Ezra is so well thought of in the Talmud that it is written of him that "the Torah could have been given to Israel through Ezra, if not that Moses preceded him" (Sanhedrin 21b).
Through Ezra's efforts, these mixed marriages are dissolved.
All the people are then gathered in Jerusalem ― men and women from all over the country ― and the Torah is read out loud to all.
Two individuals played a critical role in the re-establishment of the Jewish community in Israel. A scribe and scholar and a Jewish community leader in Persia, Ezra, a cohen, hears that the Jewish community in the Holy Land is floundering with neither king nor prophet.
So, he takes with him 1,496 well-chosen men with leadership abilities and comes to the rescue.
On the way to tell others about it, he dies.(2) The point of the story is that the Ark is not meant to be found. The Jews who rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem were faced with many challenges and difficulties.
Strong leadership would be essential for them to be able to both rebuilt the Temple and re-establish a strong community.
We know (from the Talmud, Yoma 9a) that Yochanan was High Priest for 80 years, Shimon was High Priest for 40 years, and Yishmael ben Pabi was High Priest for 10 years.
That means in the remaining 290 years there were at least 300 priests ― one every year or so. The Talmud tells us that the Holy of Holies was forbidden ground, except for Yom Kippur.
The rebuilding of the Temple, which had began under Cyrus when the Persians first took over the Babylonian empire, and which was then interrupted for 18 years, resumed with blessing of Darius II, the Persian king whom we believe to be the son of Esther.