4. The book has two parts: I. A prior ascent of the Jewish people out of Babylonian captivity unto Judea, under the leadership of Zerubbabel, Joshua, etc., for the rebuilding the Temple (Ezra 1-6). II. A latter ascent of a part of the people in Babylon unto Judea under the leadership of Ezra, for the reformation of the Church (Ezra 7-10). A Synoptic Table, and the Interpreters of the book, Ancient, Reformed, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Hebrew.
Now, it is suitable to divide the book into two parts: the double ascent of the people out of Babylonian captivity into Judea, the former with Zerubbabel, Joshua, etc., as leaders, for the restoration of the Temple (Ezra 1-6), the latter, with Ezra as leader, for the reformation of the Church (Ezra 7-10), as Ezra exhibits in this book.
I. A prior ascent of the Jewish people out of Babylonian captivity into Judea, with Zerubbabel and Joshua as leaders, to rebuild the Temple, etc., Chapters 1-6. See:
1. The reason for the free return unto the ancestral lands, even the edict of Cyrus, whereby he grants to the people the means for returning to Jerusalem, and for rebuilding the Temple (verses 1-4): whence a part of the people, improving the granted liberty, prepares itself for the journey (verses 5, 6), with the sacred vessels pertaining to the house of God give to them (verses 7-11): chapter 1.
2. The catalogue of those that went up from Babylon to Jerusalem, with Zerubbabel, Joshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, etc., leading (verses 1-67): and also the offerings of the principal men of the people made for the restoration of the Temple (verses 68-70): chapter 2.
3. The undertaking of the restoration of the Temple: chapters 3-6. See:
a. The effort to rebuild the Temple, in which the returning Israelites raise the altar, revive the use of the sacrifices, celebrate the feast of tabernacles, see to the materials and workmen, put the Levites in charge of the work (verses 1-7), and lay the foundation of the Temple mixed joy and sorrow (verses 8-13): chapter 3.
b. The obstacle set in opposition to the begun work by the Samaritans, enemies of the Jews, who, expressing a desire to build the Temple together with the Jews, are repulsed (verses 1-5), and, for that reason breathing vengeance, inflame two Kings, Xerxes and Artaxerxes, against the Jews (verses 6-16); and, finally, they obtain from Artaxerxes Longimanus an interdict against the building of the Temple, and enforce it with arms (verses 17-24): chapter 4.
c. The admonition of Haggai the Prophet concerning the resumption of the work long intermitted, supported by which, the Jews begin again to build the Temple (verses 1, 2); but the same enemies attempt to impede them again, consulting by letters King Darius concerning this (verses 3-17): chapter 5.
d. King Darius’ response, and favorable edict, who, with the decree of Cyrus opened again, grants the opportunity to rebuild the Temple and city, and commands money and material for sacrifice to be supplied to suppliants without delay (verses 1-17). Thus the Temple is completed and consecrated, and the Passover is celebrated by the restored orders of Priests and Levites (verses 18-22): chapter 6.
II. A later ascent of a part of the people from Babylon to Juda, under the leadership of Ezra, for the reformation of the Church, Chapters 7-10. See:
1. The ascent of Ezra with a great company of Israelites, especially Priests and Levites (verse 1-10), freely granted by the Royal edict of Artaxerxes (verses 11-28): chapter 7.
2. An account of those that went up with Ezra to Jerusalem (verses 1-31), and, soon after their arrival, placed the consecrated things in the treasury, offered sacrifices to God, and delivered the decrees of the King for implementation (verses 32-36): chapter 8.
3. The Reformation of the people, who received foreign women unto cohabitation. See:
a. With a complain received concerning the marriage of Israelites with foreign women (verses 1, 2), Ezra’s grief, fasting, and zeal to reconcile the people to God (verses 3-15): chapter 9.
b. Ezra’s care in the case of the people of God mixed in marriages with Gentiles (verses 1-17), by cleansing away again the illicit intermarriage with foreign wives, and casting out the children born of these (verses 18-44): chapter 10.
Dr. Dilday's Lecture: "The Restoration"