Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Introduction -- Ezra

Here is my intro to Ezra:
Ezra and Nehemiah were originally one book that told of the return of the “remnant of Israel” from exile in Babylon. Ezra’s story begins about 538 BC (roughly 50 years following the fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar and the armies of Babylon.) The book tells the story of rebuilding that covers the next 100 plus years. The author of Ezra is unknown, but the book relies on the personal accounts of the priest Ezra. It is possible that the same Chronicler who wrote 1 and 2 Chronicles also wrote Ezra.

The point of Ezra is to show that the returning exiles represent the remnant of Israel who must now show the fullest fidelity and conformity to the Law of Moses. In order to do this, the returned exiles must rebuild the temple and keep themselves pure from foreign influence.

Ezra can be outlined as follows:

·         Ezra 1:1-11      Return of the Exiles to Jerusalem under Sheshbazzar.
·         Ezra 2:1-70      Census of the returnees
·         Ezra 3:1-13      Worship restored and the temple rebuilt
·         Ezra 4:1-6:23  Opposition to the efforts to rebuild
·         Ezra 7:1-10:4   Ezra’s mission to Jerusalem

            The vital lesson of Ezra is that the remnant that was promised through the prophets has been realized. God promised a remnant would return, and in Ezra, that return happens.

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