Ezra/Nehemiah – Introduction
January 21, 2012
The books of Ezra and Nehemiah mark the greatest reform of God’s people in the Old Testament. God gave the law to Moses, a temple and kingdom to the Israelites, and prophets to proclaim that the people would be carried into captivity if they were not faithful. The people remained lukewarm, and were carried off to Babylon.
In the Babylonian captivity, we see the Israelites become the Jewish people, and they restore the land starting in 538 with the great decree of the Persian king Cyrus that the Jews were to return to Israel. God stirred Cyrus up to ask the Jews to rebuild the temple, which is something very unusual for the Persian Empire until that point.
Sheshbazzar, a Jewish prince, begins this return from exile, but after this, we do not see his name show up in the Bible. Zerubbabel continues the return.