The book of Ezra deals with building the second temple, restoring the worship of Yahweh, and breaking the habits that undermined Israel’s spiritual integrity. In Hope Amidst Ruin, A. Philip Brown II analyzes the book’s use of chronology, plot, and point of view, demonstrating that Ezra composed the historical narrative to teach postexilic Israel about the goodness and holiness of their God. The themes of hope and holiness flow throughout the book as the returnees learn anew of God’s promises to the just and of His wrath against those who abandon Him. Purification and separation from evil is necessary for the Israelites to be restored to true fellowship with Yahweh.
Brown frankly addresses various interpretation challenges in Ezra, such as its unique temporal ordering and disquieting finale. Concurrently, he offers evidence for the divine inspiration of the book. He also clarifies the relationship of historical events in the Persian Empire to Ezra’s narrative. Brown’s research and analysis make Hope Amidst Ruin an essential resource for Old Testament theologians and all students of Scripture. Ezra’s focus on hope and holiness is just as appropriate for our world as it was for his.
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A. Philip Brown II is an associate professor at God’s Bible School and College in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hope Amidst Ruin is the published version of his dissertation, “A Literary and Theological Analysis of the Book of Ezra.”