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Ezra, Bible Prophet

Ezra was an ancient Jewish priest and scribe who was one of the primary leaders of Israel when they returned from exile to rebuild Jerusalem and Solomon's Temple. His story begins around 480 BC, which is where he appears on the Amazing Bible Timeline with World History study companion.

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Ezra was a knowledgeable leader of Jewish law, and he was also a descendant of the high priest Aaron, who was the brother of Moses. God had blessed Ezra and was with him, so the king of Persia (King Artaxerxes) gave Ezra whatever he needed to make the journey and to rebuild the temple. Ezra was a devout servant of the Lord who made it a point to study and do all that the Lord has commanded him.

When Ezra traveled back to Jerusalem, he was accompanied by many Jewish people. They came from many different professions and backgrounds. Starting in Ezra 1 the Bible lists various different clans and Jewish tribal members that made the journey back to Jerusalem. The Jewish traveled back to Jerusalem at different times. Later in Ezra 8 a list of families that traveled back to Jerusalem was written down so that people could see who they were.

Ezra Bible_Prophet

When the first wave of Jewish people went back to Jerusalem in Ezra 1, it happened during the reign of Cyrus the Great. Many years later when King Artaxerxes ruled Persia, he also decreed that more Jewish people should go back to their homeland. He gave a decree that supported the Jewish people and their efforts in Jerusalem. King Artaxerxes told nearby countries to provide the Jewish people with supplies for the temple, and he also made the provinces give them food and water when they needed it as well. The king's decree also allowed the Jewish people to take back the treasures that were taken from the Lord's Temple by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The Jewish priests and temple servants did not have to pay taxes because the decree freed them from this responsibility. Ezra and the rest of the Jewish people finally made it back to Jerusalem and when he arrived he was shocked to discover that his people had intermingled with the pagan nations that surrounded Jerusalem.

Ezra prayed for forgiveness for his people, and he then set out to make some reforms. He formed a great assembly comprised of 120 prophets and sages. He influenced this council to oversee and enforce the Biblical laws that God had given to his people in the days of Moses. He no longer permitted any people to marry foreign women and led them to repent of their sins. He then organized leaders for the newly established community. Though Ezra was associated with prophets, he wasn't considered a prophet in the truest since of the word. God didn't send Ezra out with specific messages or revelations to give to the people he used him to remind the people about keeping God's word. Ezra made it a point to keep God's word relevant to the people and to make sure that they were careful to obey all that was written. Ezra probably knew Nehemiah though the Bible doesn't specifically state this as fact. Both men went back to Jerusalem during the reign of Artaxerxes.

Ezra was born in 480 B.C. and he died in 440 B.C.

Biblical References: The book of Ezra in the Bible tells about the Jewish peoples return back to Jerusalem after they were exiled. The story of Ezra's life is revealed in chapter seven of the same book.