Ezra 7-10

Pop back over to Ezra.

We travel back to Jerusalem to the rebuilding of the temple.  Guess how long that gap was between chapters 6 and 7?  60 Years!   It has been 80 years since the first captives were set free.

It opens with a genealogy of Ezra.  It is very important that we know Ezra is from the line of Aaron.  He is a scribe FROM the High priesthood family.  Ezra received a letter to carry with them on their trip kind of like a “passport” in case they ran into trouble.  The letter had 5 points:

  1. authorized them to go and appoint magistrates and judges
  2. provide funds to purchase sacrifices and temple vessells
  3. requires the Trans-Euphrates to give them supplies
  4. prohibited charging them taxes
  5. authorized Ezra to teach the

In chapter 8 we read the journey.  The trip was about 900 miles and they were carrying 65 tons of gold and silver that were given to them by Atexerses (Xerxes’ son).  This was a dangerous trip and Ezra led them through it in fasting and prayer for protection.

Chapter 9 we run into an old problem.  The very issue that caused stress when entering the promised land.  Marrying outside their faith!  Ezra prays for the nation: he begins with his own confession and humbles himself.  Then he changes to “we” and “our” (NOT look what they have done!)

The chapter ends with national repentance and all eyes and hearts are on the Lord!


Sep 26: Neh 1-5
Sep 27: Neh 6-7
Sep 28: Neh 8-10
Sep 29: Neh 11-13; Ps 126
Sep 30: Malachi

Ezra 4-6 and Psalm 137

Chapter 4-

As they were building the Temple the “enemy people” that were currently living there said, “We will help”.  They were liars.  They knew that the Jewish nation would become powerful again so they wanted to keep their thumb on them.  Verse 6 -12 is a “recap of the complete history of the rebuilding of the Temple. Here is a list of the Persian kings through Biblical history:

Nehemiah: The Governor - William Struse

Take a look at the letter that was written to Artaxerxes in verse 12.  Basically, the letter said:  “If these people build their temple, they will rebel, they will stop paying taxes, and they will rebel against the king and overtake him”.  So Artaxerxes researched their history of rebellions against kings in the past and said “You’re right!”

24 Thus the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

For years all construction stopped!

Chapter 5- There is a gap here in time.  What does God do in this gap?  He sends a Word to them.  He sends Haggai and Zechariah to encourage them.

Another letter is written when they began rebuilding,  this time to Darius.  The letter simply states:

  • We asked the Jewish people WHO gave you permission to build this Temple??
  • They said- King Cyrus, the king that conquered Babylon… did!
  • AND he gave us our Temple belongings back
  • AND he gave us money to do this!

(so can we get back to work now because even Haggai and Zechariah are helping us with this construction!)

Chapter 6: Darius researches the claims.  He found a scroll in the Province of Media from Cyrus: Here is a scroll of you would like to read it for yourself 😉

Cyrus Cylinder loaned to Iran | Ferrell's Travel Blog

Darius writes back- #TrueStory!!

  • Let them rebuild the Temple…
  • oh, and wait for this..the cost will be paid for by the royal treasure!
  • AND the governor, Tatternai…stay away from the project
  • Oh and Tatternai..when I said “royal treasure” I meant from your city funds…so give them a blank check!
  • Last, “I dare anyone to interfere!  I dare you”

Verse 12- I Darius have decreed it. Let it be carried out with diligence.

If you have already read,  go back and soak up the beauty of verses 13-22.

18 And they installed the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their groups for the service of God at Jerusalem, according to what is written in the Book of Moses.

I can’t help but to think back to where they started, how far they moved from the Lord, but the Lord NEVER gave up and always promised a restoration.  So undeserved!   And here we are, all for the purpose of bringing the Messiah to the whole world.

The Passover

19 On the fourteenth day of the first month, the exiles celebrated the Passover. 20 The priests and Levites had purified themselves and were all ceremonially clean. The Levites slaughtered the Passover lamb for all the exiles, for their relatives the priests and for themselves. 21 So the Israelites who had returned from the exile ate it, together with all who had separated themselves from the unclean practices of their Gentile neighbors in order to seek the Lord, the God of Israel. 22 For seven days they celebrated with joy the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because the Lord had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.

Psalm 137- So let me ask you…if you read this Psalm years ago, would it have been as clear as it now that you have read the Captivity?  I will say the ending is rough!  Ouch.

Psalm 137

By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
    when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars
    we hung our harps,
for there our captors asked us for songs,
    our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
    they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How can we sing the songs of the Lord
    while in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
    may my right hand forget its skill.
May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
    if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
    my highest joy.

Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did
    on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,
    “tear it down to its foundations!”
Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
    happy is the one who repays you
    according to what you have done to us.
Happy is the one who seizes your infants
    and dashes them against the rocks.

This is an imprecatory Psalm:“to invoke evil upon or curse” one’s enemies.

