In actual fact the modern reconstruction has serious weaknesses, which appear only when we begin to look closely into it.
The only external argument for Torrey's theory is that Ezra is not mentioned by Ben-Sira ( 180 B. 11-13, when he speaks of Zerubbabel, Joshua, and Nehemiah, as the chief men of the post-exile period.
But this omission might be because Ben-Sira is speaking only of the rebuilding of the Temple and the city, or, as Lods suggests, it might be due to a certain lack of sympathy between a writer of Sadducean tendencies and one of Ezra's strict views.
Some more pieces of history occur at the end of the Book, and these are said to have taken place some time after the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes (Ne. The problem arises when we try to link together the lives of Ezra and Nehemiah. at the end of the Book of Ezra; and Nehemiah's name does not appear in it at all.
Since the two Books in our Bible were originally one in the Jewish Bible, it is clear that, if the record is read consecutively, Ezra is presented as coming to Jerusalem thirteen years before Nehemiah, and, according to Nehemiah viii, he was still there when Nehemiah was governor. Sanballat was an old man, whose work as governor of Samaria was to all intents and purposes in the hands of his two sons (Sachau, i. This means that the Artaxerxes in whose reign Nehemiah lived must have been Artaxerxes 1 (464-424 B. It is commonly supposed, in fact, that this chapter has been misplaced in our Hebrew Bible, and should belong to the period before the coming of Nehemiah.
Moreover one might add that, if a priestly Ezra had been invented to counterbalance the secular Nehemiah, he would have been given far greater prominence in the Book of Nehemiah itself.
Otherwise the whole point of his invention would be lost.This is confirmed by the Elephantine papyri, which refer to Johanan as high priest in 408 B. So once again we have a reference which is understandable if Ezra came to Jerusalem after the time of Nehemiah.[p.8] In view of these difficulties, two alternatives to the Bible order have been proposed.(2) The likelihood that far too much has been read into the passages that are thought to support the priority of Nehemiah over Ezra.(3) The probability, therefore, that the traditional order is correct after all, and that we must accordingly look for an explanation of the failure of Nehemiah's records to make more mention of Ezra.The third significant passage concerns the name of the high priests under whom Ezra and Nehemiah lived. In Ezra's records the high priest is not named, but in Ezra x.