In the initial Hebrew manuscripts, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah in the Old Testament were one book and a continuation of 1 and 2 Chronicles. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah are the last two historical books of the Old Testament and cover the period from approximately 540B.C. to 430B.C. The book of Ezra is named for its main character, but it does not identify him as being the main author. Ezra apparently wrote some of the book or the original writer quoted directly from a record Ezra wrote because in the last four chapters, Ezra speaks in the first person.
Ezra was a priest and a descendant of Aaron, the brother of Moses. He was also known as a scribe who studied, wrote, and taught the scriptures a great deal. Some have called Ezra the 'father' of modern Judaism because of his emphasis on studying the law (the scriptures).
There are three major returns to Jerusalem described in the book of Ezra: one approximately 538B.C. under the direction of Zerubbabel, a second approximately 465-25B.C. under the direction of Ezra, and the third 444B.C. under the direction of Nehemiah.
Ezra led the Jews at a time when they began centering their lives more on becoming a church rather than a nation. The two main focuses in the book of Ezra are the: stressing the importance of the temple, and the significance of the law, or the sacred records we call the scriptures. Ezra stresses the reason that we are earth is to love, obey, and serve the Lord. However, to be successful we must: fast and pray to gain the Lord's help, seek to marry in the covenant, and confess and repent of our sins.