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.

Proverbs 30-31

Proverbs 30.  Wow, I found it difficult.  Of course, my pen underlined:

“Every word of God is flawless;
    he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
    or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.

But the rest was a difficult read.  This message from God tore apart man’s folly, greediness, and arrogance.

Proverbs 31.  Clearly, I could cut and paste practically the entire Proverb.  So many thoughts.  Is this how much God thinks of women?  Is this a Word for me to sharpen skill, duties, life as a woman?  Should I read this every day to get myself on track?

Short today on purpose.  Reread Proverbs 31 and see what God is saying to you.

Proverbs 27-29

I was reading these and glazing over with a lack of understanding.  I actually flipped over to The Message and then researched the ones that still confused me.  Here is the read in the Message.

This one cracked me up!  I am a morning person…

14 If you wake your friend in the early morning
    by shouting “Rise and shine!”
It will sound to him
    more like a curse than a blessing.

BTW,  my husband wrote verse 15 and 16 in your Bible!

BUT I want you to stop and just marinate in a familiar verse:

As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another.

This is the Proverb I use the most.  I don’t have many friends,  but the few that I do I chose wisely.  This verse is not about having someone in my life that makes me a better Christian, it is about both of us becoming better Christians because of each other.  I have a really close friend, and when I need sharpening she is the iron I go to.  She will not tell me what I want to hear, she will tell me what I need to hear.

Proverbs 28 and 29: Anyone care to share any thoughts?


Proverbs 25-26

Chapters 25—26 contain proverbs that are mainly comparisons. The keywords in these chapters are “like … so.”  A group of scholars who served during King Hezekiah’s reign (715-686 B.C.) added to the collection of Solomon’s Proverbs. These men lived about 250 years after Solomon.

Proverbs 25- The beginning of the Proverbs relates to those in a higher position.  Maybe you can think of this at your job, with the government, in church, etc.    I like to think we all are a leader position in something.   God will search our hearts and our motives.  The one verse that really stuck out to me is:

Remove the dross from the silver,
and a silversmith can produce a vessel;

When silver is refined, it is put to extreme heat.  The dross is the “scum” or the waste that floats to the top that gets discarded.


It is in the fire that God not only separates people, but it also refines us on the inside.  Stop for a minute and think about the seasons in your life that you have come out of a situation closer to God.  I am guessing it was a time when you were struggling and needed him.    After he removed the dross what was left: A vessel for Him to fill!  Something He can USE!

Wallace Sterling Silver Water Pitcher

Click here if you want to see 100 scriptures related to the refiners’ fire. 

These proverbs talk about avoiding self-promotion, public disgrace (and I know you think this does not apply to you…our minds go to Politicians) but your social media presence…Does it Glorify God?  Does it throw stones or stir up controversy?  I still love the WWJD.  If Jesus had a Facebook would He post that?  Man, I have read some of the stuff I have posted in “emotion” and thought “What was I thinking, they will never reach out to me if I hosted a Bible Study now!”

I know this post is super late but I want to talk about this one.  It is VERY easy to read a Scripture OUT OF CONTEXT!  I just did it!!!  Here it is:

21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
    if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
    and the Lord will reward you.

I read this as “kill them with kindness…don’t worry, God will handle the punishment or consequence”.  So this bothered me.  Do you want to know what this means!!!  In ancient times, when someone’s fire would go out, a neighbor who had a good fire would give him some hot coals out of love to help him get his fire going.  They would carry the coals in a bucket on their head.  I am sure this was uncomfortable (being loved by an enemy is uncomfortable) BUT what is the end result??  You helped them get their fire back!!

So like the Proverb from Will Smith, the Prince of Bel Air” “are you stoking their fire, or pissing on it” (sorry, but true).  I have to get back to the Bible BUT when I was seeking Christianity…I had one neighbor giving me hot coals and another neighbor putting it out by beating me up with scripture.  Let’s be careful.

