The books of Ezra and Nehemiah are vital and significant records of times as tumultuous as our own, as Israel returned from the Babylonian captivity and undertook the rebuilding of the Temple, even while beset by enemies without and dissension within the community.
For the student of the post-exilic period of biblical history and thought, a detailed knowledge of both books -along with the companion history in the Chronicles is essential, says Dr. H. G. M. Williamson.
Based on years of intensive study and research, this new commentary provides competent guidance into the complexities of Ezra and Nehemiah. The author gives special attention to the perplexing scholarly problems associated with their form, structure, and literary history. Supporting the view that much of this material is from the fifth century B.C., just as it claims to be, he concludes that "there is good reason to approach Ezra and Nehemiah as two parts of single work and that this work is to be regarded as complete as it stands."
Dr. Williamson also focuses on sections of these books commonly referred to as the "Ezra Memoir" and the "Nehemiah Memoir." He notes the specifically theological purpose of such sections, in which the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple are defended against the enemies, and the leaders of Israel plead for recognition of their faithfulness to the commission given them by God through the Persian kings.
The integrity and balance in Dr. Williamson's methods, approach, and goals are apparent throughout this commentary, which strives always to give exegesis the greatest prominence rather than impose foreign, a priori categories of interpretation on the material.