God’s servants have His power engaged for them. Those who trust in God will be ashamed of seeking much to the creature for protection. In carrying out God’s commissions, we are safe under the shadow of His wings (v. 22).
1 These are now the chief of their fathers, and this is the genealogy of them that went up with me from Babylon, in the reign of Artaxerxes the king.
2 Of the sons of Phinehas; Gershom: of the sons of Ithamar; Daniel: of the sons of David; Hattush.
3 Of the sons of Shechaniah, of the sons of Pharosh; Zechariah: and with him were reckoned by genealogy of the males an hundred and fifty.
4 Of the sons of Pahath-moab; Elihoenai the son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred males.
5 Of the sons of Shechaniah; the son of Jahaziel, and with him three hundred males.
6 Of the sons also of Adin; Ebed the son of Jonathan, and with him fifty males.
7 And of the sons of Elam; Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah, and with him seventy males.
8 And of the sons of Shephatiah; Zebadiah the son of Michael, and with him fourscore males.
9 Of the sons of Joab; Obadiah the son of Jehiel, and with him two hundred and eighteen males.
10 And of the sons of Shelomith; the son of Josiphiah, and with him an hundred and threescore males.
11 And of the sons of Bebai; Zechariah the son of Bebai, and with him twenty and eight males.
12 And of the sons of Azgad; Johanan the son of Hakkatan, and with him an hundred and ten males.
13 And of the last sons of Adonikam, whose names are these, Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah, and with them threescore males.
14 Of the sons also of Bigvai; Uthai, and Zabbud, and with them seventy males.
15 ¶ And I gathered them together to the river that runneth to Ahava; and there abode we in tents three days: and I viewed the people, and the priests, and found there none of the sons of Levi.
16 Then sent I for Eliezer, for Ariel, for Shemaiah, and for Elnathan, and for Jarib, and for Elnathan, and for Nathan, and for Zechariah, and for Meshullam, chief men; also for Joiarib, and for Elnathan, men of understanding.
17 And I sent them with commandment unto Iddo the chief at the place Casiphia, and I told them what they should say unto Iddo, and to his brethren the Nethinims, at the place Casiphia, that they should bring unto us ministers for the house of our God.
18 And by the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of understanding, of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel; and Sherebiah, with his sons and his brethren, eighteen;
19 And Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, his brethren and their sons, twenty;
20 Also of the Nethinims, whom David and the princes had appointed for the service of the Levites, two hundred and twenty Nethinims: all of them were expressed by name.
21 ¶ Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.
22 For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.
23 So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.
24 ¶ Then I separated twelve of the chief of the priests, Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them,
25 And weighed unto them the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, even the offering of the house of our God, which the king, and his counsellors, and his lords, and all Israel there present, had offered:
26 I even weighed unto their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels an hundred talents, and of gold an hundred talents;
27 Also twenty basons of gold, of a thousand drams; and two vessels of fine copper, precious as gold.
28 And I said unto them, Ye are holy unto the LORD; the vessels are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering unto the LORD God of your fathers.
29 Watch ye, and keep them, until ye weigh them before the chief of the priests and the Levites, and chief of the fathers of Israel, at Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of the LORD.
30 So took the priests and the Levites the weight of the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, to bring them to Jerusalem unto the house of our God.
31 ¶ Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem: and the hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way.
32 And we came to Jerusalem, and abode there three days.
33 ¶ Now on the fourth day was the silver and the gold and the vessels weighed in the house of our God by the hand of Meremoth the son of Uriah the priest; and with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas; and with them was Jozabad the son of Jeshua, and Noadiah the son of Binnui, Levites;
34 By number and by weight of every one: and all the weight was written at that time.
35 Also the children of those that had been carried away, which were come out of the captivity, offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel, twelve bullocks for all Israel, ninety and six rams, seventy and seven lambs, twelve he goats for a sin offering: all this was a burnt offering unto the LORD.
36 ¶ And they delivered the king’s commissions unto the king’s lieutenants, and to the governors on this side the river: and they furthered the people, and the house of God.
