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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary
New American Standard Version
Bible Study Resources
Nave's Topical Bible - Gold; Integrity; Levites; Liberality; Money; Priest; Silver; Temple; Thompson Chain Reference - Talents;
Verse 26. Silver vessels a hundred talents — That is, The weight of all the silver vessels amounted to one hundred talents; not that there were one hundred vessels of silver, each a talent in weight.
Reckoning in round sums, 650 talents of silver at £450 the talent, amount to £292,500 sterling. Silver vessels, 100 talents, amount to £45,000; gold, 100 talents, at £7,000 per talent, amount to £700,000 independently of the 20 basons of gold, amounting to 1000 drachms. Now the golden drachm or daric was worth about 1£. 2s., therefore these basons were worth £1100; the whole amounting to £1,038,600 sterling. But these different weights and coins are variously computed; some making the silver talent only £353 11s. 10 ½d., and the talent of gold £5057 15s. 1 ½d., calculations which I have elsewhere introduced.
Two vessels of fine copper, precious as gold — What these were we cannot tell. The Syriac translates [Persian] nechoso corinthio toba, to be vessels of the best Corinthian brass; so called from the brass found after the burning of Corinth by Lucius Mummius, which was brass, copper, gold, and silver, all melted together, as is generally supposed. But it was probably some factitious metal made there, that took the polish and assumed the brightness of gold, and because of its hardness was more durable. There is still a certain factitious metal of this kind, made among the Asiatics. I have seen this metal often made; it is as bright and fine as gold, takes a most exquisite polish, and will scarcely tarnish. I have kept this exposed to every variation of the air, even among old iron, brass, copper, c., for twenty years together, without being scarcely at all oxidized. It requires much art in the making, but the constituent materials are of small value. Vessels of this metal, because of their lustre and durability for ornamental and domestic uses, are in many respects more valuable than gold itself. The only difficulty is to get at first the true colour, which depends on the degree of heat, and the time employed in fusion but there are, however, proper rules to ascertain them. This metal is widely different from the or molu of France and England, is less expensive, and much more valuable.
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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Ezra 8:26". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/ezra-8.html. 1832.
Details of the journey (8:1-36)
Leaders of the family groups who returned under Ezra are listed, along with the numbers of people in the various groups (8:1-14). Surprisingly, no Levites were among them, so Ezra sent specially for some. Levites were essential, as religious service was the main purpose of Ezra’s return (15-20).
The journey to Jerusalem would take Ezra and his party about four months (see 7:9). During this time they would constantly be open to attacks from robbers. Yet even though they had with them large amounts of money and treasure, Ezra refused to ask the king for an escort of armed soldiers. He considered that to do so would contradict all that he had told the king concerning the protection God would give his people. So they fasted and prayed, trusting in God alone for their safety (21-23).
Ezra kept an exact record of all the wealth that they were taking with them. When that same amount was paid into the temple treasury at the end of the journey, it proved to all that God had answered their prayers and given them safety throughout their journey (24-34). The returned exiles acknowledged God’s goodness by offering sacrifices. After this, Ezra went to the local Persian officials to present the documents authorizing him to take control of the Jewish community (35-36).
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Ezra 8:26". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/ezra-8.html. 2005.
So in chapter eight it gives to us a list of those who went with Ezra, totaling out about 754 of the males, when you add the priests that were added to later. So they numbered the people, and they found out that they didn't have any ministering priests among them of the Levites. And so they wanted to take back some priests to administer also. And so search was made, and they found these men and "by the good hand of our God upon us," they brought to us a man of understanding and his sons who were the sons of Levi, the sons of Israel. And so they returned with them to the land.
But as they gathered at the river and they were ready to go, they had collected a lot of money, the king had given them a lot of gold and silver and he said,
Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all of our substance. For [he said] I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because ( Ezra 8:21-22 )
He had actually told the king how great God was. "The God that we serve, He's the God of the universe," and really been bragging to the king about God. Been witnessing to the king about the power and the greatness of God and how God watches over His people and how God's hand is upon those for good who seek after Him, and we're going to seek after God and all. And so the king gave them all this gold and everything else. But now he has all this treasure and he's got this long journey through this land that is filled with Nomadic tribes who plunder all of the caravans that come along. They live off of these caravans. And with all of the wealth that he's carrying, he's really worried about it. What if they get plundered on the way and they're going to have to move slowly. Actually it took them four full months to make the journey from the area there in Persia to the to Jerusalem. And with all this money.
So he really had sort of painted himself into a corner in bragging about God. It would be inconsistent to go back to the king now and say, "Would you mind sending a bunch of soldiers and horsemen so we can be protected from the enemy?" When they had told him that God was able to protect. So they fasted and prayed and they then began their journey. So he took twelve of the men and he divided the treasure among them. Weighed out all of the silver and the gold with these twelve men and he instructed them to watch it and to keep it.
And so we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to 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. And we came to Jerusalem, and we were there for three days. 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 ( Ezra 8:31-33 )
And so forth. And so they had these guys bring the gold in and they weighed it out and it was all there. Every ounce made it safely.
And they delivered the king's decree to the king's lieutenants, and to the governors on this side of the river: and they furthered the people, and the house of God ( Ezra 8:36 ). "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Ezra 8:26". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/ezra-8.html. 2014.
