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Ezr 8:1 These [are] now the chief of their fathers, and [this is] the genealogy of them that went up with me from Babylon, in the reign of Artaxerxes the king.
Ver. 1. These are now the chief of their fathers ] The chieftains of those that went up with Ezra, beside those that went up at first with Zerubbabel.
Ezr 8:2 Of the sons of Phinehas; Gershom: of the sons of Ithamar; Daniel: of the sons of David; Hattush.
Ver. 2. Of the sons of Phinehas ] The son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, that renowned zealot, with whom, and his seed after him, God gave a covenant of peace, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood, Numbers 25:12-13 .
Daniel ] Not the prophet Daniel, God’s darling, Daniel 9:23 , but another of the same name, which might be some help to him.
Of the sons of David ] sc. Of David the king. See 1 Chronicles 3:22 .
Ezr 8:3 Of the sons of Shechaniah, of the sons of Pharosh; Zechariah: and with him were reckoned by genealogy of the males an hundred and fifty.
Ver. 3. Of the males an hundred and fifty ] Great account was made of males under the law, more than of the females; and so there is to this day among the Jews, who hold women to be of a lower creation, made only for the propagation and pleasure of man, &c. (Blount’s Voyage). This their conceit is their folly, yet their posterity approve their sayings. He did better who styled woman the second edition of the epitome of the whole world. Sure it is, that souls have no sexes; and in Christ there is no respect had more to the male than female, Galatians 3:28 .
Ezr 8:4 Of the sons of Pahathmoab; Elihoenai the son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred males.
Ver. 4. Of the sons of Pahathmoab ] Haply so called, because some of his progenitors had dwelt in Moab. He was a covenanter, Nehemiah 10:14 .
Ezr 8:5 Of the sons of Shechaniah; the son of Jahaziel, and with him three hundred males.
Ver. 5. The son of Jahaziel ] The father is named, but not the son: but why, who can tell? Et patet et lucet pagina sacra. He is both well know and conspicuous by the sacred page.
Ezr 8:6 Of the sons also of Adin; Ebed the son of Jonathan, and with him fifty males.
Ver. 6. Of the sons also of Adin ] A covenanter too, Nehemiah 10:6 .
Ezr 8:7 And of the sons of Elam; Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah, and with him seventy males.
Ver. 7. Jeshaiah ] Of the same name, but not the same man that is mentioned, Ezra 8:19 .
Ezr 8:8 And of the sons of Shephatiah; Zebadiah the son of Michael, and with him fourscore males.
Ver. 8. The son of Michael ] A name afterwards given to Jesus Christ, Dan 10:13 Revelation 12:7 , signifying, Who is as God. Hence some conceive that it is not so fit to call a child Michael, Emmanuel, &c.
Ezr 8:9 Of the sons of Joab; Obadiah the son of Jehiel, and with him two hundred and eighteen males.
Ver. 9. Obadiah the son of Jehiel ] This Obadiah (as also Zechariah, Ezra 8:11 , and Azgad, Ezr 8:12 ) sealed the covenant, Nehemiah 10:1 ; Nehemiah 10:5 , not without oath and execration. It is both lawful, and in some cases needful, for good people solemnly to bind themselves to bounden duties. Hereby, saith a grave divine, as true intention, earnest desire, prudent jealousy, and holy zeal are manifested, so is a dull spirit much quickened, and the weak, wayward, revolting flesh bridled and curbed; yea, and bound to her good behaviour.
Ezr 8:10 And of the sons of Shelomith; the son of Josiphiah, and with him an hundred and threescore males.
Ver. 10. The son of Josiphiah ] See Ezra 8:5 .
Ezr 8:11 And of the sons of Bebai; Zechariah the son of Bebai, and with him twenty and eight males.
Ver. 11. Zechariah the son of Bebai ] See Ezra 8:9 .
Ezr 8:12 And of the sons of Azgad; Johanan the son of Hakkatan, and with him an hundred and ten males.
Ver. 12. And the sons of Azgad ] See Ezra 8:9 .
Ezr 8:13 And of the last sons of Adonikam, whose names [are] these, Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah, and with them threescore males.
