David J.A. Clines University of Sheffield
Published in The HarperCollins Study Bible: New Revised Standard Versio with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books (ed. Wayne A. Meeks et al.; London: HarperCollins), pp. 1723-45.
The Name of the Book and its Place in the Canon
'Esdras' is the Greek form of the Hebrew personal name 'Ezra'. 1 Esdras as the name of the book derives from the Greek Bible (the Septuagint), where it is called Esdras A (alpha), while the combined book of Ezra and Nehemiah is called Esdras B (beta).
In the Latin Bible (the Vulgate), the books bearing Ezra's name are: 1 Esdras (= Ezra), 2 Esdras (= Nehemiah), 3 Esdras (= Greek 1 Esdras), 4 Esdras (not in the Greek Bible).
English Bibles differ according to the religious community they serve. Catholics do not reckon the Vulgate's 3 and 4 Esdras as either canonical or deuterocanonical (they are printed as an appendix to the Bible), and so these books are not found in Catholic translations like the Jerusalem Bible. The Protestant tradition is represented by the Authorized (King James') Version of 1611, of which this New Revised Standard Version is the third official revision. The Authorized Version followed Luther's decision to remove from the traditional place in the Greek and Latin Bibles those books of the Old Testament that are not in Hebrew to a section called 'Apocrypha', printed as an appendix to the Old Testament. So in the NRSV, and several other English versions, 1 Esdras appears in the Apocrypha, where it heads the list of apocryphal books.
Scope of the Book of 1 Esdras
1 Esdras tells a selective narrative of important religious events in the history of Judah, from the passover of Josiah after the finding of the book of the law to the reading of the law by Ezra and its imposition as the norm for Jewish life. For the most part, 1 Esdras simply parallels the relevant portions of 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah; the only extensive unparalleled material is 1 Esdr 3-4 (the debate of the three bodyguards). The detailed correspondences of 1 Esdras and other biblical texts is set out below.
Connections between 1 Esdras and Other Biblical Books
1 Esdras other biblical texts
1.1-33 = 2 Chron 35
1.34-58 2 Chron 36
2.1-15 Ezra 1
2.16-30 Ezra 4.7-24a
5.7-46 Ezra 2 (= Neh 7.6-73a)
5.47-65 Ezra 3
5.66-73 Ezra 4.1-5
6.1-22 Ezra 4.24b-5.17
6.23-34 Ezra 6.1-12
7 Ezra 6.13-22
8.1-27 Ezra 7
8.28-67 Ezra 8
8.68-90 Ezra 9
8.91-96 Ezra 10.1-5
9.1-36 Ezra 10.6-44
9.37-55 Neh 7.73b-8.13
Since most of 1 Esdras is found elsewhere in the biblical text, these notes comment only on the differences between 1 Esdras and those other texts.
The exact relation of 1 Esdras to these other biblical texts is a matter of some dispute. 1 Esdras is extant only in Greek and in other versions translated from the Greek (Latin, Syriac, Ethiopic, Armenian and Arabic). There is no Hebrew version. Some have thought that it was originally written in Hebrew, its text being a variant from that of the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible. Others have suggested that it is a fragment of a Greek translation of those books that was older than the Septuagint translation in the second century B.C.E. But perhaps the most common view is that 1 Esdras was compiled on the basis of the Septuagint version of the books of 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah. Occasionally it seems to preserve a reading preferable to that of the Masoretic Hebrew text; that would suggest that its compiler used either a form of the Septuagint no longer attested or else a Hebrew original differing from the Masoretic text.
Whatever the origins of the text of the book as a whole, it may be necessary to treat the debate of the three bodyguards in chs. 3-4 separately, and see there, for example, a Hebrew or Aramaic original even if the rest of the book was originally composed in Greek.
Purpose of 1 Esdras
It is very difficult to discern the purpose for the compilation of 1 Esdras. It might be easier if we could be sure that we have the complete work. The ending has almost certainly been lost (the last sentence is incomplete), and the beginning is so abrupt as to raise suspicions that the book originally opened at a somewhat earlier point.