Ezra’s physical preparations 8:24-30
Ezra took special precautions to make sure the expensive temple utensils arrived safely and to guarantee that everyone would perceive that his handling of the precious cargo was completely honest (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:20-21). The Babylonian "talent" (Ezra 8:26) weighed about 66 pounds. The "daric" (Ezra 8:27) was a thick gold Persian coin that weighed 130 grams or about 4 1/2 ounces. [Note: The New Bible Dictionary, "Money."] The total weight of the precious cargo the exiles took with them seems to have been about 28 tons. [Note: Myers, pp. 67-68.] There are records that indicate that there were some very wealthy Jews living in Babylon at this time. [Note: See Fensham, The Books . . ., p. 118.]
"Following Ezra’s example, Christian leaders should delegate responsibility. Ezra carefully chose the people to whom he gave responsibility. It may seem exaggerated to have taken such precautions with the money, to weigh it out carefully, to record every detail. However, to do things carefully, with decisions and transactions documented in writing, is a sign of wisdom rather than a lack of confidence. It protects everyone involved. Many present-day scandals could be avoided if Christian leaders would learn from Ezra." [Note: Breneman, p. 143.]
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Ezra 8:26". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/ezra-8.html. 2012.
I even weighed unto their hand six hundred fifty talents of silver,.... Which, according to Scheuchzer a amount to 975,000 imperials, and, of our money, 2,229,450 pounds sterling: and silver vessels one hundred talents; which came to 35,300 pounds, or 50,000 imperials; according to Jarchi, there were one hundred vessels, and every vessel weighed a talent, and so Aben Ezra, which, with Brerewood b, was three hundred and seventy five pounds:
and of gold one hundred talents; which, according to Scheuchzer c, were equal to 1,222,000 ducats of gold; the value of gold now is above 14 and a 3d to the value of silver, by which may be judged the difference between one hundred talents of gold and one hundred talents of silver; according to David de Pomis d, there were two sorts of talents; common talents, which weighed sixty pounds, and the talent of the sanctuary, which weighed double to that.
a Physica Sacra, vol. 4. p. 651. b De Pond. & Pret. Vet. Num. c. 4. c Ut supra. (Physica Sacra, vol. 4. p. 651.) d Tzemach David, fol. 57. 3.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on Ezra 8:26". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/ezra-8.html. 1999.
|Ezra's Care of the Temple Treasure.||B. C. 457.|
24 Then I separated twelve of the chief of the priests, Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them, 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: 26 I even weighed unto their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels a hundred talents, and of gold a hundred talents; 27 Also twenty basons of gold, of a thousand drams; and two vessels of fine copper, precious as gold. 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. 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. 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.
We have here an account of the particular care which Ezra took of the treasure he had with him, that belonged to God's sanctuary, Observe, 1. Having committed the keeping of it to God, he committed the keeping of it to proper men, whose business it was to watch it, though without God they would have waked in vain. Note, Our prayers must always be seconded with our endeavours; the care of Christ's gospel, his church, and ordinances, must not be so left with him but that it must also be committed to faithful men,2 Timothy 2:2. 2. Having prayed to God to preserve all the substance they had with them, he shows himself especially solicitous for that part of it which belonged to the house of God and was an offering to him. Do we expect that God should, by his providence, keep that which belongs to us? Let us, by his grace, keep that which belongs to him. Let God's honour and interest be our care; and then we may expect that our lives and comforts will be his. Observe, (1.) The persons to whom he delivered the offerings of the house of God. Twelve chief priests, and as many Levites, he appointed to this trust (Ezra 8:24; Ezra 8:30), who were bound by their office to take care of the things of God, and were in a particular manner to have the benefit of these sacred treasures. Ezra tells them why he put those things into their hands (Ezra 8:28; Ezra 8:28): You are holy unto the Lord, the vessels are holy also; and who so fit to take care of holy things as holy persons? Those that have the dignity and honour of the priesthood must take along with them the trust and duty of it. The prophet is foretelling the return of God's people and ministers out of Babylon, when he gives the solemn charge (Isaiah 52:11), Be you clean that bear the vessels of the Lord. (2.) The great exactness with which he lodged this trust in their hands: He weighed to them the silver, the gold, and the vessels (Ezra 8:25; Ezra 8:25), because he expected to have it from them again by weight. In all trust, but especially sacred ones, we ought to be punctual, and preserve a right understanding on both sides. In Zerubbabel's time the vessels were delivered by number, here by weight, that all might be forth-coming and it might easily appear if any were missing, to intimate that such as are entrusted with holy things (as all the stewards of the mysteries of God are) are concerned to remember, both in receiving their trust and in discharging it, that they must shortly give a very particular account of it, that they may be faithful to it and so give up their account with joy. (3.) The charge he have them with these treasures (Ezra 8:29; Ezra 8:29): "Watch you, and keep them, that they be not lost, nor embezzled, nor mingled with the other articles. Keep them together; keep them by themselves; keep them safely, till you weigh them in the temple, before the great men there," hereby intimating how much it was their concern to be careful and faithful and how much it would be their honour to be found so. Thus when Paul charges Timothy with the gospel treasure he bids him keep it until the appearing of Jesus Christ, and his appearing before him to give account of his trust, when his fidelity would be his crown.
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Ezra 8:26". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/ezra-8.html. 1706.
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17