Proverbs 26: Mercy!  So much.  These are “deep” and I really want some of them to resinate so I pulled some of them in a “lighter version” to give us something to think about:

Don’t respond to the stupidity of a fool;
you’ll only look foolish yourself.

Putting a fool in a place of honor
is like setting a mud brick on a marble column.

15 A shiftless sluggard puts his fork in the pie,
    but is too lazy to lift it to his mouth.

17 You grab a mad dog by the ears
    when you butt into a quarrel that’s none of your business.

20 When you run out of wood, the fire goes out;
    when the gossip ends, the quarrel dies down.

22 Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy;
    do you want junk like that in your belly?

Clearly, I can post them all!!

Click here to read this chapter in the Message.  Post one in comments that poked you in the rib!!

Proverbs 22-24

So here we are… the third section of Proverbs!  Today just might be your favorite all-time read so far this year!

The value of wisdom 1:1—9:18
The examples of wisdom 10:1—22:16
The application of wisdom 22:17—24:34

NOW the rubber meets the road!  Do you apply it??  How do you apply it??

The first 16 “maxims” (do I sound smart using “scholarly words??”) Ha! Anyway, verses 1-16 are great!  I only got tripped up on a few…and I don’t plan on being in a public square with a lion anyway 😜

Verse 17-major shift- The Thirty sayings of the Wise.  This section can be subdivided into 4 sections:

  1. introduction (22:17–23:11)
  2. teaching children to obey (23:12–24:2)
  3. adversity (24:3–12)
  4. evildoers (24:13–22).

This portion of Proverbs is similar in form and content to the “Instruction of Amenemope”, and that has led some to assume a connection between the two. In 1888 a British archaeologist purchased an Egyptian papyrus for the British Museum. It wasn’t translated until after World War II.

The Instruction of Amenemope is a list of thirty wise sayings for his son,  teaching him how to live to receive blessings from the Egyptian god of justice and truth.    The papyrus in the British Museum is twelve feet long, ten inches high, and broken into twenty-seven pages.

AMENEMOPE | My Blog, Observations and Truths

If you compared Solomon’s Proverbs to Amenmope’s, both sets of proverbs contain 30 sayings each, both use the “my son” terminology and both follow the same structural design. However, a difference between these two collections is significant. The writers of the biblical proverbs said their purpose was: (22:19)

So that your trust may be in the Lord,
    I teach you today, even you.

However, Amenemope did not express hope in a personal God. So obviously we find a huge debate over which one was written first.  Did Solomon use Amenemope’s as a blueprint or vice versa? There are three possible explanations of the parallels between Proverbs and the Instruction of Amenemope:

1. Solomon discovered the Instruction of Amenemope and used it as a blueprint.
2. The dating of the artifacts is wrong, and the Egyptian text was copied from Solomon’s original.
3. Both texts were written independently, and the parallels are either the result of common source material or the fact that similar purpose and form (wisdom literature was quite popular in the ancient world) naturally leads to similar subject matter.

So why did I tell you all that?  Because there is a world out there that would love to devalue the Bible in a debate.  Prove its lack of authenticity.  Like when the movie Noah came out (Russell Crowe), and the story was clearly different.  You know why I loved that….because people actually opened their Bibles and READ IT to find the differences.  ANYTHING that sends believers and non-believers to the direct Word of God I am all for!

But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this, I rejoice.” Philippians 1:18

I was sad to leave 1 Kings and switch to Proverbs….now I am sad to leave Proverbs to go back to 1 Kings!  Back to History tomorrow!

Proverbs 19-21

So let’s mix it up a little. These are hard!  If you are like me, you come to some Proverbs and you read it, have no idea really what it is saying, so you go to the next one.  Now this will be hard for some of us, BUT if God wants us to soak up all of His teachings, we will humble ourselves and submit to this:

When you come to a Proverb that does not resonate or you just need clarification you are going to put it in the comments.  It will give us something to research…

Since I KNOW it is hard to do this, I will start….

I didn’t get past the first 3..

A person’s own folly leads to their ruin,
    yet their heart rages against the Lord.

