Friday, January 17, 2020

Ezra 8 - The Gracious Hand Of GOD Is On Everyone Who Looks To HIM

Ezra 8:1-36 NIV

List of the Family Heads Returning With Ezra

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

2of the descendants of Phinehas, Gershom;
of the descendants of Ithamar, Daniel;
of the descendants of David, Hattush 3of the descendants of Shekaniah;
of the descendants of Parosh, Zechariah, and with him were registered 150 men;
4of the descendants of Pahath-Moab, Eliehoenai son of Zerahiah, and with him 200 men;
5of the descendants of Zattu,a Shekaniah son of Jahaziel, and with him 300 men;
6of the descendants of Adin, Ebed son of Jonathan, and with him 50 men;
7of the descendants of Elam, Jeshaiah son of Athaliah, and with him 70 men;
8of the descendants of Shephatiah, Zebadiah son of Michael, and with him 80 men;
9of the descendants of Joab, Obadiah son of Jehiel, and with him 218 men;
10of the descendants of Bani,b Shelomith son of Josiphiah, and with him 160 men;
11of the descendants of Bebai, Zechariah son of Bebai, and with him 28 men;
12of the descendants of Azgad, Johanan son of Hakkatan, and with him 110 men;
13of the descendants of Adonikam, the last ones, whose names were Eliphelet, Jeuel and Shemaiah, and with them 60 men;
14of the descendants of Bigvai, Uthai and Zakkur, and with them 70 men.

The Return to Jerusalem

15I 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. 16So I summoned Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah and Meshullam, who were leaders, and Joiarib and Elnathan, who were men of learning, 17and I ordered them to go to Iddo, the leader in Kasiphia. I told them what to say to Iddo and his fellow Levites, the Temple servants in Kasiphia, so that they might bring attendants to us for the House of our GOD. 18Because 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 in all; 19and Hashabiah, together with Jeshaiah from the descendants of Merari, and his brothers and nephews, 20 in all. 20They 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.

21There, 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. 

22I 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.” 23So we fasted and petitioned our GOD about this, and HE Answered our prayer.

24Then I set apart twelve of the leading priests, namely, Sherebiah, Hashabiah and ten of their brothers,25and 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. 26I weighed out to them 650 talentsc of silver, silver articles weighing 100 talents,d 100 talentse of gold, 2720 bowls of gold valued at 1,000 darics,f and two fine articles of polished bronze, as precious as gold.

28I 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 ancestors. 29Guard 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.” 30Then 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.

31On 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. 32So we arrived in Jerusalem, where we rested three days.

33On 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. 34Everything was accounted for by number and weight, and the entire weight was recorded at that time.

35Then 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,g twelve male goats. All this was a burnt offering To The LORD. 36They 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.

Ezra 8

GOD Raised Up the spirits of a small remnant to accompany him. Then Ezra assembled Levites to go with him. Those who seek GOD are safe under the shadow of HIS Wings even in their greatest dangers. But those who forsake HIM are not. When we are in any peril, let us be at peace with GOD, and then nothing can do us any real hurt.

All our concerns about us, our families, and our estates, it is our wisdom and duty, by prayer to commit to GOD, and to leave the care of them with HIM. Let us ask wisdom of GOD that we may know how to use lawful things for HIS Purposes. Enemies laid wait for them, but GOD Protected them. Even the common perils of journeys make us go out with prayer and to return with praise and thanksgiving.

The expressions here used, direct us to the deliverance of sinners from spiritual bondage, and their pilgrimage to the Heavenly Jerusalem, under the care and protection of our GOD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST.


Ezra 7 - Ezra Comes to Jerusalem

Ezra 7:1-28 NIV

Ezra Comes to Jerusalem

1After these things, during the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, 2the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, 3the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, 4the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, 5the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest— 6this Ezra came up from Babylon. He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which The LORD, The GOD of Israel, Had Given. The king had granted him everything he asked, for The Hand of The LORD his GOD Was on him. 7Some of the Israelites, including priests, Levites, musicians, gatekeepers and temple servants, also came up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes.

8Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of the king. 9He had begun his journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, for The Gracious Hand of his GOD Was on him. 10For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of The Law of The LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.

King Artaxerxes’ Letter to Ezra

11This is a copy of the letter King Artaxerxes had given to Ezra the priest, a teacher of the Law, a man learned in matters concerning The Commands and Decrees of The LORD for Israel:

12Artaxerxes, king of kings,
To Ezra the priest, teacher of The Law of The GOD of Heaven:


13Now I decree that any of the Israelites in my kingdom, including priests and Levites, who volunteer to go to Jerusalem with you, may go. 14You are sent by the king and his seven advisers to inquire about Judah and Jerusalem with regard to The Law of your GOD, Which Is in your hand. 15Moreover, you are to take with you the silver and gold that the king and his advisers have freely given to The GOD of Israel, WHOSE Dwelling Is in Jerusalem, 16together with all the silver and gold you may obtain from the province of Babylon, as well as the freewill offerings of the people and priests for The Temple of their GOD in Jerusalem. 17With this money be sure to buy bulls, rams and male lambs, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings, and sacrifice them on the altar of The Temple of your GOD in Jerusalem.

18You and your fellow Israelites may then do whatever seems best with the rest of the silver and gold, in accordance with the will of your God. 19Deliver to The GOD of Jerusalem all the articles entrusted to you for worship in The Temple of your GOD. 20And anything else needed for The Temple of your GOD that you are responsible to supply, you may provide from the royal treasury.

21Now I, King Artaxerxes, decree that all the treasurers of Trans-Euphrates are to provide with diligence whatever Ezra the priest, the teacher of The Law of The GOD of Heaven, may ask of you— 22up to a hundred talents a of silver, a hundred cors b of wheat, a hundred baths c of wine, a hundred baths d of olive oil, and salt without limit. 23Whatever The GOD of Heaven Has Prescribed, let it be done with diligence for The Temple of The GOD of Heaven. Why should his wrath fall on the realm of the king and of his sons? 24You are also to know that you have no authority to impose taxes, tribute or duty on any of the priests, Levites, musicians, gatekeepers, temple servants or other workers at this House of GOD.

25And you, Ezra, in accordance with The Wisdom of your GOD, Which you possess, appoint magistrates and judges to administer justice to all the people of Trans-Euphrates—all who know The Laws of your GOD. And you are to teach any who do not know them. 26Whoever does not obey The Law of your GOD and the law of the king must surely be punished by death, banishment, confiscation of property, or imprisonment.

27Praise Be To The LORD, The GOD of our ancestors, WHO Has Put it into the king’s heart to bring honor to the House of The LORD in Jerusalem in this way 28and WHO Has Extended HIS Good Favor to me before the king and his advisers and all the king’s powerful officials. Because The Hand of The LORD my GOD Was on me, I took courage and gathered leaders from Israel to go up with me.

Ezra 6 - The Decree of Darius

Ezra 6:1-22 NIV

The Decree of Darius

1King Darius then issued an order, and they searched in the archives stored in the treasury at Babylon. 2A scroll was found in the citadel of Ecbatana in the province of Media, and this was written on it:


3In the first year of King Cyrus, the king issued a decree concerning The Temple of GODin Jerusalem:

Let The Temple Be Rebuilt as a place to present sacrifices, and let its foundations be laid. It is to be sixty cubits a high and sixty cubits wide, 4with three courses of large stones and one of timbers. The costs are to be paid by the royal treasury. 5Also, the gold and silver articles of The House of GOD, which Nebuchadnezzar took from The Temple in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, are to be returned to their places in The Temple in Jerusalem; they are to be deposited in The House of GOD.

6Now then, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and you other officials of that province, stay away from there. 7Do not interfere with the work on this Temple of GOD. Let the governor of the Jews and the Jewish elders rebuild this House of GOD on its site.

