Ezra was a priest, a scribe, and a great leader. His name means “help,” and his whole life was dedicated to serving God and God’s people. Tradition says that Ezra wrote most of First Chronicles and Second Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Psalm 119, and that he led the council of 120 men who formed the Old Testament canon. He centers the narrative of the book around God and His promise that the Jews would return to their land, as promised by Jeremiah. This message formed the core of his life, the last half of the book gives a very personal glimpse of his life. His knowledge of scripture and his God-given wisdom were so obvious to the king that he appointed Ezra to lead the second emigration to Jerusalem, to teach the people God’s word, and to administer national life.
Finally given the chance to return to their homeland, the people started to rebuild the temple, only to be stopped by opposition from their enemies. God’s work in the world is not without opposition. We must not get discouraged and quit, as the returning people did at first, but continue on boldly min the face of difficulties, as they did later with the encouragement from the prophets.
Ezra returned to Jerusalem almost 80 years after Zerubbabel, only to discover that the people had married pagan or foreign spouses. This polluted the religious purity of the people and endangered the future of the nation. Believers today must be careful not to threaten their walk with God by taking on the practices of unbelievers.
Not stated, but probably Ezra.
Around 450 B.C., recording events from about 538 – 450 B.C. (omitting 516-458 B.C.); possibly begun earlier in Babylon and finished in Jerusalem.
To show God’s faithfulness and the way he kept his promise to restore his people to their land.
To download a PDF outline of Ezra click here.
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