Date Written: 440-350 BC
Date of Narrative: 538-457 BC
The books of Ezra and Nehemiah are regarded as a single book in the Hebrew Bible. They describe the era in Jewish history: the Restoration. The Restoration is the time period in which the Babylonian exile ends and the Jews return to the Holy Land to rebuild the
The events in the book of Ezra take place during the rule of Cyrus, the Persian king who took over the Babylonian Empire and the whole mid-east region. Cyrus institutes an empire-wide policy of religious toleration, sending people groups back to their native lands and funding the reconstruction of their holy places. This policy benefited the Jews greatly, allowing them to return to the
Sheshbazzar leads the first group of exiles home (2). Scholars do not agree on his exact identity, but it is clear that he was of the royal line of David (1:8). Zerubbabel, also of the royal line, succeeds him as the leader of the returning exiles.
The Jews first build an altar and celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. When they lay the
Ezra does not appear in the book until Ch. 7 when Artaxerxes I, the current ruler of
Zerubbabel's refusal to let the "people of the land" join in reconstructing the
Spiritually, we see in Ezra that God fulfills his promises and yet sometimes his plan of fulfillment includes serious effort on our part in the face of opposition.
By Mark Giszczak