“Keepers of the Covenant” by Lynn Austin

In one life-changing moment, the lives of the Jewish exiles in Babylon are thrown into confusion and despair when a decree arrives from the king’s palace in Susa. It calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire on the thirteenth day of Adar, in less than one year. Ezra, a quiet Jewish scholar and teacher, is suddenly called upon to lead the community as they seek God for a reason for this catastrophe. When a second decree arrives, authorizing them to fight back, Ezra is thrust into the role of military leader as they defend themselves against their enemies.

When the battles come to an end, Ezra’s brother Jude is dead and Ezra is required by the Law he so diligently studies to marry Jude’s widow, Devorah, and provide an heir. Fatherhood changes Ezra, and he asks God to make a way for him and the other exiles to leave Babylon for good and return to Jerusalem. His prayers are answered and the exiles move to Judea to revitalize worship at the temple—but the fight to keep God’s Law is never easy. As more and more of his community are tempted, a new battle emerges . . . this one for the survival of God’s covenant and the souls of His chosen faithful.
 
Austin brings the Bible to life once again in her newest book, Keepers of the Covenant.  Who knew the Old Testament could be quite this exciting?  This powerful look at the second wave of Jews who leave Babylon and return to Jerusalem is reconstructed as never before.
 
It’s hard to picture those Old Testament people sometimes.  It’s hard to understand them.  They may not have had their own personal Bibles to carry with them, but they were living in the time when it was all happening!  When God might show up at your tent door for lunch – and so their decision to turn their backs on His World has never made sense to me – until now.  Austin puts the time period, the situation, and the cultural clashes all into perspective.  I could see why these parents were tempted to let obedience to the Law slide.  I could see why living in another land presented such a religious and racial problem.  I could see how easy it would have been to get obedience to the Law confused – and suddenly it was all real.  I was there.  I was wondering which decision I would make if it were me.  How these choices have been handed down through the centuries.  How these choices would translate today.
 
I can’t say that Ezra has ever been my favorite man from the Bible – but I can’t wait to get my Bible out and read about him now.  Keepers of the Covenant should definitely go on your ‘must-read’ list.
 
 
About the Author: 
 
Bestselling author Lynn Austin has sold more than one million copies of her books worldwide. She is an eight-time Christy Award winner for her historical novels, as well as a popular speaker at retreats and conventions. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and live near Chicago.
 
Find Lynn online: website, Facebook
 
I received a free copy of Keepers of the Covenant from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

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