The psalmist recalls both the disgraces of the Edomites (who looted Jerusalem) and the Babylonians who destroyed their capital city.

Ezra 1-3

First, let’s go back to Isaiah 44 and 45– The Prophecy of Cyrus:

who says of Jerusalem, ‘It shall be inhabited,’
    of the towns of Judah, ‘They shall be rebuilt,’
    and of their ruins, ‘I will restore them,’
27 who says to the watery deep, ‘Be dry,
    and I will dry up your streams,’
28 who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd
    and will accomplish all that I please;
he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,”
    and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.”’

“This is what the Lord says to his anointed,
    to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of
to subdue nations before him
    and to strip kings of their armor,

Chapter 1:

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:

In bullet form:

  • The captives may go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple
  • the people are to provide them with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem
  • articles belonging to the temple of the Lord (even the ones they partied with) were returned

This was the inventory:

gold dishes 30
silver dishes 1,000
silver pans 29
10 gold bowls 30
matching silver bowls 410
other articles 1,000

11 In all, there were 5,400 articles of gold and of silver. Sheshbazzar brought all these along with the exiles when they came up from Babylon to Jerusalem.

Chapter 2

Yes,  of course, I skimmed😝 but stop at verse 59 for a second.

59 The following came up from the towns of Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Kerub, Addon and Immer, but they could not show that their families were descended from Israel:

70 years of captivity some people are going to lose their papers:  So what do they do?  There wasn’t an “Ancestry.com” to go to.  Remember this book is written by Ezra, he writes everything from the Priestly perspective.

62 These searched for their family records, but they could not find them and so were excluded from the priesthood as unclean. 63 The governor ordered them not to eat any of the most sacred food until there was a priest ministering with the Urim and Thummim.

I know that rings a bell!  2 stones were used to “cast lots”….in my weird brain it was like a “Magic 8 Ball” that God controlled and it was right every time.

PPT - THE PRIESTLY GARMENTS OF GRACE PowerPoint Presentation, free download - ID:2272191

They went back to Jerusalem and settled the land:

70 The priests, the Levites, the musicians, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants settled in their own towns, along with some of the other people, and the rest of the Israelites settled in their towns.

Keep in mind that only about 50,000 people returned.  Not many!  They had established a new life and made new homes.  The area around the Mediterranean Sea was beginning to thrive and many many people went to Alexandria in Egypt where life was good.  Look at the surrounding areas that were growing economically and culturally.  Would you have uprooted your family to return to a ruined town or would you rather drink wine in one of these cities?


Put this in your other pocket, because this will completely make sense when we get to the New Testament and Paul needs to go on trips to bring sermons to the Jewish people.

Chapter 3: When you read chapter 3 you will notice a few things

  • They built the altar first-YES!! to worship the Lord!
  • They feared the people that were currently living there.  Well, think about it-they went back to a land that others had inhabited…Even though it was their land they were kind of coming in like the British did to the Native Indians in America.
  • Then in accordance with what is written, they celebrated the Festival of Tabernacles with the required number of burnt offerings prescribed for each day.
    • Since the Exodus with Moses they were to commemorate what is called the Festival of Booths or Tabernacle to remember when they exited Egypt.  How fitting since we called this the 2nd Exodus.
  • The ending is bittersweet: many cried with joy as the new Temple was being built, but some elders remembered the day when Solomon’s Temple was at this very place and cried when they saw what it looked like now.


Ezra Overview

Ezra - Complete Bible Book Chapters and Summary - New International Version

If you have a Bible near you, look at where Ezra is placed in the Bible.  It is with the Chronicles. Well, it is there because it is with the History books.  Also,  because Ezra was the writer of the Chronicles and Nehemiah.  I point this out because if anyone ever says “I tried reading the Bible, it was confusing”,  suggest to them a chronological schedule.  Going from Chronicles to Ezra would confuse anyone!

Ezra and Nehemiah were one book in the Hebrew Bible.  They give an account for one of the most important events in history…the return from exile (captivity).  An important chapter to reread would be Jeremiah 29 (my favorite!)

This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.  I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

We all read Exodus, this is the second Exodus.  Time to exit Babylon instead of Egypt.   Ezra was a priest, the great-grandson of the priest who found the lost scrolls in the deserted temple that brought them to King Josiah that began a revival (Jeremiah’s dad)!  He is a scribe (a historian), and learned under Baruch (Jeremiah’s scribe)  


01 January 4, 2015, EZRA, God Commands Obedience

However, most of the events recorded took place in 537-516 B.C. (chapters 1—6) and 458 B.C. (chapters 7—10) Between these two separate series of events the Book of Ezra records nothing. The events in the Book of Esther transpired during those years (in 482-473 B.C.). The books of Ezra and then Nehemiah record the last events, chronologically, in the Old Testament.

PPT - EZRA PowerPoint Presentation, free download - ID:162965