There is an undoubted concern with the temple, from Josiah's passover celebration in ch. 1 to the restoration of the temple treasures in ch. 2, to the rebuilding of the temple from 5.56 to 7.9, to the treasures brought for the temple by Ezra in ch. 8, and to the settlement of the mixed marriages question in the square before the temple and the reading of the law in the same place in ch. 9. But it would be hazardous to argue that the temple is the theme of the work; there is too much material that has no connection at all with the temple.
Likewise, there is an obvious concentration on the two leaders of the post-exilic community, Zerubbabel and Ezra, the work of Zerubbabel being more prominent than in the book of Ezra, and the figure of Ezra having entirely supplanted that of Nehemiah. But it would be unwise to regard the work as a whole as designed to rewrite the historical record about these characters, for the modifications to the books of Ezra and Nehemiah are relatively slight. It is more likely that 1 Esdras reflects the views of a group in post-exilic Judaism that regarded Ezra and Nehemiah and their work quite differently (in 2 Macc 1.18-2.13 and in Sir 49.13 Nehemiah is mentioned and Ezra is ignored).
The presence of the extensive narrative of the debate of the three bodyguards of Darius in chs.4-5 further complicates the question of the purpose or theme of the book. For while the victor in the debate is Zerubbabel, and the narrative no doubt enhances the portrait of that leader, no connection is drawn between the speeches in the debate and the events narrated in the rest of the book, and it seems that the narrative is told for its own sake, with only the weakest of links to the characters of the book.
It is hard for even a careful reader to resist gaining the impression that the book has no clear theme. The very reason for its existence is not apparent, and the selection of material from the other biblical books has been carried out on principles no longer evident to us.
Lacking any idea of the purpose of the book, we are at a loss to date it with any accuracy. Most scholars would assign it to the second century B.C.E., but there is no certainty about that. We know that 1 Esdras, rather than the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, were the source used by Josephus in composing his Jewish Antiquities towards the end of the first century C.E.
1.1-33 This account of the reign of Josiah is parallel to that in 2 Chron 35. An important concern of the book is introduced in the opening chapter: the Jerusalem temple and the worship carried out there. The passover celebrations obviously symbolized for the author the reformation of the temple worship undertaken by Josiah.
1.1 Josiah: king of Judah 640-609 B.C.E.
1.1 kept the passover: cf. 2 Chron 35.1-19; 2 Kgs 23.21-23.
1.1 to his Lord: The Hebrew in the parallel verse, 2 Chron 35.1, has 'to the LORD,' using the divine name Yahweh; in Greek, however, the divine personal name is represented by the title 'the Lord,' to which the possessive pronoun 'his' can be attached.
1.2 according to their divisions: the 'courses' or teams of priests that were rostered throughout the year for service in the temple. The author refers to 1 Chron 24.3-19.
1.2 arrayed in their vestments: as in Ezra 3.10, but not in the Heb. The author is attracted by the splendor of the temple officials (see also on 1.10).
1.3 the Levites, the temple servants: In 2 Chron 35.3 they were those who 'taught all Israel.' Perhaps the author has less regard for the Levites than does the Chronicler (though 1 Esdr 9.48-49 does depict them as teachers of the law). The 'temple servants' are elsewhere a separate and inferior class, the Nethinim (cf. Ezra 2.43-54).
1.4 worship the Lord your God and serve his people Israel: In the Hebrew of 1 Chron 34.3 there is only one verb, 'serve,' which can mean both 'worship' (a deity) and 'serve' (humans).
1.5 magnificence: Heb. has 'decree' (2 Chron 35.4), but 1 Esdras is stressing the importance of the temple.
1.7 calves or 'young bulls'; 2 Chron 35.7 has 'bulls.'
1.9 seven hundred calves: 2 Chron 35.9 'five hundred bulls.'
1.10 the priests and the Levites: It should be the Levites alone, who are preparing the passover for themselves and for the priests (1.13).
1.10 having the unleavened bread: perhaps a misreading of the Hebrew mitzvat 'command' (2 Chron 35.10) as matztzot, 'unleavened bread.' The festival of unleavened bread followed passover (cf. 1.19).
1.10 in proper order, lit. 'becomingly,' with more stress on the attractive appearance of the clergy than the Heb. has with its 'in their divisions' (2 Chron 35.10).
1.11 this they did in the morning: a misreading of Heb. baqar 'cattle' (2 Chron 35.12) as boqer 'morning' (some Heb. manuscripts have the same error).
