Bible Commentaries

F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary

Ezra 8

Verses 1-36

THE FIRST FOURTEEN verses are occupied with the names of those who accompanied Ezra according to their genealogies, and with the number of the males in each family. God has seen to it that the names of those who bestirred themselves to answer to His call to return to the land, should be placed on record in a very permanent way, while the names of those who did not bestir themselves are almost entirely lost.

With verse fifteen we resume the history of the migration; how again, as is confessed, 'by the good hand of our God upon us', there was brought to them the 'man of understanding' that they needed, so that all together they were gathered at the river of Ahava, ready to set forth. Ezra recognized, however, that the fact that they had very definitely received help of God in the past did not exempt them from the need of dependence on Him for the present, hence His face must again be sought before they started; so according to the customs of the law a fast was proclaimed that they might afflict their souls before God, and seek of Him the right way for their journey.

Journeying in those days was not particularly safe or easy, so worldly prudence would have dictated the request of an armed escort. This Ezra did not do, and in verse Ezra 8:22 we have his touching confession in the matter. He had spoken in very definite fashion to the king as to the care of his God on behalf of His people and His wrath against those who forsake Him, so he was ashamed to depart in practice from what he had professed. This frank confession on Ezra's part sets before us a very good example. He was on God's business, and so did not need to rely on worldly support.

Let us consider how easy it is for us in our day to profess much confidence in God as to how we carry on His work, and yet to fail when the test comes, and we are faced with some very practical questions. We may well be ashamed when some adversary can reproach us by calling upon us to practise what we preach. If we take the Apostle Paul as an example, as well as Ezra, it is quite plain that in carrying on the work of God we do not need the support nor the patronage of the world.

Being assured that God had heard their entreaty, Ezra gave into the hands of trusted helpers the gold and silver treasures they had with them, and they started on their journey from Ahava, and safely arrived at Jerusalem with everything intact. Those to whom the treasure had been entrusted had proved faithful, and they returned thanks to God by their burnt offerings. Thus far all was well.

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Bibliographical Information
Hole, Frank Binford. "Commentary on Ezra 8". "F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary". 1947.