Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy BibleCoke's Commentary

- Ezra

by Thomas Coke

EZRA, or Esdras, was a person of high esteem among the Jews: he was of the sacerdotal family, and bore a principal part in the restoration from Babylon. Some have asserted, that he was chiefly concerned in revising and compiling most of the books of Scripture. Four, however, of those books go under his name; for, among the Hebrews, this and the book of Nehemiah being formerly reckoned but one, they are both inscribed in the Latin and Greek bibles by the name of Ezra. These two only are acknowledged by our church to be canonical; the two others are apocryphal. The first of these books is certainly the work of Esdras; the second is commonly attributed to Nehemiah. It must, however, be confessed, that some small matters have been added to it, (no doubt, by some other inspired writer,) which cannot belong to Nehemiah. This book is a continuation of the history of the Jews, from the time at which that of the Chronicles ends, to near the twentieth year of Artaxerxes Longimanus. It contains a history of eighty-two years, from the first year of the reign of Cyrus in Babylon, in the year of the world 3468, to the nineteenth year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, who sent Nehemiah to Jerusalem, A.M. 3550. The letter of Rehum and Shimshai, ch. Ezr 4:8 to the king, and the king's answer, were written in the Chaldee language, as were the fifth and sixth chapters, and as far as the 27th verse of the seventh; and all the rest in Hebrew. See Calmet, Prideaux, and Le Clerc's "Sentimens de quelques Theologiens." We would by all means recommend the readers of this and the two following books, if they desire thoroughly to understand them, to consult the profane writers of this period, or at least such as have given a history of it; particularly Josephus, the Universal History, &c.