Intertestamental HistoryBy Steve and Terri White. With the ten northern tribes scattered over the former Assyrian Empire, and most of Judah remaining in Persia, only a tiny remnant returned to Jerusalem in 538 B.C. It was this group that rebuilt the temple and the walls of Jerusalem under the leadership of Ezra (the priest), Nehemiah, and Zerubbabel (descendant of David). Because of many delays and obstacles, it took about 100 years to finish the work. Life under Persian rule was relatively peaceful and prosperous.