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Ezra 7

1 - Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah,

2 - the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub,

3 - the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth,

4 - the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki,

5 - the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest-

6 - this Ezra went up from Babylon. He was a skilled scribe in the law of Moses, which The LORD, the God of Israel, had given; and the king granted him all his request, according to the LORD his God's hand on him.

7 - Some of the children of Israel, including some of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants went up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king.

8 - He came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.

9 - For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylon; and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God on him.

10 - For Ezra had set his heart to seek The LORD's law, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.

11 - Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, even the scribe of the words of The LORD's commandments, and of his statutes to Israel:

12 - Artaxerxes, king of kings,To Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the perfect God of heaven.Now

13 - I make a decree, that all those of the people of Israel, and their priests and the Levites, in my realm, who intend of their own free will to go to Jerusalem, go with you.

14 - Because you are sent by the king and his seven counselors, to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of your God which is in your hand,

15 - and to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem,

16 - and all the silver and gold that you will find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem;

17 - therefore you shall with all diligence buy with this money bulls, rams, lambs, with their meal offerings and their drink offerings, and shall offer them on the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem.

18 - Whatever seems good to you and to your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, do that according to the will of your God.

19 - The vessels that are given to you for the service of the house of your God, deliver before the God of Jerusalem.

20 - Whatever more will be needed for the house of your God, which you may have occasion to give, give it out of the king's treasure house.

21 - I, even I Artaxerxes the king, make a decree to all the treasurers who are beyond the River, that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, requires of you, it shall be done with all diligence,

22 - up to one hundred talents of silver, and to one hundred cors of wheat, and to one hundred baths of wine, and to one hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much.

23 - Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be done exactly for the house of the God of heaven; for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?

24 - Also we inform you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll, on any of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, temple servants, or laborers of this house of God.

25 - You, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that is in your hand, appoint magistrates and judges, who may judge all the people who are beyond the River, who all know the laws of your God; and teach him who doesn't know them.

26 - Whoever will not do the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed on him with all diligence, whether it is to death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.

27 - Blessed be The LORD, the God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify The LORD's house which is in Jerusalem;

28 - and has extended loving kindness to me before the king and his counselors, and before all the king's mighty princes. I was strengthened according to the LORD my God's hand on me, and I gathered together chief men out of Israel to go up with me.


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Ezra 1 Ezra 2 Ezra 3 Ezra 4 Ezra 5
Ezra 6 Ezra 7 Ezra 8 Ezra 9 Ezra 10


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Ezra Images and Notes

The Book of Ezra

Ezra 1:1-3 - Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and [put it] also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which [is] in Judah. Who [is there] among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which [is] in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he [is] the God,) which [is] in Jerusalem.

Ezra 9:6-8 - And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over [our] head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens. Since the days of our fathers [have] we [been] in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, [and] our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as [it is] this day. And now for a little space grace hath been [shewed] from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.

The Old Testament - A Brief Overview

Bible Survey - Ezra
Hebrew Name - Etzra "Ezra"
Greek Name - Esdras (Greek form of the Hebrew)
Author - Ezra (According to Tradition)
Date - From 536-456 BC Approximately
Theme of Ezra - The return from the captivity
Types and Shadows - In Ezra Jesus is the one who led the captives out

ARCHAEOLOGY

Tomb of Cyrus the Great at Pasargadae

The Tomb of Cyrus at Pasargadae
"O man, whoever you are and wherever you come from, for I know that you will come--I am Cyrus, son of Cambyses, who founded the Empire of the Persians and was king of the East. Do not grudge me this spot of earth which covers my body." - Cyrus

This tomb of the great Persian ruler, Cyrus, was discovered in 1951 at the ruins of Pasargadae (south-central Iran). Over 2500 years old, the tomb is in decent condition, made of white limestone and stands a total of 36 feet high. The tomb itself is 18 feet high resting on a 6 level base, also 18 feet high. It was built like a Ziggurat with Ionian and Lydian features. There is a small entrance and double doors leading to a room with no windows which once contained the "golden sarcophagus" of Cyrus, it is now an empty shell. Five huge stones make up its roof, which was slanted (gabled) to shed heavy rains. These Nordic gables were the architectural style of lands far to the north. The inscription was seen and recorded by Plutarch in AD 90.


Summary of The Book of Ezra

The Hebrew traditions treated the books of Ezra and Nehemiah is one book, although they were probably separated in the Bible. The book of Ezra bears the name of an individual who was a descendent of the priest Hilkiah who had helped initiate reforms in the time of Josiah (2 Kings 22:8). Ezra returned from the Babylonian captivity in 457 BC which was 80 years after the first group of Jews had returned to Israel under the leadership of Zerubbabel (13 years before Nehemiah). Ezra was both a priest and a scribe and he had a single purpose, to purify the worship of the Lord among the Hebrews based on the law of Moses. The Jews have regarded Ezra as the second greatest hero in the history of Israel, after Moses.

The most important observation about  the book of Ezra is to see how God fulfills his Word, and the prophets spoke continually about the restoration of the people of Israel  to the land of their inheritance, after the captivity. God did miracles in the hearts of foreign monarchs like Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and Cyrus, Darius, and Xerxes. He fulfilled his purposes through great  leaders like Joshua, Zerubbabel, Haggai, Zechariah, Ezra, and Nehemiah to bring about the rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem, and the Temple of Solomon, and the reestablishment of the law of Moses. The book of Ezra along with Nehemiah provide for us all the history among the Jews between 536 BC and 430 BC. The accomplishments of Ezra focuses on the period from 536 two 456 BC, and Nehemiah begins his mission in 445 BC with a detailed description of 12 years of events.

Quick Reference Map
Map of the Persian Empire at the Time of Ezra
Map of the Persian Empire at the Time of Ezra (Click to Enlarge)

The contents of the book of Ezra may be summarized as follows:

Outline of the Book of Ezra

1) The return of the exiles to Jerusalem at the decree of Cyrus, 546 BC (Ezra 1-2 ).
2 ) The work of rebuilding the temple begun, brought to a standstill through the efforts of heathen neighbors, and finally completed at the urging of Haggai and Zechariah (Ezra 3-6).
3 ) Ezra's return to Jerusalem for the purpose of restoring the temple service (Ezra 7-8).
4 ) The problem of mixed marriages, which threatened to plunge the Jews into the same course of idolatry which had brought about their original downfall (Ezra 9-10).

Quick Reference Maps - Ezra

Zerubbabel and Ezra's Journey to Restore Jerusalem - Zerubbabel, of the house of David heeded the decree of Cyrus to allow the Jews to return and restore Jerusalem and later more Jews including Ezra and Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem.

The Persian Empire in the 6th Century BC - The great rulers of the Persian Empire during the 6th century BC were Cyrus the Great, Cambyses, and Darius I the Great.

The Persian Empire in the 5th Century BC - During the 5th centuries BC the Persian Empire expanded under various rulers: Darius I, Xerxes I (Ahasuerus), and Artaxerxes I.

The First Day. Light.

Ezra Resources

The Return From Babylon

More About the Book of Ezra
Ezra in the Picture Study Bible
Timeline of the Ancient World
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