1.12 At the beginning of this verse 2 Chron 35.11-12 have been omitted.
1.12 with a pleasing odor: a misreading of 'pans' (2 Chron 35.13).
1.23-24 1 Esdras makes this addition to 2 Chron 35 as an explanatory preface to the narrative of how, despite Josiah's piety, he met an untimely death (1.25-31). The death of Josiah was obviously a theological problem. There may be some allusion to 2 Kgs 23.24-27. It is strange that 1 Esdras omitted the phrase from 2 Chron 35.20 'After all this, when Josiah had set the temple in order,' since that would have suited its purposes well.
1.28 the words of the prophet Jeremiah: The Heb. has 'the words of Neco' (2 Chron 35.22). Perhaps the author disapproved of depicting the Egyptian king as a vehicle for God's words. No specific words of Jeremiah on the subject are known, but the author may have felt Josiah should have been warned by words like Jer 46.6.
1.32 the principal men, with the women:
probably a misreading of the Heb. hshrym whshrwt, 'the male singers and the female singers' (2 Chron 35.25) as hsrym whsrwt, 'the princes and princesses,' which the Greek further transformed by putting the women into a subordinate place.
1.33 in the book of the histories of the kings of Judea: not the biblical Kings or Chronicles. 1 Chron 35.25 says they are 'in the Laments,' but that is not the biblical book of Lamentations. Josephus's history includes such a lament, but we do not know where he got it from (Antiquities 10.5.1!!!).
1.33 his splendor, and his understanding of the law of the Lord: In 1 Chron 35.26 it had simply been 'his faithful deeds in accordance with what is written in the law of the Lord.' Josiah is more of a hero to the author of 1 Esdras.
1.34 Jeconiah: an error for Jehoahaz (which stands in 2 Kgs 23.30; 2 Chron 36.1).
1.35 1 Chron adds that Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old at his accession.
1.38 In having Jehoiakim put the nobles in prison (not in 1 Chron 36) and in having him, not the Egyptian Neco, deport his brother Zarius (Jehoahaz), 1 Esdras paints Jehoiakim as more of a villain than does 1 Chron 36. from Egypt should probably be 'to Egypt' (as some manuscripts also have).
1.43 eighteen years old, as in 2 Kgs 24.8 and one Septuagint reading in 2 Chron 36.9 (the Hebrew of 2 Chron 36.9 has 'eight years old').
1.45 A year later: The Greek perhaps means 'at the end of the accession year' (which in this case would have lasted for only three months), and so 'at the turn of the regnal year' or 'in the spring' (as in 1 Chron 36.10).
1.58 The quoted words are a combination of Jeremiah's prophecy of a 70-year devastation of the land (Jer 25.12) with the idea of that period as a sabbatical rest for the land (Lev 26.34-35).
2.1-5 These sentences are paralleled both in 2 Chron 36.22-23 and in Ezra 1.1-3.
2.13-15 For the differences from Ezra, see on Ezra 1.9-11.
2.16-30 The narrative now skips to Ezra 4.7, omitting to note that the building of the temple actually started (cf. Ezra 3.8-10), though v. 30 will say that it 'stopped' (the start of the work will be recounted much later, in 5.56-58). More importantly, the narrative becomes misleading by introducing here an episode from a much later period. Rather than the time of the temple building (537515 B.C.E.), we are now in the days of Artaxerxes I (465-424 B.C.E.), when the temple had long ago been finished and it was the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem (not the temple) that was being hindered. The author of 1 Esdras, however, confused the two building operations, inserting references to the temple in vv. 18 and 20 where they do not belong (cf. Ezra 4.12, 14).
2.16 The names listed are a combination of two sets of signatories to separate letters in Ezra 4.6, 7.
2.17 Coelesyria, literally 'hollow Syria,' the valleys and flatlands of inland Syria, reaching as far south as Judea, as distinct from Phoenicia, the eastern Mediterranean coast.
2.30 with cavalry and a large number of armed troops: A more dramatic touch than in Ezra 4.23, which speaks more abstractly of 'force and power.'
4.27 cruel, or 'ruthless, stubborn' (there is nothing corresponding in the Aramaic of Ezra 4.20).
