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Che Holy Scriptures Analysed
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The Book of Ezra.
Introduction. In the Hebrew Bible the books of Ezra and Nehemiah are placed at the close of the third division of the Jewish canon, which is called "Ketubim."*
In the Talmud, the Massorah, the Septuagint, and in the writings of Josephus, Ezra and Nehemiah are treated as one book. It is claimed that originally Chronicles with Ezra and Nehemiah formed one book. The last two verses with which Second Chronicles closes are repeated in the opening chapter of Ezra.
Ezra, the Author of the Book. No valid proof can be given that the Jewish and early Christian view, that Ezra is the author of the book which bears his name, is incorrect. He was a pious, deeply spiritual man. His genealogy is found in chapter vii:1-6. We learn that he was a lineal descendant of Phineas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron; and therefore Ezra was a priest. (See chapter vii:11; x:10, 16). He was also a scribe "a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given” (vii:6); "a scribe of the words of the commandments and of the statutes of Israel” (vii:11). We find him first mentioned in the seventh hapter. The record is given that he went up to Babylon. .. (“and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord God upon him.” He received permission from King Artaxerxes I (Longimanus) in the seventh year of his reign (458 B. C.) to lead a number of the people back to Jerusalem. His beautiful, godly character may be seen in the three last chapters of the book, in which he is the principal actor. He was a great man of prayer and worship, with a childlike trust in the Lord, with great zeal for God and an intense interest in His people and their welfare. Much is said of Ezra in talmudical literature, where his greatness and worthiness is celebrated. According to these traditions he was in meekness and godliness like Moses. It is said that he first introduced the Hebrew alphabet in square characters, and that he made the massorah and punctuation of the Scriptures. He is also considered to be the author of the Jewish canon, and to have rewritten the whole of the Old Testament from memory. Most likely he wrote Chronicles besides the record con
*The order of the books in the Hebrew Bible is as follows: I Tora (the Law) Genesis--2 Kings, except Ruth; II Nevijin (the Prophets) Isaiah-Malachi, except Lamentations and Daniel; III Ketubim (the Writings) Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah and Chronicles.