BiblePlaces Newsletter

Vol 22, #2 - November 20, 2023

I wanted to send a quick follow-up to our recent newsletter, along with some new free photos from the book of Ezra.

We have cut the price down for this release. For comparison, these Ezra and Nehemiah volumes have more photos than our Acts volume, but at only half the price during this sale.

Today you can get the best price on the two books together: Ezra ($39), Nehemiah ($49), or Ezra and Nehemiah together for $59 as DVD+download or as download-only.

Ordering is fast and easy, shipping is free, download is immediate, and your purchase comes with a satisfaction guarantee.

Buy one as a gift, tell a friend, or share your thoughts on social media. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Todd Bolen
Photographer, BiblePlaces.com
Professor of Biblical Studies, The Master’s University  


Ezra is full of ups and downs, with a providential decree allowing the Jewish people to return, followed by a lengthy cessation of work before the temple is finally rebuilt. Later, Ezra led another return bearing great gifts, but he discovered a community in desperate need of moral reform. Our collection has more than 1,800 slides illustrating every chapter and verse. Highlights include:

  • Ancient depictions of Persian kings and artifacts associated with their reigns

  • Photos of Babylon, Pasargadae, Persepolis, and other key locations connected with the exile

  • Modern photos, historic images, and reconstructions illustrating Jerusalem’s temple complex in its various phases

  • Illustrations of Jewish sacrifices and feasts

  • Examples of ancient building techniques, including masonry and carpentry

  • Persian reliefs showing royal processions, offering-bearers, construction workers, and exiles

  • Images of artifacts from the Persian royal treasury

  • Examples of ancient tablets, letters, scrolls, and writing utensils

  • Artifacts attesting to the use of names mentioned in the book

  • Illustrations for offerings and construction materials, including vessels, silver and gold objects, and cedars of Lebanon

  • Free download: Ezra 3 (175 slides)


Nehemiah the cupbearer left his position in the Persian palace to rebuild the crumbling walls of Jerusalem. Along the way, he faced mockery, slander, and even an assassination attempt. When Jerusalem was restored, the people celebrated by reading God’s Word, celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles, and parading atop the new walls. Our collection has more than 2,700 slides to illustrate every facet of Nehemiah’s book, including:

  • Photos of Susa and other key locations connected with Nehemiah’s life

  • Photos and reconstructions of Jerusalem’s ancient ruins, including the temple complex and fortifications

  • Ancient depictions of royal cupbearers

  • Illustrations and historical photos showing the location of Jerusalem’s landmarks mentioned in the narrative

  • Ancient depictions of construction tools and weapons of war

  • Modern photos of Jewish assemblies in Jerusalem

  • Artifacts attesting to the use of names mentioned in the book

  • Free download: Nehemiah 2 (210 slides)

Our best prices are today: Ezra ($39); Nehemiah ($49); Ezra & Nehemiah ($59 for DVD+download or download-only)

What Others Say...

Hundreds of attention-grabbing images—beautifully presented and combined with scholarly accurate and insightful commentary—make this a dream come true for teachers and researchers. The variety of relevant venues and artifacts represented in this verse-by-verse visual guide is truly amazing. Even the lists of names become fascinating!”

–Doug Nykolaishen, Professor of Biblical Studies, Ouachita Baptist University; author of “Ezra-Nehemiah” in Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, Teach the Text Commentary Series

“Finally, a photographic commentary on the Bible organized by chapter! I heartily recommend this outstanding collection of Bible-related photos, which includes a broad spectrum from ancient artifacts and archaeological excavations to modern geographical and instructional materials. This easy-to-use visual resource will make your presentations and publications come alive.

–Hannah Harrington, author of The Books of Ezra and Nehemiah in the New International Commentary on the Old Testament

The Photo Companion to the Bible

Old Testament (12 volumes): Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Psalm 23, and Daniel

New Testament (19 volumes): Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, Jude, 1, 2, & 3 John, and Revelation

COMPLETE SET (31 volumes): Purchased individually: $1,700;
Set Discount: $599; with coupon ALL31: $499

More Featured Photos from Ezra

The books of Ezra and Nehemiah greatly benefit from illustrative material drawn from archaeology, history, and geography. The featured photos in this issue come from the Photo Companion to Ezra.

For more free photos, download the Ezra 3 PowerPoint (175 slides) and the Nehemiah 2 PowerPoint (210 slides). These and more than 4,500 photos are included in the new Ezra and Nehemiah volumes in the Photo Companion to the Bible.

The Palace of Darius

Click photograph for higher-resolution version.

When Haggai and Zechariah declared the word of the Lord to the Jews in Judah, the delayed reconstruction of the temple began again. But the governor of Trans-Euphrates was unsure of whether their project was authorized, and so he sent a letter to King Darius. This photo shows Darius’s home in the city of Persepolis. Inscriptions confirm that Darius built this palace, and some of the doorways bear reliefs depicting the Persian king. Darius’s successor Xerxes (Ahasuerus) later built a new palace for himself that was twice the size of his father’s.

Cuneiform Tablet with Jewish Names

Click photograph for higher-resolution version.

A notable feature of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah is the extensive lists of names of those who returned from exile, as well as those who participated in leadership, rebuilt the city wall, and even those guilty of intermarriage. The Photo Companion includes many images of contemporary inscriptions of the same names mentioned in Ezra and Nehemiah. This cuneiform tablet dates to 510 BC, only five years after the Second Temple was built, and it lists a variety of Jewish names, among which is “Hashabiah, son of Zechariah.” A man named Hashabiah is mentioned as a leader of a Levitical family recruited by Ezra to return to Jerusalem (Ezra 8:19). The name Zechariah is of course the name of the famous prophet, as well as other individuals mentioned in the account (Ezra 5:1; 8:11; 10:26). The tablet shown here is a promissory note for barley. It was written in the ancient town of Adabilu in the 12th year of Darius the Great. This tablet was photographed at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem.

Gold Bowl with the Name of King Darius

Click photograph for higher-resolution version.

Ezra did not return to Jerusalem empty-handed, for the Persian king Artaxerxes, his advisers, and Jews who remained in Babylon contributed greatly to the Jerusalem temple (Ezra 8:24-27). The quantities donated were astonishing, including 100 talents of gold and 20 bowls of gold equal to 1,000 darics in weight. This beautiful golden bowl has an inscription mentioning Darius the Great (522-486 BC), and it provides an illustration of what the bowls donated to the Lord’s house might have looked like. This artifact was photographed at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Praying at the Western Wall During a Rainstorm

Click photograph for higher-resolution version.

The book of Ezra ends with a national assembly, called on account of the report of numerous intermarriages. The gathering occurred in the ninth month (December), and it was rainy. In a striking note of humanity, the people acknowledged Ezra’s call to repentance but pled that they be allowed to resolve the issue another day: “It is a time of heavy rain, and we cannot stand in the open” (Ezra 10:13). This photograph, taken at the Western Wall in Jerusalem during a late shower in April, illustrates the scene. Happily, Ezra agreed to their request, and the community resolved the issue within a few months.

Now is the best time to purchase our Ezra and Nehemiah volumes:

  • Ezra – 1,700 photos – Reg. $79; today $39
  • Nehemiah – 2,800 photos – Reg. $89; today $49
  • Ezra & Nehemiah – 4,500 photos – Reg. $129; today $59DVD+download or download-only

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All contents © 2023 Todd Bolen. Text and photographs may be used for personal and educational use with attribution. Commercial use requires written permission.