Bible Study: Ezra – Summary of the Book

Summary of the Book of Ezra

Ezra is the first book in the post-exilic period of Israel. King Nebuchadnezzar invaded Israel and carried the Jews away as captives in 606 BC. Israel was under Babylonian control until approximately 536 BC when the Medo-Persian Empire took control. The book of Ezra begins its history at the beginning of the Medo-Persian rule.

Author of Ezra

Ezra is the author of the book and is also the main character in the story starting in chapter 7 (Ezra 7:1, 11, 25, 28; 8:15-17, etc.). Though the book does not specifically claim Ezra as the author, the writing style changes from third person in chapters 1-6 to first person for the rest of the book. This coincides with when Ezra became the leader of the people out of Babylon headed to Jerusalem. He was a priest and the son of Saraiah (7:1-5). Ezra was a scribe which are sometimes called lawyers in the New Testament (7:6, 21). He was a godly man (7:10).

Date Written

The book was written shortly after Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in 458 BC. It covers the history of Israel for the years 536 to 456 BC. The book starts where the book of 2 Chronicles ends and is a continuation of that book which is apparently written by the same author.

Ezra, like the books of Chronicles, was written some time between 460 and 440 BC.

Purpose of Ezra

While there is no specified audience (like the other historical books), Ezra is clearly writing to outline the history of the re-establishment of Jerusalem. This book covers a period of about 80 years. The book opens with the first wave of Jews returning to Jerusalem. Then 78 years later there is a second group who came to the city to rebuild.

The first group was led by Zerubbabel and is covered in chapters 1-6. Ezra led the second group in chapters 7-10. Continue reading

Bible Study: 2 Chronicles – Summary of the Book

Summary of the Book of 2 Chronicles

Originally the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles were a single book. Like the books of Kings, this is a historical book. The Kings focused on the northern kingdom, Israel, and this book (1 and 2 Chronicles) focuses on the southern kingdom, Judah.

The second of the two books of Chronicles cover the same time period as the two books of Kings. This is a time period of about 424 years, from the time of Solomon’s reign until Cyrus’ decree to rebuild Jerusalem. Approximately from 960 to 536 BC.

Author of 2 Chronicles

The author of 2 Chronicles is the same as 1 Chronicles:

The book does not claim an author, but tradition says that the author was Ezra. Ezra was a priest in the southern kingdom who lived in Jerusalem (Ezra 7:11). The books of Chronicles focus on temple worship, priests and Levites. This fits with the fact that Ezra was a priest. The writing style is very similar to Ezra, who wrote the book bearing his name. The two books of Chronicles are historical books which go up to the time period of the book of Ezra. The book of Ezra reads like a continuation of the book of 2 Chronicles.

Date Written

The author, probably Ezra, wrote it after the Jews had returned to the land after the Babylonian Captivity (1 Chronicles 3:19; 6:15; 9:1, 2). The book is a guide to those returning from exile to know how to worship in the Temple of Jerusalem. It was written between 450 and 425 BC and covers approximately 424 years. Continue reading