Introduction

\\INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF 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 book {a}; in the Syriac version,
it is called the Writing or Book of Ezra the Prophet; and this title is
given him, both by Jews {b} and Christians {c}; 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 \\#Ezr 7:1,6,10-12\\. That Ezra was the writer of this book is
believed by the Jews {d}, and by the generality of Christians; only
Huetius {e} 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 Usher
{f}, from A. M. 3468, to A. M. 3538.

{a} Origen apud Euseb. Hist. Eccl. l. 6. c. 25. Hieron. Opera, tom. 3.
Epist. ad Paulin. fol. 6. B. & ad Domnion. & Rogat. fol. 7. G.
{b} Seder Olam Zuta, p. 108.
{c} Lactant. Institut. l. 4. c. 11.
{d} T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 15. 1.
{e} Demonstr. Evangel. prop. 4. p. 208, 209.
{f} Annal. Vet. Test. p. 146, 193.

\\INTRODUCTION TO EZRA 1\\

This chapter informs us of the proclamation of Cyrus king of Persia,
for the Jews to return to their own country, and rebuild their temple,
\\#Ezr 1:1-4\\, and that, upon it, the chief of them rose up for that
purpose, whose hands were strengthened and supplied by those about
them, \\#Ezr 1:5,6\\ and particularly by Cyrus, who gave orders that
the vessels belonging to the temple should be delivered to them,
\\#Ezr 1:7-11\\.