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

Bible Study: 1 Chronicles – Summary of the Book

Summary of the Book of 1 Chronicles

The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles were originally one book. Like the books of Kings, this is a historical book. However, the books of Kings focused on the northern kingdom, Israel, and this book focuses on the southern kingdom, Judah.

The two books of Chronicles cover about the same time period as 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings. For 1 Chronicles this is approximately 1000 to 960 BC. It includes the end of Saul’s reign and takes the reader up to the beginning of the reign of Solomon.

Author of 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 of the book wrote it after the end of the Babylonian Captivity (1 Chronicles 3:19; 6:15; 9:1, 2). The book seems to be a guide to those returning from exile to know how to worship in the rebuilt city of Jerusalem. It was written between 450 and 425 BC. The book of 1 Chronicles covers just 40 years while 2 Chronicles is approximately 424 years. Continue reading

Bible Study: 2 Kings – Summary of the Book

Summary of the Book of 2 Kings

This is the second part of the book of Kings. Originally this book and the preceding book were combined into one longer book in the Hebrew Bible. The same thing happened with the books of Samuel and Chronicles (immediately before and after the books of Kings).

Second Kings covers about 270 years of history. This includes the reign of Ahaziah (son of King Ahab) to the Babylonian captivity and a bit beyond. The book covers about 26 years into the captivity (2 Kings 25:27).

Author

It is not certain who author of the book was, but tradition says that Jeremiah the prophet wrote the book.

Date Written

This book ends with the Babylonian captivity (plus a few years). Its contents end around 586 BC. The book was probably written some time between 586 and 540 BC if Jeremiah was the author. Jeremiah also wrote the book bearing his name about the same time.

Purpose of 2 Kings

Like the other books of history, this book seems to be more historical in nature as opposed to trying to drive home a certain lesson. It traces the history of Israel from the divided kingdom after the death of Ahab until the Assyrian captivity of Israel and the Babylonian captivity of Judah.

In the first and second books of Kings, the reader can see the progression of Israel from its glory to its downfall. The history of the wickedness of the kings and the nation show the decline and captivity of the great and mighty nation of Israel. When Israel began to abandon the God of heaven and chose to worship other gods and ideologies the nation declined in spirituality. Their sin resulted in punishment by slavery like they escaped in Egypt. Continue reading

Bible Study: 1 Kings – Summary of the Book

Summary of the Book of 1 Kings

The books of first and second Kings were originally one book in the Hebrew Bible, but were later divided into two books: just like the books of Samuel and Chronicles.

First Kings covers about 126 years of Israel’s history. This includes the death of David to the death of Jehoshaphat, or about 960 to 834 BC. This is the period of history in Israel from its greatest glory to its division into two kingdoms which eventually led to the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities by the end of the second book of Kings.

Author

The author of the book is unknown but tradition says that it was Jeremiah the prophet. Jeremiah wrote another book bearing his name.

Date Written

The end of the second book of Kings covers the Babylonian captivity and a few years beyond. Its contents end about 586 BC. The book is suspected to have been written sometime between 586 and 540 BC. The book of Jeremiah was written about the same time covering the previous 40 years from 626 to 586 BC. Continue reading