Ver. 13. And of the sons of Adonikam ] Some of his sons went up before with Zerubbabel, Ezra 2:13 . These not till now, together with Ezra. They might want either age or hearts to go at first with their brethren, E posteris posterioribus (Tremell.). Second thoughts are best many times; and Nunquam sero, si serio. Never sorry if cultivated. That son, in the Gospel, who, being bidden go work to-day in the vineyard, answered and said, I will not, but afterwards repented and went, wanted not his commendation, Matthew 21:29 . A learned man notes thus upon this text: The lot of Adonikam was below his brethren, because he was the last that set foot forward toward their return.
Ezr 8:14 Of the sons also of Bigvai; Uthai, and Zabbud, and with them seventy males.
Ver. 14. And with them seventy males ] The whole company consisted of one thousand four hundred ninety and six males: a good addition to those that went up before with Zerubbabel; yet nothing so many as might have been, but that they wanted hearts.
Rari quippe boni, numero vix sunt totidem, quot
Thebarum portae, vel divitis ostia Nili (Juvenal, Sat. 13).
Ezr 8:15 And I gathered them together to the river that runneth to Ahava; and there abode we in tents three days: and I viewed the people, and the priests, and found there none of the sons of Levi.
Ver. 15. And I gathered them together to the river ] There was their first rendezvous, at the meeting of two rivers; whereof that country was full, Psalms 137:1 , and therefore fertile as the garden of the Lord, whereof it was a part, as most geographers are of opinion.
And there abode we in tents ] Glad we had our faces set toward Zion (going weeping, &c., Jer 50:4-5 ), and our backs upon Babylon; of which we might well say, as the philosopher afterwards did of Athens, that it was a pleasant place to travel through, but not safe to dwell in.
And found there none of the sons of Levi ] None but what he afterwards sent for, no volunteers; this was lamentable, that Levites should be so backward to so good a business. Here was nomen inane, crimen immane. missing name, enormous crime.
Ezr 8:16 Then sent I for Eliezer, for Ariel, for Shemaiah, and for Elnathan, and for Jarib, and for Elnathan, and for Nathan, and for Zechariah, and for Meshullam, chief men; also for Joiarib, and for Elnathan, men of understanding.
Ver. 16. Men of understanding ] Of special note for their wisdom and eloquence; such as could present to the people good matter well habited, and could well express their expositions of the law, being themselves wise, and willing to wise others, as the Hebrew word signifieth, Daniel 12:3 . Men of understanding, and ready to instruct many, Daniel 11:33 . Such a man as this is worth his weight in gold,
Ezr 8:17 And I sent them with commandment unto Iddo the chief at the place Casiphia, and I told them what they should say unto Iddo, [and] to his brethren the Nethinims, at the place Casiphia, that they should bring unto us ministers for the house of our God.
Ver. 17. At the place Casiphia ] Where it may seem that there was a college of Levites, and Iddo was their president.
And to his brethren the Nethinims ] Who were now become men of mark, brethren to Iddo, and much sought for by Ezra, Ezra 2:43 , for the service they did about God’s house.
Ezr 8:18 And by the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of understanding, of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel; and Sherebiah, with his sons and his brethren, eighteen;
Ver. 18. And by the good hand of God upon us ] God was in all this good man’s thoughts: he set upon every passage, as the ancients upon every special piece of work they did, Yεος, Yεος (Pausanias). This was the only way to make his journey comfortable, thus to converse with God all along, et Paradisum mente deambulare, and let your mind walk in paradise, as Jerome counselled the young hermit, assuring him that so long as he had paradise in his mind, and God in his apprehensions, tamdiu in eremo non esset, so long he should not be in a desert.
They brought us a man of understanding ] The Hebrew word Shacal signifieth three things: 1. To understand. 2. To instruct. 3. To prosper. Those that understand themselves, and teach others, shall do much good to themselves and others; see the note on Ezra 8:16 . This egregie cordatus homo exceptional sweet hearted man, was Sherebiah, as it followeth here, and Sherebiah, or, even Sherebiah; confer Nehemiah 8:7 ; Nehemiah 9:4-5 .
Ezr 8:19 And Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, his brethren and their sons, twenty;
Ver. 19. And Hashabiah ] A man ready to every good work, Nehemiah 3:17 ; Nehemiah 10:11 ; and that is no small commendation.
