7:1 Artaxerxes king of Persia. This Artaxerxes commissioned Ezra to go to Jerusalem and then, about thirteen years later, also sent Nehemiah (Ezra 7:8; Nehemiah 2:1). Since “Artaxerxes,” as well as “Ahasuerus”—and even “Cyrus” and “Darius”—are believed by some scholars to be titles (like “Pharaoh”) rather than personal names, he may or may not be the same man mentioned in Ezra 4:8. The temple was evidently completed about sixteen years after its foundations were laid, whereas there seems to be a much larger interval, sixty years or so, between the completion of the post-exilic temple and the period of Ezra and Nehemiah. The precise identifications of these Persian kings has long been controversial, even among conservative historians and Biblical scholars.
7:1 Ezra. Ezra was both a scribe (Ezra 7:6) and a priest, being a direct descendant of “Aaron the chief priest” (Ezra 7:5).
7:1 Hilkiah. Hilkiah, who was Ezra’s great-grandfather, had been the high priest (II Kings 22:4) who led the pre-exilic revival under King Josiah.