Main Themes of the Book of Ezra

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Who wrote the Book of Ezra and who did they write it for?

The author of the book of Ezra is commonly believed to be the prophet, Ezra. This book was written for the Israelites who had returned to Judah from exile in Babylon.


When did the events of the Book of Ezra happen?

The book of Ezra covers the events from the decree of the Persian King Cyrus in around 539 BC that were written about at the closing of Chronicles and goes through the time of Ezra returning to Israel in about 458 BC


What was the setting of the Book of Ezra?

Babylon was just conquered by Persia, and the Persian King Cyrus released the Israelites to go back to their land. The people return to rebuild God’s temple under His instruction.


What is the purpose of the Book of Ezra?

  1. The First Return of Exiles (Ezra 1-6)
    1. King Cyrus helps the exiles return to Israel (Ezra 1)
    1. Account of the first round of exiles who returned (Ezra 2)
    2. Rebuilding the altar and temple (Ezra 3)
    3. Rebuilding is opposed (Ezra 4)
    4. Rebuilding is resumed (Ezra 5)
    5. Decree of King Darius (Ezra 6)
  2. The Second Return of Exiles (Ezra 7-10)
    1. Ezra returns to Jerusalem (Ezra 7)
    1. Account of the next round of exiles who returned (Ezra 8)
    2. Ezra’s prayer about pagan intermarriage (Ezra 9)
    3. The people’s confession of sin (Ezra 10)

How does the Book of Ezra apply to my life?

  • Provides a narrative that continues the history of the Israelites, linking the exile of God’s people and the return to the remnant.
  • Give necessary insight and encouragement for the life of every believer.
  • Provides contrast between holiness and compromise.
  • Powerfully presents theology gained from the punishment of the exiles.
  • Teaches that the promised blessings of God are only enjoyed through love and obedience to God.
  • Reveals God as the power behind events on earth.
  • Gives examples of God’s people working and living united in a common goal.
  • Proves that God can work in anyone’s heart and life.
  • Addresses how God keeps the promises He makes to His people and preserves the site of the temple.
  • Teaches of God’s sovereignty, faithfulness, provision, holy judgment, and just punishment for sin.
  • Reinforces that our Holy God requires holy living from His people.
  • Shows evidence that God does not give up on His people.
  • Teaches the importance of keeping regular worship, prayer, and the reading and application of God’s Word.

Summary

The book of Ezra is a continuation of 1 and 2 Chronicles and picks up with the proclamation of the Persian King Cyrus who had just conquered Babylon. He gave the Jewish people permission to return to Israel, and over the next 100 years covered in both Ezra and Nehemiah, they returned, resettled, and worked to rebuild God’s temple.

When the people began to return to Israel, they found it changed. It was no longer blooming and beautiful, they no longer had a Davidic King, the temple was gone, but the site for the temple had been preserved by God over the years. Ezra returned with the second round of exiles returning from Babylon and it is believed that he wrote this book while Nehemiah came a few years later and continued the story in the book of Nehemiah.

It is commonly believed that Ezra and Nehemiah were originally one continuous narrative, and some believe Nehemiah may have been first before Ezra. Regardless of whose account came first, they are both vital pieces of the Israelite’s history as they delve into the struggles they faced in coming out of so long in exile and the lessons they learned during the punishment for their long disobedience.

The book of Ezra dives into many of the lessons the Jewish people learned, and that we should learn from, concerning disobedience to God and the consequences of sin. God is holy and calls on His people to live holy lives centered on Him. We can find much encouragement and life lessons through the continuation of the Israelite’s story and the evidence of God all over their lives. God teaches us through this book that we should maintain regular worship and prayer, and cling to, learn from, and live out God’s holy Word.


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