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Ezra, had a royal commission that authorized him to "inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God" (v. 14).  As a result, he and Nehemiah focused Israel's new identity on the LORD GOD's law brought forward from Moses. Israel was forced to focus on the form and content of religious life and practice, as the Babylon exiles returned as faithful Israelites, and reestablished their temple worship.

There were three groups of returns from Babylon to Judah.  The first led to the rebuilding of the Temple of the LORD, the second was under Ezra, and was focused on reformation and returning to their covenant obligations, and the third was led by Nehemiah.  The identity of the author of this book cannot be established with certainty, however, Jewish tradition names Ezra as the original author, with Nehemiah completing his work.  Most modern scholars agree with this attribute to Ezra, "the chronicler".

  • Ezra 11:1-4 Proclamation of Cyrus
  • 1:5-11 The return of the exiles to Jerusalem
  • Ezra 22:1-70 Those who returned from captivity
  • Ezra 33:1-7 The restoration of worship
  • 3:8-13 The rebuilding of the temple begun
  • Ezra 44:1-16 Adversaries seek to stop the work
  • 4:17-24 The work suspended
  • Ezra 5 5:1-17 The temple rebuilt
  • Ezra 6 6:1-12 Darius confirms the decree of Cyrus
  • 6:13-15 The temple finished
  • 6:16-22 The passover restored
  • Ezra 77:1-10 Ezra goes to Jerusalem
  • 7:11-26 Commission of Artaxerxes
  • 7:27-28 Thanksgiving
  • Ezra 88:1-14 List of Ezra's companions
  • 8:15-20 Sends for the Levites
  • 8:21-23 Proclaims a fast
  • 8:24-30 The treasure committed for the priests
  • 8:31-36 Arrival in Jerusalem
  • Ezra 99:1-15 Prayer of confession
  • Ezra 1010:1-17 Foreign wives and children put away
  • 10:18-44 Those who put away foreign wives

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