After research: Instead of repenting of the sins that led to ruin, he/she is so convinced that his way of life is right that he is angry against the LORD, holding him accountable for his “ruin”. 

These are hard!  Ready…your turn.  I am just sitting here (there are so many I struggled with I am just researching them).

Proverbs 19:16 ♥•.¸¸.•♥ God's word is a protection for us. Our ...


Proverbs 13-15

Each one gets better and better today!

We are going to do the same thing as yesterday.  Pick a Proverb that spoke to you.   I love hearing when someone picked one I never would have even noticed,  as much as I love when someone chooses the same one I circled in my Bible.  BUT I want to start with one that is quoted often in misuse: 13:24

Whoever spares the rod hates their children,
but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

We tend to say Then spare the rod, and spoil the child.”  We think we are quoting the Bible…and we are not!  We are quoting a Poem by Samuel Butler:  “Hudibras” from 1664.

I have heard many people use this in a debate as whether or not we should spank a child. This scripture has been used as a “one size fits all” approach to raising children. As parents disciplining their children they are guiding them in the way they should go. To put it simply, it is to instill in our children right from wrong.

How are the Shepherd's Rod and Staff Different? » Reasons for Hope ...

In the time the scripture was written, and even still today, shepherds used tools to guide their sheep. They use a staff, a crook, and a rod. The crook is the curved stick you see most often in pictures with shepherds.

  • When sheep fall into a pit or lose sight of their flock, they look down. The curved end of the crook is used to pull the sheep’s head back up and guide it in the way it should go.
  • The rod is used to guide sheep who wandered off from the flock.  It can also be used defensively to keep the sheep safe from predators.

So read it again and think about your own children:

Whoever spares the rod hates their children,
but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

I circled many and noticed some patterns of “groupings”-like heart, wealth, laziness…etc. were bunched in themes.  So many good ones today!  I will read it again and see which one is the one God highlighted for me.

Proverbs 10-12

As we begin we will see that a proverb is written in a short concise statement called a “maxim” that has a proven truth to it, a general rule, or a principle.

From chapters 10-22 we will read 375 maxims.  A short list compared to the 3,000 Solomon actually wrote according to 1 Kings 4:32.(Chapter 22-32 are sayings from the wise)

Most of the proverbs in this section are one verse long and contain two lines each. The second line contrasts, compares ,or completes the idea expressed in the first line. Sometimes the second line contrasts the first, and other times it merely just explains it.  I was studying with my daughter and her boyfriend and I explained it as a “Wisdom bumper sticker”.

So if you choose, I would LOVE for you to pick ONE from each chapter (3 total) that spoke to you in some way, and comment on them.  IF one confused you-ask.  Someone will research it for us.

It just hit my brain that IF we don’t reconnect next year, one thing that you could commit to is either:

  • One Proverb a day (for 31 days)


  • 1 Maxim a day for 375 days.


Proverbs 7-9

Today is the last day of the introduction.  God dedicated 9 chapters to explaining and describing Wisdom.  What it (she) is, how to obtain it, the benefits of wisdom as well as the warnings of not seeking wisdom.  After today’s read the ball is in your court.  These last 3 chapters are intense.  There are 2 women- one leads you down a well-lit straight path that leads to an abundant life.  The other leads you down a crooked path in the dark.  

In chapter 7 Solomon‘s words describe the other woman as crafty, defiant, and with persuasive words.  The world today could not have been portrayed more perfectly than Chapter 7. The chapter is concluded with a “Listen to me”.  I know when I say that at to kids, all eyes better be facing me!

Now then, my sons, listen to me;
    pay attention to what I say.
 Do not let your heart turn to her ways
    or stray into her paths.
Many are the victims she has brought down;
    her slain are a mighty throng.
 Her house is a highway to the grave,
    leading down to the chambers of death.

