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Unlocking The Mysteries Of The Book Of Ezra

The Book of Ezra Image

The Book of Ezra is one of the most mysterious and enigmatic books of the Bible.

The book tells the story of the Jewish people’s return from exile in Babylon to their homeland of Israel.

For centuries, scholars have been trying to unlock the mysteries of this book, and although it has largely remained a mystery, some have made significant progress in deciphering its secrets.

In this article, we explore

  • the synopsis of the Book of Ezra
  • its related books
  • historical context and features

to better understand its powerful message!

What is Book of Ezra?

The Book of Ezra tells the story of the Jews who returned to their homeland after they were held captive in Babylon.

They built a new Temple and Ezra, a leader, worked to make sure the Jews followed their laws.

Ezra is a book in the Bible about a Jewish leader who helps

  • rebuild the temple
  • purify the Jewish community
  • seal the holy city behind a wall

It was written around 400 BC and accepted as part of the Bible in the early Christian era.

Synopsis of the Book of Ezra

The Book of Ezra is a part of the Bible that tells the story of how the Second Temple was built.

It has ten chapters and some of them are written in a language called Aramaic.

Chapters 1–6

Cyrus, the king of Persia, was inspired by God to let the Israelites go back to Jerusalem and build a Temple.

42,360 exiles went back and Zerubbabel and Jeshua the High Priest of Israel built the altar and celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles.

  • The enemies of Judah and Benjamin tried to stop them from rebuilding.
  • The prophets Haggai and Zechariah encouraged them.

King Darius found a decree from King Cyrus that said,

King image

They could rebuild.

And they finished the Temple in the sixth year of Darius.

Everyone was happy and celebrated.

Chapters 7–10

King Artaxerxes wanted Ezra to help the people of Trans-Euphrates learn God's laws.

He gave Ezra a lot of gold and told the Persian officials,

Mesopotamian (Babylonian) king image

Help him.

Ezra and the people of Trans-Euphrates took a lot of gold and silver and other things to the temple.

When they got there, some people married people who weren't Jewish.

Ezra was very sad about this and prayed to God.

Finally, the people decided to send away the people who weren't Jewish.

Books about Ezra

The writings about Ezra include the following:

Ezra–Nehemiah

Ezra and Nehemiah were originally one book known as "Ezra".

They were translated into Greek and adopted by Greek and Latin Christians.

Jerome, who translated the Bible into Latin, kept them as one book, but from the 9th century, Latin bibles started to separate them into two books called the first and second books of Ezra.

The separation became standard in the 13th century and was not introduced in Hebrew Bibles until the 16th century.

First Esdras

1 Esdras is a different version of a Book of Ezra.

It has an extra story in it called the 'Tale of the Three Guardsmen'.

Historical background

In the 6th century BC, the Kingdom of Judah was taken over by the Neo-Babylonian Empire and many people were taken away to the city of Babylon.

The people in Babylon then blamed their fate.

People image

We did not listen to our God...

And they hoped to one day return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple.

Meanwhile, the Persian Empire became powerful and their ruler, Cyrus II, took over Babylon.

In Judea, three groups were involved in this period:

  1. People who wanted to rebuild the Temple with help from Cyrus II
  2. People who opposed them
  3. Locals who were against the rebuilding

Features of the Book of Ezra

King Cyrus of Persia allowed the Jews to return to their homeland in Jerusalem.

Ezra and Nehemiah were two leaders who helped the Jews return and rebuild their city.

They arrived at different times,

  • Ezra coming first in 458 BC
  • Nehemiah coming later in 445 BC

The Bible book of Ezra–Nehemiah tells a story about building a city and its temple.

  1. The people built the Temple.
  2. They made the city look nice.
  3. They read from the Bible.

Three Jewish leaders were given a mission by the king of Persia.

  1. Zerubbabel built the Temple.
  2. Ezra built the community of Israel.
  3. Nehemiah built walls to keep them safe.

They all faced opposition but were successful and Nehemiah restored the belief in God.

The book of Ezra is very old and it was written by different people over a long time.

It has changed a lot and it is difficult to know who wrote it.

If you want to know more about Ezra who appears in the "Book of Ezra",

Please read this article.