The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Author: Ezra

Time: 538 –- 457 BC.

Summary: Ezra covers the events of the Jews returning from the Babylonian captivity. The decline of Babylon and its eventual overthrow by the Persians brought about this return to Jerusalem. The Jews are numbered and are allowed to return to Judah to rebuild the Temple. Samaritan assistance is rejected and their opposition is a contributing factor to the slow progress of the Temple construction. Despite the delays, the Temple is completed and dedicated during this period.

Key verse: "The Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage" (Ezr 9:8).


1. The exiles return from Babylon: Ezr 1:1 – 2:70

a) The decree of Cyrus: Ezr 1:1–4
b) Preparations for the journey: Ezr 1:5–11
c) Those who returned: Ezr 2:1–70

2. Temple building begins: Ezr 3:1 – 4:23

a) The altar and the foundation: Ezr 3:1–13
b) Opposition to the work: Ezr 4:1–23

3. The building completed: Ezr 4:24 – 6:22

a) Work resumed: Ezr 4:24 – 5:5
b) Tatnai's letter to Darius: Ezr 5:6–17
c) Decrees of Cyrus and Darius: Ezr 6:1–12
d) The Temple finished: Ezr 6:13–22

4. Ezra's journey to Jerusalem: Ezr 7:1 – 8:36

a) Ezra introduced: Ezr 7:1–10
b) Letter of Artaxerxes to Ezra: Ezr 7:11–28
c) The journey to Jerusalem: Ezr 8:1–36

5. Ezra's reforms: Ezr 9:1 – 10:44

a) The offence of mixed marriages and Ezra's prayer: Ezr 9:1–15
b) The abandonment of mixed marriages: Ezr 10:1–17
c) List of those with foreign wives: Ezr 10:18–44


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