He was commissioned to inquire into the religious condition of the land and to disseminate the teaching of the Law to which he had devoted himself (Ezra vii.).
The historical interval that separated these two events is treated as naturally dividing itself into three great periods, - those of Moses, David and Ezra.
It was the conception of Ezekiel which permanently influenced the citizens of the new Jerusalem, and took final shape in the institutions of Ezra.
The Pentateuch (or Hexateuch) was finally completed in its present form at some time before 400 B.C. The latest parts of the Old Testament are the books of Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah (c. 330 B.C.), Ecclesiastes and Esther (3rd century) and Daniel, composed either in the 3rd century or according to some views as late as the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (c. 168 B.C.).