Introduction to Ezra 1-2
The books of Ezra and Nehemiah were originally one united work written during Persian dominance over the world.
Ezra 1:1–6:22 – Rebuilding the Temple
Ezra 7:1–10:44 – Reforming the Community
Nehemiah 1:1–7:73 – Rebuilding the city wall
Nehemiah 8:1–10:39 – Hearing and doing the Law
Nehemiah 11:1–13:31 – Further reforms by Nehemiah
The book of Ezra begins with the decree of Cyrus king of Persia proclaiming freedom for the exiles to return to their homeland.
“This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them.'”
Then comes the reign of Darius the Great.
And so in the first wave of return led by Zerubbabel the people began to rebuild an altar, and Zerubbabel, who becomes governor, as well as the High Priest Joshua begin reconstruction.