About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Chapter - Chapter 8
verses list the linage of the families that left Babylon
with Ezra, roughly 1,514 people. Besides
noting this, I will make no further comment.
point Ezra and company began their trip to Jerusalem. It was spring, (March)
when armies began to make their moves in pursuit of enemies and
expansion. As the crow
flies, itís about 500 miles from
begins with the words ďI assembled themĒ.
The pronoun ďIĒ refers to Ezra.
He assembled the Jews who were going to go with him to Jerusalem
at Ahava, just outside of Babylon. This was basically a time
of organization and planning for the trip ahead of them.
Ezra and the people were there for three days.
When Ezra checked the crowd out, he discovered there was no
Levites in the crowd. Apparently
they had stayed in Babylon, deciding not to return.
to 21 tells us that Ezra gathered certain leaders and learned men from
among the crowed to conscript Levites.
He was successful and in addition to those
Levites were 220 temple servants or workers who would help the
Levites. All this was done
with the understanding that ďGodís hand was with these peopleĒ as
they left for Jerusalem. It is absolutely necessary
that Godís hand be with us as we perform any service for our Lord.
As Mark said in the very last verse of his gospel, ďthe
disciples went forth and preached, while Jesus went with them confirming
their word with miraculous signsĒ.
We must pray for Godís direction on our lives.
We must also pray for his hand to be on us as we head out in the
direction He has for us.
21 we see that Ezra proclaimed a fast.
He gives the reason for this fast, which is the reason for all
fasts, and that is, that the people might humble themselves before the
Lord. Most of the time when
you see fasting in the Old Testament it is requested by God in order for
His people to humble themselves in repentance.
This is a voluntary fast, and it isnít for repentance.
It is a fast of humility, but also of one to request Godís help
for their trip.
is quite interesting. We see
the humanness of Ezra. He
might well have been a man of God, a man of Godís word, but he said
that he felt ashamed. He had
told the king that he did not need any of the kingís soldiers to
accompany them on the trip because their God would be with them.
Ezra told the king that Godís favour is on those who obey Him,
but His ďgreat angerĒ is
on the who do not obey. We
see here both Godís great love and His great anger.
We speak of Godís love often, but many reject the idea that He
sheds some light on Ezra being ashamed.
He said, ďfor this reason we petitioned our GodĒ. For what
reason is Ezra talking about here. The
reason is that he did not take the king up and have his soldiers come
along with them, and now he must be feeling a bit uncertain that he made
the right decision. So for
this reason, he is seriously asking for Godís help and wants the rest
of the Jews to do the same.
24 and 25 Ezra sets out all the things that had been donated by the king
and other for the temple. It
was a lot, and was worth much, and thatís why he probably felt some
nervousness. Thatís probably also why the king offered the Jews
protection with soldiers. The
text speaks in terms of talents, but here is what was donated in terms
of modern tons. The list is;
twenty five tons of silver, three
and three quarters tone of silver articles, and three and three quarters
tons of gold. Along with
these things were 20 gold bowls and 2 finely polished articles of
bronze. This is quite
a detailed list and once again shows us how detailed of a man Ezra was.
You will see later just why Ezra makes this list.
It is to keep a record of what they started out with. They do the
same at the end of their trip to see if they have what they started
with. Itís a simple
28 Ezra says, ďyou as well as these articles...Ē
The ďyouĒ in this sentence refers to the leading men that
Ezra sat down with in verse 24.
Ezra tells these men that both them and the articles just
mentioned were consecrated to the Lord.
This means that both the men and the articles for the temple were
set aside exclusively for the service of the Lord.
Yet really, if you look at the tenor of the whole of the Old
Testament, all of
remember, here in verse 29, the
Jews had not yet left on their trip.
They are about to leave, but they havenít left as yet.
So Ezra tells these men to guard all of the articles for GodĎs
house that they are taking on this long journey, until the day comes
when these things are presented to the priests and Levites in Jerusalem.
Iím sure that day would be yet another one of those glorious
days in the history of the Jews.
30 we see another group of priests and Levites mentioned.
We should not confuse these priests and Levites with the ones
just mentioned in the last verse, who were in
31 Ezra states the facts of the trip.
Godís hand was on these people as they left for Jerusalem. No bandits or robbers
attacked, and Iím sure with all that they were taking with them, many
robbers would liked to have attempted to rob the Jews.
We must always pray that the hand of the Lord be upon us as we go
through our lives, and as we attempt to the our Lordís will.
simply says that that Ezra and the Jews finally arrived in Jerusalem
and when they got there, they rested for three days.
Iím sure they appreciated the rest.
If they took the same route as the first fifty thousand exiles
took, they would have first went north from Babylon, then west, and then
south, instead of going directly southwest.
and 34 tell us that all the articles of gold and silver were brought to
the house of a certain priest. All
these things were weighed and accounted for.
You will remember that when they first left Babylon
that they weighed and accounted for things at that time.
So the reason for doing this now was to show that what they
started with at the beginning of the trip, they had with them at the end
of the trip. There was no
theft by and Jew or and robber on the way to Jerusalem.
practicalities of the trip was complete, that is after they weighed and
accounted for everything, in verse 35 the first thing that the Jews who
made the trip was to offer sacrifices to their God.
This was exactly what the fifty thousand Jews did a number of
years earlier. The first
thing that any Godly man does is to worship his God.
ends this chapter. After
worshiping, that is after their religious duties were fulfilled, they
then did their civil duties, and that was to take the kings decree to
the governor of Trans-Euphrates. The governor read the decree and
quickly understood that he and those in charge were to assist the Jews
in the ways in which the king decreed, and that they did.
This must have been an irritation to the governor.
Much time, effort and money would be directed towards the Jews.
The Jews must have felt very grateful. Yet as time went on the
same people began to wander in their thinking and practice.
They began to wander from their God, and that is why the prophet
Malachi would come on the scene a few years later.