The Bible Book by Book
Name. Ezra and Nehemiah were formerly counted as one book and contain the account of the restoration of the exiles to Jerusalem and the re-establishment of their worship. They soon came to be called First and Second Ezra. Jerome first called the second book Nehemiah. Wycliffe called them the first and second Esdras and later they were called the books of Esdras otherwise the Nehemiahs. The present names were first given in the Geneva Bible (1560). Ezra is so called from the author and principal character, the name meaning "help". Nehemiah is so called from the principal character, whose name means "Jehovah comforts."

Other Books. Three other books should be read in connection with this study. (1) The book of Esther, which relates to this time and should be read between chapters 6 and 7 of the book of Ezra. (2) The books of Haggai and Zechariah. These two prophets were associated with the first return of Zerubbabel and their words incited the Jews to complete the temple in spite of opposition.

The Return from Captivity. The return consisted of three expeditions led respectively by Zerubbabel. Ezra and Nehemiah. The time covered can not be accurately calculated. It is probably not fewer than ninety years. Some think it may have been as many as one hundred and ten years.

Analysis of Ezra.

I. The Rebuilding of the Temple, Chs. 1-6.

1. The proclamation of Cyrus, 1.

2. Those who returned, 2.

3. The foundation laid, 3.

4. The work hindered, 4.

5. The work finished, 5-6.

II. The Reforms of Ezra, Chs. 7-10.

1. Ezra's Journey, 7-8.

2. The confession of sin, 9.

3. The covenant to keep the law. 10.

For Study and Discussion. (1) The traits of character displayed by Ezra. (2) The reforms of Ezra. (a) What were they? (b) Parallel conditions of today. (3) The adversaries of Judah. (a) Who were they? (b) The nature of their opposition. (4) The decree of Cyrus. (5) The expedition of Zerubbabel and Ezra. (6) Ezra's commission and the king's orders 7:1-26. (7) God's use of friends and enemies in forwarding his purposes.

For the Outline Study of the Bible by Books by J.B. TIDELL, A.M., D.D. Professor of Biblical Literature in Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Ezra 1. Cyrus Returns the Exiles, Restores the Vessels of the Temple

1. The proclamation of Cyrus for the building of the temple
5. The people provide for their return
7. Cyrus restores the vessels of the temple to Sheshbazzar

Ezra 2. Listing of the Exiles Who Returned

1. The number that return of the people
36. of the priests
40. of the Levites
43. of the Nethinims
55. of Solomon's servants
61. of the priests who could not show their pedigree
64. The whole number of them, with their substance
68. Their offerings

Ezra 3. Altar and Sacrifices Restored; Temple Work Begun

1. The altar is set up
4. Offerings renewed
7. Workmen employed in preparing materials
8. The foundations of the temple are laid in great joy and mourning

Ezra 4. Adversaries Hinder Work; Artaxerxes Orders Work Stopped

1. The adversaries, being not accepted in the building of the temple with the Jews,
4. endeavor to hinder it
7. Their letter to Artaxerxes
17. The answer and decree of Artaxerxes
23. The building is hindered

Ezra 5. Tattenai's Letter to Darius

1. Zerubbabel and Jeshua, incited by Haggai and Zechariah, set forward to building
3. Tattenai and Shethar-Bozenai are not able to hinder the Jews
6. Their letter to Darius against the Jews

Ezra 6. Decree of Darius; Temple Work Resumed; Dedication of the Temple; Passover Observed

1. Darius, finding the decree of Cyrus, makes a new decree for building
13. By the help of Tattenai and Shethar-Bozenai the temple is finished
16. The feast of the dedication is kept
19. and the Passover

Ezra 7. Ezra Journeys to Jerusalem, Commissed by Artaxerxes

1. Ezra goes up to Jerusalem
11. The gracious commission of Artaxerxes to Ezra
27. Ezra blesses God for this favor

Ezra 8. The Companions of Ezra; Treasure Delivered to the Temple

1. The companions of Ezra, who returned from Babylon
15. He sends to Iddo for ministers for the temple
21. He keeps a fast
24. He commits the treasures to the custody of the priests
31. From Ahava they come to Jerusalem
33. The treasure is weighed in the temple
36. The commission is delivered

Ezra 9. Ezra's Prayer About Intermarriage

1. Ezra mourns for the affinity of the people with strangers
5. He prays unto God, with confession of sins

Ezra 10. The People Confess; Listing of Those Guilty of Intermarriage

1. Ezra encouraged to reform the strange marriages
6. Ezra assembles the people
9. The people repent, and promise amendment
15. The care to perform it
18. The names of them which had married strange wives
2 Chronicles
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