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The Access Bible New Revised Standard Bible, written and edited with first-time Bible readers in mind.

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Commentary on 2 Esdras

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1.1–3 :

Attribution. These verses were added to 5 Ezra when it was placed before 4 Ezra.

1 :

The prophet * Ezra: The biblical Ezra was not a prophet, but a scribe * and priest. The tradition that he was also a prophet is found in 12.42 . Ezra's genealogy * (list of ancestors) is similar, but not identical, to those found in Ezra 7.1–5 and 1 Esd 8.1–2 .

3 :

In the reign of Artaxerxes: Ezra probably lived during the reign of Artaxerxes I (465–24 BCE), but these prophecies were written in his name centuries later.

1.4–23 :

Israel's sins and God's mercy.

5–7 :

Like the prophets * of the Hebrew Scriptures, * Ezra is called by God to denounce the people of Israel for their sins, and to remind them of all that God has done for them.

8 :

In Ezra 9.3 , Ezra pulls out some of his hair and his beard in a traditional sign of mourning, because of the faithlessness of the Israelites.

11 :

This verse is obscure, but the point is clear: in the past, God took Israel's side against their enemies.

13–23 :

God contrasts his merciful actions for Israel's sake (drawn from Exodus and Numbers) with the people's lack of faith and gratitude.

1.24–34 :

God's rejection of Israel.

24 :

Other nations: Other ancient authorities read “another nation.”

26 :

The author may have experienced violent conflicts between Jews and Christians, which could have motivated him to write this anti-Jewish tract.

27 :

He emphasizes the self-destructive nature of Israel's disobedience.

28–29 :

God has done everything in his power to preserve the covenant. *

30 :

As a hen: Compare Mt 23.37 (Lk 13.34 ).

31 :

God's rejection of superficial displays of piety is a common theme among the Hebrew prophets. *

32 :

Although the theme of Israel's mistreatment of the prophets appears in 2 Chr 36.15–16 , the closest parallel to this verse is Lk 11.49–51 (Mt 23.34–35 ).

33 :

Your house refers to the Temple * ; compare Mt 23.38 . Note the numerous parallels between this passage and Mt 23.29–39 .

1.35–40 :

The transfer of Israel's privileges.

35 :

The benefits of the covenant * will be taken from Israel and given to a people that will come, presumably the Christians.

36 :

The verse is obscure, but clearly a contrast with v. 32 is intended.

38 :

The people coming from the east: This verse may allude to a Jewish tradition about the return of the ten lost tribes of Israel from far in the east (compare 13.39–50 ), but if so, the motif * has been given a new meaning by the Christian author.

39–40 :

The patriarchs of Genesis and the minor prophets * are symbolic of the spiritual heritage of Israel which is to be handed over to the Christians; compare Lk 13.28–29 .

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