Ezra was the leader of a group of Jews returning to Jerusalem from the Babylonian Exile in 458 BC, during the reign of King Artaxerxes. When Ezra learned that the renewed Jewish community in Judah lacked spiritual direction, he got permission from the king to lead 1,754 exiles to Judah, to give a firm foundation to Mosaic Law there. Ezra convened the people for a public reading of the Law.
Ezra was a descendant from the priestly line of Aaron, and the author of the Old Testament Book of Ezra. The name Ezra means "God helps."