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1. What might be the oldest document in your family archives? Your birth certificate? Grandpa’s journal? Someone’s high school yearbook? Why has it been kept so long?
2. What court order, parents’ ruling or umpire’s decision recently went your way in some contested case? How did you feel about that?
3. Compare this Aramaic memo of Cyrus’ decree with the Hebrew version in chapter 1:2 – 4. What additional details do you see here? Why would they have been added?
4. How does Darius’ decree (verses 6 – 12) expand on that earlier memo? What is his “punch line”? Why might this rub Tattenai the wrong way?
5. When have you invoked God’s authority as your own? Where do you draw the line and dare someone to cross over or defy your authority? What defiance (by your children, partners or subordinates) would trip your trigger and bring them into conflict with you?
6.What sacrifices and prayers are you offering on behalf of those in authority over you (verse 10; see 1 Timothy 2:1ff)?
7. Persian kings made a policy of restoring the religious institutions of native peoples (chapter 6:1 – 12). If this policy were practiced where you live, what native religions might flourish?
8. What restoration projects are you, like Darius, supporting with your money, as well as your mouth?