“For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.” ——Ezra 9:9 NKJV
By Leslie M. Grant
Ezra, meaning “help,” is written by a scribe of this name and is an account of a restoring work of God in bringing back some of the Jews to Jerusalem. The first group came with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:2) with the object [intention] of rebuilding the temple. This was at the commandment of Cyrus, king of Persia, for the Medes and Persians had by this time conquered the Babylonian Empire. Cyrus decreed that the vessels of the temple (previously carried away by Nebuchadnezzar) should be restored to the about-to-be rebuilt temple. There were hindrances in the building, but God, using the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, eventually enabled the completion of this as Ezra 6:15 shows.
Another group of Jews returned later with Ezra during the reign of Artaxerxes. Ezra was a priest of the line of Aaron. He was sent to give help in the service of the rebuilt temple and to establish magistrates and judges who knew the law of God and were therefore able to rule in the land.
This is a necessary book for our own days when those who desire a return to the true worship of God according to Scripture can expect opposition. Their faith, however, will be rewarded if they are steadfast and stand firmly for the true principles of God.