Ezra 8 – J. Vernon McGee
Ezra 8:1-23 – United Prayer for Guidance
The number of men who accompanied Ezra amounted to 1754, but the women and children would bring up the gross total to about 7000. The lack of Levites was very serious. These should have been among the very first. A deputation was therefore sent to a neighboring seminary or college, where they were being trained, and here again is the mention of the good hand of God. Sometimes hearts are ready and waiting for service, which need just a word or appeal to complete their plans. There is always special interest in this paragraph for those who are venturing forth on the untried and unknown. The camp at Ahava; the sending for the priests; the waiting for their coming; the recognition of God’s good hand in sending a man of discretion; and then the fast and prayer for protection. We can almost see the little band on the point of plunging into the inhospitable and dangerous desert, spending hours in prayer, and restrained from requesting an escort, lest they might invalidate their leader’s trustful boast. How careful we should be to do nothing inconsistent with the proud position that faith gives us in the keeping power of God! Seek Him, O soul of mine, and He will be found, and His hand shall be upon thee for good. —Through the Bible Day by Day
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15 ¶ And I gathered them together to the river that runneth to Ahava; and there abode we in tents three days: and I viewed the ____________, and the ______________, and found there none of the sons of ________.
17 And I sent them with commandment unto Iddo the chief at the place Casiphia, and I told them what they should say unto Iddo, and to his brethren the Nethinims, at the place Casiphia, that they should bring unto us __________________ for the house of our God.
21 ¶ Then I proclaimed a ________ there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a __________ way for us, and for our ____________ ones, and for all our __________________.
Ezra 8:24-36 – Thanksgiving for Safety and Success
Into our hands also is committed first the rich treasure and solemn trust of our own souls, and next the great deposit of the gospel; I Timothy 1:11; 6:20. In order to fulfil this sacred charge there must be purity, “Ye are holy;” and sleepless vigilance, “Watch ye.” There were ambushes and designs on their safety, but the foe was unable to break through the divine environment, Ezra 8:31. How safe are we who live in God! What joy as the little band weighed the vessels, and rendered up their charge, Luke 19:16. Is not this a picture of our entrance into heaven, when we also shall acknowledge the good hand of the Lord, and sacrifice our burnt offerings of thanksgiving? This incident is no exception. Similar care will be surely and blessedly experienced by all those who trust under the shadow of God’s wing. It is credibly affirmed that, in the American Civil War, none of the Quakers, who of course were non-resisters, suffered any damage from the troops of either side. “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them” (Psalm 34:7). Let those who fast and pray for God’s help be sure to return Him thanks when it has been given. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Ezra 8:29—Watch ye, and keep them, until ye weigh them at Jerusalem.
They were protected by God, whose presence with them across the wild desert made it needless to ask for an escort of soldiers; but they had to take care of the precious vessels of His house. It was a reciprocal trust. So it must be with us, as we are taught in II Timothy 1:12, 14. There are two deposits. We deposit ourselves, and all we are and have, with God; He deposits with us His sacred Gospel, the vessels of which we must “keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us”, and be prepared to defend with our blood.
Our deposit with God.—How safe are they who commit their all to God! Faraday was asked, when dying, on what supposition he depended as he contemplated the other world; and he replied, “I am relying on no supposition, but on a certainty; I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him.”
God’s deposit with us.—But let us be true to our trust. The Holy Bible, the Doctrines of the Christian Church, the Day of Rest, the House of God, the ordinances of the Lord’s Supper and Christian Baptism—these are some of the vessels which have been passed down to us, and we must hand on intact. Be ye clean that carry them! Oh, what joy it will be when we reach our destination, and can resign our trust, and weigh out the deposit, and hear the Master’s “Well done!” But, in the meanwhile, marching across the yellow sands, where wild dangers lie in wait, let us not seek the escort of creature or worldly might; but boast of the Hand of our God , which is for good upon all them that seek Him. —Our Daily Homily