Ezra 7

God is able to do for us exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. When magistrates are moved to encourage the work of the church, we should thank God who put it into their hearts to do so.

1 Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah,

2 The son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub,

3 The son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth,

4 The son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki,

5 The son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest:

6 This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him.

7 And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king.

8 And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.

9 For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.

10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

11 ¶ Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the LORD, and of his statutes to Israel.

12 Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time.

13 I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee.

14 Forasmuch as thou art sent of the king, and of his seven counsellors, to enquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which is in thine hand;

15 And to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counsellors have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem,

16 And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem:

17 That thou mayest buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem.

18 And whatsoever shall seem good to thee, and to thy brethren, to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God.

19 The vessels also that are given thee for the service of the house of thy God, those deliver thou before the God of Jerusalem.

20 And whatsoever more shall be needful for the house of thy God, which thou shalt have occasion to bestow, bestow it out of the king’s treasure house.

21 And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily,

22 Unto an hundred talents of silver, and to an hundred measures of wheat, and to an hundred baths of wine, and to an hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much.

23 Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?

24 Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them.

25 And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not.

26 And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.

27 ¶ Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem:

28 And hath extended mercy unto me before the king, and his counsellors, and before all the king’s mighty princes. And I was strengthened as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me, and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me.

Ezra 7:1-18 – A Missionary Journey

   An interval of sixty years intervened between the events of Ezra 6 and Ezra 7, and in that time the history recorded in the book of Esther took place. This chapter is full of helpful thoughts. Note the description of Ezra’s character–A ready scribe—Ezra 7:6. He not only knew the Law, but he set his heart to seek and do, Ezra 7:10. The only way to understand Scripture is to be prepared to do it. What a contrast to Matthew 23:3! Let us not resemble the finger-post, which directs the traveler, but stirs not a step along the road it points. Note the secret of Ezra’s success, the good hand of God. This is a characteristic phrase of Ezra and Nehemiah. That hand answers prayer, Ezra 7:6; speeds our way, as much in railway trains as in caravans, Ezra 7:9; and strengthens us for service, Ezra 7:28. The strong, tender hand of God is laid on our hands, as a father’s on those of the son learning to draw a bow, Genesis 49:24. And when God’s hand is on us, it is also on others, preparing them to cooperate. When God needs an instrument, He will come to men of Ezra’s spirit. —Through the Bible Day by Day

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8 And he came to __________________ in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.

9 For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from ______________, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good ________ of his God upon him.

10 For Ezra had ________________ his heart to ________ the law of the LORD, and to ____ it, and to __________ in Israel ________________ and judgments.

Ezra 7:19-28 – ​A King’s Bounty

   Ezra’s commission was very ample. Those who officiated or assisted in Temple service were exonerated from taxation. Full permission was given to take all voluntary gifts of money. Orders were issued for the supply of food and other necessities. He was also appointed governor of all Jews west of the Euphrates. The royal bounty was very generous. Here was the harvest of Daniel’s prayers and tears. God did exceeding abundantly unto His people beyond all that they had asked or thought. Notice how Ezra’s love for God’s law impressed Artaxerxes with the conviction that it was perfect. He commanded that the will of God should be the supreme court of reference to Ezra and his brethren in the disposal of the free-will offerings. He further enjoined that they should do exactly the commands of the God of heaven, and ordained that all who refused should be punished. So great was his respect for the Law, that he left Ezra to do very much as he thought best. This reverence on the part of a heathen monareh for God’s law shames us. Let us make more of it ourselves! Let us be people of the Book, and exalt it as we are exalted by it, in the judgment even of those who do not revere it! —Through the Bible Day by Day

Ezra 7:28—I was strengthened as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me.

   It was no small work that the good Ezra had undertaken. To lead a great expedition across the inhospitable desert; to convoy the sacred vessels and a large treasure of gold and silver; to set-magistrates and judges over all that great district beyond the river—this was no slight task, and he needed strength. But in the simple language of his heart the good hand of his God was upon him, and that was sufficient to nerve and strengthen him.
   It is wonderful what resistless might comes to the soul, when it realizes that it is treading the path, and working out the career, determined for it from all eternity by the Almighty. The thought imparts the same kind of impulse to the soul, as the touch of love or authority on the arm. We are reminded of the veteran, who, when charged by the Duke of Wellington to take a difficult position, turned to him and said, “I will go, sir; but first give me a grip of your conquering hand.”
   Think, soul, of what that hand is which holds the waters in its hollow, and spreads the curtains of the sky, and was nailed to the cross; that brought blessing with its touch to so many weary sufferers, and now holds the mysterious book, sealed with seven seals; that caught Peter, and lay lightly on the heads of the little babes. That hand is strengthening thee for a work for which by nature thou art unequal, but to which thou hast been evidently called. Go forward: it holds, guides, empowers thee. It can lead thee before kings, princes, and nobles, so that thou shalt not fear; it can preserve thee from dangers innumerable; it can shield thee from the fire of the enemy; and none, man or devil, can pluck you out of the Father’s hand. —Our Daily Homily