Ezra 7:1. Ezra the son, or grandson of Seraiah. His genealogy was of the highpriests’ line in several ages; and the dignity of his birth might be one cause of his being so much noticed while in Babylon. It appears from the sixth chapter of the first of Chronicles, that he omits many of his ancestors who were of less note. Considering that Ezra was now a prince as well as a priest, it was proper to trace his birth.
Ezra 7:6. Ezra—a ready scribe in the law of Moses. This is said in the third person, and might modestly be so said, compared with other scribes, who had not much opportunity of learning in Babylon. If otherwise, as bishop Watson notes in his answer to Thomas Paine, such parentheses might once have stood in the margin.
Ezra 7:9. The first day of the first month. He moved with forty two thousand people after the latter rain, travelled the circuitous route north of the Euphrates, and being heavily encumbered, we need not wonder that the journies occupied four months. From the river Ahava, as in chap. Ezra 8:31, they would leave Babylon to the south.
Ezra 7:14. His seven counsellors. Seven satraps having conspired against Smerdis the usurper and slain him, the kings who succeeded to the throne were, in honour of this heroic deed, surrounded by seven counsellors, who possessed the first honours of the empire.
Ezra 7:22. A hundred measures of wheat. Hebrews כוריז corizt. From the root kôr, Latin, corus; a dry measure, containing ten ephahs, about the load of an ass. Our miners use the word for the côr, or corf, in which they draw up coals from the bottom of the pit. The wheat, wine &c. were for the workmen.
Ezra 7:26. Let judgment be executed—unto death. The scale of four degrees of punishment corresponds with the degrees of crime, which intimates that justice was accurately administered in the Persian empire.
This chapter ushers us into a new reign, pregnant with new mercies to Israel. The good Zerubbabel was now dead, and probably all his pious contemporaries. But God raised up a gracious protector in the person of Artaxerxes, the Ahasuerus in Esther, whose edict was as balm to heal the deep wounds of the Hebrews; and God raised up another great and good governor in the person of Ezra. Hence whether we consider the rich favours of this heathen prince, the piety of Ezra, or the extensive powers of his commission; we see the richest traces of that same divine hand, which has never ceased to care for the church. Oh that the innumerable signs we have of his peculiar care might make us confident of his never ceasing love, that we may live happy at all times, and dependant on him alone.
We have Ezra’s qualifications for the high duties to which he was called. He had prepared his heart, from his youth, to seek the Lord; and to teach Israel his statutes and judgments. Here is a model for all young men designated for the sacred ministry, or for public life. They know not to what they may be called, nor of what they may have need before they die; therefore they should lay in a store of useful knowledge and literature; and above all, a good groundwork of real conversion and solid piety. Then if providence call them to a more exalted station, they are qualified to discharge it with credit to themselves, and happiness to their connections.
Ezra accustomed himself to trace the kind regards of providence in all that befel him. He left the interior parts of Babylon with many eminent persons of his nation, and with a multitude of men, women, and children; and heavily encumbered with property. They had gone destitute into captivity, and now return clothed and enriched. He crossed the Euphrates, and reached Jerusalem in four months; and gratefully remarks, that he arrived there “according to the good hand of the Lord.” Let us, after him, learn to see the divine goodness in the daily occurrences of life. Remarks of this nature strikingly set God before us, and have a powerful effect in promoting gratitude to him, and trust in his holy providence.
Ezra’s piety was of the most enlightened kind. Struck with the bounty of his gracious king, he does not record on his journal any fulsome compliments of homage and flattery; but he blesses the God of his fathers, who had put it into the king’s heart to beautify and enrich the house of the Lord.—True piety, and an enlightened faith, will look through all secondary causes to God, the doer and the giver of all good things. Thus we find every age fruitful in the divine goodness and care. May we so trace his allwise and bounteous hand, as to adore him in all his ways, and bear some resemblance to him in goodness and love.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Ezra 7". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany