Nehemiah and Ezra

In Cyrus' first year, he issued the decree allowing jews to return. They made three returns:
1) Zerubbabel led the first in 536 B.C.
In 535 B.C. the construction of the Temple began.
In Feb 18, 516 B.C. the temple was completed and dedicated.

2) Ezra led the second in 457 B.C..
Ezra left with about 1500 men and their families in mid-March 457 B.C..
In August the group arrives safely in Jerusalem.

3) Nehemiah led the third in 445 B.C..
In April of 445 B.C., after a prayer period of four months, Nehemiah speaks with the king.
Early September, after just 52 days, the wall was completed.

Ezra the High Priest and Scribe

Ezra led the return of the Jews to Jerusalem from their Babylonian exile. Under his direction and inspiration, together with the help of the King's cup bearer, Nehemiah, the Second Temple was built, in a more modest scale and style than the grandeur of Solomon's Temple. Ezra had recorded the Bible, changed the Hebrew alphabet to the current square script, and introduced the Synagogue as the place of worship.

"And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law. And they found written in the law which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month. And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness. Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner." Nehemiah 8:13,14,17,18 "And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the Law.. In October 458 B.C. at the Feast of Tabernacles the great dedication of the rebuilt Temple was completed.

Ezra staunched the flow of intermarriage that afflicted the Jews returning to Jerusalem, strengthened public and private Sabbath observance, and created the necessary schools and intellectual tools for the furtherance of the knowledge and development of the Law of God within the Jewish people.

Although the Temple had been rebuilt by Zorobabel in 516 B.C. under Darius, Jerusalem had continued to lay in ruins..... Nehemiah discussed the plight of Jerusalem with King Artaxerxes I "The city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire." The king said to me, "What is it you want?"...."Send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I may build it." Letters of passage and escort were given to Nehemiah. ( Neh..2:7-9) Nehemiah surveyed the area, and decides to rebuild the wall, and reform the people.  King Artaxerxes I of Persia also gave a letter to the High Priest, Ezra, authorizing Ezra to complete God's House in Jerusalem and gave Ezra all the supplies he needed. (Ezra 7:11-26)... Ezra began to train the Priests and Singers and began to make the instruments and vessels of gold and silver.

 Nehemiah and the people sign a covenant

Nehemiah 10:32: Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee, that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the kings of Assyria unto this day. : Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us; for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly: .... And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it.1: Now those that sealed were, Nehemiah, (the Governor) the Tirshatha, the son of Hachaliah, and Zidkijah, 2: Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah, 3: Pashur, Amariah, Malchijah, 4: Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch, 5: Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah, 6: Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch, 7: Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin, 8: Maaziah, Bilgai, Shemaiah: these were the priests. 9: And the Levites: both Jeshua the son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, Kadmiel; 10: And their brethren, Shebaniah, Hodijah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan, 11: Micha, Rehob, Hashabiah, 12: Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah, 13: Hodijah, Bani, Beninu. 14: The chief of the people; Parosh, Pahath-moab, Elam, Zatthu, Bani, 15: Bunni, Azgad, Bebai, 16: Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin, 17: Ater, Hizkijah, Azzur, 18: Hodijah, Hashum, Bezai, 19: Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai, 20: Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir, 21: Meshezabeel, Zadok, Jaddua, 22: Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah, 23: Hoshea, Hananiah, Hashub, 24: Hallohesh, Pileha, Shobek, 25: Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah, 26: And Ahijah, Hanan, Anan, 27: Malluch, Harim, Baanah. 28: And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters, the singers, the Nethinims, and all they that had separated themselves from the people of the lands unto the law of God, their wives, their sons, and their daughters, every one having knowledge, and having understanding; They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes.   Then Nehemiah said to them, "You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, so that we may no longer suffer disgrace." I told them that the hand of my God had been gracious upon me, and also the words that the king had spoken to me. Then they said, "Let us start building!" So they committed themselves to the common good.

The Tomb of Ezra the Scribe is located in Southern Iraq... three hours' journey south from Bagdad and not far from the Tigris and is venerated equally by Jews and Arabs .