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The Book of Ezra


I.       Introduction

A.     Historical Background

1.        In 616 B.C. during the battle between Babylon and Assyria, Josiah was killed (II Chron 35:20-24)

2.        In 606 B.C. Jerusalem was attacked by Babylon, King Jehoiakim and the Israelites were taken captive for the first time (II Chron 36:6)

3.        In 596 B.C. Babylon attacked Jerusalem for the second time, Prophet Ezekiel and the Israelites were taken captive for the second time (II Chron 36:9-10)

4.        In 586 B.C. Babylon attacked Jerusalem for the third time (II Kings 25:1-17), thus began seventy years of captivity in Babylon.

5.        In 538 B.C. the king of Persia allowed the Israelites to return home to rebuild the holy temple.

6.        In 537 B.C. Zerubbabel led the Israelites in captivity to return to Jerusalem for the first time.

7.        In 520 B.C. Zerubbabel reinitiated the construction after 15 years of work stoppage.

8.        In 516 B.C. the rebuilding of holy temple was completed.

9.        In 458 B.C. Ezra led the captives to return to Jerusalem for the second time.

10.     In 445 B.C. Nehemiah led the captives to return for the third time.

11.     In 433 B.C. Nehemiah returned by himself for the second time.

B.     The Meaning Of Captivity

C.     The Prefiguration of the Rebuilding of HolyTemple

D.     Outline of the Book

1.        The first return to Jerusalem (Ch. 1-6), led by Zerubbabel in 536 B.C. to rebuild the holy temple.

2.        The second return to Jerusalem (Ch. 7-10), led by Ezra in 458 B.C. to revive the people's faith.


A.     The Captives Return to Rebuild the Temple (Ch. 1-6)

1.        Return of the captives (Ch. 1-2)

 a.      God's care and guidance of His own people (Deut 32:9-10)

(a)     Righteousness (Heb 12:5-6)

(b)     Mercy (Is 40:1)

 b.      God remembers His own words (1:1)

(a)     God's faithfulness (Num 23:19-20; Mt 5:18)

(b)     Jeremiah's prophecy (Jer 29:10; II Chron 36:21)

 c.      God stirs up human hearts

(a)     King's heart (1:1-4; Prov 21:1); chosen people's heart (1:5- 6); other people's heart (1:4,6)

(b)     People willingly return to rebuild the temple (1:5)

(c)     People offered willingly (1:6; Deut 16:16)

(d)     King Cyrus returned vessels of holy temple (1:7)

 d.      The number of people returning (2:3-67)

(a)     Emphasize the importance of genealogy

(b)     Number of priests (36-39)

(c)     People with unknown genealogy (59-63)

2.        Rebuilding of holy temple (Chi. 3 & 6)

 a.      Build on the original foundation

(a)     Set the alter (3:3)

(b)     Build the temple (3:2-3)

(c)     Build the walls (Neh 6:15)

(d)     Vessels of the temple (6:5)

 b.      Obstacles and difficulties of rebuilding

(a)     Reasons (4:1-3)

(b)     Methods of obstruction:  false collaboration (4:1-2), disruption (4:3-5), false accusation (4:6-24)

(c)     End of obstructions (4:24); the work was stopped, people were chastised for building their own houses (Hag 1:4)

 c.      Reinitiate the building process

(a)     Prophet's encouragements (5:1-2): Haggai and Zechariah

(b)     Self-recognition of the leaders (5:2)

(c)     Approval of the governor (5:3-5)

(d)     Accusations became prayers of intercession (6:1-5, 11-12)

(e)     Aids of enemies (6:8-11; Heb 13:6)

 d.      Completion of holy temple

B.     Revival of Faith (Ch. 7 & 10)

1.        Ezra and his followers

 a.      Priests (7:1-5; II Kg 25:18-21)

 b.      Scribes (7:11-12)

 c.      Man of faith (8:21-23)

 d.      Man of prayer (8:21; 10:1)

 e.      Reformist (7:10)

 f.       The holy assembly (Ch. 10)

2.        God's hands of mercy and assistance (7:6,9,28; 8:18,22; 9:9)

3.        An assembly of national revival (Ezra 9-10)

 a.      Personal repentance and prayer (9:1-5)

 b.      An assembly of prayer and repentance (10:1-8)

 c.      Holy convocation and sins forgiven (10:9-42)