Bible Reading for MAY19: Ezra 1-3

MAY 19

God had promised captivity judgment to the sinning nation of
Israel, and He fulfilled His promise. He also promised that a
remnant would return to Jerusalem (see Jeremiah 25:12-14 and 29:10-
14). Ezra and Nehemiah tell the story of the return to the land and
the city, the rebuilding of the Temple, and the rebuilding of the
walls. The Book of Esther also fits into this period, as do the
Books of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah.

Ezra is presented as a godly and patriotic Jew, who was a
priest and scribe (Ezra 7:1-6). He was a great student of the
Scriptures, and helped to restore the Jew of the land. We will find
in chapter 8 that he was a man of prayer and, in chapter 9, that he
was a man who was greatly burdened for the spiritual welfare of his
people. His name means “help” and throughout the Book of Ezra we
will see that his faith in the Lord is seen by his willingness to
undertake the dangerous journey from Babylonia to Jerusalem without
the aid of military escorts.

Chapters 1–3 record key events in the history of the
remnant of Israel (the returning to their land, recorded in chapters
1 and 2, and the rebuilding of the Temple, recorded in chapter 3).

The Book of Ezra records chronologically the return of the
remnant to Jerusalem and the events which took place after their
return. The book records the rebuilding of the Temple and its
dedication. There were 42,360 Jews who returned and participated in
the rebuilding. They were permitted to do so by a proclamation
issued by Cyrus, king of Persia. It is possible that King Cyrus was
influenced by the prophet Daniel, and may have heard from his lips
the history of Nebuchadnezzar, as well as the great prophecies.

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