Introduction
The Book of Ezra as a sequel to Chronicles describes the return of some of the Jewish exiles from Babylon and the restoration of life and worship in Jerusalem. These events are presented in the following stages: 1) The first group of Jewish exiles returns from Babylonia at the order of Cyrus, the Persian emperor. 2) The Temple is rebuilt and dedicated, and the worship of God restored in Jerusalem. 3) Years later another group of Jews returns to Jerusalem under the leadership of Ezra, an expert in the Law of God, who helps the people reorganize their religious and social life in order to safeguard the spiritual heritage of Israel.
Outline of Contents
The first return from exile (1.1—2.70)
The Temple is rebuilt and dedicated (3.1—6.22)
Ezra returns with other exiles (7.1—10.44)
Ezra
Ezra and Nehemiah draw from a variety of sources and were originally one book. They tell about the period after the exile when the Persian kings Cyrus and Artaxerxes allowed the Jewish people to return to their homeland and rebuild their cities and the Temple in Jerusalem. Ezra, whose story continues in the book of Nehemiah, was a scribe and priest who worked to re-establish obedience to the Law of Moses. See also Haggai and Zechariah for more about this period in Jewish history.
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