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In Jeremiah 31, we see the start of the death march from Ramah to Babylon after the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC by King Nebuchadnezzar of the Chaldeans. This could have been the story of Ezra himself as a teenager, but it might also have been the story of Ezra's father (father or his grandfather since the same word is used for each in the Hebrew) who was the son of Seraiah.

Seraiah then would have been part of Jeremiah's congregation and part of this march (per Jeremiah 52 Seraiah was put to death by Nebuchadnezzar). His younger son (Ezra's father) experienced all the horrors of that march. Ezra was a mature believer and had an administrative career in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. Then when Ezra was an older man, he led the people back into the land and wrote this book about the march (his as a boy or the story of his ancestor). Ezra is the author of Chronicles, the book of Ezra and Psalm 119 which is the Psalm describing the horrors of the death march his father endured.

Chapter 1

{Note: From Zechariah we see that in536 BC, a decree from Cyrus the Great permitted the Jews to go back into the land. But Jews going back into the land never terminates the 5th cycle of discipline. It is the reconstruction of the temple which indicates the end of the 5th cycle - 2 Chronicles 36:22-27; Ezra 1:1-5. 535 BC, rebuilding of the temple began. Under the 5th cycle of discipline the nation Israel is never recognized by God.

In 539 BC, the neo-Chaldean empire was destroyed. This was the night of the handwriting on the wall - Daniel 5.

In 535 BC, there was opposition to the construction of the temple by the Samaritans (Orientals in the land who had mixed Jewish blood now).

The work was stopped for about fourteen years; 521 BC, the new Persian king, Darius Hystaspes. He was apparently a born again believer and apparently encouraged renewal of the work on the temple. Haggai's ministry was solely concerned with resumption of work on the temple. 516 BC, the temple was completed. The Jews started the 4th cycle of discipline in 721 BC and this took them to 585 BC. During that time they were minus doctrine, as described in Isaiah 5:13; Hosea 4:6. They were going into the 5th cycle of discipline because they were minus doctrine.

In 520 BC, the ministry of Zechariah faced a great mountain of opposition - which is going to be leveled by Bible doctrine and the ministry of the Spirit. Afterward would be a fantastic period of prosperity.}

{Cyrus the Great Was a Believer}
1~~Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia,
that the word of Jehovah/God
by the mouth of Jeremiah
might be fulfilled,
Jehovah/God stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia,
that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom,
and put it also in writing, saying, 2~~
"Thus said Cyrus, king of Persia . . . Jehovah/God
'Elohiym/Godhead of heaven
has given me all the kingdoms of the earth
and He has charged me to build Him
an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3
  {issuing a challenge to the Jews to go back to their land}

Who is there among you of all his people?

His 'Elohiym/Godhead be with him,
and let him go up to Jerusalem,
which is in Judah,
and build the house of Jehovah/God . . .
'Elohiym/Godhead of Israel,
(He is 'Elohiym/Godhead)
which is in Jerusalem.

4 And whosoever remains in any place
where he sojourns,
let the men of his place help him with silver,
and with gold, and with goods,
and with animals,
beside the freewill offering
for the house of 'Elohiym/Godhead that is in Jerusalem.

5 Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin,
and the priests, and the Levites,
with all them whose spirit 'Elohiym/Godhead had raised,
to go up to build the house of Jehovah/God which is in Jerusalem.

6 And all they that were about them strengthened their hands
with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods,
and with animals, and with precious things,
beside all that was willingly offered.

7~~Also Cyrus the king brought forth
the vessels of the house of Jehovah/God,
which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem,
and had put them in the house of his 'elohiym/gods.

{Note: Cyrus restored these articles to the Jews as they are going back to the land.}

8 Even those did Cyrus, king of Persia,
bring forth by the hand of Mithredath, the treasurer,
and numbered them
unto Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.

9 And this is the number of them:
thirty chargers of gold,
a thousand chargers of silver,
nine and twenty knives, 10
thirty basins of gold,
silver basins of a second sort four hundred and ten,
and other vessels a thousand.

11 All the vessels of gold and of silver
were five thousand and four hundred.

All these did Sheshbazzar bring up with them
of the captivity that were brought up from Babylon
unto Jerusalem.