Workers For Jesus Online Bible Study Table of Contents

About this Bible Study........The King James Version of the Bible is written in a beautiful form of the English language. It can be hard for modern English readers to understand.  In this study, you will find notes and summaries in brown just above the the verses from the Bible. We recommend that you read the notes and summaries first, and then read the verses in their KJV form. 

Map from

The Persian Empire covered many areas. It included the modern-day countries of Israel, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Iran Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkey.

The Persian kings named in the Bible were Cyrus, Ahasruerus, Artaxerxes, and Darius.

The Book of Ezra

God allowed the people from Babylon to take the tribe of Judah, the Jews, away. They took them back to Babylon. The Jews lived in Babylon for about 70 years. Then, Cyrus became king of Persia (now called Iran). Persia defeated Babylon, and Cyrus said that the Jews could return to Jerusalem.

Ezra was a scribe (secretary, historian). He wrote down the history of the Jews going back to Jerusalem. He also led some of the Jews back to Jerusalem

Bible Timeline
Here is a good timeline to see the book of Ezra in the history of the Bible


Ezra 1 - 3
Cyrus becomes king of Persia and lets the Israelites start going back to Judah.
The Israelites arrive in Judah and begin to make sacrifices and offerings to God.
The Israelites start to build God's temple again.


In the past, God told Jeremiah, the prophet, that the Jews would go home to Jerusalem. Jeremiah told everyone what God said.

Ezra 1

God tells King Cyrus to let the Israelites return to Judah.

King Cyrus of Persia
Photo from

When Cyrus became the king of Persia, God spoke to his spirit. God told him to let the Jews go home to Jerusalem. Cyrus made a rule and announced it to all places in his kingdom. He also wrote it for everyone to read. He said that the Lord God had given him all of the kingdoms on earth. He said that God told him to build the temple again in Jerusalem in Judah. This showed that Jeremiah's prophecy was true.
[1] Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD 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 saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.

Cyrus asked who would travel to Jerusalem to help build the temple. He said God would be with anyone who wanted to go. Cyrus said that God was the Lord.
[3] Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.

The people who do not go to Jerusalem should help, too. They should give money to help build the temple again. They should also give silver, gold, animals, and other valuable things. 
[4] And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.

God told the leaders of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, the priests, and the Levites to go to Jerusalem. They will go build the temple.
[5] Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem.

The other people helped them and gave them money, silver, gold, animals, and valuable things.
[6] And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered.

Preparing to take the temple items back to Jerusalem.


Back when Babylon's King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple, he stole the gold and valuable items from the temple. He took them to Babylon and put them in places to worship his false gods. Now King Cyrus' treasurer, named Mithredath,  brought the items out. He gave them to Sheshbazzar, the leader of Judah.
[7] Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods;
[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.

These are the items that Cyrus returned to the Jews:

30 gold dishes
1,000 silver dishes
29 knives
30 gold bowls
410 silver bowls
1,000 other items
[9] And this is the number of them: thirty chargers of gold, a thousand chargers of silver, nine and twenty knives,
[10] Thirty basons of gold, silver basons of a second sort four hundred and ten, and other vessels a thousand.

There were 5,400 gold and silver items in all. Sheshbazzar brought the items back to Jerusalem.
[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.



Ezra 2

A list of the Israelites who were returning to Judah.

King Nebuchadnezzar had taken away the people from the area of Judah. He took them away to Babylon. Now the Jews are returning. This is a list and number of the people who are returning. The men with Zerubbabel:  Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah.
[1] Now these are the children of the province that went up out of the captivity, of those which had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away unto Babylon, and came again unto Jerusalem and Judah, every one unto his city;

Some people who study the Bible think that Zerubbabel  and Sheshbazaar were the same person. Other people do not agree with that.

[2] Which came with Zerubbabel: Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel:

Descendants of Parosh--2,172
Descendants of Shephatiah--372
Descendants of Arah--755
Descendants of Pahath-moab (from the families of Jeshua and Joab)--2,812
Descendants of Elam -- 1,254

[3] The children of Parosh, two thousand an hundred seventy and two.
[4] The children of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy and two.
[5] The children of Arah, seven hundred seventy and five.
[6] The children of Pahath-moab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and twelve.
[7] The children of Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.

Descendants of Zattu--945
Descendants of Zaccai--760
Descendants of Bani--642
Descendants of Bebai--623
Descendants of Azgad--1,222

[8] The children of Zattu, nine hundred forty and five.
[9] The children of Zaccai, seven hundred and threescore.
[10] The children of Bani, six hundred forty and two.
[11] The children of Bebai, six hundred twenty and three.
[12] The children of Azgad, a thousand two hundred twenty and two.