Ezr 8:20 Also of the Nethinims, whom David and the princes had appointed for the service of the Levites, two hundred and twenty Nethinims: all of them were expressed by name.
Ver. 20. Whom David and the princes had appointed ] i.e. Continued, confirmed, and ordered them; for they were first appointed and designed to that service by Joshua; and thence called Nethinims.
All of them were expressed by name ] Verbis non solum disertis, sed et exsertis. Words not only skilfully expressed, but even uncovered.
Ezr 8:21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.
Ver. 21. Then I proclaimed a fast there ] A day of restraint from food, fine clothes, and other delights of life. There is a threefold fast, saith one, from meat, from mirth, and from sin; this last crowns all. Unless God sees turning, he sees no work in a fast, saith another, explaining that text, John 3:10 , "God saw their works, that they turned." Of a fast, See Trapp on " Joe 2:12 ".
That we might afflict ourselves before our God ] Not outwardly only (that is but the shell, Isa 58:3 ), but inwardly also, for that is the kernel of this exercise, Jeremiah 16:19 , which else is but bodily, and profiteth little; something it may, as it did Ahab; but if rightly performed, though it weakeneth the body, yet it strengtheneth the spirit, making it vigorous and victorious.
To seek of him a right way for us ] To edge our prayers and give wings to them; for fasting inflameth prayer, and prayer sanctifieth fasting; hence they go coupled for the most part, Luke 2:37 Matthew 17:21 1 Corinthians 7:5 . And surely, if with fasting and prayer we can seek of God direction and protection, as here, we shall speed of both.
And for our little ones ] These should be a main part of our care, to lay up prayers for them, to commend them to God’s safe keeping, forasmuch as puerilitas est periculorum pelagus, Little ones are liable to a thousand deaths and dangers.
And for all our substance ] Our stock and our store, all the goods that we have got and gathered together. Our English word Riches answereth to the Hebrew Recush.
Ezr 8:22 For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God [is] upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath [is] against all them that forsake him.
Ver. 22. For I was ashamed ] Heb. I blushed and was abashed, I knew not how to put on the face to do it, neither could I bring my mind to crave a convoy, though it might have been of great use to us; lest the name of God should thereby be dishonoured, and his excellencies questioned. It is the ingenuity of saints to study God’s ends more than their own, and to be far more troubled when anything crosseth him than when themselves are crossed or disappointed. Propter te, Domine, propter te, Because of you, God, becuase of you, is the good man’s motto. Choice and excellent spirits are all for God, whatever becometh of themselves.
Because we had spoken unto the king, saying ] They had spoken good of God’s name, and amply set forth his power, providence, goodness, and other attributes, being no whit ashamed so to do before kings, as Psalms 119:46 : so did Chrysostom, Basil, Latimer, Lambert, John Colet, Dean of Paul’s, and founder of the free school there. He, for the bold and faithful discharge of his duty, in a sermon before Henry VIII, at the siege of Tournay, was called to his trial by the king’s counsellors; but the issue proved happy; for he gave so great content to the king, that he, taking a cup of wine, said, Dean, I drink to you; let every one take whom he will for his confessor, you shall be my doctor (Mr Clark in his Life). Holy Ezra found no less favour with this mighty monarch, whom he had well informed in the manifold excellencies of God, as appeareth by this and sundry other preceding passages.
The hand of our God is upon all them, &c. ] To hide them in the hollow of it till the indignation be overpast; to hold them by their right hand, and so to guide them by his counsel, that he may afterwards take them to his glory, Psalms 73:23-24 .
But his power and his wrath ] Id est, His powerful wrath, his anger armed with power, for vanae sine viribus irae; but who knoweth the power of thine anger, saith Moses? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath, Psalms 90:11 . Let him fear thee never so much, he is sure to feel thee more, if once he fall into thy fingers, into that mighty hand of thine (as St James styleth it, Jam 4:10 ), before which ten thousand kings cannot stand. Let God forsakers therefore do as those elders of Israel did, 2 Kings 10:3-5 .
