"EZRA"

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     Ezra continues the Old Testament narrative of Seco to leave nd Chronicles by showing how God fulfills His promise to return His people, to the Land of Promise after seventy years of exile.  Israel's "second exodus", this one from Babylon, is less impressive than the return from Egypt because only a remnant chooses to leave Babylon.

      Ezra relates the story of two returns from Babylon-the first led by Zerubbabel to rebuild the temple(1-6), and the second under the leadership of Ezra to rebuild the spiritual condition of the people (7-10).  Sandwiched between these two accounts is a gap of nearly six decades, during which Esther lives and rules as queen in Persia.

     Ezra is the Aramaic form of the Hebrew word ezer, " help", and perhaps means "Yahweh helps", Ezra and Nehemiah were originally bound together as one book becauseChronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah were viewed as one continuous history.  The Septuagint, a Greek-language version of the Old Testament translated in the third century B.C,. calls Ezra-Nehemiah, Esdras Deuteron,"Second Estras". First Estras is the name of the apocryphal book of Esdras. The Latin title is Liber Primus Esdrae, "First Book of Ezra".  In the Latin Bible, Ezra is called First Ezra and Nehemiah is called Second Ezra.

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