The Second return of the Israelites under Ezra - around sixty
years after the first bunch came back.
v. 6 - “This Ezra....was a ready scribe in the law of Moses which
the Lord God of Israel had given..”
Ezra recognizes that the law was not a mere human code given
by an earthly lawgiver, nor just a national treasure accumulated
over the centuries but a direct Divine gift - “the Law of the Lord”
The man who would reform others must begin by himself being
v. 10 - “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the
Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and
v. 11 - “a scribe of the words of the commandments of the Lord”
Not so much a writer as an expounder.
vs. 11-26 - Artaxerxes helped by facilitating and financing the
return - up to the amount shown in v. 22
v. 23 - “Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let
it be diligently done for the house of the God of
v. 25 - “teach ye them that know them not”
The number of those who went up to Jerusalem with
Ezra and the names of the chief men.
vs. 2-3 - “of the sons of David; Hattush....”
We should expect to find the house of David first but where
do we find them in actual fact? The royal family ought to
have been foremost in such an undertaking but who was
likely to have felt the evils of captivity as the heirs to the
Only one of his family is mentioned as returning -
Hattush and that third place on the list.
In the first return, Zerubbabel was foremost and there
were 123 returning men of “Bethlehem” - ch. 2:21
Is this the beginning of the descent which ends long after
finding David’s greatest descendant as the “carpenter’s
son” - Jesus Christ?
v. 15 - as we studied earlier there seems to have been a
special disinclination on the part of the Levites
to return to Jerusalem - only seventy-four went up
with Zerubbabel, when the priests who returned
were 4,289 - ch. 2:36-40
Now there was not a single Levite in Ezra’s band - not only
were there none numbered in the first detachment - none
were found after three days search - they were conspicuous
by their absence” -did the jealous spirit of Korah
(Numbers 16:8-10) still animate the great body of the tribe?
Those who should have been in the van are either in the rear,
or else, not present at all?
v. 18 -
vs. 21-23 - “to ask of Him a right way”
v. 24, 28-29 - “ye are holy” - consecrated to God by
their office, the priests and Levites were fitting
custodians of consecrated things.
v. 31 - “the hand of our God was upon us, and He
delivered us from the hand of the enemy”
How God delivered we are not told but evidently
through no “arm of the flesh” - the hand of God led
them safely through all perils of the way and brought
Ezra and his entourage without loss or damage to
v. 34 - the object was to see that what was delivered
to Meremoth corresponded exactly with
what Ezra had given in charge to Sherebiah
and Hashabiah and others at the river Ahava.
v. 36 - “and they furthered the people, and the house
of God” - secular supporters of God’s work!
vs. 1-2 - Cause for great alarm!
It seems that during the time between
Zerubbabel’s rule and the coming of Ezra -
the people did what mankind is good at
throughout history - doing “what seemed
good in their own eyes” and it appears
that a fusion had begun between the Jews
and the neighboring nations.
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The complaint was not so much that the Jews
had actually adopted idolatrous functions but
that they were not keeping themselves wholly
aloof from them - foreign wives would introduce
idolatrous rites into their very homes.
“so that the holy seed have mingled themselves
with the people of those lands:”
They were “a kingdom of priests, a holy nation”
They were to be “separated from all the people
that were on the face of the earth” - Ex. 33:16
and to be a “peculiar people”
When they mingled with the people of the land
they not only broke a positive command -
Deut. 7:3 - but did their best to frustrate God’s
entire purpose for them and to render all that
He had done for them of no effect.
“the hand of the princes and rulers hath been
chief in this trespass” - the upper classes,
both clerical and lay people, had been the
vs. 3-5 - Reaction of Ezra
More of horror than grief - a crowd assembled around
him sympathizing with him - they were alarmed
at the transgression of the commands of God -
v. 3 -
Deut. 7:4 - "so will the anger of the Lord be
kindled against you, and destroy thee
vs. 6-15 - the prayer of Ezra
read highlighted passages
v. 7 - "confusion of face" - stunned - not knowing
what to do or even say.
v. 11 - the "unclean" and corrupt character of
the Canaanitish nations was the sole
reason why their land was taken from them
and given to the Israelites.
v. 15 - inexcusable guilt in the face of such mercy -
"the sow that was washed"returning to her
wallowing in the mire" - II Peter 2:22
This was a national sin!
America's national sins???
A very large assembly came together at the end of
Ezra's prayer - Shechaniah took the lead and proposed
that all present should at once enter into a
special covenant with God that they would
do their utmost to have the mixed marriages
dissolved (they were made contrary to the
law and thus invalid), and the idolatrous wives
and children, sent out of the country.
v. 1 - there was very sore weeping - much sorrow
but some hope.
v. 2 - "yet now there is hope in Israel concerning
v. 6 - mourning and now fasting of the strictest
kind - without water or food - like that of
Moses on Mt. Sinai - Ex. 34:28
vs. 7-8 - "proclamation throughout Judah and
Jerusalem unto all" that a limit of three
days to do this was set - absentees were
threatened with heavy penalties of
excommunication and forfeiture of
The urgency - within "three days"
v. 9 - All the men of Judah and Benjamin
assembled - the assembly was accompanied
by a very heavy rain
"to increase the trespass of Israel" - to add to that
which was already too great - the sin had been public -
therefore now publicly "make confession" before God -
BE READY TO DO HIS PLEASURE AND NOT YOUR
(the role of pleasure in worldly society) - "lovers of
pleasure more that lovers of God" is one of the signs of
the end time - II Tim 3:4
v. 12 - Together they said - "as thou hast said, so we
This must start individually - not nationally - with
closet prayers, not Cabinet councils nor proclamations.
A national confession and national forsaking of sin -
the reward - NATIONAL JUDGMENTS AVERTED!
This applies not only to nations but to churches, families,
individuals - Where there is association with evil,
there must be like association in its repudiation!
"As thou hast said, so we must do" - first carried out
with very great zeal - then carried out with very
This was done in the face of very great difficulty -
the rain being maybe the least difficulty.
v. 13 - "we are many that have transgressed in
This hit men in a very tender place but there was
very little opposition - but in all true repentance there
Job 34:32 - "If I have done iniquity, I will do so no
Ps. 119:59-60 - "I made haste and delayed not, to
keep thy commandments"
v. 15 - my commentary says that the true meaning
is "Jonathan....and Jahaziah....were employed
about this matter....Meshullam and Shabbethai
the Levite helped them"
The opposition did not delay the action more than a
vs. 16-17 - No time was wasted in carrying this out -
three months time.
"made an end" - a full end of the matter.
Without partiality - Whoever offended whether priests,
vs. 20-22, Levites v. 23, singers v. 24 - or porters v. 24
or laymembers - to the end of v. 44 - however painful it
must be - there was but one measure for all - no
vs. 18-43 - the names of those who had married
Ezra punishes the wrong-doers by placing their
name on record that others may fear - (apparently no
privacy acts in those days) - first place in the catalogue
of offenders were the priests, their sin the greatest
since they were the special custodians of the Law.
Of the laymen, only ten of thirty-six families were
Three of the four priestly families were guilty,
even the near-kindred of the high priest!
Notwithstanding - we find reoccurrence in Neh. 13:23-29
Read Deut. 13:6-11 *******
It was much to have restored to them the
material house of God's presence - It was much
more to have such a reformed "spiritual house"
or congregation, rightly to use that material
house for God's glory.
In the end - Rev. 21:22-27