Esdras was an important scribe and priest for the Jewish people during the time that they returned from exile. Esdras is the Greco-Latin version of the Hebrew name Ezra, and it is also a book of the Apocrypha which is found in some versions of Catholic and Orthodox Bibles. The scribe Ezra has a book in the Bible named after him. He appears in the Old Testament during the time Nehemiah was allowed to return to his homeland to restore the Temple of Solomon and to repair the city that is where he appears on the Bible Timeline. Esdras was in captivity before he returned to Jerusalem. King Cyrus of Persia gave different Jewish leaders the right to return to Jerusalem to start the rebuilding process.
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Esdras was important to this process because he was used to reminding the people of Israel about their relationship and destiny with God. The people were reminded by Esdras on a daily basis about how important it is for them to worship God and to live a life full of holiness since they were allowed to return from captivity. He gave the Israelites important information about the important expectations that God had for them once they returned home. Many Jews had forgotten about Moses’s laws or they didn’t regard them as important anymore. Esdras helped to change this condition because he was a scholar of the Laws of Moses. Even though he was in captivity, he was still able to learn about the important laws that Moses had left for the people.
There are two books titled Esdras within the Apocrypha and the Septuagint. Once again these books can be found in some Catholic or Orthodox versions of the Bible. Some Catholic versions of the Bible contain Esdras 3 and 4. There are two books of Esdras. 1 Esdras tells of Jewish exiles after leaving Persia under Cyrus and how they restored the temple, feasted in honor of their return. How they confronted their enemies who wanted to stop them from rebuilding and how they put away foreign wives and idolatry.
2 Esdras goes into detail about how the different steps that the Jews had to take in order purify the Jews from their marriage of non-Jews. An archangel named Urial is sent to the Jews to answer important questions about the fate of men and tells a story about a man who breaths fire on a crowd of evil men. 2 Esdras also explains how the Lord was against Israel, the end of the age, seven visions of judgments and retributions, prophecies of wars and calamities and rule of Messiah for 400 years.
Even though Esdras 1 and Esdras 2 have been accepted as sacred texts, many biblical scholars do not think that these two books are inspired. The information contained in these books contradicts sound biblical doctrine. The writings also appear to have been authored from a later period after these events happened. Esdras 1 and 2 were not regarded as standard Hebrew texts. These books were obtained after the rabbinical council in Jamina pieced together the Old Testament in 90 A.D. Since Esdras 1 and 2 were found at a date after the Old Testament was formed they were not considered inspired texts by Jews and the Protestant Branch of Christianity. However, there were some Protestant church leaders, such as Martin Luther, who placed Esdras 1 and 2 in their versions of the Bible.
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