Ezra records God’s fulfillment of His promise as He returns his people to the promised land after 70 years of exile. Ezra relates two returns from Babylon, the first by Zerubbabel to rebuild the temple and the second under the leadership of Ezra to rebuild the spiritual condition of the people. Sandwiched between these two events was a gap of about six decades during which Esther lived and ruled as a queen.
God’s faithfulness is seen in the way He sovereignly protects His people thru a powerful empire while they are in captivity. They prosper in exile, and God raises up pagan kings who are sympathetic to their cause and encourages them to rebuild their homeland. God also provides zealous and capable spiritual leaders who direct the return and rebuilding. He keeps His promise to them, “I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I caused you to be carried away captive.”
Now may God richly bless your reading the book of Ezra as it opens up to you.
Ezra Chapter 1
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of Jehovah, who saves by covenant, by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, Jehovah, who saves by covenant stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying,
“Thus, says Cyrus king of Persia, all the kingdoms of the earth Jehovah Eloheim, the Creator of heaven who saves by covenant, has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Whosoever is there among you of all His people, may Eloheim his Creator be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of Jehovah Eloheim, the Creator of Israel who saves by covenant (He is Eloheim our Creator), which is in Jerusalem. And whoever is left in any place where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of Eloheim our Creator which is in Jerusalem.”
Then the heads of the fathers' houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, with all whose spirits Eloheim our Creator had moved, arose to go up and build the house of Jehovah, who saves by covenant, which is in Jerusalem. And all those who were around them encouraged them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with precious things, besides all that was willingly offered.
King Cyrus also brought out the articles of the house of Jehovah, who saves by covenant, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the temple of his gods. And Cyrus king of Persia brought them out by the hand of Mithredath, the treasurer and counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. This is the number of them, thirty gold platters, one thousand silver platters, twenty-nine knives, thirty gold basins, four hundred and ten silver basins of a similar kind, and one thousand other articles. All the articles of gold and silver were five thousand four hundred. All these Sheshbazzar took with the captives who were brought from Babylon to Jerusalem.