The book of Ezra contains almost all that is known of the history of the Jews between 5388.C when Cyrus the Persian conquered Babylon and 457 B.C when Ezra came to Jerusalem. The book of Chronicles, Ezra and that of Nehemiah are closely connected and breathe the same spirit. Chronicles is the antecedent of the other two, which deal with the events after the captivity.
Note the connection of chapter 1;1-3 with the ending of Chronicles.
In this book the hand of God is seen in causing King Cyrus to allow the Jews to return from exile in Babylon and to rebuild the ruined Temple [see chapter 1;1-11),yet many Jews preferred the comforts of civilized Babylon rather than the hardships of poverty – stricken Judea – see Chapter 2:1-70. Those who returned began by putting God first- see Chapter 3:1-13, yet allowed their enemies to stop the building of the Temple and City …see Chapter 4:1-24.
After about sixteen years of revival came through the preaching of Prophets Haggai and Zechariah, the temple was completed by 516 B.C despite more and more opposition – see Chapters 5: 1-6: 22. A gap of nearly sixty years is followed in 457 B.C by the coming of Ezra -Chapter 7:1-10 who was commissioned by the Persian King to teach and enforce the Jewish law-see Chapter 7:11-28. Ezra gathered a new generation of exiles to come back with him and made the dangerous journey without escort- see Chapter 8:1-36. Almost at once, he was faced with the problem of mixed marriages between Jews and heathen and after prayer and confession, he was able to carry most of the people with him in a thorough examination of this scandal, and in causing them to make a new covenant with the LORD-see Chapter 9:1-10:44
The book of Ezra demonstrates God’s use of heathen rulers to fulfill His purpose, and gives encouragement and warning to the people of God. They may be frightened by opposition when God means them to go forward. They may be content with the standards of the pagan world, or they may have the faith of Ezra and the prophets.
THE OUTLINE OF THE BOOK OF EZRA:
The Return Of The Exiles From Babylon To Jerusalem – Chapter 1:1-11
The Register Of Those Who Returned-Chapter 2:1-70
The Building Of The Altar And The Temple Foundation – Chapter 3:1-13.
The Cessation Of The Work- Through Opposition Chapter 4:1-24
The Renewal Of The Work And The Completion Of The Temple Chapter 5:1-6:22.
The Mission Of Ezra-Chapter 7:1-28
Ezra’s Journey-Chapter 8:1-36
The Problem Of Mixed Marriage-Chapters 9:1-10:44