1 Now these are the heads of their fathers, and this is the genealogy of those that went up with me from Babylon in the reign of Artaxerxes the king. 2 From 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 150 males were enrolled by genealogy. 4 Of the sons of Pahath-moab; Elihoenai, the son of Zerahiah, and with him 200 males. 5 Of the sons of Shechaniah: the son of Jahaziel, and with him 300 males. 6 Of the sons also of Adin; Ebed, the son of Jonathan, and with him 50 males. 7 And of the sons of Elam; Jeshaiah, the son of Athaliah, and with him 70 males. 8 And of the sons of Shephatiah; Zebadiah, the son of Michael, and with him 80 males. 9 Of the sons of Joab; Obadiah, the son of Jehiel, and with him 218 males. 10 And of the sons of Shelomith; the son of Josiphiah, and with him 160 males. 11 And of the sons of Bebai; Zechariah the son of Bebai, and with him 28 males. 12 And of the sons of Azgad; Johanan, the son of Hakkatan, and with him 110 males. 13 And of the last sons of Adonikam, whose names are these, Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah, and with them 60 males. 14 Of the sons also of Bigvai; Uthai, and Zabbud, and with them 70 males. 15 I gathered them together to the river that runs to Ahava; and we camped there three days in tents: and I observed the people, and the priests, and found no sons of Levi. 16 So I sent for Eliezer, for Ariel, for Shemaiah, for Elnathan, for Jarib, for Elnathan, for Nathan, for Zechariah, and for Meshullam, leaders; also for Joiarib, and for Elnathan, men of understanding. 17 And I sent them with commandment to Iddo the leader at the place Casiphia, and I told them what to say to Iddo, and to his brothers the Nethinims, at Casiphia, so they would bring us ministers for the house of our God.
- After seventy years of captivity in Babylon God enabled His people to go home to the promised land (536 BC).
- Ezra 8 records a second group who went with Ezra from the Babylon back to the Israel in 457 BC.
God’s good hand was on them
18 And by the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of understanding from the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel; and Sherebiah, with eighteen of his sons and his brothers; 19 And Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, and 20 of his brothers and their sons; 20 Also from the Nethinims, whom David and the princes had appointed for the service of the Levites, 220 Nethinims: all of them were called by name. 21 Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, to humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a right way for us, for our little ones, and for all our substance. 22 I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy along the way because we had spoken to the king saying, The hand of our God is on all those for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all those that forsake him.
- Their journey to Jerusalem would require that they travel across a desert full of bandits.
- God's hand is upon all for good that seek Him.
- His power and wrath are against all that forsake Him.
God answered them
23 So we fasted and sought our God for this: and he was entreated of us. 24 Then I separated twelve of the leaders of the priests, Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brothers with them, 25 And weighed to them the silver, and the gold, and the articles, the offering of the house of our God that the king, his counselors, his lords, and all Israel that were there had offered: 26 I weighed into their hand 24 tons of silver, and 7,500 pounds of silver utensils, and 7,500 pounds of gold; 27 Also twenty basins of gold, of a thousand drams of gold; and two vessels of fine copper, precious as gold. 28 And I said to them, You are holy to the LORD; the articles are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering to the LORD God of your fathers. 29 Watch and guard them until you weigh them before the leaders of the priests, the Levites, and heads of the fathers of Israel at Jerusalem in the chambers of the house of the LORD. 30 So the priests and the Levites took the weight of the silver, the gold, and the articles, to bring to Jerusalem to the house of our God.
- In chapter 7 the king commanded all the gold and silver that could be found in the province of Babylon be sent with Ezra as a gift to God.
- All of the gold and silver articles originally taken from the temple were also given them to take back to Jerusalem.
31 Then 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 ambushers along the way. 32 And we came to Jerusalem, and stayed there three days. 33 Now on the fourth day the silver, the gold, and the articles were 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; 34 by number and by weight of every one: and all the weight was written at that time. 35 Also the children of those that had been carried away that came out of the captivity, offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel, 12 bulls for all Israel, 96 rams, 77 lambs, 12 he goats for a sin offering: all this was a burnt offering to the LORD. 36 And they delivered the king’s commissions to the king’s lieutenants, and to the governors on this side the river: and they uplifted the people, and the house of God.
- In 538 BC the first Jews arrived at Jerusalem and began building.
