Book Of Ezra

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The Book of Ezra is a book of the Bible in the Old Testament and Hebrew Tanakh. This book is the record of events occurring at the close of the Babylonian captivity. At one time, it included the book of Nehemiah, the Jews regarding them as one volume. The two are still distinguished in the Vulgate version as I and II Esdras. It consists of two principal divisions:

The history of the first return of exiles, in the first year of Cyrus the Great (536 BC), till the completion and dedication of the new temple, in the sixth year of Darius Hystapes (515 BC), ch. 1-6. From the close of the sixth to the opening of the seventh chapter there is a blank in the history of about sixty years.

The history of the second return under Ezra, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, and of the events that took place at Jerusalem after Ezra's arrival there (7-10).

The book thus contains memorabilia connected with the Jews, from the decree of Cyrus to the reformation by Ezra (456 BC), extending over a period of about eighty years. Several Aramaic letters are quoted in their original language, while the rest of the book is written in Hebrew.

There is no quotation from this book in the New Testament.

In the King James Version, Ezra 7:21 contains every letter of the alphabet except J.

Ezra was the author of this book (comp. Ezra 7:27-28; Ezra 8:1, etc.), as he was also of the Books of Chronicles, the close of which forms the opening passage of Ezra. Some authors think that the historical order of events in both Ezra and Nehemiah has become jumbled, from which they conclude that at least the final arrangement and revision of their text must have occurred at a later period.

There are two more books going by the name "Book of Ezra", or "Book of Esdras". These are found in the Apocrypha of the Bible; see their descriptions for details on their varying and complex numbering scheme.

See Ezra-Nehemiah.

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