Ezra 7 has Artaxerxes on the throne. “Ezra….was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses….and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him:. Quite a position of honor and respect – the king gives Ezra whatever he wants. But he goes further. Not only what Ezra wants and needs, but he also lets any people go too. “I make a decree that anyone of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom, who freely offers to go to Jerusalem, may go with you”.
He is sent by the king to go check out Judah and Jerusalem and is given any resources he needs – including all the money he wants. “With this money, then, you shall with all diligence buy bulls, rams, and lambs….and you shall offer them on the altar”. Pretty big order, but no limitations on the funding. The king even gives more freedom. “Whatever seems good to you and your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and gold, you may do, according to the will of your God”. This is pretty wide open. Ezra has lots of rope.
The king also sends a letter notifying everyone to do what Ezra says. “Whatever Ezra….requires of you, let it be done with all diligence. Whatever is decreed by the God of heaven, let it be done in full for the house of the God of heaven, lest his wrath be against the realm of the king and his sons”. This is CYA kind of thinking. The king wants to keep God happy, and knows Ezra is his main way to make that happen. So he basically writes a blank check and sends him on his way to return to Jerusalem and worship God.
But the king even gives him more power – to “appoint magistrates and judges….those who do not know them, you shall teach”. It is one thing to give away your money, but now the king is giving away power. And Ezra is told “whoever will not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be strictly executed on him”. No mercy, no room to disobey. The king wants Ezra in charge of keeping the people on the straight and narrow in obedience to God. You disobey, you die. Ezra “gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me”. He pulled together his team and heads off.