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Ezra 8

EZRA CHAPTER 8

List of the Family Heads Returning With Ezra

 1 These are the family heads and those registered with them who came up with me from Babylon during the reign of King Artaxerxes:

 2 of the descendants of Phinehas, Gershom;
       of the descendants of Ithamar, Daniel;
       of the descendants of David, Hattush

 3 of the descendants of Shecaniah;
       of the descendants of Parosh, Zechariah, and with him were registered 150 men;

 4 of the descendants of Pahath-Moab, Eliehoenai son of Zerahiah, and with him 200 men;

 5 of the descendants of Zattu, [a] Shecaniah son of Jahaziel, and with him 300 men;

 6 of the descendants of Adin, Ebed son of Jonathan, and with him 50 men;

 7 of the descendants of Elam, Jeshaiah son of Athaliah, and with him 70 men;

 8 of the descendants of Shephatiah, Zebadiah son of Michael, and with him 80 men;

 9 of the descendants of Joab, Obadiah son of Jehiel, and with him 218 men;

 10 of the descendants of Bani, [b] Shelomith son of Josiphiah, and with him 160 men;

 11 of the descendants of Bebai, Zechariah son of Bebai, and with him 28 men;

 12 of the descendants of Azgad, Johanan son of Hakkatan, and with him 110 men;

 13 of the descendants of Adonikam, the last ones, whose names were Eliphelet, Jeuel and Shemaiah, and with them 60 men;

 14 of the descendants of Bigvai, Uthai and Zaccur, and with them 70 men.

The Return to Jerusalem

 15 I assembled them at the canal that flows toward Ahava, and we camped there three days. When I checked among the people and the priests, I found no Levites there.

16 So I summoned Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah and Meshullam, who were leaders, and Joiarib and Elnathan, who were men of learning,

17 and I sent them to Iddo, the leader in Casiphia. I told them what to say to Iddo and his kinsmen, the temple servants in Casiphia, so that they might bring attendants to us for the house of our God.

18 Because the gracious hand of our God was on us, they brought us Sherebiah, a capable man, from the descendants of Mahli son of Levi, the son of Israel, and Sherebiah’s sons and brothers, 18 men;

19 and Hashabiah, together with Jeshaiah from the descendants of Merari, and his brothers and nephews, 20 men.

20 They also brought 220 of the temple servants—a body that David and the officials had established to assist the Levites. All were registered by name.

 21 There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions.

22 I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.”

23 So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.

 24 Then I set apart twelve of the leading priests, together with Sherebiah, Hashabiah and ten of their brothers,

25 and I weighed out to them the offering of silver and gold and the articles that the king, his advisers, his officials and all Israel present there had donated for the house of our God.

26 I weighed out to them 650  talents of silver, silver articles weighing 100  talents 100  talents of gold,

27 20 bowls of gold valued at 1,000 darics, and two fine articles of polished bronze, as precious as gold.

 28 I said to them, “You as well as these articles are consecrated to the LORD. The silver and gold are a freewill offering to the LORD, the God of your fathers.

29 Guard them carefully until you weigh them out in the chambers of the house of the LORD in Jerusalem before the leading priests and the Levites and the family heads of Israel.”

30 Then the priests and Levites received the silver and gold and sacred articles that had been weighed out to be taken to the house of our God in Jerusalem.

 31 On the twelfth day of the first month we set out from the Ahava Canal to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was on us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way.

32 So we arrived in Jerusalem, where we rested three days.

 33 On the fourth day, in the house of our God, we weighed out the silver and gold and the sacred articles into the hands of Meremoth son of Uriah, the priest. Eleazar son of Phinehas was with him, and so were the Levites Jozabad son of Jeshua and Noadiah son of Binnui.

34 Everything was accounted for by number and weight, and the entire weight was recorded at that time.

 35 Then the exiles who had returned from captivity sacrificed burnt offerings to the God of Israel: twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven male lambs and, as a sin offering, twelve male goats. All this was a burnt offering to the LORD.

36 They also delivered the king’s orders to the royal satraps and to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, who then gave assistance to the people and to the house of God.

