Study of Ezra
  Intro / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10

Introduction(top)

    The book of Ezra records the fulfillment of God's promise to Israel through Jeremiah to bring them back to their land after 70 yrs of captivity. Through the protection of three Persian kings, (Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes) the second temple was completed and true worship restored in Jerusalem.

 The first six chapters cover events during the first two or three years of the reign of Cyrus and the first six years of the reign of Darius I. The last four chapters record events during the first part of the reign of Artaxerxes I. Virtually nothing of the 58 years of Esther is mentioned.

 The people of the Northern Kingdom of Israel were never able to return from their exile to Assyria. There are many reasons why they did not continue as a national entity:

 1.) The Northern Kingdom had no temple as Judah did
 2.) Israel had no survivors of the royal family after the fall of Samaria. They had already lost the Davidic line any way.
 3.) Assyria moved most of the Israelites out of the Northern Kingdom and transplanted foreigners into their lands. This brought about a mixing of the foreigners with the surviving Israelites and gave rise to the Samaritan people-- a mixed race which was so hated by the Jews in Jesus's time.
 4,) Most important of all, there was no continuing religious leadership or center of worship among the Israelite exiles in Assyria to preserve their religious and cultural identity. Without this they disappeared in the shifting populations of the ancient Middle East, the "ten lost tribes of the house of Israel". But the history of the exiled kingdom of Judah was very different.  It was Babylon, rather than Assyria, which finally captured and burned the city of Jerusalem in 587 B.C. The Babylonian policy toward conquered peoples was very different:
 A.) Babylon let the exiled Jews settle in their own communities. They were able to have their own worship, to preserve their own schools, and to keep their national and religious identity.
 B.) Judah also had the Davidic line upon the throne, and a descendant of David (Jehoachin) was taken with them in exile. This meant that a descendant of David was there to keep alive the hope of the restoration of the throne of David.
 C.) Babylon did not deliberately replace the population of Judea as Assyria had done in Samaria.  There were always some Jews left in the Holy City, and the exiles in Babylon never forgot their Holy City and glorious temple, which lay in ruins upon the sacred mountain of Zion.
 D.) Most important, the exiles from Judah had scribes and priests who preserved and taught the books of the law. The surviving nation in exile became the "people of the book" and in the years which followed their return from Babylon they became a people whose religious life was centered in the teaching of the Sacred Book.

OUTLINE:

I. The exiles' return from Babylon.....................1:1-2:70
 A. The decree of Cyrus........................................1:1-4
 B. Preparations for the journey.........................1:5-11
 C. Those who returned........................................2:1-70
II. Temple building begun....................................3:1-4:24
 A. The altar and the foundation.........................3:1-13
 B. Opposition to the work..................................4:1-24
III. The building completed..................................5:1-6:22
 A. Work resumed..................................................5:1-5
 B. Tatnai's letter to Darius...................................5:6-17
 C. Decrees of Cyrus and Darius..........................6:1-12
 D. The temple finished.........................................6:13-22
IV Ezra's journey to Jerusalem...........................7:1-8:36
 A. Ezra introduced...............................................7:1-10
 B. Letter of Artaxerxes to Ezra........................7:11-28
 C. The journey to Jerusalem................................8:1-36
V. The great reformation......................................9:1-10:44
 A. The tragic report and Ezra's prayer............9:1-15
 B. The abandonment of mixed marriages......10:1-17
 C. List of those with foreign wives..................10:18-44

Chapter 1(top)

1. Who was Cyrus?
2. What did God compell Cyrus to do?
3. How long had the Jews been in captivity under the Babylonians?
4. What did Cyrus give the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin?

Chapter 2(top)

5. What are porters? (vs. 42)
6. What are the Nethinim? (vs. 43)
7. What was wrong with the people in vs. 61 & 62?

Chapter 3(top)

8. What did the Jews do in the 7th month of their return to Jerusalem?
9. In the 2nd year back, who was put in charge of the work of the temple?
10. Why were some people weeping and some joyous? (Read Haggai 2:1-3)

Chapter 4(top)

11. What did some of the Jews enemies ask to do?
12. What was the Jews response?
13. What did the enemies do?
14. How long was the work hindered?
15. What did Rehum and Shimshai write unto Artaxerxes (Smerdis)?
16. How did Artaxerxes (Smerdis) respond?
17. How long did the work cease?

Chapter 5(top)

18. What did Tatnai and Shetharboznai write unto Darius?

Chapter 6(top)

19. What did Darius decree?
20. What did he find out?
21. What did Darius decree to Tatnai?
22. What were the names of the three helpful kings of Persia?
23. When was the temple finally completed?
24. What feast was restored?

Chapter 7(top)

25. Who was Ezra a descendant of?
26. What was Ezra?
27. When did Ezra arrive in Jerusalem?
28. What does verse 10 tell us about the kind of dedication Ezra had?
29. What did Artaxerxes's letter say that was sent with Ezra?

Chapter 8(top)

30. What did Ezra proclaim?
31. What did Ezra give to the chief priests?
32. What did God deliver Ezra and his followers from?

Chapter 9(top)

33. What did Ezra find out  the Jews had done?
34. What did he do to his clothes, his hair, and his beard?  why?

Chapter 10(top)

35. What was the proclamation made throughout Judah and Jerusalem?
36. What would happen to those who did not come within 3 days?
37. What did the Jews offer for their trespass?