Ezra and Nehemiah were considered one book in the Hebrew canon, recording the history of the return of a Jewish remnant (42,360, Neh 7:66) to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the wall and temple.  Tradition places Ezra historically many years before Nehemiah, but there are references in the books that link them closely together (e.g., compare Ezra 3:4-5 with Neh 8:16-18).  Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall before the temple was rebuilt as recorded in Ezra, but the book of Ezra comes before Nehemiah because the spiritual (the temple) is more important than the physical (the wall).



I. Return Under Zerubbabel, Rebuilding of Temple (1-6)

A. Returning to the land (1-2)

1) Proclamation of Cyrus (1)

2) Registration of the people (2)

B. Rebuilding the temple (3-6)

1) Establishing the altar (3:1-6)

2) Laying the foundation (3:7-13)

3) The building ceases (4)

4) The prophets Haggai and Zechariah (5)

5) The building is completed (6)

Il. Return Under Ezra, Reformation (7-10)                                  

A. Ezra comes to Jerusalem (7-8)

B. Ezra confesses the sins of the people (9)

C. The cleansing of the people (10)