Outline of Ezra
1. Return under ZerubbabelThe governor of Judah who helped rebuild the Temple after the exile More and Reconstruction of the TempleThe Jerusalem temple, unlike the tabernacle, was a permanent structure, although (like the tabernacle) it was a place of worship and religious activity. On one occasion Jesus felt such activity was unacceptable and, as reported in all four Gospels, drove from the temple those engaged… More (EzraScribe who helped establish Jewish practices in Jerusalem after the exile. More 1:1–6:22)
Released from Babylonian captivity by CyrusPersian leader who allowed Jewish exiles to return home. More, a remnant of the people returns under Zerubbabel and rebuilds the temple despite serious opposition from the surrounding peoples.
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, ending their exile.
B. List of Returnees (Ezra 2:1-70)
This later insertion from the list in NehemiahThe governor of Jerusalem who rebuilt the city walls after the exile More 7:6-69 assumes Zerubbabel led the returnees, not Sheshbazzar (Ezra 1:7-11).
C. The Altar Rebuilt and the 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 sacrificeSacrifice is commonly understood as the practice of offering or giving up something as a sign of worship, commitment, or obedience. In the Old Testament grain, wine, or animals are used as sacrifice. In some New Testament writings Jesus’ death on the cross as the… More, and lay the foundations of the temple that had been destroyed by NebuchadnezzarBabylonian king who conquered Jerusalem, destroyed the Temple, and exiled the people More 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. 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 extensive religious reforms.
A. Ezra’s Commission and Return (7:1–8:36)
Artaxerxes, king of PersiaPersia was a southwestern Asian country. The Persian empire was a series of empires that occupied what is currently Afghanistan and Iran from 600 B.C.E. forward. Rulers of the Persian empire mentioned in the Bible are Cyrus and Darius. More, commissions Ezra to lead a company of exiles back to JudahJudah was the name of Jacob’s fourth son and one of the 12 tribes. More.
B. Ezra Works to Reconstruct the Community (9:1–10:44)
Ezra learns about the community’s lack of conformity with the law of MosesProphet who led Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land and received the law at Sinai More, especially evident in the marriage of Jews and non-Jews (9:1-4). He confesses this sin to God (9:5-15) and takes steps to end these marriages (10:1-44).