Book Overview - Ezra
INTRODUCTION TO EZRA
This book, in the Vulgate Latin and Arabic versions, is called the "First" Book of Ezra, Nehemiah being reckoned the "second"; but with the Jews both were accounted but one bookF1Origen apud Euseb. Hist. Eccl. l. 6. c. 25. Hieron. Opera, tom. 3. Epist. ad Paulin. fol. 6. B. & ad Domnion. & Rogat. fol. 7. G. ; in the Syriac version, it is called the Writing or Book of Ezra the Prophet; and this title is given him, both by JewsF2Seder Olam Zuta, p. 108. and ChristiansF3Lactant. Institut. l. 4. c. 11. ; in the Arabic version, it is called the First Book of Ezra the Priest, skilful in the Law; and that he was a priest is clear, since he was the son of Seraiah the high priest, who was slain by Nebuchadnezzar, and the younger brother of Josedech, who succeeded his father as high priest, and uncle to Joshua that succeeded him; and he was also a ready scribe in the law of Moses, see Ezra 7:1. That Ezra was the writer of this book is believed by the JewsF4T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 15. 1. , and by the generality of Christians; only HuetiusF5Demonstr. Evangel. prop. 4. p. 208, 209. thinks that the six first chapters were written by another hand, but his reasons are not satisfactory; and it has been universally received as canonical by all; it agrees with the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah, and serves to illustrate them; it is of use for the continuation of the sacred history, to point at the fulfilment of prophecies concerning the return of the Jews from captivity, and the rebuilding of the temple; and to give us an account of the state of the church in those times, the troubles and difficulties it met with, and what care was taken to keep the tribes and families distinct, that it might be known from whom the Messiah sprung; this book contains an history of seventy years, according to the calculation of Bishop UsherF6Annal. Vet. Test. p. 146, 193. , from A. M. 3468, to A. M. 3538.