The First Book of Esdras parallels the account given in 2 Chronicles 35—36, Ezra and Nehemiah 6—8 although there are omissions, additions, and variations in both order and detail. The most distinctive new material is the debate before the emperor in chapters 3 and 4.
Outline of Contents
Josiah and the fall of Jerusalem (1.1-58)
The return from exile (2.1-30)
The debate of the bodyguards before the emperor (3.1—4.63)
The Temple rebuilt and dedicated (5.1—7.15)
Ezra returns with other exiles (8.1—9.55)
Esdras is the Greek form of the name Ezra, and this book closely parallels material from 2 Chronicles 35–36, Ezra, and Nehemiah 6-8. The author's purpose is to encourage the reform and renewal of Israel's worship life. Of special interest is the debate among the emperor's officials about what is the strongest thing in the world (chapters 3 and 4).