Descendants of Adonikam--666
Descendants of Bigvai--2,056
Descendants of Adin--454
Descendants of Ater (from Hezekiah's family)--98
Descendants of Bezai --323
[13] The children of Adonikam, six hundred sixty and six.
[14] The children of Bigvai, two thousand fifty and six.
[15] The children of Adin, four hundred fifty and four.
[16] The children of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety and eight.
[17] The children of Bezai, three hundred twenty and three.

Descendants of Jorah--112
Descendants of Hashum--223
Descendants of Gibbar--95
Descendants of Bethlehem--123

[18] The children of Jorah, an hundred and twelve.
[19] The children of Hashum, two hundred twenty and three.
[20] The children of Gibbar, ninety and five.
[21] The children of Bethlehem, an hundred twenty and three.

Descendants of Netophah--56
Descendants of Anathoth--128
Descendants of Azmaveth--42
Descendants of Kirjath-arim, Chephirah, and Beeroth--743
Descendants of Ramah and Geba--621

[22] The men of Netophah, fifty and six.
[23] The men of Anathoth, an hundred twenty and eight.
[24] The children of Azmaveth, forty and two.
[25] The children of Kirjath-arim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred and forty and three.
[26] The children of Ramah and Geba, six hundred twenty and one.

Descendants of Michmas--122
Descendants of Bethel and Ai--223
Descendants of Nebo--52
Descendants of Magbish--156
Descendants of the other Elam (not the one listed above)--1,254

[27] The men of Michmas, an hundred twenty and two.
[28] The men of Bethel and Ai, two hundred twenty and three.
[29] The children of Nebo, fifty and two.
[30] The children of Magbish, an hundred fifty and six.
[31] The children of the other Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.

Descendants of Harim--320
Descendants of Lod, Hadid, and Ono--725
Descendants of Jericho--345
Descendants of Senaah--3,630

[32] The children of Harim, three hundred and twenty.
[33] The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred twenty and five.
[34] The children of Jericho, three hundred forty and five.
[35] The children of Senaah, three thousand and six hundred and thirty.

These were the priests who returned to Jerusalem:
Descendants of Jedaiah from the family of Jeshua--973
Descendants of Immer--1,052
Descendants of Pashur--1,247
Descendants of Harim--1,017

[36] The priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy and three.
[37] The children of Immer, a thousand fifty and two.
[38] The children of Pashur, a thousand two hundred forty and seven.
[39] The children of Harim, a thousand and seventeen.

These were the Levites who returned:
Descendants of Jeshua and Kadmiel from the family of Hodaviah--74
[40] The Levites: the children of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the children of Hodaviah, seventy and four.

These were the singers who returned:
Descendants of Asaph--128

[41] The singers: the children of Asaph, an hundred twenty and eight.

These were the descendants of the porters (worked in the temple):
Descendants of Shallum, Ater, Talmon, Akkub, Hatita, and Shobai--139

[42] The children of the porters: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, in all an hundred thirty and nine.

These were the Nethinims (temple workers):
Descendants of Ziha, Hasupha, Tabbaoth, Keros, Siaha, Padon, Lebanah, Hagabah, Akkub, Hagab, Shalmai, Hanan, Giddel, Gahar, Reaiah, Rezin, Nekoda, Gazzam, Uzza, Paseah, Besai, Asnah, Mehunim, Nephusim, Bakbuk, Hakupha, Harhur, Bazluth, Mehida, Harsha, Barkos, Sisera, Thamah, Neziah, and Hatipha.

[43] The Nethinims: the children of Ziha, the children of Hasupha, the children of Tabbaoth,
[44] The children of Keros, the children of Siaha, the children of Padon,
[45] The children of Lebanah, the children of Hagabah, the children of Akkub,
[46] The children of Hagab, the children of Shalmai, the children of Hanan,
[47] The children of Giddel, the children of Gahar, the children of Reaiah,
[48] The children of Rezin, the children of Nekoda, the children of Gazzam,
[49] The children of Uzza, the children of Paseah, the children of Besai,
[50] The children of Asnah, the children of Mehunim, the children of Nephusim,
[51] The children of Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur,
[52] The children of Bazluth, the children of Mehida, the children of Harsha,
[53] The children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the children of Thamah,
[54] The children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha.

These were the descendants of Solomon's servants (more temple workers):
Descendants of Sotai, Sophereth, Peruda, Jaalah, Darkon, Giddel, Shephatiah, Hattil, Pochereth from the area of Zebaim, and Ami.

[55] The children of Solomon's servants: the children of Sotai, the children of Sophereth, the children of Peruda,
[56] The children of Jaalah, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel,
[57] The children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the children of Pochereth of Zebaim, the children of Ami.


The number of all of the temple workers:  392
[58] All the Nethinims, and the children of Solomon's servants, were three hundred ninety and two.

There were some people who went from the areas of Tel-melah, Tel-harsa, Cherub, Addan, and Immer.  But they could not prove they were really Israelites. These were descendants of Delaiah, Tobiah, and Nekoda--652
[59] And these were they which went up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsa, Cherub, Addan, and Immer: but they could not shew their father's house, and their seed, whether they were of Israel:
[60] The children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred fifty and two.

