The Jewish church puts on quite another face in this book from what it had appeared with; its state much better, and more pleasant, than it was of late in Babylon, and yet far inferior to what it had been formerly. The dry bones here live again, but in the form of a servant; the yoke of their captivity is taken off, but the marks of it in their galled necks remain. Kings we hear no more of; the crown has fallen from their heads. Prophets they are blessed with, to direct them in their re-establishment, but, after a while, prophecy ceases among them, till the great prophet appears, and his fore-runner. The history of this book is the accomplishment of Jeremiah's prophecy concerning the return of the Jews out of Babylon at the end of seventy years, and a type of the accomplishment of the prophecies of the Apocalypse concerning the deliverance of the gospel church out of the New-Testament Babylon. Ezra preserved the records of that great revolution and transmitted them to the church in this book. His name signifies a helper; and so he was to that people. A particular account concerning him we shall meet with, ch. 7, where he himself enters upon the stage of action. The book gives us an account, I. Of the Jews' return out of their captivity, ch. 1, 2. II. Of the building of the temple, the opposition it met with, and yet the perfecting of it at last, ch. 3-6. III. Of Ezra's coming to Jerusalem, ch. 7, 8. IV. Of the good service he did there, in obliging those that had married strange wives to put them away, ch. 9, 10. This beginning again of the Jewish nation was small, yet its latter end greatly increased.
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