#14 Book of Ezra


  • The author of Ezra, Nehemiah and Chronicles is thought to be one and the same person – the priest Ezra (also called Esdras in Greek). 
  • Ezra was key in organizing the return of the Jews to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple.  Before leaving he secures the Decree of Cyrus found in the archives of Ecbatana. It is also in Ecbatana, Susa and Babylon in Persia that I believe Ezra managed to gather up copies of the book of Daniel, the book of Esther and the book of Tobit to bring back to Jerusalem.
  • Ezra followed the instruction of the disciples of Baruch ben Neriah who was Jeremiah’s secretary, as these disciples had remained in Babylon.
  • Ezra returns during the reign of Artaxerxes I who reigned from 465 – 424 BC (see Ezra chapter 7). He has a strong influence over King Artaxerxes to cause the return to happen.
  • The book of Ezra is compiled from official documents, letters, and personal memoirs.
  • The book opens with the decree of Cyrus, King of Persia for the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple, there is a list of the exiles who return.  These returnees include Nehemiah, Mordecai (Queen Esther’s relative) but not Ezra himself.
  • Jeshua, Zerubbabel and other priests supervise the rebuilding of the Second Temple amidst some opposition.  King Darius made a decree to find the decree of King Cyrus.  King Artaxerxes King of Persia commissions the priest Ezra to organize the return to Jerusalem taking silver and gold.  List of those who return with Ezra.  It is discovered that many of these Jews had intermarried with foreign women in Babylon, the offenders are listed and the women sent away.
  • Genre: History of the return to Jerusalem and rebuilding of the Temple.


  • Originally this was part of the book of Ezra, and not a separate book so its author – compiler was Ezra. It opens, however, with Nehemiah speaking in the first person.
  • The book opens with Nehemiah’s prayer, Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem and inspects the walls, he oversees the rebuilding of the walls and gates of the city.  List of exiles who first returned from Babylon.  Ezra the scribe reads the Book of the Law of Moses and Nehemiah the governor encourages people to celebrate.  They built booths to live in for a week – this became the Feast of Tabernacles.  They institute the Day of Atonement, with fasting, putting on sackcloth and confessing their sins.  List of those who set seals to an agreement to observe the laws and not sin again.  They cast lots to decide who will live in Jerusalem with the others living in the surrounding towns of Judah.  Dedication of the wall of Jerusalem and Nehemiah’s reforms to observe the sabbath.
  • Genre: Political and religious organization of Jerusalem under governor Nehemiah.

Published by clarevmerry

Christian - Bible - Catholic belief reassessment website. How does Catholic belief relate to the Bible? An even-handed approach by the author who has been a Catholic as long as she has been an Evangelical.

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