The dating of the Book of Ezra is thought by the majority of scholars and commentators to be about 450 BCE. The book is divided into two parts. The first begins with the arrival of Sheshbazzar (assumed to be Zerubbabel) in Jerusalem in 538 BCE and ends with the dedication of the Temple in 516 BCE. The second part begins with the arrival of Ezra in Jerusalem in 458 BCE and ends in 457 BCE. The gap of about 60 years between the end of the first part and the beginning of the second part is a complete blank.
וַיַּעֲבֶר־קוֹל בְּכָל־מַלְכוּתוֹ וְגַם־בְּמִכְתָּב לֵאמֹר׃
Ezra 1:1 And in the first year for Cyrus, king of Persia, the word of the Lord from the mouth of Jeremiah to be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, and he proclaimed throughout his kingdom, and also in writing, saying,
Cyrus conquered Babylon in about 538 BCE and in his first year, immediately began changing the policies of Babylon pertaining to its captured peoples. He apparently believed that he gained the loyalty of his subjects by encouraging them to return from their Babylonian exile to their former homes.
כֹּה אָמַר כֹּרֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ פָּרַס כֹּל מַמְלְכוֹת הָאָרֶץ נָתַן לִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי הַשָּׁמָיִם וְהוּא־פָקַד עָלַי לִבְנוֹת־לוֹ 1:2
בַיִת בִּירוּשָׁלִַם אֲשֶׁר בִּיהוּדָה׃
Ezra 1:2 “Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia: ‘All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord, God of heaven, has given to me, and He has placed a charge upon me to build for Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.’
מִי־בָכֶם מִכָּל־עַמּוֹ יְהִי אֱלֹהָיו עִמּוֹ וְיַעַל לִירוּשָׁלִַם אֲשֶׁר בִּיהוּדָה וְיִבֶן אֶת־בֵּית יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל 1:3
הוּא הָאֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר בִּירוּשָׁלִָם׃
Ezra 1:3 ‘Whoever are among you from all His people, let his God be with him; then let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord. He is the God of Israel, the God Who is in Jerusalem.’ [Return to 2Chr. 36:22]
This verse appears to contain two incorrectly non-reversing vav prefixes. They are in the eighth word, וְיַעַל, translated as then let ... go up, and the twelfth word, וְיִבֶן, translated as and build. However, as I translate the first phrase, יְהִי אֱלֹהָיו עִמּוֹ, as Let his God be with him, the two are consequences of that first phrase, and the vav prefixes should be non-reversing.
וְכָל־הַנִּשְׁאָר מִכָּל־הַמְּקֹמוֹת אֲשֶׁר הוּא גָר־שָׁם יְנַשְּׂאוּהוּ אַנְשֵׁי מְקֹמוֹ בְּכֶסֶף וּבְזָהָב וּבִרְכוּשׁ 1:4
וּבִבְהֵמָה עִם־הַנְּדָבָה לְבֵית הָאֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר בִּירוּשָׁלִָם׃
Ezra 1:4 ‘So anyone who remains from all the places where he sojourned, let the people of his place assist him with silver and with gold and with goods and with cattle, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that will be in Jerusalem.’”
וַיָּקוּמוּ רָאשֵׁי הָאָבוֹת לִיהוּדָה וּבִנְיָמִן וְהַכֹּהֲנִים וְהַלְוִיִּם לְכֹל הֵעִיר הָאֱלֹהִים אֶת־רוּחוֹ לַעֲלוֹת 1:5
לִבְנוֹת אֶת־בֵּית יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר בִּירוּשָׁלִָם׃
Ezra 1:5 So the heads of the households belonging to Judah and Benjamin rose up, and the priests and the Levites, and anyone whose spirit God had stirred up to go up to build the house of the Lord that was to be in Jerusalem.
וְכָל־סְבִיבֹתֵיהֶם חִזְּקוּ בִידֵיהֶם בִּכְלֵי־כֶסֶף בַּזָּהָב בָּרְכוּשׁ וּבַבְּהֵמָה וּבַמִּגְדָּנֹות לְבַד 1:6
Ezra 1:6 And all surrounding them gave strength to their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with cattle, and with the choicest things, besides all that was volunteered.
וְהַמֶּלֶךְ כֹּורֶשׁ הֹוצִיא אֶת־כְּלֵי בֵית־יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר הֹוצִיא נְבוּכַדְנֶצַּר מִירוּשָׁלִַם וַיִּתְּנֵם בְּבֵית אֱלֹהָיו׃ 1:7
Ezra 1:7 And the king, Cyrus, brought out the vessels of the house of the Lord that Nebuchadnezzar had brought out from Jerusalem and put in the house of his gods.
וַיֹּוצִיאֵמ כֹּורֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ פָּרַס עַל־יַד מִתְרְדָת הַגִּזְבָּר וַיִּסְפְּרֵם לְשֵׁשְׁבַּצַּר הַנָּשִׂיא לִיהוּדָה׃ 1:8
Ezra 1:8 And Cyrus, king of Persia, brought them out by the hand of Mithredath, the treasurer, and counted them for Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.
Sheshbazzar is identified with Zerubbabel, the former being his Persian name. He is introduced later in this book in the beginning of Chapter 2.
וְאֵלֶּה מִסְפָּרָם אֲגַרְטְלֵי זָהָב שְׁלֹשִׁים אֲגַרְטְלֵי־כֶסֶף אָלֶף מַחֲלָפִים תִּשְׁעָה וְעֶשְׂרִים׃ 1:9
Ezra 1:9 And these are their number: Thirty basins of gold, a thousand basins of silver, twenty-nine knives,
כְּפוֹרֵי זָהָב שְׁלֹשִׁים כְּפוֹרֵי כֶסֶף מִשְׁנִים אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת וַעֲשָׂרָה כֵּלִים אֲחֵרִים אָלֶף׃ 1:10
Ezra 1:10 thirty bowls of gold, four hundred and ten bowls of double silver, a thousand other vessels.
כָּל־כֵּלִים לַזָּהָב וְלַכֶּסֶף חֲמֵשֶׁת אֲלָפִים וְאַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת הַכֹּל הֶעֱלָה שֵׁשְׁבַּצַּר עִם הֵעָלוֹת הַגּוֹלָה 1:11
Ezra 1:11 All the gold and silver vessels were five thousand and four hundred, all of which Sheshbazzar brought up with those of the captivity going up from Babylon to Jerusalem.