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Bible Commentaries

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

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Book Overview - Ezra

by Albert Barnes

Introduction to Ezra

Though the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah were undoubtedly regarded as one book in two parts, both by the Jewish Church and by the early Christian Fathers, yet the judgment of modern criticism that Ezra and Nehemiah were originally two distinct works, seems to be, on the whole, deserving of acceptance.

The object of the writer of Ezra is to give an account of the return from the captivity, and of the subsequent fortunes of the Palestinian Jews until the eighth year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, 457 B.C. - The matters to which he directs attention are only three:

(1) The number, family, and (to some extent) the names of those who returned from Babylonia with Ezra and with Zerubbabel Ezra 1:1-11; Ezra 8:22; and it applies this principle to particular points of the history not unfrequently.

In style, Ezra more resembles Daniel than any other book of Scripture, always excepting Chronicles. This may be accounted for by these two writers being both Babylonian Jews. The work contains also a considerable number of proper names and words which are either known or suspected to be Persian, and altogether, the language is such as might have been looked for under the circumstances of the time, when the contact into which the Jews had been brought with the Babylonians and the Persians had naturally introduced among them a good many foreign words and modes of speech.

The text of Ezra is not in a good condition. The general bearing of the narrative is, however, untouched by slight blemishes which affect chiefly such minute points as the names and numbers of those who returned from the captivity, the weight and number of the sacrificial vessels, and the like.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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