Ezra is the story of the return of Jews from captivity in Babylon. In earlier writings Ezra and Nehemiah were just one book. There are differences that can be seen especially int the beginning of Nehemiah.
The journey home from Babylon was different from the exodus journey where they encountered resistance from Pharaoh, who refused to let them go. This time they were encouraged by the Kings of Persia to return home, and they gave them gifts and tax breaks as added incentives.
Ezra is also accredited with writing Chronicles.
At first, the exiles arrived with high hopes, eager to rebuild the temple and put God back at the center of national life. But the task was great and the opposition was demoralizing and was a great hindrance to them. The rebuilding grinds to a halt, because of the opposition. But the work begins again, at the urging of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah who arrive later.
Jerusalem’s second temple is completed, 70 years after Salomon’s temple was destroyed.
Upon arriving in Jerusalem, Ezra discovers that many to the Jewish men have ignored the law against marrying non-Jewish women. even some of the priests and temple workers had also done this.
Ezra goes to the temple courtyard and begins praying and weeping on behalf of the people. Ezra knows that because of their association with non-Jews, led to idolatry, which brought on the exile, and fears they may be punished again for disobeying God.
Ezra speaks to the people, and tells them they have broken God’s law by intermarrying and they must confess their sins to the Lord their God.The assembly of people agrees.
Ezra at a Glance:
Chapter 1: The exiles are allowed to return to Jerusalem.
Chapter 2: Names of the exiles who returned.
Chapter 3: Foundations of the Temple are laid.
Chapter 4: temple rebuilding stopped by opposition.
Chapter 5: Dariius the King of Persia, allows rebuilding to continue.
Chapter 6: Rebuilding continuances
Chapter 7: Ezra prepares to return to Jerusalem..
Chapter 8: Ezra arrives at Jerusalem.
Chapter 9: The problem of intermarriage.
Chapter 10; Public confession of sins.
Key verse 3 verse 11 “Everyone shouting and praising the Lord because work on the foundation of the temple begins.”
Ezra is a story of exiles return from captivity, which leads to a reflection from all our returns from the Captivity of sin, because of what Our Lord and Our Friend did for us. The foundation of God’s work in our lives can begin once we have been released from the bondage of sin.
Things to remember from Ezra: God fulfills His promises – even when things seem bleak.
Read Ezra and enjoy.
O F J.