The Restoration Chronicles
The “Restoration Chronicles” by Lynn Austin are a series of three books dealing with the Jews in exile. The story starts around the time of the leadership of Iddo and Zechariah and carries through to the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. I have never been a fan of fiction based on Bible narratives. So often the authors misuse the Scripture, and/or run roughshod over the culture of the time. Some are even poorly written.
I reluctantly (through the push of a friend) started reading this series, expecting more of the same. However, I couldn’t put these books down. They are well written, culturally authentic, and true to Scripture. As I read the first book, I went to the books of Ezra and Nehemiah and did a lot of checking, trying to pinpoint areas that Austin “goofed.” Never found them.
Book 1: “Return to me”
After years of exile in Babylon, faithful Jews Iddo and Zechariah are among the first to return to Jerusalem. After the arduous journey, they — and the women they love — struggle to rebuild their lives in obedience to the God who beckons them home.
Book 2: “Keepers of the Covenant”
The lives of the exiles left in Babylon are thrown into despair when a new decree calls for the annihilation of all Jews throughout the empire. In this moment, Ezra, a brilliant Jewish scholar, is called upon to deliver his people to Jerusalem, but the fight to keep God’s law is never easy.
Book 3: “On This Foundation”
When news that the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire, Nehemiah seeks God’s guidance. After fasting and prayer, he’s given leave to travel to Jerusalem and rebuild the city wall, not anticipating all the dangers that await him on his arrival.
Capturing the rebuilding of the wall of the city through the eyes of a number of characters, this third book is a strong exploration of faith in the midst of oppression and hope. Hope that, in spite of appearances, the gracious hand of God is upon those who believe.
In short, I would highly recommend these books as a means of learning more about Ezra and Nehemiah and what it was like to live as a Jew in that place and time.
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