- They were delayed for18 years by opposition from the enemy.
- They finished building the temple in 516 BC.
- Ezra returned to Babylon and brought more captives home in 458 BC.
- Nehemiah came to Jerusalem in 414 BC.
- Imagine having the Almighty God as your bodyguard!
- They delivered the kings commission.
- The King of Kings’ commission is the Word of God.
- Psalm 34:7 The angel of the LORD camps around them that fear him, and delivers them.
1 Now when these things were done, the princes came to me saying, The people of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to the abominations of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites 2 For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yes, the hand of the princes and rulers has been foremost in this trespass.
- God is holy and requires that His people be holy.
- The people of the lands worshipped idols.
- Idols lead people to eternal death.
- God sent His Son to die to give us His life.
- These two never mix.
- One is the truth and the other is evil.
- 2Corinthians 6:17 Therefore come out from among them, and be separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
- John 10:28 And I give to them eternal life; and they will never perish, neither will any man pluck them out of my hand.
3 When I heard this thing, I tore my clothes and my robe, and plucked off the hair of my head and my beard, and sat down astonished. 4 Then every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel assembled to me, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonished until the evening sacrifice.
- Psalm 33:6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. 9 he spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.
- Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
5 And at the evening sacrifice I rose up from my heaviness; and having torn my clothing and my robe, I fell on my knees, and spread out my hands to the LORD my God. 6 And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to you, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up to the heavens. 7 Since the days of our fathers we have been in a great trespass to this day; and for our iniquities, we, our kings, and our priests have been delivered to the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a plunder, and to confusion of face, as it is this day. 8 And now, for a moment, grace has been showed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a stake in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.
- Leviticus 26, 27 lists all the blessings that God wanted to shower on them for obedience and warned specifically of judgments for disobedience.
- They, like us, choose their future by their daily decisions.
- It is not fate or the stars or luck or any other thing.
- It falls directly on the choices of each person before their Maker.
God did not forsake them in their bondage but extended mercy
9 For we were bondmen; yet our God has not forsaken us in our bondage, but has extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, to repair its desolations, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem. 10 And now, O our God, what can we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments, 11 that you have commanded by your servants the prophets saying, The land, to which you go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to the other/from mouth to mouth with their uncleanness. 12 Now therefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters to your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth forever: that you may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.
- He gave them a wall of protection.
- Obedience to God makes strong and blessed.
- Zechariah 2:5 For I, says the LORD, will be to her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.
He has not given us as our sins deserve
13 And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that You our God have punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and have given us such deliverance as this; 14 Should we again break your commandments, and join in marriage with the people of these abominations? Would you not be angry with us until you had consumed us, so that there would be no remnant or escaping? 15 O LORD God of Israel, you are righteous: for we still remain escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before you in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before you because of this.
- Righteous means ‘to be right.’ God is right.
- Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
1 Now when Ezra had prayed, and when he had confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, a very great congregation of men, women, and children assembled to him out of Israel: for the people wept with a great weeping.
- In chapter 9, Ezra had been told about the Jews intermarriage with foreign women who would turn them away from the One true god to false gods and eternal death (Deuteronomy 7:2-4).
- Psalm 96:5 all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
2 And Shechaniah, the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said to Ezra, We have trespassed against our God, and have taken foreign wives of the people of the land: but there is till hope in Israel concerning this thing. 3 Let us make a covenant with our God to divorce all the wives, and those born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law.
- God allows us to correct our mistakes.
- Do not forget that these people being put away could still follow the true God and be saved.
- God is not being unkind. He is bringing all to the place for which we were designed.
- Psalm 16:1 In Your presence is fullness of joy and at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
- Rahab the harlot of Joshua’s day is an example of this. She believed, and her house and they ‘remain in Israel unto this day.”
4 Get up! For this matter is your responsibility: we also will be with you: be of good courage, and do it. 5 Then Ezra got up, and made the chief priests, the Levites, and all Israel swear that they would do according to this word. So they swore. 6 Then Ezra got up from before the house of God and went into the chamber of Johanan, the son of Eliashib: when he came there, he ate no food and drank no water because he mourned for the transgression of those that had been carried away. 7 And they made proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the children of the captivity, to gather themselves together to Jerusalem; 8 And that whoever would not come within three days, according to the counsel of the princes and the elders, all his substance would be forfeited/devoted, and he would be separated from the congregation of those that had been carried away.