After reading that,  I was saddened as I was reminded of Matthew 7:

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Chapter 8 answers the question “Does God WANT you to have Wisdom”- YES.  Verse one says:

Does not wisdom call out?
    Does not understanding raise her voice?
2 At the highest point along the way,
    where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
beside the gate leading into the city,
    at the entrance, she cries aloud:
“To you, O people, I call out;
    I raise my voice to all mankind.
You who are simple, gain prudence;
    you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.[c]
Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
    I open my lips to speak what is right.

Wisdom is not a whisper!  She is right here calling out from the Bible.  You have been reading for 157 days (some crammed together as make-up days).  Let me ask you WHAT ELSE HAVE YOU DONE IN YOUR LIFE FOR 157 Days??  If you worked out for 157 you would be stronger.  If you dieted for 157 days there would be a change.  If you cleaned your house for 157 it would look different.  So, I ask you…has 157 days in the Word made a difference in you!!  I am going to answer for you: YES because you wouldn’t have still been reading. 

Chapter 8 Verse 17:

I love those who love me,
    and those who seek me find me.
18 With me are riches and honor,
    enduring wealth and prosperity.
19 My fruit is better than fine gold;
    what I yield surpasses choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
    along the paths of justice,
21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me
    and making their treasuries full.

Finally chapter 9:  A reminder that Wisdom is calling out, but the woman of folly is loud and undisciplined.   As we start tomorrow reading the actual proverbs, take a deep breath and remember that these are to be applied, not just read.  They will be loud (but the other woman telling you not to apply them will be loud too.  YOU CHOOSE.  Dark/Light  Straight/Narrow.

How do we start: By being in AWE of GOD! Chapter 9:10:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
For through wisdom your days will be many,
    and years will be added to your life.

Proverbs Overview for tomorrow

New Book tomorrow!!! EASY SPOT TO JUMP IN!

I feel like we are in hyper-speed compared to the days of Leviticus!


  • Psalms were about our relationship with God.
  • Proverbs is about our relationship with people.

  • Psalms were about our private life.
  • Proverbs is about our public life.

Months ago I said there were 5 Poetic or Wisdom books- I scratched off the ones we have read already

  1. Job
  2. Psalms
  3. Proverbs
  4. Ecclesiastes
  5. Song of Songs

We know that Solomon wrote over 3000 proverbs.   A proverb is like a “short saying based on a long experience”.  They are designed for teaching purposes.  The Hebrew word for Wisdom is Chokhmah-meaning “to be skilled at”.  The deal is we can all sit here and absorb all 66 books of the Bible, but putting it into application brings Wisdom.

The word WISE or WISDOM is used in Proverbs 125 times!!  Not just applying any wisdom…applying God’s wisdom

The Proverbs can be split into 3 “P”s.

  • Principles:1-9 the word “my son” is used 10 times so we can conclude this is written for the “young” to learn
  • Proverbs: 10-24 righteous verse wicked
  • Precepts:25-29 completed works possibly from other writers
  • (I don’t have them in a category) but then we have Proverbs 30-31 written by Agur and King Lemuel.

The Proverbs will talk about: scoffers (I know a few),  friends, fools, wise men, righteousness, fear of God, knowledge, morality, chastity, diligence, self-control, trust in God, proper use of money, consideration to the poor, control of the tongue (I can skip that one, I am good 😂), kindness towards enemies, choice of relationships, raising children, honesty, laziness, justice, common sense…and others. (Need advice from God on ANY of those?)

This Book is NOT to be read.  This book is to be APPLIED.   There are 31 Proverbs; I read somewhere that one should be read each day for a month

So for about a week, you will read THREE chapters a day.  Easy to remember.

Jun 3: Prov 1-3
Jun 4: Prov 4-6
Jun 5: Prov 7-9
Jun 6: Prov 10-12
Jun 7: Prov 13-15
Jun 8: Prov 16-18
Jun 9: Prov 19-21
Jun 10: Prov 22-24

and then we will hop back into Kings for a bit:

Jun 11: 1King 5-6; 2Chron 2-3
Jun 12: 1King 7; 2Chron 4
Jun 13: 1King 8; 2Chron 5