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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Ezra 8

Verses 1-36

Ezra 8:15 . The river that runneth to Ahava, or the river of Diavam. Adiabena is a remote region, according to Boiste, in Assyria, and contiguous to Parthia: but whether the city and river of Ahava were situate there, is really doubtful. The Euphrates and the Tigris are rivers denominated in the sacred writings. Gozan, where a colony of the ten tribes was placed, is also named. Hence, as we are told by critics, that this is a river of Armenia, whose capital is Erivan, on the river Aras, which runs to the Caspian sea; many of the people who returned with Ezra, had resided in Armenia.

REFLECTIONS.

This chapter discovers farther than the last, the great diligence of Ezra after he had received his commission as governor of the Jews. He made a northern circuit, and collected the scattered families on the western rivers of the Caspian sea, whose male adults amounted to about one thousand eight hundred; and consequently, the whole of the women and children could not be less than ten thousand. How noble the spirit which animated him. He wished to save them from the morals and tyranny of the heathen, to bring them into their own land; that being there purified and taken into full covenant with God, they might wait for the Messiah, and inherit every promised blessing. May our hearts be inclined to seek poor sinners in like manner, that we may bring them home to God, and cause them to rejoice in his favour and love.

Ezra, with this emigration, an emigration which had a long and dangerous journey to make, heavily encumbered, and exposed to bands of robbers, entered on his arduous duty by fasting and prayer; and that day is not lost which seeks the blessing and defence of God. There is much delicacy in the shame he felt to ask a guard, for he had boasted no doubt of the defence of the Lord’s arm.

In all this difficult route, fording rivers, ascending mountains, and penetrating defiles, no sickness assailed them; no bands of thieves could hurt them, neither hunger nor thirst impeded their progress; the good hand of the Lord extended its protection, and brought them safe to the city and sanctuary of the Most High. Grateful for mercies so signal, and elated to see the land of their fathers, they offered atoning victims for their sins, and offerings of peace and thanksgiving for all their favours. Thus they began their journey with fasting and prayer, and consummated it with praise. And if their joy was great on having a sight of Zion, on receiving the greetings of their friends, and the lot of their fathers, what must heaven be to the weary pilgrim, when his captivity is for ever past, when he sees the Zion above, and glorifies God with all his fellow travellers for ever.

There is also a moral trait in the character of Ezra which should not be overlooked. He entrusted the vessels of gold and silver, and gifts of the king and good people of Persia, to the priests by weight and tale; and he delivered them again with the same exactness in Jerusalem. Hence all persons entrusted with private and public property, have a model in this good priest and prince, who thought himself amenable to God and his country. That faithful and worthy servant, who delivers an account of his various trusts with exactness and pleasure, shall secure the approbation of his own heart, and the applause of God and man. So believer, be thou faithful in a few things, and thy Lord will make thee ruler over many.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Ezra 8". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/ezra-8.html. 1835.