Ezra, book of the Bible, combined with Nehemiah in the Septuagint to form the book 2 Esdras. In the Vulgate , Ezra and Nehemiah are called 1 and 2 Esdras respectively. Ezra, like Nehemiah, is the work of the Chronicler (see Chronicles ) and narrates the history of the Jews from 538 BC to c.458 BC as follows: the decree of the Persian king Cyrus permitting the Jews to return to Palestine from captivity under the leadership of Sheshbazzar the return of Zerubbabel with a certain number to Jerusalem in c.520 BC where they complete the task of rebuilding the Temple despite opposition and the return of Ezra, priest and scribe, to Jerusalem in c.458 BC with orders from King Artaxerxes I to restore the Jewish law. It is possible, however, that Ezra might have returned after Nehemiah in c.398 BC during the reign of Artaxerxes II. The text is not clear which Artaxerxes is meant. A substantial passage of Ezra is in Aramaic. See also Esdras for books purportedly written by Ezra in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha .
See F. C. Fensham, Ezra and Nehemiah (1982) M. A. Thronveit, Ezra–Nehemiah (1992).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Old Testament
Browse by Subject
- Earth and the Environment +-
- History +-
- Literature and the Arts +-
- Medicine +-
- People +-
- Philosophy and Religion +-
- Places +-
- Australia and Oceania
- Britain, Ireland, France, and the Low Countries
- Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic Nations
- Germany, Scandinavia, and Central Europe
- Latin America and the Caribbean
- Oceans, Continents, and Polar Regions
- Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and the Balkans
- United States, Canada, and Greenland
- Plants and Animals +-
- Science and Technology +-
- Social Sciences and the Law +-
- Sports and Everyday Life +-