Ezra 7 – Nehemiah 9
13 “ After all that has come upon us for our evil practices and for our great guilt—you, our God, have held back less than our guilt deserved and you have given us a remainder such as this.”
We are now approaching more of the lesser known books of the Bible or the “flyover states” of the Bible, and we arrive at Ezra. The book of Ezra is short, and the story is straightforward with a few common problems. The temple is completed, Passover is celebrated, and some of the Jewish people are regathered. Ezra then brings up the issue of his Jewish brethren marrying foreigners or more importantly, non-believers. Marrying outside the culture seems to be the Achilles’ heel of the Jewish people, even King Solomon married many foreign women.
One last thing I find interesting about this book, and also with Nehemiah, is how it is written in the first person. All the books preceding Ezra are written in the third person, but Ezra’s is written in the first person. This may be because he was a priest and a lay scribe, so writing in the first person came naturally. Also, he introduces a lot of interesting characters, including King Artaxerxes, who I hope I get a chance to elaborate more on in a later post. I’d recommend readers to go through these books starting with Ezra and to cap off with Job; it narrows the scope of the Bible to unique characters for at least a few books.