Ezra and Nehemiah


Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.
  2. Scripture Reference: the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Divide into 2 teams: the Ezra team should scan chapters 1, 2, 3, 6, and 10 for the answers to the following questions:

What was Cyrus’s edict?                     

What did Cyrus give the Jews?

How many people returned?                

What was the first thing they did?

When did work on the temple begin?   When finished?

            What difficult reform did Ezra carry out?

      The Nehemiah team should scan chapters 1-5 for these questions:

            What news was brought to Nehemiah?  What does Nehemiah request?

            What does he want to do in Jerusalem?  What success does he have?

            How does Nehemiah face the opposition? 

            What does Nehemiah do about wealth and poverty?

            How does Nehemiah serve as an example to the people?

                  Review briefly the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah, both contemporaries of Ezra. Have the whole class tackle these difficult questions: How do you think the Jews felt as they returned home? If you’d been a Hebrew with a foreign wife, would you have been willing to give her up? Why or why not? Why was it so critical to return to the law of Moses?


  1. History: After he captured Babylon, Cyrus of Persia allowed many of the Jews to go home under Zerubbabel. They began work on the temple, but the work was stopped by their enemy neighbors and nothing further was done for 15 years. Haggai begins to preach and Darius ascends the Persian throne. Work resumes on the temple, Zechariah continues Haggai’s mission, and Ezra is sent from Persia to re-institute the law and handle certain reforms. Many years later, Nehemiah returns and rebuilds the wall. Malachi preached in the days of Nehemiah.


  1. Discussion: All of us face times of starting over from scratch as did the Jewish people returning to their land after 70 years in captivity. It is a distressing and stressful time. Discuss the relative difficulty of these various starting-over times and why – Which would be worst? How could you cope?

You break up with your boy/girlfriend after a year.

Your parents divorce.

You move to a new city.

You fail a required course and have to take it over.

Your house burns down and you lose everything you own.

Your family dies in a car accident and you’re left alone.

You are permanently blinded in a car accident.

                  Why is it so hard to face starting over times? What’s the most difficult starting-over time you’ve experienced? How did you deal with it? Who helped?

  1. Close with prayer: Who do you know who’s facing a re-building time? How could you help? Pray together to follow through and help that person.