the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
Grant's Commentary on the Bible Grant's Commentary
by L.M. Grant
The first words of Ezra, whose name means "help", are identical to those ending the book of 2 Chronicles, thus emphasizing the continuity of the history. It was seventy years after the captivity that Cyrus made his decree that the temple at Jerusalem was to be rebuilt. Ezra was a scribe who records the history of the rebuilding, though he was not among the first captives to return to Jerusalem. This return was led by Zerubbabel (ch 1:2), whose name means "melted by Babylon," and it was some years later that Ezra led another group (ch. 7:6), during the reign of Artaxerxes. It was also during this reign that Nehemiah came to Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1). Ezra's ministry was connected with the house of God, while Nehemiah's activity was centered on the building of the wall.