3.1-4.63 The Debate of the Three Bodyguards. This is the one lengthy section of 1 Esdras that has no equivalent in 2 Chron or EzraNehemiah. Its function is to introduce the governor Zerubbabel, explaining how this Jew came to be favored by the Persian king Darius. Zerubbabel proves to be the winner of the debate over what is the strongest thing in the world (4.13, 41), and he is rewarded by being given permission to rebuild the temple (4.42-57, 62-63). It seems likely that the story was a popular one long before it had the name of Zerubbabel attached to it, since it is found in other forms in different cultures.
3.1-2 This account of a banquet given by Darius (521-486 B.C.E.) has probably been borrowed from Esth 1.1-2 where, however, the king is Ahasuerus.
3.1 Media and Persia: Media had been an important part of the Persian empire since Cyrus I had conquered it in 550 B.C.E.
3.2 satrap: governor of a satrapy, as the provinces of the Persian empire were called.
3.3 but woke up again: This contradicts v. 13; there may be a textual error.
3.4-11 The details lack plausibility. Why should the bodyguards suppose that the winner of a competition devised by themselves for their own amusement will be rewarded so handsomely by the king? And why should the answers be put under the king's pillow if 'they' (his servants, presumably, v. 9) are going to give them to him? Josephus, not surprisingly, rewrites the story to have the king himself making the promise of reward (as does Herod in Mark 6.22-23, for example).
3.12 Strangely, the third guard has two chances to win the competition! Also, how can women be strongest if truth is stronger still? It seems that but above all things truth is victor is an addition to an earlier form of the story.
3.18-24 The main point of this speech about wine is that it is 'strong,' but in it we can also detect a note of praise (cf. Ps 104.15; Sir 31.27-28) for wine as well as a note of warning (cf. Prov 20.1; 23.29-35).
4.1-12 This speech about the power of the king portrays an absolute monarch who determines the lives of his subjects. There is at least a hint of sycophancy about this speech, which is (in the narrative) being delivered in the presence of the king. But the author no doubt also intends to criticize the despotism he describes.
4.13-32 This speech, about women, is put in the mouth of the historical personage Zerubbabel, known as the governor of the province of Judah (cf. on Ezra 3.2). The attitude taken to women here is ambivalent, as also to wine and the king in the previous speeches. While women can further men's interests (4.16-17), they also can be harmful to men (4.18-19, 26-27). Interestingly, women's power here is only in relation to individual men; they have no political or social power of their own.
4.29 the daughter of the illustrious Bartacus: The point would be made better if no reference were made to the woman's parentage. No concubine of a Persian king by this name is known from other sources.
4.33-41 This speech in praise of truth contains no ambivalence about its subject. 'Truth' is here not freedom from error but more like 'virtue'; it is the opposite of 'unrighteousness' (4.37, 39-40). It is hard to see any real argument in this speech that truth is 'strong'; there is a claim that it endures and prevails (4.38), but no evidence is brought forward. The speech about truth has not been well integrated into the story of the three-cornered contest, which apparently existed earlier in a version without Zerubbabel.
4.41 This is the origin of the aphorism, 'Great is truth and it prevails' (often in the Vulgate version, magna est veritas et praevalet).
4.42-57 This account of the resumption of the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple differs somewhat from that of the other biblical books. Ezra 1.7-8 (cf. 6.5; 1 Esdr 3.10-12) says that it was Cyrus, not Darius, who restored the temple vessels. No other biblical text says that the Edomites burnt the temple. And Zerubbabel and Darius were not involved in the building of the city of Jerusalem; it was, rather, Nehemiah under Artaxerxes. The letters of safe conduct and permission to take cedars from Lebanon were given to Nehemiah, not Zerubbabel (Neh 2.7-8). And the various rights given here to Zerubbabel and his community (freedom, privacy, tax-free status, removal of Idumeans, specific sums for temple worship, support of priests, Levites and city guardkeepers), are not to be found in the decree of Cyrus in Ezra 6.6-12, though the provision of temple vessels, tax-free status for temple personnel and specific sums for maintaining temple worship is promised by Artaxerxes to Ezra (Ezra 7.12-26).
4.59-60 Zerubbabel's prayer of thanks combines many conventional Old Testament phrases.
4.61 went to Babylon, in the region of which were the Jewish settlements, from one of the Persian capitals, not mentioned by name.