INTRODUCTION TO EZRA 8

They are on their 900 mile journey to the homeland of their fathers when the roster was looked at and Ezra saw that no Levites were among them.  Ezra realized that the worship would be hamstrung without these men.  So, they remained camping at Ahava Canal for 3 days while Ezra sent some of his staff to Iddo in Casiphia to help find some Levites.  They prayed and fasted for a safe journey which would take a little more than 3 months.  God heard their prayer.  Twelve leaders from among the priests were in charge of the safe arrival of silver and gold etc.  They were to guard it with their life.  On the 8th. of April BC 458 they broke camp and started the long journey from the Ahava Canal, upon arrival they rested 3 days and on the 4th. day deposited the valuables in the temple and entrusted it with those in charge.  The exiles sacrificed burnt offerings and a copy of the king’s decrees was delivered to Governors in Trans-Euphrates, upon reading the decree these Governors then cooperated by supplying the aforementioned materials.  The commentary section will provide additional information.

EXPOSITION OF EZRA  8

List of the Family Heads Returning With Ezra

1 These are the family heads and those registered with them who came up with me from Babylon during the reign of King Artaxerxes:

The Mayflower kept a log book with a passenger list—The Lewis and Clark expedition kept a log book—Ezra had a log book in which he kept the names and records of the returning exiles.  However, only the head of each clan is recorded in his book.

2 of the descendants of Phinehas, Gershom;
       of the descendants of Ithamar, Daniel;
       of the descendants of David, Hattush

There are 1496 men besides women and children and 40 Levites and 220 temple servants.  Gershom was the 1st. son of Moses and Zipporah.  (Ex 2:22) Ithamar was the 4th. son of Aaron. (Ex 6:23)  David was the son of Jessie.

3 of the descendants of Shecaniah;
       of the descendants of Parosh, Zechariah, and with him were registered 150 men;

Zechariah was a popular name and 30 people had that in the Bible besides the father of John the Baptist.

4 of the descendants of Pahath-Moab, Eliehoenai son of Zerahiah, and with him 200 men; Elihoenai:

This name occurs in no other place in the bible.

5 of the descendants of Zattu, Shecaniah son of Jahaziel, and with him 300 men;

Shechaniah:

This name occurs in (I Ch. 3:21,22; 8:3,5; 10:2; Neh. 3:29; 6:18; 12:3)

6 of the descendants of Adin, Ebed son of Jonathan, and with him 50 men;

Ebed: A shortened name for Obadiah.

7 of the descendants of Elam, Jeshaiah son of Athaliah, and with him 70 men;

Athaliah:  An infamous queen bore this name (2 Kings 11).

8 of the descendants of Shephatiah, Zebadiah son of Michael, and with him 80 men;

Michael:  Ten people had this name in the bible including the archangel and David’s 1st. wife.

9 of the descendants of Joab, Obadiah son of Jehiel, and with him 218 men;

Jehiel:  His name occurs 15 times in 1 and 2 Ch. and Ezra.

10 of the descendants of Bani,  Shelomith son of Josiphiah, and with him 160 men;

Shelomith:  His name occurs 9 times in the bible in Lev; I Ch; 2 Ch. and Ezra.

11 of the descendants of Bebai, Zechariah son of Bebai, and with him 28 men;

Bebai: His name is found only in Ezra and Nehemiah.

12 of the descendants of Azgad, Johanan son of Hakkatan, and with him 110 men;

Azgad: His name only occurs in Ezra and Nehemiah.

13 of the descendants of Adonikam, the last ones, whose names were Eliphelet, Jeuel and Shemaiah, and with them 60 men;

Adonikam: His name is in Ezra and Nehemiah.

14 of the descendants of Bigvai, Uthai and Zaccur, and with them 70 men.

Bigvai:  These are 2 of his sons and 70 other men that came home from captivity with Ezra.

The Return to Jerusalem

15 I assembled them at the canal that flows toward Ahava, and we camped there three days. When I checked among the people and the priests, I found no Levites there. 

Ezra encounters the same problem as Zerubbabel.  Only 74 Levites came back with Zerubbabel so the priests are short of assistants.  Ezra delays the caravan till a search could be made for Levites to accompany them.

16 So I summoned Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah and Meshullam, who were leaders, and Joiarib and Elnathan, who were men of learning,

These chief men and the learned men are sent on a mission to find Levites.

17 and I sent them to Iddo, the leader in Casiphia. I told them what to say to Iddo and his kinsmen, the temple servants in Casiphia, so that they might bring attendants to us for the house of our God.

