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Names of the Book

EZRA READS SCRIPTURE- unknown artist

English:  Ezra
Hebrew:  עזרא
Transliterated:  Etzra
Other names:   



Wrote the book:  Ezra
Are the key people:  Cyrus, Zerubbabel, Haggai, Zechariah, Darius, Artaxerxes I, Ezra
Is it written to:  The people of Israel



The return led by Zerubbabel and start of reconstruction (Ezra 1:1-6:22)
The return led by Ezra and continued reconstruction (Ezra 7:1-10:44)



Was it written:  c 450 BCE
Did the events occur:  c 538-450 BCE
Was it canonized:  c 499-100 BCE
(see the Timeline of the Tanakh)



Was it written:  Jerusalem, Israel
Did the events occur:  Babylon and Israel



Ezra was written to inform us that: 
G-d returns Israel to their land as He promised.
The temple was rebuilt.
G-d's Word is central to the life of faith.
Faith and action go hand in hand.



The historical narrative of Ezra begins where 2 Chronicles concludes with the Persian King Cyrus sending the exiles of Judah back to Jerusalem.  In spite of opposition from the non-Jewish inhabitants of Judea, and after encouragement by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, the temple was rebuilt.  Afterwards Ezra leads the second of three waves of returning exiles back to the Land.  By the time Ezra arrives, the people had once again fallen into sin.  Ezra declares the Word of the Lord, calls the people to repent and obey G-d's commandments, and they respond.  Ezra succeeded because G-d's hand is upon him (7:6, 9, 28; 8:18, 22, 31).  The book of Ezra demonstrates G-d's power to move in the lives of men (even pagan kings!)  to accomplish His plan of redemption.




Chapter Description
1 King Cyrus of Persia commands and aids the Jews in returning and rebuilding and Jerusalem.
Cyrus restores the Temple utensils that were taken by Nebuchadnezzar.
2 The Jews return to Israel from exile in Babylon.
The counts of refugees are listed by their father's households.
Freewill offerings are made to aid in the rebuilding of the Temple.
3 The Jews build an altar and celebrate Sukkot [the Feast of Booths] in Jerusalem.
The Temple rebuilding begins with the laying of the foundation.
Singing, praising, and thanksgiving is mixed with weeping for joy as the rebuilding begins.
4 Enemies of Judah who oppose the rebuilding of the Temple write to Cyrus accusing the Jews of plotting rebellion.
Cyrus orders reconstruction to stop and the rebuilding ceases until the second year of King Darius of Persia.
5 Supported by the prophets, Jewish leaders begin rebuilding the Temple again.
The Persian governor writes to Darius in opposition to the rebuilding.
A record of his letter is given.
6 King Darius has a search made of the royal records and Cyrus' decree to begin rebuilding is found.
Darius orders reconstruction to continue with the full cost to be paid out of the royal treasury.
The temple is completed and dedicated.
The Jews who had purified themselves keep Passover.
7 Ezra gains the favor of Artaxerxes, King of Persia.
Ezra goes to Jerusalem at the command of the King with orders to teach the Law of Moses.
Artaxerxes orders operating expenses of the Temple to be paid from the royal treasury and prohibits taxes against the priests and Levites.
8 A record of the men who go to Jerusalem with Ezra is given by their fathers' households.
The people fast and humble themselves before the LORD at the Ahava River.
The freewill offerings of the people are recorded.
Ezra delivers Artaxerxes edict to the Persian officials.
9 Some Jews marry non-Jews and Ezra grieves.
Ezra prays to G-d before the people and confesses their sins.
He humbles himself and intercedes for his people.
10 A large assembly gathers around Ezra.
Ezra makes the leading priests, Levites, and the Jews take an oath to put away their foreign wives.
An investigation is made into who had married foreign women and a list of those men is recounted.


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