4.63 build Jerusalem and the temple: As before (e.g. 4.47), the building of the city is here ascribed to Zerubbabel rather than Nehemiah, whose work does not appear in 1 Esdras at all (the Nehemiah in 5.8 may or may not be understood as the governor Nehemiah; see also on 5.40).
5.1-6 These verses correspond to nothing in Ezra, and are obviously designed as a link between the story of the three bodyguards in chs. 3-4 and the material from Ezra that resumes in 5.7. The Book of Ezra has no account of a return of exiles in the time of Darius.
5.1 chosen to go up: The idea of selecting the exiles who are to return to the land is not met with elsewhere. In Ezra 1.5 it is those 'whose spirit God had stirred,' and in Ezra 8.16-17 certain classes of exiles are prevailed upon to join Ezra's company.
5.1 their livestock: as in Ezra 1.4, 6.
5.2 a thousand cavalry: This also is unparalleled elsewhere, though cf. Neh 2.9.
5.2 with the music of drums and flutes:
The picture is of a religious procession or, perhaps, of a military march. The music, however, might be simply for the farewell.
5.4 These are the names of the men who went up: But what follows is not a list, so the text seems to be corrupt.
5.5 Joakim son of Zerubbabel: Something is amiss here, since Joakim is not one of the sons of Zerubbabel according to 1 Chron 3.19, and, more importantly, Zerubbabel is not a priest, but a member of the tribe of Judah. There must be some error in the text.
5.6 who spoke wise words before King Darius: The reference is to Zerubbabel and his speech in 4.13-40.
5.6 in the second year of his reign, in the month of Nisan, the first month: The author knows that the building of the temple was halted until 'the second year of the reign of King Darius' (2.30), so the contest is dated to the first month of that year to explain how Zerubbabel came to be appointed as director of the temple works.
5.7-46 This inventory of inhabitants of Judea at some unknown period in postexilic times is copied from Ezra 2.1-70 (= Neh 7.6-73) and assigned to the time of Zerubbabel, whose name is indeed the first in the list of leaders of returning exiles (5.8). The number of the Judeans differs somewhat in the various lists: there are, for example, 2150 more inhabitants of Judea in 1 Esdr 5 than in Ezra 2, and several names are missing from either list. The differences seem all to be due to scribal error.
5.40 Nehemiah and Attharias: Ezra 2.63 has simply 'the governor' (hattirshatha). This has been understood as a reference to Nehemiah (who is called by this term in Neh 8.9), and then the term has been misunderstood as a proper name, Attharias.
5.47-55 This account of the restoration of worship is largely identical with that in Ezra 3.1-7.
5.47 the seventh month is in this context (cf. 2.30; 5.6) in the second year of Darius I (520 B.C.E.). In Ezra 3.1, however, it is in the first year of Cyrus (538 B.C.E.). The transference of the return and the resumption of worship to the reign of Darius serves to emphasize further the work of Zerubbabel.
5.47 in the square before the first gate toward the east: that is, in the vicinity of the temple. The phrase is not paralleled in the account in Ezra 3.
5.50 some joined them from the other peoples of the land: This interesting addition to the narrative in Ezra may be due simply to a scribal error; for it hard to see why some of the other inhabitants would have joined in the worship if all the peoples of the land were hostile to them (cf. also 5.66-71).
5.51 sacrifices on sabbaths: an addition to the Ezra account, perhaps reflecting the increasing prominence of the sabbath.
5.55 carts: Ezra 3.7 'oil.'
5.55 convey them in rafts: a quite correct explanation of the mode of transport from the Lebanon.
5.62 all the people sounded trumpets: This comment, not in Ezra 3, is a little strange, since trumpets were usually blown by priests (e.g. Num 10.2-10).
5.64-65 Again, the references to trumpets are not paralleled in Ezra 3.
5.73 kept from building for two years: This note seems to result from a misunderstanding of the reference to 'the second year' of Darius in Ezra 4.24. The account in Ezra envisages cessation of work on the temple from about the second year of Cyrus (537 B.C.E.) to the second year of Darius (520 B.C.E.).
6.4 finishing all the other things: Perhaps the author of 1 Esdras has in mind that other buildings additional to the temple were in progress (as in 3.18 the building of the temple and of the city are conflated).
