Esdras is a famous priest and scribe connected with Israel's restoration after the Exile. The chief sources of information touching his life are the canonical books of Esdras and Nehemias. A group of apocryphal writings is also much concerned with him, but they can hardly be relied upon, as they relate rather the legendary tales of a later age. Esdras was of priestly descent and belonged to the line of Sardoc (Ezra 7:1-5). He styles himself "son of Saraias" (vii, 1), an expression which is by many understood in a broad sense, as purporting that Saraias, the chief priest, spoken of in 2 Kings 25:18-21, was one of Esdras's ancestors. Nevertheless he is known rather as "the scribe" than as "priest": he was "a ready scribe [a scribe skilled] in the law of Moses", and therefore especially qualified for the task to which he was destined among his people.
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