Is against all them that forsake him ] Such are all they, 1. That forsake not their sins, Job 20:17 Isaiah 55:7 . Isaiah 55:2 . That know not God, Isaiah 1:3-4 Ephesians 4:18 . Ephesians 4:3 . That trust to idols, or creature comforts, arm of flesh, 1Ki 9:9 Jos 24:20 Jeremiah 2:13 . Jeremiah 2:4 . Church-forsakers, and apostates, Hebrews 10:25 ; Hebrews 10:38 . God is against all these, and will consume them, after that he hath done them good, Jos 24:20 Psa 73:27 1Ch 28:9 John 2:8 Jer 17:13 Deuteronomy 31:16 2Ch 12:5 ; 2 Chronicles 15:2 ; 2 Chronicles 24:20 .
Ezr 8:23 So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.
Ver. 23. So we fasted ] They put their holy resolution into execution: purpose without practice is like Rachel, beautiful, but barren.
And besought our God for this ] And they had it, Ezra 8:31 . For fasting and prayer are like Jonathan’s bow and Saul’s sword, that never turned back or returned empty, 2 Samuel 1:22 . God is a liberal rewarder of all such as in this sort diligently seek him, Hebrews 11:6 2 Chronicles 15:2 . he will turn their fasting into feasting, their prayers into praises, Eze 36:37 Zechariah 8:19 . They shall have out their prayers either in money or money’s worth; either in the very thing they desired, or at least strength to stay themselves upon God, with good assurance that his grace shall be sufficient for them, and that he will be their shield, and their exceeding great reward.
Ezr 8:24 Then I separated twelve of the chief of the priests, Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them,
Ver. 24. Then I separated twelve ] I singled them and set them apart for this great trust, vide cui fidas. See the faith of these.
Sherebiah, Hashabiah ] Heb. With Sherebiah, Hashabiah (men of known integrity, Ezr 8:18-19 ),
and ten of their brethren with them ] twenty-four in all, a complete company of faithful trustees.
Ezr 8:25 And weighed unto them the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, [even] the offering of the house of our God, which the king, and his counsellors, and his lords, and all Israel [there] present, had offered:
Ver. 25. And weighed unto them ] Heb. I scaled it out unto them; Cyrus counted it out to Zerubbabel, Ezra 1:1 ; Ezra 1:9 , &c.
And his lords ] Called mighty princes, Ezra 7:28 ; see Isaiah 10:8 .
And all Israel there present ] Heb. There found at that time, or that had found in their purses, found in their hearts.
Ezr 8:26 I even weighed unto their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels an hundred talents, [and] of gold an hundred talents;
Ver. 26. Six hundred and fifty talents of silver ] That is, 243,750 pounds sterling.
An hundred talents ] That is, 37,500 pounds sterling.
Ezr 8:27 Also twenty basons of gold, of a thousand drams; and two vessels of fine copper, precious as gold.
Ver. 27. Of a thousand drachms ] 312 pounds 10 shillings. The Hebrew (or rather Chaldee) word here rendered a drachm seems to be taken from the Greek word Dραχμη .
And two vessels of fine copper ] Ex orichalco praestante, Of some choice mixed metal, Auro contra non caro. Overlaid with gold without no dross.
Ezr 8:28 And I said unto them, Ye [are] holy unto the LORD; the vessels [are] holy also; and the silver and the gold [are] a freewill offering unto the LORD God of your fathers.
Ver. 28. We are holy unto the Lord ] Heb. Ye are holiness unto the Lord; and must sanctify the holy God in righteousness, Isaiah 5:16 .
The vessels are holy also ] Id est, That is, Set apart to sacred uses, and therefore to be kept carefully, used respectfully. The Turks spare and keep better than ordinary those very asses of theirs that have been used for carriage to Mecca, where their Mahomet lieth buried; neither will they put paper to any base use, because that both the name of God and the Mahometan law are written upon the like.
Ezr 8:29 Watch ye, and keep [them], until ye weigh [them] before the chief of the priests and the Levites, and chief of the fathers of Israel, at Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of the LORD.
