Ezra is sent to Jerusalem. The orders from king Artaxerxes. Ezra praises the LORD God.
NOTE. In 587 BC, Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem. He deported the tribe of Judah to Babylon. Later, on three separate occasions, some are permitted to return. This is the second return. Read more »
VERSE 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,
after these things. Since the previous chapter, 57 years have passed.
Ezra the son of Seraiah. Ezra is a scribe.
VERSE 2. the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub,
VERSE 3. the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth,
VERSE 4. the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki,
VERSE 5. the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest—
the son of Aaron the chief priest. The lineage of Ezra traces all the way back to Aaron.
VERSE 6. this Ezra went up from Babylon. He was a skilled scribe in the Torah of Moses, which the LORD, the God of Israel, had given; and the king granted him all his request, according to the LORD his God’s hand on him.
He was a skilled scribe in the Torah of Moses. Ezra is well versed in the Scriptures. He is well-versed in the Law of Moses.
Ezra’s years of Bible study pay off. And they will in our own lives as well.
VERSE 7. Some of the children of Israel, including some of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants went up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king.
the seventh year of the king. That is, 458 BC.
VERSE 9. For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylon; and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God on him.
the good hand of his God on him. The “favoring” hand of God was upon Ezra. Why was this? Let’s look at the next verse:
VERSE 10. For Ezra had set his heart to seek the LORD’s law, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.
Ezra is a special hero for people who love the LORD God. Here are three facts about him:
Ezra reads the Bible. Do you read the Bible? Check out our Bible Reading Project.
Ezra puts his discoveries into practice. He applies them to his own life. He is a real disciple. Are you a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Ezra shares his discoveries with other people. He teaches them the faith. He practices the Ministry of Evangelism.
VERSE 11. Now this is the copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, even the scribe of the words of the LORD’s commandments, and of his statutes to Israel:
the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest. No reason for the decree is given.
VERSE 12. Artaxerxes, king of kings, To Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the perfect God of heaven. Now
VERSE 13. I make a decree that all those of the people of Israel and their priests and the Levites in my realm, who intend of their own free will to go to Jerusalem, go with you.
VERSE 14. Because you are sent by the king and his seven counselors to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of your God which is in your hand,
you are sent by the king. Ezra is protected by the king himself.
VERSE 15. and to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem,
VERSE 16. and all the silver and gold that you will find in all the province of Babylon, with the free will offering of the people and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem.
VERSE 17. Therefore you shall with all diligence buy with this money bulls, rams, and lambs with their meal offerings and their drink offerings, and shall offer them on the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem.
VERSE 18. Whatever seems good to you and to your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, do that according to the will of your God.
Whatever seems good. Ezra and his team have exceptional freedom to do as they see fit.
VERSE 19. The vessels that are given to you for the service of the house of your God, deliver before the God of Jerusalem.
VERSE 20. Whatever more will be needed for the house of your God, which you may have occasion to give, give it out of the king’s treasure house.
give it out of the king’s treasure house. The king will fund anything Ezra needs.
VERSE 21. I, even I, Artaxerxes the king, make a decree to all the treasurers who are beyond the River, that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, requires of you, it shall be done with all diligence,
The LORD God is opening the floodgates of heaven and pouring out so much blessing that Ezra cannot possibly have enough room for it all:
Malachi 3:10b. see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. (NIV translation)
VERSE 22. up to one hundred talents of silver, and to one hundred cors of wheat, and to one hundred baths of wine, and to one hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much.
one hundred talents of silver. A talent is about 30 kilograms or 66 pounds or 965 Troy ounces.
one hundred cors. One cor is the same as a homer, or about 55.9 U. S. gallons (liquid) or 211 liters or 6 bushels.
one hundred baths. One bath is one tenth of a cor, or about 5.6 U.S. gallons or 21 liters or 2.4 pecks. So 100 baths would be about 2,100 liters.
VERSE 23. Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be done exactly for the house of the God of heaven; for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?
Whatever is commanded.Ezra and his team have exceptional freedom to do as they see fit.
VERSE 24. Also we inform you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on any of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, temple servants, or laborers of this house of God.
VERSE 25. You, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that is in your hand, appoint magistrates and judges who may judge all the people who are beyond the River, who all know the laws of your God; and teach him who doesn’t know them.
appoint magistrates and judges. Ezra is to appoint civil leaders.
VERSE 26. Whoever will not do the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed on him with all diligence, whether it is to death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.
whether it is to death. Ezra is given the authority to execute criminals.
VERSE 27. Blessed be the LORD, the God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the LORD’s house which is in Jerusalem;
VERSE 28. and has extended loving kindness to me before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty princes. I was strengthened according to the LORD my God’s hand on me, and I gathered together chief men out of Israel to go up with me.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.