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1 Esdras is a deuterocanonical book accepted by all Orthodox Christians, but rejected as apocryphal by most mainstream "Orthodox" Jews, Catholics, and most Protestants. In large part it parallels the action of Ezra, Nehemiah, and the Books of Chronicles, with some sections being translations of those books.
Naming and Numbering:
The book now called 1 Esdras presents various problems of naming. In most editions of the Septuagint, the book is titled in Greek: Εσδρας Α′ (in Latin: Esdrae I) and is placed before the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, which are together titled in Greek: Εσδρας Β′ (in Latin: Esdrae II).
However, Jerome, in his translation of the Vulgate, rejected Esdrae I as apocryphal, and titled the books of Ezra and Nehemiah as 1 and 2 Esdras, giving the current book (Esdrae I) the title 3 Esdras. Since most modern translations use the more Hebrew spelling of "Ezra" for the undoubtedly canonical book, Jerome's 3 Esdras is styled 1 Esdras and his 4 Esdras, an apocalyptic book rejected by most Christian canons [and so far existing only in Latin translation, 2 Arabic translations, a Syriac translation, an Ethiopian translation, and a Slavonic translation], becomes 2 Esdras.
The Russian Orthodox Church, which considers both this book and Ezra's apocalypse canonical and list them in the Slavonic Bible, counts the proto-canonical Ezra and Nehemiah as 1 Esdras, with the 3 and 4 Esdras of Jerome being labelled 2 and 3 Esdras, respectively.
The majority of the content of 1 Esdras completely parrallels Ezra, Nehemiah, and II Chronicles. In particular:
- Chapter 1 = 2 Chron 35:1 - 36:21. Josiah's death, history of Jerusalem up to its destruction. Two verses in this chapter are original to this book.
- Chapter 2:1-14 = Ezra 1:1-11. The edict of Cyrus
- Chapter 2:15-26 = Ezra 4:7-24. First attempt to rebuild the temple.
- Chapter 3:1-5:3 (original) Three courtiers of Darius dispute whether wine, the king, or women (but above all the truth) is the strongest. The winner of the dispute is to receive great honor from Darius. Darius concurs with Zerubbabel, who said women and truth, and at his request, sends him with the Jews, ordering the restoration of the temple.
- Chapter 5:4-6 (original) Beginning of a list of the exiles who returned.
- Chapter 5:7-73 = Ezra 2:1-4:5. List of exiles returning. Work on the temple. Interruption of building until Darius' time.
- Chapter 6-7:9 = Ezra 5:1-6:18. Correspondence between Sisinnes and Darius about the temple. Completion of the Second Temple.
- Chapter 7:10-15 = Ezra 6:19-22. Celebration of the Passover.
- Chapter 8:1-9:36 = Ezra 7:1-10:44. Return of exiles under Ezra. Preaching against mixed marriages.
- Chapter 9:37-55 = Nehemiah 7:73-8:12. Ezra reads the Law.