A third group of exiles returns with Ezra

Ezra 7:1-28   During the reign of Artaxerxes I (465-424BC), Ezra - the Minister for Jewish Affairs in the Persian Empire (and a scholar and Jewish priest) - is given royal authority by Artaxerxes to renew the religious practices in Jerusalem.

Ezra 8:1-36   Ezra assembles a third group of exiles beside the Ahava Canal in Babylonia and sets off back to Jerusalem in the seventh year of Artaxerxes’ reign (in 458BC).


Euphrates River in Iraq (James McCauley)

The Euphrates River in Babylonia    (James McCauley)


Ezra 9:1-15   On reaching Jerusalem, Ezra calls the people together and consults the LORD about the thorny issue of marriage between Jews and non-Jews.

Ezra10:1-44   The Jews confess that they have gone against God’s word by marrying foreign women. They agreed to purify themselves by divorcing their foreign wives. This leads to open confrontation with the Samaritans who live in the area and have mixed Jewish and Assyrian ancestry (see the feature on The Samaritans).

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