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by Frederick Brotherton Meyer
Introduction to Ezra
Ezra was a Jew, sprung from the race of Aaron, and descended from the high priest who was slain at the capture of Jerusalem, 2 Kings 25:18-21 . This book is not a continuous narrative, but consists of two parts separated by several years. The first part, Ezra 1:1-11 ; Ezra 2:1-70 ; Ezra 3:1-13 ; Ezra 4:1-24 ; Ezra 5:1-17 ; Ezra 6:1-22 , contains a narrative of the return of the first caravan of Jews from Babylon, under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Jeshua. The second part, Ezra 7:1-28 ; Ezra 8:1-36 ; Ezra 9:1-15 ; Ezra 10:1-44 , is an account of an expedition, sixty years after the first, conducted by Ezra himself, accompanied by large numbers of his fellow-countrymen, and empowered to re-establish order and religion.
This book is supposed to have been written by Ezra, who was a great student of the holy writings, and a ready scribe in the Law of Moses. He must have been a man of note among the Jewish captives to have won the favor and trust of the king of Persia. There is an absence of the miraculous, and a great similarity to the books of Chronicles. It shows enthusiasm characterizing the beginnings of work for God; then coldness and apathy follow in face of opposition; but when men get back to foundation principles, the work is carried forward to completion.
e-Sword Note: The following material was presented at the end of Ezra in the printed edition
Review Questions on Ezra
( a ) What are the two main divisions of this book?
( b ) How do the two returns resemble each other, as indicated in the outline?
( c ) What is known regarding the author of this book?
( d ) With what other books in the Old Testament may it be compared?
( e ) What does the book teach?
Each question applies to the paragraph of corresponding number in the Comments .
1. What heathen king was prompted by God to aid in the rebuilding of the Temple?
2. What was the first act of the restored Jews?
3. What two emotions blended at the Temple’s refounding? Why did some weep?
4. By whom was the building of the Temple opposed?
5. What was given as a reason why the work should be stopped?
6. What two prophets urged the people to resume building? How many years had the work been suspended?
7. What heathen ruler was in power when the Temple was finished, and what aid did he give towards its completion?
8. In what words, constantly repeated, may be found the keynote to Ezra’s life?
9. What commission did the king of Babylon give to Ezra?
10. How was Ezra’s belief in the power of prayer manifested? Why was he ashamed to ask for a military escort?
11. What sacred charge was given certain of the priests and Levites?
12. What lesson may the individual Christian learn from Ezra’s attitude toward national sins?
13. How did the people show their repentance?
the Second Week of Advent