How does the historical narrative of the Old Testament end before Jesus comes into the world? Ezra 1 and, in general, the whole book of which it is a part, will give you the answer, and we are going to show it to you in this new article.
Ezra chapter 1 KJV
However, few know about the next historical period of Israel, when its inhabitants were liberated from the Babylonian empire and returned to their homes, rebuilding their faith again and taking giant steps towards the coming of the Messiah Our Lord Jesus Christ.
This part is narrated by Ezra, of which today you will learn more general information as we analyze its first chapter, Ezra 1. Find a good place to receive the Word of God and when you want to start with this new article of Your Bible Online!
Ezra 1 in English and large print
Do you feel the joy and hope of returning home with this chapter? Now you can read it in its entirety in English from the King James Version. Then we will do our biblical commentary, don’t worry if you have questions!
The decree of Cyrus
1 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, which he proclaimed by word and also in writing throughout all his kingdom, saying:
2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and hath commanded me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
3 Whoever is among you of his people, let God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel (he is God), which is in Jerusalem.
4 And whosoever shall be left, wheresoever he shall dwell, let the men of his place help him with silver, with gold, with goods, and with cattle, beside freewill offerings for the house of God, which is at Jerusalem.
Return to Jerusalem
5 Then rose up the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, all those whose spirit God stirred up to go up to build the house of the LORD, which is at Jerusalem.
6 And all who were in their vicinity helped them with silver and gold, with goods and cattle, and with precious things, besides all that was willingly offered.
7 And king Cyrus brought out the vessels of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought out of Jerusalem, and put them in the house of his gods.
8 So Cyrus king of Persia brought them out by the hand of Mithridates the treasurer, who gave them to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah.
9 And this is the number of them: thirty bowls of gold, a thousand bowls of silver, twenty-nine knives,
10 thirty cups of gold, and four hundred and ten cups of silver, and a thousand other vessels.
11 All the gold and silver utensils were five thousand four hundred. Sheshbazzar brought them all with those who came up from the Babylonian captivity to Jerusalem.
Explanation and meaning of Ezra 1
Ezra is a very beautiful name with a deep meaning in its Hebrew origin. In this language, Esdras means “Yah help”, or in other words “God helps.”. Thus, its name is perfectly related to the content of the book itself as we will see below.
In Ezra, the Jewish people must return home and a profound renewal of their faith, as well as of their laws and customs, is necessary. God will help them in this process and will prepare them for the arrival of Jesus.
Who was Ezra in the Bible?
Analyzing a little more in detail the biblical character of Ezra, you should know that he was a leader of the Jewish people during the Babylonian exile and, when they were liberated, he sought the reconstruction of Jerusalem as the prophets had foreseen.
To this end, he proclaimed the great importance of the Hebrew Torah and the duty to maintain the purity and maintain its purity of his people, as had been established in the ancient scriptures. This intransigence led to conflicts with his people, as we will tell you later.
Ezra was an expert in the Hebrew and Aramaic This is reflected in the original text of the Bible, since it is written in both languages. This linguistic duality was common among the sages of the time and even more so during the captivity, since Aramaic was the main language of the region outside Israel.
The Book of Ezra
As we have been saying, the Book of Ezra narrates the historical period after the Babylonian captivity The Book of Ezra, comprising the liberation of the Jewish people and the construction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
There is discussion about the historical value of this book, but since it is one of the few historical sources of that time, it is important to take it into consideration; and for our part, to try to find its religious value as in all the texts that make up the Bible.
Remember! The Book of Ezra is not to be confused with the books 1 Esdras and 2 Esdras which are apocryphal books and, therefore, are not part of the Bible in most Christian churches.
Originally, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah were the same unit, although they were later separated. In them, you can see how their efforts to renew the faith of the people of Israel do not bear fruit and the arrival of a Messiah to save them and return them to the path of truth becomes inevitable.
Biblical History of Ezra 1
After seeing the position of the book of Ezra occupies in the Bible we want to show you the historical context in which it is found so that you can understand the purpose and motivation of the book much better.
The background of the book is the captivity of the Jews in Babylon, after King Nebuchadnezzar conquered the city of Jerusalem and destroyed the temple dedicated to God.
The stories of the exile that many of the inhabitants of Jerusalem had to go into exile are found in some prophetic books such as those of Daniel, Jeremiah or Ezekiel, in which their experiences are narrated from very different points of view in which their experiences are narrated from very different points of view.
Even so, an idea is emerging in their minds: a renewal of the Jewish faith and a new covenant with God. This gives rise to many prophecies which, as we Christians well know, were fulfilled with the coming of Jesus.
However, Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah have to lead their people back to Jerusalem after the Persian king Cyrus I the Great, who now ruled the entire region, made a decree allowing the Israelites to return to their homes.
At that time, the people still needed very deep changes and that is why many of the reforms that were intended to be made failed, opening a very dark period for the history of Israel, which from that moment on would not be an autonomous land again until many years later.
Bible Study Ezra 1
After this great introduction to the book of Ezra, we are going to do a biblical commentary on Ezra 1 the first chapter of this beautiful book.
The chapter begins with the decree of Cyrus I the Great, which allows the Jews to return to Jerusalem and urges them to rebuild the temple. From what is told in the Bible, the Persian king Cyrus I had been converted to Judaism and at that time wanted to help rebuild Jerusalem to honor God.
The king himself returned to the Israelites their wealth so that they could start back home more easily, as you can see in the last verses of the first part of the chapter.
At Ezra 1:5 we see how the exiles who were returning had an infinite desire to rebuild the temple and exalt the Lord, something that will clash with those who stayed there after the conquest, as you can see if you continue reading this book.
“Then rose up the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, all those whose spirit God stirred up to go up to build the house of the LORD, which is at Jerusalem.” (Ezra 1:5)
And so the chapter ends, with the Jews returning to their homes with their hands full, thanks to the king who liberated them and with the hope of recovering the greatness that Israel had in former times.
What can we take away from this encouraging chapter? Let God’s grace move you and drive you to do great things. If you seek God, you will find Him, and when you find Him, you will easily glimpse the way forward.
To do so, don’t give up and keep trying. The captives in Babylon did not cease to fight for his freedom, and the desire to be able to recover the greatness of God made his liberation come sooner rather than later.
And remember that, even with faith, things may not turn out the way you expect. The Lord everything is planned, and a bad now can become a greater good in the future if you keep your faith.
For our part, this is all about Ezra 1 and all its context. We hope that this article has touched your heart and that you have spent some time of reflection with the Lord to help you get away from the problems of everyday life.
From Your Online Bible we thank God and ask Him to bless your soul see you next time!