The Book of Ezra contains a crucial part of Israelite history which begins with the return of the exiles, and ends with the sending away of the foreign wives. Ezra deals with a theology of reconstruction and tells the story of God’s people at a critical time in their history. It describes the rebirth of the community of the people of God after the disastrous consequences of the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BCE, and the end of the Davidic monarchy. These events resulted in the loss of national independence, the destruction of the temple and the deportation to Babylon.
These are tremendous losses for a people who believed that God had chosen them and was going to be with them always. For such a displaced and disillusioned people, it is crucial to quickly establish their racial, cultural and religious identity so that they can restart and rebuild their lives as individuals and as a community. The book of Ezra seeks to accomplish this, flawed as its attempts may be.
- When was a good time that you experienced the rebirth of a community? What was it like?
- How can someone restart their life after a tremendous loss?