Archive for March 5th, 2014

Ezra 8

Ezra 8 begins with a list of the heads of fathers’ houses and the number of men that were going to go with Ezra from Babylon.  There are multiple lists in Ezra, and this one is similar to the one in chapter three.  There is no exact number known, but estimates are that between 5,000 – 9,000 total people were going to make the trip as the lists capture the names of the family heads but don’t define the numbers in each family.  No matter the exact count, it was a lot of folks leaving to go along.

The commentaries call out one name as most remarkable, that of Hattush the son of Schechaniah.  It says “Beyond any reasonable doubt, he was the descendant of David (1 Chronicles 3:22), through Shemaiah; and he was Zerubbabel’s great-great-grandson.”  So there was at least one on the list with a very strong genealogy to the past.  Ezra has assembled a strong team to go with him.  As they prepared to go, Ezra “proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods”.

Ezta was hesitant to ask the king for soldiers.  “I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.””  He didn’t want to say one thing and then go to the king acting like they didn’t trust God to do what they had said He would do. “So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty”.  They fasted and prayed and put their words into action and trusted.

Ezra sets apart 12 priests and asked them to guard the funds that they were taking with them.  And they headed out.  God was faithful.  “The hand of our God was on us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambushes by the way”.  God is always faithful.  That is His nature and character.  They arrived safely in Jerusalem and offered burnt offerings to God and delivered the king’s letter and “aided the people and the house of God”.  

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