The Book of Ezra, Chapter 1, The theme, time line and author
Ezra, whose name means "The L-rd Has Helped", was a priest an scribe in exile. He is the one who is considered to be the author but there is not total proof to be sure of this. There could be an unknown editor who did the compiling of the book for Esra.
The book of Ezra covers a time span of 80 years, and has two distinct parts.
The Persian King Cyrus, moved by G-d in his heart to allow the captives to return after 60 years of Babylonian rule.
In the opening chapters of Ezra we see the first part of the span with the return of the exiled captives, going back to Jerusalem. Under the leadership of Zerubbabel in 538 BC, The Temple is reconstructed. This takes about 23 years into the time span to complete this first work. The work was hindered by the non-Jewish people that had taken residence in the destroyed city of Jerusalem.
G-d raises up two prophetic workers, Haggai and Zachariah to inspire the people and to complete the task at hand of rebuilding Solomon's Temple. By 515BC this work is completed with it's dedication.
Chapter 1 of Ezra starts with Cyrus fulfilling the prophetic words of Jeremiah:"And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations." Jeremiah 25:12
Lets start to read this first part with Chapter 1 and post your comments
There is an index page on The Book Ezra here at ccel.