Proposing the term ‘congruent ethos’ for studying Old Testament ethics, this article indicates
(in line with existing research) that opposing ethical viewpoints are found in the Old
Testament. The modus operandi followed was firstly to compare the penitential prayer in
Daniel 9:4–19 with those in Ezra 9:6–15 and Nehemiah 9:6–37. This comparison shows that
the phenomenon of conflicting ethics was present in Yehud during the Second Temple period.
Whilst the Daniel text reflects a more universal attitude, the penitential prayers in Ezra and
Nehemiah propose a nationalist view of God and an exclusivist identity for Israel. Although
Daniel can be dated later than Ezra-Nehemiah, the tendency to juxtapose an exclusivist
viewpoint with an inclusivist one was already present in the earlier period of the Second
Temple. This is evidenced by the literature of Isaiah 56–66, Ruth, Jonah, Esther, Tobit, Judith
and even Joshua.