This week we finish up the history of the kings of Judah to the time of exile, with the final chapters of II Chronicles. There are just three history books left before turning to the books of poetry. And actually the books of Ezra and Nehemiah used to be one book in the Hebrew Bible before being separated. Both of the books deal with the return of the Israelites from captivity in Babylon.
The Book of Ezra consists of ten chapters. Chapters 1-6 cover the period from the decree of Cyrus the Great allowing the first return of exiles (about 538BC) to the completion and dedication of the new temple in Jerusalem (about 515BC). This part of the book is largely told in third person, as if someone is retelling what has been told to them. But chapters 7-10 are largely told in third person (presumably by Ezra himself), dealing with his mission to Jerusalem (about 465BC) and his struggle to purify the Jews from their inter-marriage with non-Jews. Nehemiah comes along about 20 years later. He is the cupbearer to King Artaxerses of Cyrus and is sent to help build up the wall around the city of Jerusalem and reform the people according to the law of Moses.
We can see God working things out among his people for a return after the exile..... prompting the leaders of foreign nations to help rebuild Jerusalem and provide native leaders for oversight. It echos the truth of what Paul wrote centuries later in Romans 8:31: "If God is for us, who can be against us?"
Here is the schedule:
12, Sunday - II Chronicles 22-25
13, Monday - II Chronicles 26-29
14, Tuesday - II Chronicles 30-34
15, Wednesday - II Chronicles 35 - Ezra 2
16, Thursday - Ezra 3-6
17, Friday - Ezra 7-10
18, Saturday - Nehemiah 1-4
May you be blessed and encouraged as you spend time in God's Word!