We find ourselves quite a few years later than when we found ourselves in II Chronicles. The people of Israel are still in captivity and the king of Babylon, Cyrus, tells the people of Israel that they are able to return back to their homeland and they can rebuild the temple once again. But there is a problem. There are people within the Babylonian kingdom who see the Jews as a threat and reach out to the king and encourage him to change his mind. They tell him to look at past history and they can see how dangerous the Jews have been over history.
As a result he does and he stops the building of Jerusalem and the temple. But then the Jews respond and encourage him to look at the past and see how he decreed that the Jews could and should rebuild and that Babylon would actually help in the rebuilding process. As a result the rebuilding begins once again and we read in 6:16 – “The people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of teh returned exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy.” That’s a fitting ending, but we are in the middle of the book of Ezra in the Bible, not the end.