Ezra: ‘one of the minor prophets’ that was basically all I knew about this guy in the bible.
I knew that the book of Ezra was a historical book and that meant “Story book” in my head. Nothing much did I expect when I started reading this book.
My first reaction after I went through the chapter was that “It didn’t have any grand finale”. The end was abrupt and left me hanging. I needed to know why this chapter was mentioned in the bible and hence the dig into history. I never expected a historical book to convict me, but it sure did.
The chronological order of the books concerning the book of Ezra and its history would be:
2 Chronicles 36 —> Ezra 1-6 —> Esther —> Ezra 7-10 —> Nehemiah
This meant the story of the book of Ezra began with 2 Chronicles 36 which is further confirmed by the fact that the exact verses in the end portion of 2 Chronicles 36 is repeated in Ezra 1.
So, let me narrate the story for better understanding.
2 Chronicles 36 talks about a series of kings who did evil in the eyes of the Lord. They made the nation of Israel into a house of all detestable practices and didn’t even hesitate to defile the temples of God. As the entire nation plunged into sin, the ever merciful Lord sent word to them through His messengers again and again, because He had pity on His people and on His dwelling place. (2 Chronicles 36:15).
But sadly, the messengers sent by God were despised, mocked and scoffed at.
This brought the wrath of God upon the nation and He gives them up into the hands of Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar.
The Israelites get robbed of their:
- Worship/ Temple (which was set on fire by the Babylonians)
- Protection (the wall of Jerusalem was broken down)
- Wealth (not only the wealth of kings, but also from the temple of God)
Whoever escaped the swords of the enemy were taken as captives away from their own land: An exile that lasted 70 years.
The book of Ezra begins with the end of this 70 years. There is a batch by batch return of the exiles back to Jerusalem.
|Batch||Bible Portion||Leader||Ruling king||Feature|
|Batch 1||Ezra 1-6||Zerubbabel||King Cyrus||Rebuilding of temple of God|
|Batch 2||Ezra 7-10||Ezra||King Artaxerxes||Revival of people|
|Batch 3||Nehemiah||Nehemiah||King Artaxerxes||Rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem|