Overview of the book of Ezra
After 70 years in Exile, the people of Israel were coming back to their own land. The new Persian emperor Cyrus had decreed that the people of Israel will return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple of their God. In the book of Ezra God used Persian kings, Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes to bring this to pass. Zerubbabel and Jeshua were the descendants of King David and Aaron the priest. They answered the call to rebuild the house of God.
At that time, the building of the temple wasn’t the only thing that needed attention. The Hebrews had forgotten God’s law. They need to remember the covenant that was made with God. They needed to remember why they were in difficult situations. Why they had to go to Babylon and allow them to come back. The temple needed a new foundation as well as the people needed to return to the foundation of their faith.
God promised to Israel through Moses as if the people of Israel obeyed him they would enjoy land and prosperity but If they disobeyed him they would face punishment and Exile. The people disobeyed in Ezra 9:7 and God had kept his promise. God had also made another promise that He would send them back to their land after He had punished them. The whole book of Ezra shows us how God kept his promise.
The book of Ezra covers rebuilding the temple and remembering the law. Ezra’s name meaning in the bible was a helper in the Hebrew language.
Our yesayya.com will help your understanding to aid in your Ezra bible study of God’s word. We hope this overview, outline, and Ezra summaries by chapter are helpful to you.
Who was Ezra in the Bible
Ezra was a priest and scribe. He was a direct descendant of Aaron the chief priest. He had a single purpose to purify the worship of the lord based on the law of Moses. After Moses, Ezra is the second greatest hero in the history of Israel.
Who wrote the book of Ezra
The book of Ezra doesn’t specifically name its author. Ancient traditions say that the prophet Ezra wrote the book of Ezra. Ezra and Nehemiah were considered as two parts of one book. Ezra plays a major role in the second half of the book and also in the Nehemiah.
Prophet Ezra is credited with writing the book of 1 and 2 Chronicles. It is the fifteenth book of the old testament in the bible. Ezra is also considered a prolific author of the Bible. The book of Ezra records the first and second return of Jews to the land of Israel.
Purpose of writing
The book of Ezra is devoted to the events that occurred in the land of Israel after the return from Babylonian captivity. It covers a period of one century beginning in 538 B.C. The emphasis in Ezra is about the rebuilding of the Temple. It contains genealogical records, principally for the purpose of establishing the claims to the priesthood on the part of the descendants of Aaron.
Outline of Ezra
I. The Return Under Zerubbabel, 1:1-6:22
A. The Decree of Cyrus, 1:1-11
B. The Census of the People, 2:1-70
1. Leaders, 2:1-2
2. Families, 2:3-20
3. Cities, 2:21-35
4. Priests, 2:36-39
5. Levites, 2:40-42
6. The Temple servants, 2:43-54
7. Solomon’s servants, 2:55-58
8. Uncertain genealogies, 2:59-63
9. Totals, 2:64-70
C. The Construction of the Temple Begun, 3:1-13
1. Sacrifices begun, 3:1-6
2. Foundation begun, 3:7-13
D. The Opposition, 4:1-24
1. The compromise, 4:1-3
2. The campaign, 4:4-5
3. The climax, 4:6-24
E. The Construction Renewed, 5:1-6:12
1. The preaching of the prophets, 5:1-2
2. The protest of Tattenai, 5:3-17
3. The decree of Darius, 6:1-12
F. The Temple Completed, 6:13-22
1. The completion, 6:13-15
2. The dedication, 6:16-18
3. The Passover, 6:19-22
II. The Return Under Ezra, 7:1-10:44
A. The Return to Jerusalem, 7:1-8:36
1. The leader, Ezra, 7:1-10
2. The letter of Artaxerxes, 7:11-28
3. The journey, 8:1-36
B. The Revival of Jerusalem, 9:1-10:44
1. The condition of the people, 9:1-4
2. The confession of Ezra, 9:5-15
3. The covenant of the people, 10:1-8
4. The cleansing of the people, 10:9-44
Why the book Ezra is important
The book of Ezra provides a useful link in the historical record of the Israel people. The book of Ezra provides the most information about the Jews regathering of their struggle to survive and rebuild what had been destroyed. Through this circumstance, Ezra declared that they were still God’s people and that God had not forgotten them.
In this book, we notice the rebuilding of the new temple, the unification of the returned tribes because they shared common struggles and challenges to work together. The original remnant had stopped working on the city walls and the people of Babylon ruled them. Then Ezra arrived with another two thousand people and started a spiritual revival. At the end of the book, Israel renewed its covenant with God and began to obey Him.
Ezra’s role in the Bible
Ezra begins a new story in the history of Israel:
- When we look from Genesis to Deuteronomy, God calls out Israel as his special nation and teaches them His laws.
- From Joshua to 2 chronicles God gives Israel land and a king but the people of Israel constantly disobey God and lose both of them.
- From Ezra to Esther, God restores Israel from exile and gives their own land again.
Ezra And Nehemiah were considered as two parts of one book. Prophet Ezra focuses on rebuilding the temple and Nehemiah focused on rebuilding the city of Jerusalem. Both the book shows how God re-established Israel in their own land He promised to them. The book of Ezra also references other biblical prophets named Haggai and Zechariah. Their messages stirred up the people to finish building the temple.
The big idea of Ezra’s narrative reveals two main issues faced by the returning exiles. They were the struggle to restore the temple and the need for spiritual reformation. These both were necessary for the people to renew their minds and start a fellowship with the lord.
What lesson can be learned from the book of Ezra
It is the book of hope and restoration. For the Christians whose life is scarred by sin and rebellion against God. For then there is a great hope that God will forgive and will not turn his back on us when we repent before Him. The return of the Israelites and the rebuilding of the temple are repeated in the life of Christians who return back from sin and rebellion against God and a loving welcome.
No matter how long we have been away, He is always ready to forgive our sins and receive us. He is willing to show us how to build our lives. God supervises the people who turned to him by renovating and rededicating our lives to His service.
God always keeps his promises to his people. Through the prophets, God has already ordained that His people will return to their land after 70 years. Ezra proclaims that God has kept his promises. It shows that when the people of God remained faithful to Him. Then He will continue to bless them.
Book of Ezra summary
The book of Ezra records the fulfillment of God’s promise to restore their own land to Israel after the 70 years of captivity in Babylon. It covers the return from captivity to rebuild the temple up to the decree of Artaxerxes and it continued in the book of Nehemiah. Haggai was the prophet in the day of Ezra. The characters in the first part of the book died by the time Ezra began his ministry in Jerusalem.
Ezra is the most prominent person in the book of Ezra and Nehemiah. Both books end with the prayers of confession and separation of the people from their sinful practices.
The Jews started to build the temple in Jerusalem but the people who lived near Babylon did not want the Jews back in the land. They opposed Jews so that the Jews were not able to build the temple. After many years God helped Jews to finish their building.
After that, Ezra led a group of Jews who returned to Judah. He was a teacher who taught the people God’s word. God sent Ezra to teach his people so that they would become His special people again. But the people did not obey God’s word. Even though Ezra continued to teach them and told them How to live in a way that would please God to receive his blessings.