Jul 10 — Ezra 1-2

Ezra 1 — The Proclamation of Cyrus
Ezra 2 — The Exiles Return

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One Reply to “Jul 10 — Ezra 1-2”

  1. Before jumping into Ezra and Nehemiah, I took a detour to get a broader perspective on these two books along with Esther. While I felt like I knew the stories behind Esther and Nehemiah, I haven’t read Ezra in a long time. It’s a quick read since there are a lot of lists, but that doesn’t provide answers to the quest for insights and a better understanding of why we have it in the Bible. There are many commentaries and writers who focus on this trio and along with Daniel a lot of Jewish history is covered; rich history of how God’s plan was revealed through our ancient ancestors. This is really good stuff, though probably not the typical Starbucks coffee shop conversation!

    Originally, Ezra and Nehemiah formed one book, a logical continuing story of the Jews returning to Jerusalem. There are four sections that form this history: Ezra 1-6, Ezra 7-10, Nehemiah 1-7, Nehemiah 8-13. In this context, Esther’s story happens during the first section and is focused on events in Susa rather than Jerusalem. This background helps me as we jump into Ezra.

    Ezra begins by repeating the closing verses of 2 Chronicles 36:22-23. This emphasizes how “the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia” (Ezra 1:1) for His purposes in rebuilding his people after the exile. Cyrus also sends back “the articles belonging to the temple of The Lord” (Ezra 1:7) as a means to appease the God of these people. From Daniel’s story there were no doubt many who believed the God of the Jews was powerful, but it’s doubtful the believe in a single God above all. Just to be safe, Cyrus is motivated to send them back with the things that “belong” to God.

    Much like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness before entering the Promised Land, the Jews were exiled and their children’s children reclaim the temple. Those who were so rebellious have passed away. Now we have another chance as this part of the story begins.

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