6.18 delivered to Zerubbabel and Sheshbazzar: The reference to Zerubbabel is an addition to Ezra 5.14; it is a curious feature of the Ezra account that Zerubbabel's name is missing, but the absence is probably significant in some way. Nevertheless, it is Sheshbazzar, not Zerubbabel, who lays the foundations of the temple (6.20).
6.27 Zerubbabel the servant of the Lord and governor of Judea: In Ezra 6.7 the reference is solely to 'the governor of the Jews'; the naming of Zerubbabel, and especially the title given to him, are evidence of the his importance in the eyes of the author of 1 Esdras.
7.2 supervised the holy work: The account in Ezra 6.13 speaks only of their doing what Darius had ordered-which was to provide resources for the temple work. Here these non-Jews are, starngely enough, actively involved in the rebuilding.
7.5 the twenty-third day of the month Adar: April 1, 515 B.C.E. This date is perhaps to be preferred to that of Ezra 6.15, 'the third day.'
7.9 and the gatekeepers were at each gate: An addition to Ezra 6.18
7.11 Not all of the returned captives were purified: This clause, lacking in Ezra 6.20, perhaps results from a scribal error, though there may be an allusion to 2 Chron 30.18, where some unpurified northerners nevertheless were able to celebrate Passover.
8.1-2 The genealogy of Ezra is more concise than in Ezra 7.1-5.
8.7 he omitted nothing from the law of the Lord: The language emphasizes Ezra's strictness in law observance even more than the wording of Ezra 7.10 does.
8.42 none of the descendants of the priests or of the Levites: Ezra 8.15 says only that there were no Levites.
8.50 young men: 1 Esdr apparently read n'rym 'young men,' instead of nhr 'river' as in Ezra 8.21.
8.66 seventy-two lambs: Ezra 8.35 has 'seventy-seven lambs'; 1 Esdr may preserve the correct number, which is a multiple of twelve, symbolizing the twelve tribes of Israel.
8.71 my holy mantle: Ezra 9.3 has simply 'my mantle,' but Ezra is of course a priest, so his garments are holy.
8.80 have given us food: Ezra 9.9 has a less literal phrase, 'to give us new life.'
9.4 seized for sacrifice: The parallel in Ezra 10.8 has 'forfeited', but the reference is to the ancient institution of the 'ban', according to which objects were removed from secular use and devoted to God by sacrifice.
9.14 undertook the matter: or perhaps 'approved of this'; Ezra 10.15 suggests rather that these men opposed the proposal of the people.
9.36 they put them away together with their children: This reading is more intelligible than the Hebrew text of the parallel in Ezra 10.44, and it perhaps preserves the original Hebrew reading.
9.37-55 The narrative jumps to Nehemiah 7.73b-8.12, where the story of Ezra continues in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. The work of Nehemiah is entirely omitted from the narrative of 1 Esdras. In historic actuality, the events of these verses, set at the beginning of the seventh month (1 Esdr 9.37), probably occurred between Ezra's arrival in Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of Artaxerxes (8.6) and the twentieth day of the ninth month when the assembly met to consider the question of the mixed marriages (9.5). See also on Ezra 7.73b8.12. The effect of narrating the law-reading at the very end of 1 Esdras is to make even more clear than in Ezra and Nehemiah that the reading and acceptance of the law was the goal of Ezra's mission.
9.49 Attharates is a transformation of the title Tirshatha, 'governor', into a personal name. The parallel in Neh 8.9 has 'Nehemiah, who was the Tirshatha'; but 1 Esdr is ignoring the work of Nehemiah almost entirely (though cf. on 5.40). It is a little strange that it is the governor here who tells Ezra and the Levites how the people should behave on the holy day. The reading of Neh 8.9 is more probable, where it is Ezra and the Levites (along with the governor Nehemiah, if indeed his name rightly belongs in the verse), who give the people directions.
9.55 they were inspired by the words: Neh 8.12 has, more prosaically, 'they has understood the words.'
9.55 And they came together: These words clearly imply that a continuation of the narrative has been lost. They seem to be from Neh 8.13, and we may assume that 1 Esdras originally included at least the narrative of the celebration of the festival of booths that is found in Neh 8.13-18.