Ver. 29. Watch ye ] With utmost care and solicitude, as the word signifieth. How much more should we watch and treble watch, as Luke 12:37-38 ; Luk 12:43 to keep our vessels (bodies) in sanctification and honour, not in the lust of concupiscence, &c.! especially since Adversus maiora vigilantibus quaedam incautis minutiora surrepant, and Satan worketh strongest on the fancy when the soul is sleepy, or a little drowsy (Aug.). Watch ye therefore and keep. This lesson had need to be often rung in our ears.
Ezr 8:30 So took the priests and the Levites the weight of the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, to bring [them] to Jerusalem unto the house of our God.
Ver. 30. So took the priests and the Levites ] The great charge committed to them, and laid upon them, did not weaken, but waken, their heroic spirits.
Tu ne crede malis, sed contra audentior ito.
Ezr 8:31 Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth [day] of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem: and the hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way.
Ver. 31. And of such as lay in wait by the way ] Enemies they had not a few, (when was it otherwise?) but some that purposely waylaid them; but were defeated by a gracious providence. So were the Manichees, who lay in wait for Austin; and those that pursued Jewel, about the beginning of Queen Mary’s reign, as he was going from Oxford to London. Both these had been caught, and made a prey to their enemies, but that they lost their way. What saith the prophet? As birds flying, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem (like as when the young are in danger of the kite, the bird flies to save them); defending also, he will deliver it, and passing over, he will preserve it.
Ezr 8:32 And we came to Jerusalem, and abode there three days.
Ver. 32. And abode there three days ] For necessary refreshment, after so long a journey. The body is the soul’s servant, and must therefore be kindly and fairly dealt with, ut sit par negotio, that it may be neither above nor below its business; but even with it, meet for it, Corpus sive corpor, quasi cordis por, id est, puer, sive famulus.
Ezr 8:33 Now on the fourth day was the silver and the gold and the vessels weighed in the house of our God by the hand of Meremoth the son of Uriah the priest; and with him [was] Eleazar the son of Phinehas; and with them [was] Jozabad the son of Jeshua, and Noadiah the son of Binnui, Levites;
Ver. 33. Now on the fourth day ] viz. Of their fifth month. After a short repose, they set close to work. To recreations God allows men to stoop for their bodies’ sake, as the eagle to the prey; or as Gideon’s soldiers to sup their handful, not to swill their belly full.
Ezr 8:34 By number [and] by weight of every one: and all the weight was written at that time.
Ver. 34. By number and by weight, &c. ] In reference to this text, let thy confession be full, saith a reverend man; bring out thy sins as those in Ezra did the vessels of the temple, by number and by weight. 1. By number, Leviticus 16:21 . Aaron was to confess over the scape-goat all the iniquities of the children of Israel 2. By weight he was to confess all their transgressions in all their sins; that is, laying open how many transgressions were wrapped up in their various sins and their circumstances.
Ezra 8:35 [Also] the children of those that had been carried away, which were come out of the captivity, offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel, twelve bullocks for all Israel, ninety and six rams, seventy and seven lambs, twelve he goats [for] a sin offering: all [this was] a burnt offering unto the LORD.
Ver. 35. Also the children of those that had been ] In token of presenting their bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God their deliverer, Romans 12:1 . Let us that are freed from sin’s slavery become the servants of righteousness, Romans 6:18 ; and being delivered from the hands of our enemies, serve God without fear in holiness and righteousness all the days of our lives, Luke 1:74-75 .
Ezr 8:36 And they delivered the king’s commissions unto the king’s lieutenants, and to the governors on this side the river: and they furthered the people, and the house of God.
Ver. 36. And they furthered the people ] Heb. They gave them a lift, lent them a helping hand; not out of love to the work, but for fear of the king, and in pursuance of his commands and commissions. Thus the devil and his imps sometimes do God’s will, though with an ill will, Psalms 109:31 . They continue this day according to thine ordinances; for all are thy servants. How much better were it to work from a right principle, not by constraint, but willingly; not for fear of wrath, but of a ready mind, 1 Peter 5:2 ; to love to be God’s servants, taking hold of his covenant, Isaiah 56:6 , and saying to him, as the people did to Joshua, Joshua 1:16 , or as the rulers and elders to Jehu, 2 Kings 10:5 , "We are thy servants, and will do all that thou shalt bid us."
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ezra 8". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent