Many Israelites return to Jerusalem after the exile and face some success alongside many spiritual and moral failures.
Originally written as a single book in the Jewish Scriptures, Ezra and Nehemiah document the fulfillment of God's promise of Israel's return home after 70 years of exile and the restoration of the temple.
From the rubble
Zerubbabel and Nehemiah play a key part in restoring God's temple, taking charge over governing affairs and rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Ezra, a descendant of Aaron, arrives in Jerusalem later and instills God's laws to the post-exile Jewish generation.
Note how the people responded after they received the message from God that was being taught to them. This response is remarkably similar to how people responded to Jesus' teachings about God's Kingdom centuries later. Whether it's ancient Israel or our worship today, we all must receive a new heart from God and listen to him.
Return from Exile
Fulfilling Jeremiah's prophecy, Persian King Cyrus allows the exiled Jews to return home. Zerubbabel, Nehemiah, and Ezra travel to Jerusalem, and the rebuilding of Israel begins.
Despite local opposition, Zerubbabel and the Jewish people successfully rebuild the altar and God's temple. They then officially celebrate the Passover for the first time in 70 years.
Truth is revealed to the new Jewish generation as Ezra and Nehemiah teach them the Torah. Ezra and Nehemiah reform their community to practice holiness.
Rebuilding of the Wall
Persian King Artaxerxes allowed Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls. Nehemiah trusts in God, and the construction is completed and dedicated. The Jewish people all praise God.
After hearing the Torah, the Jewish people realize their sins and immediately address them. They repent, swearing an oath to follow God's laws.
The biblical figures of Ezra and Nehemiah are not the most popular or well-known. They’re not connected to any of the most memorable stories, like the flood or the Exodus from Egypt....