8Moreover, I hereby decree what you are to do for these elders of the Jews in the construction of this House of GOD:

Their expenses are to be fully paid out of the royal treasury, from the revenues of Trans-Euphrates, so that the work will not stop. 9Whatever is needed—young bulls, rams, male lambs for burnt offerings to The GOD of Heaven, and wheat, salt, wine and olive oil, as requested by the priests in Jerusalem—must be given them daily without fail, 10so that they may offer sacrifices pleasing to The GOD of Heaven and pray for the well-being of the king and his sons.

11Furthermore, I decree that if anyone defies this edict, a beam is to be pulled from their house and they are to be impaled on it. And for this crime their house is to be made a pile of rubble. 12May GOD, WHO Has Caused HIS Name to Dwell there, overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this Temple in Jerusalem.

I Darius have decreed it. Let it be carried out with diligence.

Completion and Dedication of the Temple

13Then, because of the decree King Darius had sent, Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates carried it out with diligence. 14So the elders of the Jews continued to build and prosper under the preaching of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah, a descendant of Iddo. They finished building the temple according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia. 15The temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.

16Then the people of Israel—the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles—celebrated the dedication of The House of GOD with joy. 17For the dedication of this House of GOD they offered a hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred male lambs and, as a sin offering b for all Israel, twelve male goats, one for each of the tribes of Israel. 18And they installed the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their groups for the service of God at Jerusalem, according to what is written in the Book of Moses.

The Passover

19On the fourteenth day of the first month, the exiles celebrated the Passover. 20The priests and Levites had purified themselves and were all ceremonially clean. The Levites slaughtered the Passover lamb for all the exiles, for their relatives the priests and for themselves. 21So the Israelites who had returned from the exile ate it, together with all who had separated themselves from the unclean practices of their Gentile neighbors in order to seek The LORD, The GOD of Israel. 22For seven days they celebrated with joy the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because The LORD Had Filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria so that he assisted them in the work on The House of GOD, The GOD of Israel.

Ezra 5 - Tattenai, Governor of Trans-Euphrates Sent A Letter To King Darius of Persia

Ezra 5:1-17 NIV

Tattenai’s Letter to Darius

1Now Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the prophet, a descendant of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of The GOD of Israel, WHO Was Over them. 2Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Joshua son of Jozadak set to work to rebuild the House of GOD in Jerusalem. And the prophets of GOD were with them, supporting them.

3At that time Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates went to them and asked, “Who authorized you to rebuild this temple and to finish it?” 4Theya also asked, “What are the names of those who are constructing this building?” 5But The Eye of their GOD Was Watching Over the elders of the Jews, and they were not stopped until a report could go to Darius and his written reply be received.

6This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai, governor of Trans-Euphrates, and Shethar-Bozenai and their associates, the officials of Trans-Euphrates, sent to King Darius. 

 7The report they sent him read as follows:

To King Darius:

Cordial greetings.

8The king should know that we went to the district of Judah, to The Temple of The Great GOD. The people are building it with large stones and placing the timbers in the walls. The work is being carried on with diligence and is making rapid progress under their direction.

9We questioned the elders and asked them, “Who authorized you to rebuild this temple and to finish it?” 10We also asked them their names, so that we could write down the names of their leaders for your information.

11This is the answer they gave us:

“We are the servants of The GOD of Heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the Temple that was built many years ago, one that a great king of Israel built and finished. 

 12But because our ancestors angered The GOD of Heaven, HE Gave them into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar the Chaldean, king of Babylon, who destroyed this Temple 

and deported the people to Babylon.

13“However, in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, King Cyrus issued a decree to rebuild this House of GOD. 14He even removed from the Templeb of Babylon the gold and silver articles of the House of GOD, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from The Temple in Jerusalem and brought to the Templec in Babylon. Then King Cyrus gave them to a man named Sheshbazzar, whom he had appointed governor, 15and he told him, ‘Take these articles and go and deposit them in The Temple in Jerusalem. And rebuild The House of GOD on its site.’

16“So this Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundations of the House of GOD in Jerusalem. From that day to the present it has been under construction but is not yet finished.”

17Now if it pleases the king, let a search be made in the royal archives of Babylon to see if King Cyrus did in fact issue a decree to rebuild this House of GOD in Jerusalem. Then let the king send us his decision in this matter.