Who Was Ezra In The Bible

Who was Ezra in the Bible? Who is Ezra? These are questions you may have asked yourself at some point. Well don’t worry, because you’ve come to the right place! This article gives a complete overview of this key person in the story of Israel and the Jewish people.

Ezra is a powerful leader in the Bible. He helped lead God’s people out of captivity under the Babylonians, and led the room in worship. There a lot of stories of Ezra in the Bible. Let’s look at what they’re all about.

Ezra was a priest, scribe, and leader of the Hebrew people in 5th century BC. He appears in the Bible as a scholar and priest, and as a representative of the Persian court. Ezra was one of the Jewish people who returned to Israel after Exile in Babylonia. He is also a character from I and II Chronicles.

Ezra was a priest and scribe who led a second generation of Jews called the returnees. They were mostly Hebrew exiles who were reunited with Judah after the Babylonian captivity. He led a mission to Jerusalem in 458 BCE when Cyrus allowed freer religious activity. After his death, he is referred to as Ezra the Scribe in Hebrew (Ezra 7:6). His book in the Bible is written to tell the Jews about the correct history and celebration of the feast of Tabernacles (Hag Ha-Ta’anit).

Who Was Ezra In The Bible

Throughout the Old Testament, God called many individuals to lead, instruct, and deliver His people. Patriarchs, political leaders, military commanders, judges, prophets, and kings were all commissioned by God at specifics times for specific reasons, all for His glory. Ezra is no exception. Ezra may not have led Israel into battle or parted the Red Sea as Moses had done. He was not a king in the fashion of David or prophet to the nation with the reputation of Elijah. He was, however, one of the most influential leaders in the latter half of the Old Testament. But who was he?

Ezra, whose name means “help”, was a priest, a scribe, a teacher, and a member of the remnant of Israel who’d been taken into captivity by the Babylonian Empire, which later fell to the Persians. In captivity, Ezra had found favor in the Persian courts during the reign of Artaxerxes, so much so that the Persian king commissioned him to lead a group of Jewish exiles back to Jerusalem around 458 B.C. The caravan set out the following year. Ezra, however, was actually the second of three key leaders to lead expeditions back to Jerusalem, as prophesied by the prophet Jeremiah.

Under royal edict from King Cyrus of Persia, Zerubbabel had led the first return in 536 B.C. and helped rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. This return is described in the first six chapters of Ezra. As described in the book of Ezra, work on the temple would begin around 536 B.C. (Ezra 3) but stop in 534 B.C. (Ezra 4) due to political opposition from neighboring Samaritans. At this time, God sent the prophets Zechariah and Haggai (Ezra 5) to encourage the exiles to resume work on the temple. After a fourteen-year hiatus, work continued, and the temple was completed and dedicated in 516 B.C. (Ezra 6). The events of the book of Esther (483 – 473 B.C.), occur between the first return (under Zerubbabel in 536 B.C.) and second return (under Ezra in 457 B.C.).

Who Was Ezra In The Bible

Ezra was the second of three key leaders to leave Babylon for the reconstruction of Jerusalem. Zerubbabel reconstructed the temple (Ezra 3:8), Nehemiah rebuilt the walls (Nehemiah chapters 1 and 2), and Ezra restored the worship. Ezra was a scribe and priest sent with religious and political powers by the Persian King Artaxerxes to lead a group of Jewish exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem (Ezra 7:8, 12). Ezra condemned mixed marriages and encouraged Jews to divorce and banish their foreign wives. Ezra renewed the celebration of festivals and supported the rededication of the temple and the rebuilding of the Jerusalem wall. Ezra 7:10 describes a shaping of the community in accordance with the Torah. Ezra’s goal was to implement the Torah, and his impeccable priestly and scribal credentials allowed him to remain the model leader.

The book of Ezra continues from where 2 Chronicles ends, with Cyrus, king of Persia, issuing a decree that permitted the Jews of his kingdom to return to Jerusalem after seventy years of captivity. God is universally sovereign and can use a polytheistic king of Persia to make possible His people’s release. He used Artaxerxes, another Persian king, to authorize and finance the trip and Ezra to teach God’s people His Law. This same king also helped Nehemiah restore some measure of respectability to God’s holy city.

Ezra’s effective ministry included teaching the Word of God, initiating reforms, restoring worship, and leading spiritual revival in Jerusalem. These reforms magnified the need for a genuine concern for reputation and for public image. What must the world think of God’s people with dilapidated city walls? What would distinguish God’s people who were guilty of intermarriage with those not in proper covenant relationship with the one true God? Nehemiah and Ezra were then, and are now, an encouragement to God’s people to magnify worship as their top priority, to emphasize the need for and use of God’s Word as the only authoritative rule for living, and to be concerned about the image God’s people show to the world.

Ezra came back from captivity in Babylon expecting to find the people serving the Lord with gladness, but upon his return to Jerusalem, he found the opposite. He was frustrated and sorrowful. His heart ached, but he still trusted the Lord. He wanted the Lord to change the situation and blamed himself for not being able to change the people’s hearts. He wanted the people to know how important and essential the Word of God was. Nothing must supersede worship of God, and obedience is not optional. The sovereign God looks over and protects His children, always keeping His promises and providing encouragement through those He sends (Ezra 5:1–2). Even when His plan seems to be interrupted, as with the rebuilding of Jerusalem, God steps in at the appropriate time to continue His plan.

God is as intimately involved in our lives as He was in Ezra’s life, and like Ezra we are sometimes enabled to do the impossible. Ezra did the impossible, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him (Ezra 7:9). Every believer is a living temple (1 Corinthians 6:19) in which the Holy Spirit dwells. The opposing forces in Ezra’s day were people with evil in their hearts. The opposing force in our Christian lives today is evil himself, Satan, who has come to destroy us and in turn destroy God’s temple (John 10:10). Our goals should be worthy in God’s eyes as well as our own. Yesterday’s sorrows can be today’s successes if the hand of the Lord is upon us. Ezra’s goal was worthy in God’s eyes, and he effectively used the returning Jews’ sorrows for the success of rebuilding God’s city and restoring worship.

Leave a Reply