Lesson 2 of 6
In Progress

Outline of Ezra

1. First Return (under Zerubbabel) and Reconstruction of the Temple (Ezra 1:1–6:22)

Released from Babylonian captivity by Cyrus, a remnant of the people returns under Zerubbabel (a descendant of David) and rebuilds the temple despite serious opposition from neighboring peoples (including low-class and poor Israelites who were not taken in the exile).

A. Cyrus’s Decree (Ezra 1:1-11)

After defeating the Babylonians, the Persian king Cyrus II allows the Jews in Babylon to return to Jerusalem.

B. List of Returnees (Ezra 2:1-70)

This later insertion from the list in Nehemiah 7:6-69 presents Zerubbabel as the one who led the returnees, not Sheshbazzar (Ezra 1:7-11).

C. The Altar is Rebuilt and the Second Temple Foundations Are Laid (Ezra 3:1–4:24)

Some of the exiles return from Babylon with the temple vessels and rebuild the altar, reinstitute sacrifice, and lay the foundations of the temple that had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 587 B.C.E., despite opposition.

D. Rebuilding the Temple (Ezra 5:1–6:22)

Zerubbabel and Jeshua, with encouragement from the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, complete the rebuilding of the temple.

2. Second Return (under Ezra) and Reconstruction of the Community (Ezra 7:1–10:44)

After securing permission from Artaxerxes, the Persian king, to return, Ezra brings a second group of returnees to Jerusalem–this time with worship leaders–and institutes religious reforms.

A. Ezra’s Commission and Return (7:1–8:36)

Artaxerxes, king of Persia, commissions Ezra to lead a company of exiles back to Judah.

B. Ezra Works to Reconstruct the Community (9:1–10:44)

Ezra learns about the community’s lack of conformity with the law of Moses, especially evident in the marriage of Jews and non-Jews (so-called foreign women) (9:1-4). He confesses this sin to God (9:5-15) and takes steps to end these marriages (10:1-44).