During the fifth century BCE, the Persian Empire ruled Jerusalem and the province of Yehud. In these years, the Jerusalem priesthood constructed a rhetoric about divorce in Ezra 9-10 and Nehemiah 10 and 13. Herbert Robinson Marbury shows that these priests deliberately presented vastly different messages to the Persian imperial authorities and the community of the Second Temple. At political, cultic, and economic levels, the rhetoric's meanings both affirmed the empire and participated in countercultural resistance. Marbury explains how the divorce rhetoric of Ezra-Nehemiah forms counter-narratives of resistance for literate elites as they maintain the religious and cultural integrity of the Second Temple community.
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