- God had given them a great deliverance by returning them to their homeland from Babylonian and Assyrian captivity.
- When they got back home they transgressed greatly by intermarrying with idolatrous nations around them.
- We are to be a light to the world not become like them.
9 Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together to Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month; and all the people sat in the street of the house of God, trembling because of this matter, and for the great rain. 10 And Ezra the priest stood up, and said to them, You have transgressed, and have taken foreign wives, to increase the trespass of Israel.
God faithfully forgives confessed sin
11 Now therefore make confession to the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the foreign wives. 12 Then all of the congregation answered and said with a loud voice, As you have said, that we must do. 13 But the people are many, and it is a time of much rain; we are not able to stand outside, neither is this a work of one day or two: for we are many that have transgressed in this thing.
1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Correcting errors turns away God’s wrath
14 Let now our rulers of all the congregation stand, and let all them that have taken foreign wives in our cities come at appointed times, and with them the elders of every city, and its judges, until the fierce wrath of our God for this matter is turned from us. 15 Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahaziah the son of Tikvah were appointed to oversee this matter: Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite helped them. 16 So the children of the captivity did this. Ezra the priest, with certain chief of the fathers, by the house of their fathers, and all of those by their names, were separated, and sat down in the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter. 17 And they made an end with all the men that had taken foreign wives by the first day of the first month.
- It took three months to finish undoing the transgression of the people that had married foreign wives.
18 And among the sons of the priests there were found that had taken foreign wives: namely, of the sons of Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, and his brothers; Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah. 19 They pledged to divorce their wives; and being guilty, they offered a ram of the flock for their trespass.
- Each sacrifice was a picture of Christ’s death to take away our sin.
- John 1:29 Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.
- Leviticus 4:31 and the priest will make an atonement for him, and it will be forgiven…
- 2Chronicles 30:9 …for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if you return unto him.
20 And from the sons of Immer: Hanani, and Zebadiah. 21 from the sons of Harim: Maaseiah, Elijah, Shemaiah, Jehiel, and Uzziah. 22 From the sons of Pashur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethaneel, Jozabad, and Elasah. 23 Also of the Levites: Jozabad, Shimei, Kelaiah, (also called Kelita,) Pethahiah, Judah, and Eliezer. 24 Of the singers also: Eliashib; and of the doorkeepers: Shallum, Telem, and Uri. 25 Moreover of Israel: of the sons of Parosh; Ramiah, Jeziah, Malchiah, Miamin, Eleazar, Malchijah, and Benaiah. 26 And of the sons of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth, and Eliah. 27 From the sons of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah, Jeremoth, Zabad, and Aziza. 28 Of the sons also of Bebai: Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, and Athlai. 29 From the sons of Bani: Meshullam, Malluch, Adaiah, Jashub, Sheal, and Ramoth. 30 From the sons of Pahath-moab: Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezaleel, Binnui, and Manasseh. 31 And of the sons of Harim: Eliezer, Ishijah, Malchiah, Shemaiah, Shimeon, 32 Benjamin, Malluch, and Shemariah. 33 Of the sons of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattathah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, and Shimei. 34 Of the sons of Bani: Maadai, Amram, Uel, 35 Benaiah, Bedeiah, Chelluh, 36 Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37 Mattaniah, Mattenai, Jaasau, 38 Bani, Binnui, Shimei, 39 Shelemiah, Nathan, Adaiah, 40 Machnadebai, Shashai, Sharai, 41 Azareel, Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42 Shallum, Amariah, and Joseph. 43 Of the sons of Nebo: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jadau, Joel, and Benaiah. 44 All these had taken foreign wives: and some of them had wives by whom they had children.
- If this seems harsh remember that idolatry leads to eternal death.
- This nation was to lead the peoples of the world to eternal life.
- How could they do that if they were worshipping idols?
SUMMARY: Ezra 8-10
- The LORD's good hand was upon them
- His hand is upon them for good who seek Him
- His wrath is against those that do evil
- He answers prayers for help and protection
- He did not forsake them in their bondage but extended mercy
- He has not given us as our sins deserve
- He faithfully forgives confessed sin because of Jesus
- Correcting errors turns away His wrath