Iddo was probably what we call a town manager and they take a strong message from Ezra to help find some Levites.  Casiphia was located on the Tigris River north of Babylon.

18 Because the gracious hand of our God was on us, they brought us Sherebiah, a capable man, from the descendants of Mahli son of Levi, the son of Israel, and Sherebiah’s sons and brothers, 18 men;

Ezra believes that it is by divine providence of God that their prayers were answered.  God even supplied them a bonus—a man of understanding and eighteen recruits.

19 and Hashabiah, together with Jeshaiah from the descendants of Merari, and his brothers and nephews, 20 men.

Twenty more recruits—Ezra’s men have thirty Levites that will join the caravan to Jerusalem.

20 They also brought 220 of the temple servants—a body that David and the officials had established to assist the Levites. All were registered by name.

220 more assistants join the caravan.

21 There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions.

They prayed and fasted for a safe and prosperous journey.

22 I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.”

Ezra was a man of great faith, he believed that God would not let their journey fail.  Ezra had told the king of his trust in the Almighty God so now he was ashamed to ask for an army escort of cavalry.

23 So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.

They again fast and pray for their trip and God listened and supplied.

24 Then I set apart twelve of the leading priests, together with Sherebiah, Hashabiah and ten of their brothers,

Ezra chose 12 leading priests to be the brinks bank.

25 and I weighed out to them the offering of silver and gold and the articles that the king, his advisers, his officials and all Israel present there had donated for the house of our God.

All of the treasures were counted and listed so that at the end of the journey the inventory list will show that none of the valuables are missing.

26 I weighed out to them 650 talents  of silver, silver articles weighing 100 talents,  100 talents  of gold,

This is an enormous amount of silver and gold and it was worth millions of dollars.  Their job was not only to handle all loading and unloading from the pack animals but to make sure that it was guarded 24/7.

27 20 bowls of gold valued at 1,000 darics, and two fine articles of polished bronze, as precious as gold.

These polished bowls and fine articles will be wrapped and handled with extreme care as prized possessions.  Thus far we can see that Ezra was an excellent organizer and guide.  He is in charge of the entire caravan.

28 I said to them, “You as well as these articles are consecrated to the LORD. The silver and gold are a freewill offering to the LORD, the God of your fathers.

Ezra tells the men in charge that they are holy men and are entrusted with holy things.  He impressed upon them that this was more than just a job—they were entrusted with God’s treasure.

29 Guard them carefully until you weigh them out in the chambers of the house of the LORD in Jerusalem before the leading priests and the Levites and the family heads of Israel.”

Ezra further instructs them to guard them carefully and that accountings will he made at the temple in Jerusalem.

30 Then the priests and Levites received the silver and gold and sacred articles that had been weighed out to be taken to the house of our God in Jerusalem.

So the Priests and Levites are the guards appointed over the precious valuables.

31 On the twelfth day of the first month we set out from the Ahava Canal to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was on us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way.

The 12th day of the first month corresponds to our April 8th. of our calendar.

32 So we arrived in Jerusalem, where we rested three days.

The hand of God by his providence led them safely through dangerous territory.  The long journey of about 900 miles taking 119 days leaves them weary so they rest 3 days before any un-crating or finding a new home.

33 On the fourth day, in the house of our God, we weighed out the silver and gold and the sacred articles into the hands of Meremoth son of Uriah, the priest. Eleazar son of Phinehas was with him, and so were the Levites Jozabad son of Jeshua and Noadiah son of Binnui.

On day four which will be August 8th. they unpack, uncrate and weigh all the gold and silver and count everything.  It was a full inventory and everything was accounted for.

34 Everything was accounted for by number and weight, and the entire weight was recorded at that time.

A full scale inventory was made—numbers and weight corresponded with the original inventory.  Everything was accounted for.

35 Then the exiles who had returned from captivity sacrificed burnt offerings to the God of Israel: twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven male lambs and, as a sin offering, twelve male goats. All this was a burnt offering to the LORD.

They have a worship service—more like a thanksgiving service—praising and thanking God for the safe and prosperous journey.

36 They also delivered the king’s orders to the royal satraps and to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, who then gave assistance to the people and to the house of God.

They took the kings decree of chapter seven and gave a copy to all the governors of the Trans-Euphrates area.  As you may recall this decree will tell all the governors to furnish all of the building materials, food and any and all expenses related to the building of the house of God.

 

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