Ezra 7: We finally meet Ezra, “a scribe skilled in the law of Moses that the Lord the God of Israel had given” (NRSV Study Bible, p. 677; Ezra 7.6). Later text calls him a priest. The main part of this chapter focuses on a decree from the Persian King indicating how important Ezra was to the Persians. He seemed to have been a pretty powerful person. The king pretty much gives him full authority and tells everyone that they need to do what he asks of them. Ezra ends this chapter with a prayer of thanksgiving to God.
I may have missed it in the introduction, but I kinda wish there was some background information on Ezra given. How did he get to this point of importance to where his book would be included in the Bible? Seems like a pretty important person to me. So…is there more information on him?
Ezra 8: There’s a shift to first person here. The first half of this chapter focuses on the people that Ezra brought with him to Jerusalem. We then see discussion of spiritual preparation the community must undergo, including fasting. More preparation for the journey including Ezra giving money to 12 priests telling them they must guard it until they arrive. Finally, they arrive in Jerusalem.
Ezra 9: This chapter focuses on the concerns of mixed marriages between a Jewish man and a foreign woman. It’s an interesting chapter and according to the notes it relates to some of the laws from Athens at the same time. Ezra gives a long prayer/sermon to God describing times in the past when his people married foreigners and what happened to them. This is clearly done to address the present concerns.
Ephesians 6: The final chapter ends in a similar fashion as other letters. Paul reminds children to obey their parents, he tells parents to treat their children well, slaves should obey their masters, and masters should treat their slaves with the same amount of respect. Next, Paul encourages people to put on God’s armor in order to combat evil. Finally, he ends with his overall goodbye.