiah's intentions and how did he perceive all this?
In chapter 32, Jeremiah was commanded by the Lord to purchase a field from his uncle in the region of Benjamin . The purpose of this was to signify that God would cause the captivity to return (Israel & Judah) back to THIS land, and that men would again "buy fields and sign deeds etc".
6And Jeremiah said, The word of the LORD came to me, saying, 7Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum your uncle shall come to you saying, Buy you my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is your to buy it. 8So Hanameel my uncle's son came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the LORD, and said to me, Buy my field, I pray you, that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is yours, and the redemption is yours; buy it for yourself. Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD. 9And I bought the field of Hanameel my uncle's son, that was in Anathoth, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver. 10And I subscribed the evidence, and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances. 11So I took the evidence of the purchase, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open: 12And I gave the evidence of the purchase to Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, in the sight of Hanameel my uncle's son, and in the presence of the witnesses that subscribed the book of the purchase, before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison. 13And I charged Baruch before them, saying, 14Thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days. 15For thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land. ................... 37Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, where I have driven them in my anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: 38And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: 39And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: 40And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. 41Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul. 42For thus said the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil on this people, so will I bring on them all the good that I have promised them. 43And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof you say, It is desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans. 44Men shall buy fields for money, and subscribe evidences, and seal them, and take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south: for I will cause their captivity to return, said the LORD.
So we see Jeremiah himself bought into the land of Benjamin as a sign of God's good faith. It would be odd to then think that Jeremiah would then scarp off to Ireland after performing this highly symbolic gesture. Jeremiah knew full well where the promises and the promised land was and that in a short time they would be returning. To deny this is to deny the open testimony of scripture. Jeremiah himself had prophesied himself that Israel would return in 70 years.
Remembering the very practical and symbolic gestures just performed in chapter 32, chapter 33 begins with "moreover". In vs. 7, again both Judah and Israel were to return (and buy and sell land one would presume)
7And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first.
vs. 10 says it was to be in the cities of Judah and streets of Jerusalem, where the voice of the bride and the bridegroom would be heard.
10Thus said the LORD; Again there shall be heard in this place, which you say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast,
Again, after the return of Israel and Judah Christ would come (vs. 15-16).
15In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up to David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. 16In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name with which she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.
After this mention of Christ coming, we have in the very next verses, the oft quoted BI text where David will never lack a man on the Throne. Though BI often pulls this text from other parts of Scripture, this Scripture in Jeremiah places it squarely within both the context and fulfillment of the promise. PLEASE NOTE THIS IS WRITTEN IN THE CONTEXT OF JESUS CHRIST, THE BRANCH OF DAVID THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (see previous vs. 15-16).
17For thus said the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; 18Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually. 19And the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, 20Thus said the LORD; If you can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; 21Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign on his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers. 22As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister to me.
These verses are and have been fulfilled in Christ and no other. Especially no 21st century Queen in England. Verse 14 of this chapter gave us the lead in to the theme where it says:-
14Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.
Christ was the way in which it WAS TO BE PERFORMED, the Throne was never to be eternally occupied by a natural descendant of David.
As far as the land of Israel goes, let us read on to see both God's and Jeremiah's attitude to any land outside Israel / Judah as a possible 're-planting' area.
Planting and blessing outside of Canaan?
While Jeremiah was yet free and not yet in prison we read how he tried to go to the land of Benjamin to his land that God had earlier commanded him to purchase. Jeremiah 37:11-12
11And it came to pass, that when the army of the Chaldeans was broken up from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh's army, 12Then Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, to separate himself there in the middle of the people.
Again, at Jeremiah's next opportunity of freedom he went back to dwell among his people, Jeremiah 40:6
6Then went Jeremiah to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam to Mizpah; and dwelled with him among the people that were left in the land.
After further troubles in the land of Judah, the people came to Jeremiah to seek counsel as to whether they should remain in Judah or go down to Egypt (this group of people, the 'Bad Figs' also included the famed Zedekiah's daughters). Jeremiah's response and further warnings were as specific as one could get, remain in Judah or face destruction if they disobeyed and went to Egypt. Jer 42:10
10If you will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done to you.
