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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary
New American Standard Version
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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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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Ezra 8:6". "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 8:6". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/ezra-8.html. 2014.
The leading men who returned 8:1-14
The descendants of the priestly and royal families in Israel appear first in this list (Ezra 8:2-3). Then the names of the rest of the Jews follow. A comparison of Ezra 8:3-14 with Ezra 2:3-15 shows that Ezra’s companions were mainly the relatives of those Jews who had returned 80 years earlier under Sheshbazzar. The one exception was Joab’s family (Ezra 8:9).
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Ezra 8:6". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/ezra-8.html. 2012.
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 8:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/ezra-8.html. 1999.
|The Journey of Ezra and Others.||B. C. 457.|
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. 2 Of the sons of Phinehas; Gershom: of the sons of Ithamar; Daniel: of the sons of David; Hattush. 3 Of the sons of Shechaniah, of the sons of Pharosh; Zechariah: and with him were reckoned by genealogy of the males a hundred and fifty. 4 Of the sons of Pahath-moab; Elihoenai the son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred males. 5 Of the sons of Shechaniah; the son of Jahaziel, and with him three hundred males. 6 Of the sons also of Adin; Ebed the son of Jonathan, and with him fifty males. 7 And of the sons of Elam; Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah, and with him seventy males. 8 And of the sons of Shephatiah; Zebadiah the son of Michael, and with him fourscore males. 9 Of the sons of Joab; Obadiah the son of Jehiel, and with him two hundred and eighteen males. 10 And of the sons of Shelomith; the son of Josiphiah, and with him a hundred and threescore males. 11 And of the sons of Bebai; Zechariah the son of Bebai, and with him twenty and eight males. 12 And of the sons of Azgad; Johanan the son of Hakkatan, and with him a hundred and ten males. 13 And of the last sons of Adonikam, whose names are these, Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah, and with them threescore males. 14 Of the sons also of Bigvai; Uthai, and Zabbud, and with them seventy males. 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. 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. 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. 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; 19 And Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, his brethren and their sons, twenty; 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.
Ezra, having received his commission from the king, beats up for volunteers, as it were, sets up an ensign to assemble the outcasts of Israel and the dispersed of Judah, Isaiah 11:12. "Whoever of the sons of Sion, that swell with the daughters of Babylon, is disposed to go to Jerusalem, now that the temple there is finished and the temple-service set a-going, now is their time." Now one would think that under such a leader, with such encouragements, all the Jews should at length have shaken themselves from their dust, and loosed the bands of their neck, according to that call, Isaiah 52:1; Isaiah 52:2, c. I wonder how any of them could read that chapter and yet stay behind. But multitudes did. They loved their ease better than their religion, thought themselves well off where they were, and either believed not that Jerusalem would better their condition or durst not go thither through any difficulties. But here we are told,
I. That some offered themselves willingly to go with Ezra. The heads of the several families are here named, for their honour, and the numbers of the males that each brought in, amounting in all to 1496. Two priests are named (Ezra 8:2; Ezra 8:2) and one of the sons of David; but, it should seem, they came without their families, probably intending to see how they liked Jerusalem and then either to send for their families or return to them as they saw cause. Several of their families, or clans, here named, we had before, Ezra 2:3-20; Ezra 2:3-20 Some went up from them at that time, more went up now, as God inclined their hearts; some were called into the vineyard at the third hour, others not till the eleventh, yet even those were not rejected. But here we read of the last sons of Adonikam (Ezra 8:13; Ezra 8:13), which some understand to their dispraise, that they were the last that enlisted themselves under Ezra; I rather understand it to their honour, that now all the sons of that family returned and none staid behind.
II. That the Levites who went in this company were in a manner pressed into the service. Ezra appointed a general rendezvous of all his company at a certain place upon new-year's day, the first day of the first month. Ezra 7:9; Ezra 7:9. Then and there he took a view of them, and mustered them, and (which was strange) found there none of the sons of Levi,Ezra 8:15; Ezra 8:15. Some priests there were, but no others that were Levites. Where was the spirit of that sacred tribe? Ezra, a priest, like Moses proclaims, Who is on the Lord's side? They, unlike to Levi, shrink, and desire to abide among the sheep-folds to hear the bleatings of the flock. Synagogues we suppose they had in Babylon, in which they prayed, and preached, and kept sabbaths (and, when they could not have better, they had reason to be thankful for them); but now that the temple at Jerusalem was opened, to the service of which they were ordained, they ought to have preferred the gates of Zion before all those synagogues. It is upon record here, to their reproach; but tell it not in Gath. Ezra, when he observed that he had no Levites in his retinue, was much at a loss. He had money enough for the service of the temple, but wanted men. The king and princes had more than done their part, but the sons of Levi had not half done theirs. Eleven men, chief men, and men of understanding, he chooses out of his company, to be employed for the filling up of this lamentable vacancy; and here we are informed, 1. Of their being sent. Ezra sent them to a proper place, where there as a college of Levites, the place Casiphia, probably a street or square in Babylon allowed for that purpose--Silver Street one may call it, for ceseph signifies silver. He sent them to a proper person, to Iddo, the chief president of the college, not to urge him to come himself (we will suppose him to be old and unfit for such a remove), but to send some of the juniors, ministers for the house of our God,Ezra 8:17; Ezra 8:17. The furnishing of God's house with good ministers is a good work, which will redound to the comfort and credit of all that have a hand in it. 2. Of their success. They did not return without their errand, but, though the warning was short, they brought about forty Levites to attend Ezra, Sherebiah, noted as a very intelligent man, and eighteen with him (Ezra 8:18; Ezra 8:18). Hashabiah, and Jeshaiah, and twenty with them, Ezra 8:19; Ezra 8:19. By this it appears that they were not averse to go, but were slothful and inattentive, and only wanted to be called upon and excited to go. What a pity it is that good men should omit a good work, merely for want of being spoken to! What a pity that they should need it, but, if they do, what a pity that they should be left without it! Of the Nethinim, the servitors of the sacred college, the species infima--the lowest order of the temple ministers, more appeared forward to go than of the Levites themselves. Of them 220, upon this hasty summons, enlisted themselves, and had the honour to be expressed by name in Ezra's muster-roll, Ezra 8:20; Ezra 8:20. "Thus," says Ezra, "were we furnished with Levites, by the good hand of our God upon us." If, where ministers have been wanting, the vacancies are well supplied, let God have the glory, and his good hand be acknowledged as qualifying them for the service, inclining them to it, and then opening a door of opportunity for them.
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 8:6". "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