Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther
After the seventy years of Babylonian captivity, a remnant of exiled Jews went to Jerusalem to rebuild God’s temple. The resettlement of His people in the holy land ultimately prepared the way for the sending of the Messiah.
The Book of Ezra tells the story of this return under Zerubbabel and the Jews’ struggles to complete the temple. It also explains how Ezra the scribe and priest later taught the Law and called God’s people to covenant faithfulness.
Although the temple had been rebuilt, Jerusalem’s wall was still in ruins and the city was vulnerable to attack. The Book of Nehemiah reports Nehemiah’s return to rebuild the wall. He was also concerned for the spiritual welfare of his people as they were led to renew their covenant with God.
The Book of Esther reveals that the very existence of the Jewish people was threatened in the post-exilic period. A young Jewess providentially became queen of the Persian Empire. Because of her boldness, a heinous plot was foiled and the lives of her people throughout the empire were spared.