- JUNE 12TH - EZRA 1 // GOD HAS NOT FORGOTTEN: THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
- JUNE 19TH - EZRA 2 // GOD HAS NOT FORGOTTEN: THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD
- JUNE 26TH - EZRA 3 // GOD HAS NOT CHANGED: THE HOLINESS OF GOD
- JULY 3RD - EZRA 4 // THE GLOVES COME OFF: GOD HAS ENEMIES
- JULY 10TH - EZRA 5 // THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD
- JUNE 17TH - EZRA 6 // THE EXALTATION OF GOD
- JULY 24TH - THE LORD'S SUPPER
- AUGUST 14TH - EZRA 7 // THE LEADER AFTER GOD'S HEART AND THE KING UNDER GOD'S HAND
- AUGUST 21ST - EZRA 8 // FAITHFUL OBEDIENCE AMID FEAR AND DANGER
- AUGST 28TH - EZRA 9 - 10 //
538 BC // The first return under Cyrus (Ezra 1-2)
538-536 BC // The rebuilding of the altar & founding of the temple. (Ezra 3)
Post 538 BC // The returnees refused offer of help, ensuing opposition. (Ezra 4:1-5)
520-515 BC // Temple reconstruction hindered until Darius’ second year. Work revived under Haggai & Zechariah. Tatnai’s investigation, Darius’ support, and rebuilding of the temple.(Ezra 4:5, 24-6:22)
486 BC // Opposition during the reign of Ahasuerus. (Ezra 4:6)
Post 466 BC // Opposition during the reign of Artaxerxes (Ezra 4:7)
458 BC // Return of Ezra with imperial grant. (Ezra 7:1-8:36)
458 BC // Problem of mixed marriages exposed and resolved. (Ezra 9:1-10:44)
Post 458 BC // Successful opposition to rebuilding of Jerusalem and its walls during the reign of Artaxerxes.(Ezra 4:8-23)
Themes in Ezra
- The Character of God - Sovereignty, Faithfulness, and Holy
- The Holiness of Israel - Proper Worship & Continuity with Pre-Exilic Israel
Structure of Ezra
The First Return
- - The Return of God's People & Rebuilding of the Temple (Ezra 1-6)
- 1:1-2:70 – The Exiles Return
- 3:1-13 – The Exiles Establish Temple Worship
- 4:1-24 – First Challenge – External Opposition in Rebuilding the Temple
- 5-6 – Resolution – The Israelites Finish the Temple and Purify the People
The Second Return
- - The Purity of God’s People and Repentance from Sin (Ezra 7-10)
- 7:1-8:36 – Ezra Returns
- 9:1-5 – Second Challenge – Internal Conflict of Corporate Purity
- 9-10 – Resolution – The People Repent and Divorce their Wives
God is the overarching character in the book of Ezra. He controls the hearts of the kings. He demands holiness from his chosen people.
Cyrus I (The Great) (500-530) – He is responsible for sending the exiles back to Jerusalem in Ezra 1-2. He is also king when the Israelites lay the foundation of the temple.
Darius I (522-486)
He is the King when the people of the land oppose the rebuilding of the temple in Ezra 4:1-5. He is also the king when the Israelites begin again the rebuilding of the temple as well as when the finish it in Ezra 5-6.
Xerxes I (486-465)
He is mentioned briefly in Ezra 4:6. He is the king of
Persia in the book of Esther. His mention in Ezra is only to remind the readers that the people of the land did not stop opposing the Israelites after the temple was finished.
Artaxerxes I (464-424)
King Artaxerxes is first mentioned in Ezra 4:7-24.
Ezra mentions Artaxerxes for the sole purpose of reminding the readers that the opposition the Israelites face from the people of the land is similar opposition the Israelites faced during King Darius’ reign. Artaxerxes is also the king in Ezra 7-10. He sends Ezra to Jerusalem to help the Israelites establish appropriate worship in the temple. He is the king throughout the book of Nehemiah.
Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel – Led the building of the altar of God as well as of the temple
The Levites – Supervised the work of the house of the Lord
Haggai and Zechariah – Prophesied to the Israelites that they should rebuild the temple although the King had not given them permission.
Ezra the Priest – Most like author of the book of Ezra. Returns to
Jerusalem in order to lead the Israelites in proper temple worship. When he returns, he learns that the Israelites are committing the same sins that first sent them into exile.
People of the Land
The adversaries//people of the land – They first acted if they supported the rebuilding. Once they could not build with the Israelites, they desired for the king to put a stop to the rebuilding of the temple. They frustrated the Israelites during the reigns of Cyrus and Darius as well as during the reign of King Artaxerxes (see Nehemiah).
Tattenai – The governor of the land who sought to stop the Israelites once again from rebuilding. Wrote a letter to Darius to re-stop the building of the