Ezra begins where 2 Chronicles left off, the exiles return. They started rebuilding the temple and found opposition from the enemies of Judah. A letter was written against Jerusalem to King Artaxerxes, and he ordered the rebuilding to stop. That lasted until King Darius was petitioned to search for documentation that King Cyrus had issued a decree that the temple be rebuilt, and that documentation was found, and a decree made for construction to begin.
Chapter 7 tells us that Ezra was well versed in the Laws of God, and a teacher. 7:10 says”for Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel. ” Ezra travels from Babylon with a large number to Jerusalem under the allowance of king Artaxerxes.
Chapter 9 discussed the disgrace that Ezra felt when he heard of the intermarriages. It says he tore his cloak, pulled hair from his head and beard, then fell on his knees with his hands spread out and prayed. v6 – “O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens. ” A large crowd gathered around Ezra while he prayed, and they cried and confessed their sins. Those found guilty pledged to put away their wives, and they presented a ram from the flock as a guilt offering.