These were the descendants of the priests--the descendants of Habaiah, Koz, and Barzillai. The descendants of Barzillai were named for the female said of the family (Barzillai was a man who lived back in David's time. An Israelite married one of his daughters. Their children kept their mother's family name instead of their father's family name).

[61] And of the children of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai; which took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name:


No one now really knows what the Urim and Thummin looked like.  Back in the book of Exodus, when Aaron asked God questions, the Urim and Thummin helped him to receive God's answers. Now, the Urim and Thummin are missing. 

These people tried to prove that they were really Israelites.  But they could not find any records, so they could not be priests. The man who was the leader said they could not eat any of the sacrificed food. They could not be priests until a priest could use the Urim and Thummin to ask God about them.
[62] These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood.
[63] And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim.

In all, there were 42,360 Israelites going back to Judah. They also had with them servants and maids. There were 7,337 servants, and 200 men and women who sang.
[64] The whole congregation together was forty and two thousand three hundred and threescore,
[65] Beside their servants and their maids, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven: and there were among them two hundred singing men and singing women.

There were 736 horses, 245 mules, 435 camels, and 6,720 donkeys.
[66] Their horses were seven hundred thirty and six; their mules, two hundred forty and five;
[67] Their camels, four hundred thirty and five; their asses, six thousand seven hundred and twenty.

Some of the leaders gave silver and gold to use to build the Temple again in the same place in Jerusalem. They gave silver and gold voluntarily and gave as much as they could. They gave 1,060 drams (a Persian measurement) of gold and 5,000 pounds of silver, and 100 sets of clothes for the priests.
[68] And some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the LORD which is at Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place:
[69] They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work threescore and one thousand drams of gold, and five thousand pound of silver, and one hundred priests' garments.

The priests, Levites, singers, people, and temple workers went back to Judah. They lived in the cities their ancestors lived in.
[70] So the priests, and the Levites, and some of the people, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, dwelt in their cities, and all Israel in their cities.

Ezra 3

The Israelites start to make offerings again.


In the 7th month, the Israelites came together in Jerusalem.
[1] And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem.

Some of the leaders built God's altar to make burnt offerings. God's law said that the Israelites should make burnt offerings. The leaders who built the altar were Jeshua (his father's name was Jozadak),  men who were priests with Jeshua, Zerubbabel (his father's name was Shealtiel), and some men from Zerubbabel's family. 
[2] Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God.

They built the new altar on the same bases where the old altar was. They made burnt offerings every morning and every evening.  They were afraid of the people who lived in that area now.
[3] And they set the altar upon his bases; for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD, even burnt offerings morning and evening.

You can find more details about the special days of celebration here.

They obeyed God's laws about offerings. They also made the other offerings and celebrated the special days.  They celebrated the feast of the tabernacles. They made burnt offerings everyday.  The people also made freewill offerings.
[4] They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the custom, as the duty of every day required;
[5] And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the LORD that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the LORD.

On the 1st day of the 7th month, they started to make burnt offerings to God. But they did not yet start to build God's temple.
[6] From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid.


The work to build the temple again begins.

Joppa was located by the Mediterranean Sea.  Today it is the city of Tel Aviv.

The Israelites paid for the workers who were building the temple. They paid money to the stone cutters and carpenters. They gave meat, drink, and olive oil to the people in the places named Zidon and Tyre. They paid the people in Zidon and Tyre to bring cedar trees from the area of Lebanon.  They brought the trees to the sea of Joppa. King Cyrus had given them money to pay these workers.
[7] They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia.

The Israelites had been back in Judah for 2 years. It was the 2nd month, and the people started to build the temple again. Zerubbabel (his father's name was Shealtiel),  Jeshua (his father's name was Jozadak), the priests and Levites who were left, and everyone else who came from Babylon worked. The Levites who were 20 years old and older were in charge.
[8] Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the LORD.

The leaders of the workers were Jeshua and his sons and family, Kadmiel and his sons, the men in the tribe of Judah, the sons of Henadad and their family members, the Levites.
[9] Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites.


Building the temple again.

When they built the foundation of God's temple (the part on the bottom), the priests put on their special clothes and played trumpets. The Levites in Asaph's family played cymbals. They praised God the same as David praised God.
[10] And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.

They all sang together and praised God. They thanked God because He is good, and He will always be good to Israel. The people praised God and shouted loudly. They were thankful that the foundation of God's temple was built.
[11] And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.

Many of the older priests, Levites, and tribe leaders cried. They cried because they remembered seeing the first temple. Now they cried because they were happy to see the temple being built again. Many shouted loudly because they were very happy.  The people who were far away heard the loud shouting and crying. They couldn't tell if the noise was sad crying or happy shouting.
[12] But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:
[13] So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.


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