On the return of the Jews from Babylon, a great council was appointed according to rabbinic tradition, to reorganize the religious life of the people. It consisted of 120 members, and these were known as the men of the Great Synagogue, the successors of the prophets, themselves, in their turn, succeeded by scribes prominent, individually, as teachers. Ezra was recognized as president, Their aim was to restore again the crown, or glory, of Israel. To this end they collected all the sacred writings of the former ages and their own and so completed the canon of the Old Testament. They instituted the feast of Purim organized the ritual of the synagogue, and gave their sanction to the Shemoneh Esreh, the eighteen solemn benedictions in it. Much of this is evidently uncertain. The absence of any historical mention of such a body, not only in the Old Testament and the Apocrypha, but in Josephus, Philo, etc., has had some critics to reject the whole statement as a rabbinic invention. The narrative of (Nehemiah 8:13) clearly implies the existence of a body of men acting as councillors under the presidency of Ezra; and these may have been an assembly of delegates from all provincial synagogues-a synod of the national Church.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
For the best Bible Gateway experience, upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus. For less than the cost of a latte each month, you'll gain access to a vast digital Bible study library and reduced banner ads to minimize distractions from God's Word. Try it free for 30 days!