The building and planting was only to occur in Israel as indicated above. If they went to Egypt, destruction would follow (included in this curse is the Kings daughters)
13But if you say, We will not dwell in this land, neither obey the voice of the LORD your God, 14Saying, No; but we will go into the land of Egypt, where we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor have hunger of bread; and there will we dwell: 15And now therefore hear the word of the LORD, you remnant of Judah; Thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; If you wholly set your faces to enter into Egypt, and go to sojourn there; 16Then it shall come to pass, that the sword, which you feared, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine, whereof you were afraid, shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there you shall die. 17So shall it be with all the men that set their faces to go into Egypt to sojourn there; they shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: and none of them shall remain or escape from the evil that I will bring on them. 18For thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; As my anger and my fury has been poured forth on the inhabitants of Jerusalem; so shall my fury be poured forth on you, when you shall enter into Egypt: and you shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach; and you shall see this place no more.
But as usual the people would not obey. Jer 43:4-7
4So Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces, and all the people, obeyed not the voice of the LORD, to dwell in the land of Judah. 5But Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces, took all the remnant of Judah, that were returned from all nations, where they had been driven, to dwell in the land of Judah; 6Even men, and women, and children, and the king's daughters, and every person that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Jeremiah the prophet, and Baruch the son of Neriah. 7So they came into the land of Egypt: for they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: thus came they even to Tahpanhes.
So what was the result of this disobedience? Jer 44
1The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews which dwell in the land of Egypt, which dwell at Migdol, and at Tahpanhes, and at Noph, and in the country of Pathros, saying, .............. 7Therefore now thus said the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; Why commit you this great evil against your souls, to cut off from you man and woman, child and suckling, out of Judah, to leave you none to remain; 8In that you provoke me to wrath with the works of your hands, burning incense to other gods in the land of Egypt, where you be gone to dwell, that you might cut yourselves off, and that you might be a curse and a reproach among all the nations of the earth? ............11Therefore thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, and to cut off all Judah. 12And I will take the remnant of Judah, that have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, and they shall all be consumed, and fall in the land of Egypt; they shall even be consumed by the sword and by the famine: they shall die, from the least even to the greatest, by the sword and by the famine: and they shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach. 13For I will punish them that dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence:
So we can see above that even the greatest of them (Kings daughters??) would not be spared. Further more, God placed one possible escape route, and that was not to Ireland, but back to Judah
14So that none of the remnant of Judah, which are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall escape or remain, that they should return into the land of Judah, to the which they have a desire to return to dwell there: for none shall return but such as shall escape.............. 26Therefore hear you the word of the LORD, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; Behold, I have sworn by my great name, said the LORD, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, The Lord GOD lives. 27Behold, I will watch over them for evil, and not for good: and all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be an end of them. 28Yet a small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt into the land of Judah, and all the remnant of Judah, that are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall know whose words shall stand, mine, or their's. 29And this shall be a sign to you, said the LORD, that I will punish you in this place, that you may know that my words shall surely stand against you for evil: 30Thus said the LORD; Behold, I will give Pharaohhophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand of them that seek his life; as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, his enemy, and that sought his life.
There would simply seem that after all the warnings, and indeed by the witness of Jeremiah's own actions and love for his people and lands, that Jeremiah would have gone no where else except back to Judah if the opportunity presented itself. Indeed by his own prophecy, Jeremiah himself new their would have been an opportunity for escape back to Judah!!
31And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, that Evil Merodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison. 32And spoke kindly to him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon, 33And changed his prison garments: and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life. 34And for his diet, there was a continual diet given him of the king of Babylon, every day a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life.
As Zedekiah the 'bad fig' himself had simply been set up as a 'puppet King' when the rightful King was taken captive, the Bible indicates in any case he was not the last surviving King of Judah. Again, this would nullify the Zedekiah's daughters as heirs to the Throne as it seems there were other males still alive with the Kingly rights.
This is the story thus far. There is a lot more that could be said, especially from the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, but I think I have said enough.