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Ezra, Book of


Biblical book that relates the first return of the Jewish exiles from their Babylonian captivity after the edict of Cyrus the Great in 538 b.c.; the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, a labor completed in 515 b.c.; and the work of the priest-scribe Ezra, who led another group of exiles back to Palestine in the reign of the Persian king Artaxerxes (which Artaxerxes is uncertain). Particular mention is made of Ezra's efforts to preserve the racial purity of the restored Jewish community. (For a more complete treatment of this book, see chronicler, biblical.)

[n. j. mceleney]

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