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After suffering military defeat and captivity for its apostasy, the Jewish people were finally freed and allowed to return to their homeland in the 6th century BC, ending their exile to Babylon. Although earlier generations of leaders such as Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi had already warned Israel to renew covenant faithfulness in their reclaimed land, they were constantly drifting away from God. Ezra and Nehemiah appeared on the scene offering unique skills for helping God’s people move toward covenant faithfulness. As a priest and scribe, Ezra helped the people rediscover the Torah, while Nehemiah’s administrative skills helped him lead the people in repairing the city walls.
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