In 538 BC, Cyrus the Great announces freedom for Israelites in Babylon. Ezra chronicles their journey home and their rebuilding of the temple.
The title comes from the major person in the second half of the book.
Though Ezra is not referred to in the book as the author, Hebrew tradition considers Ezra the author. And among Christians, Ezra has long been considered the book’s author.
The most recent events described in the book took place about 450 BC. So it would not have been written earlier than that.
In general, the Book of Ezra covers two distinct time periods:
Chapters 1-6 cover the 23 years from the edict of Cyrus to the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem (538-515 BC).
Chapters 7-10 deal with the events after Ezra returned from Babylon in 458 BC.
Ezra writes to encourage the exiles who had returned.
He calls them to be involved in true temple worship.
He calls them to fulfill their covenantal obligations because of the mercy of the LORD God.
And he calls them to depend on the LORD God.
CYRUS THE GREAT SETS THEM FREE
Ezra 5:1-5. They start rebuilding again
Ezra 5:6-17. The local leaders complain
Ezra 6:1-5. King Darius searches the archives
Ezra 6:6-15. King Darius sanctions the temple project
Ezra 6:16-18. The Jews dedicate the temple
Ezra 6:19-22. The Jews celebrate the Passover
THE MISSION OF EZRA
Ezra 7:1-10. Ezra is sent to Jerusalem
Ezra 7:11-26. The orders from king Artaxerxes
Ezra 7:27-28. Ezra praises the LORD
Ezra 8:1-14. Those who returned with Ezra
Ezra 8:15-20. Ezra asks Levites to join the trip
Ezra 8:21-23. Fasting and praying
Ezra 8:24-30. Guarding the valuables
Ezra 8:31-36. Arriving in Jerusalem
Ezra 9:1-15. Many of them had intermarried
Ezra 10:1-17. They admit marrying unbelievers
Ezra 10:18-44. Those who had married unbelievers
Ezra 7:10. For Ezra had set his heart to seek the LORD’s law, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.