Ezra Sent to Teach the People
7 Now after this, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the chief priest—this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the LORD, the God of Israel, had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him.
And there went up also to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king, some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants. And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.
This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, a man learned in matters of the commandments of the LORD and his statutes for Israel: “Artaxerxes, king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven. Peace. And now I make a decree that anyone of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom, who freely offers to go to Jerusalem, may go with you. For you are sent by the king and his seven counselors to make inquiries about Judah and Jerusalem according to the Law of your God, which is in your hand, and also to carry the silver and gold that the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem, with all the silver and gold that you shall find in the whole province of Babylonia, and with the freewill offerings of the people and the priests, vowed willingly for the house of their God that is in Jerusalem. With this money, then, you shall with all diligence buy bulls, rams, and lambs, with their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and you shall offer them on the altar of the house of your God that is in Jerusalem. Whatever seems good to you and your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and gold, you may do, according to the will of your God. The vessels that have been given you for the service of the house of your God, you shall deliver before the God of Jerusalem. And whatever else is required for the house of your God, which it falls to you to provide, you may provide it out of the king’s treasury.
“And I, Artaxerxes the king, make a decree to all the treasurers in the province Beyond the River: Whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, requires of you, let it be done with all diligence, up to 100 talents of silver, 100 cors of wheat, 100 baths of wine, 100 baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much. Whatever is decreed by the God of heaven, let it be done in full for the house of the God of heaven, lest his wrath be against the realm of the king and his sons. We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on anyone of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God.
“And you, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that is in your hand, appoint magistrates and judges who may judge all the people in the province Beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God. And those who do not know them, you shall teach. Whoever will not obey the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be strictly executed on him, whether for death or for banishment or for confiscation of his goods or for imprisonment.”
Blessed be the LORD, the God of our fathers, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of the LORD that is in Jerusalem, and who extended to me his steadfast love before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty officers. I took courage, for the hand of the LORD my God was on me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.
Ezra 7 Commentary
by Hank Workman
There is a gap of 60 some years between chapter 6 and 7. It was during these 60 that the wonderful story of Esther took place during the reign of Xerxes. His son would follow in leadership, Artaxerxes and this is where the story recorded in Ezra picks back up.
Some 80 years prior the first exiles had returned to Jerusalem, Ezra himself made the journey and for the first time stepped foot back in his homeland. By this time, the Temple had been completed and had stood for 58 years. So with nearly 2000 men and families in tow Ezra would be a key figure in a major revival among the people.
Revival is something we often long for. There are smatterings of conversations here and there about such a need within churches, our nation and even the world. But what is key is found here in scripture of Ezra’s priorities.
“Ezra had devoted his life to studying the Law of the Lord, to practicing it, and to teaching all its laws and regulations to the people of Israel.”Ezra 7:10
Revival is not something we can expect another to lead. It begins with us. Ezra was an effective leader and man for this job because he was well versed in Scripture. But it wasn’t merely head knowledge of the Word – he practiced it. His example is astounding and as more of his story unfolds we will see just how effective he was.
The point is we may all long for revival to take place within our family or within the church or within a board we serve or yes even within our nation – but it begins with us. God’s hand was obviously on Ezra and he was blessed but why? The simple yet profound answer is he was devoted to the Word of God and then let the Word change him. God used this openness in a mighty way.
Long before Ezra’s mission ever became clear God was shaping him. He was dedicated to studying the Word of God. He fully obeyed it and applied it to his life. And just as important, he was committed to living it and teaching it to others.
We need to see revival. Are you a key player in this that could change the course of history? The future history of your children, your church and yes even your neighborhood are all at stake. May revival come and may it begin with each of us personally.
Awaken our spirit Lord to Your Spirit and revive us!
Ezra 7 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
There is an old tradition that claims that Ezra had the law memorized and only needed to call upon his mind to write or interpret it. The law was important for these people because there had now been about 1,000 years since they were first given the law from God. A lot had changed from then until now, but the law remained a priority for the people. Just think of how much our culture has changed from 1020 until 2020.
Although we can look at the favor that was granted to Ezra, and place a high value on the cooperation of Artaxerxes, the real leader here was God. We are reminded in this chapter that the hand of the Lord God was upon Ezra. We must be careful when interpreting the text and evaluating our own lives that we don’t place emphasis and credit on man. God granted Ezra favor in the sight of Artaxerxes and Ezra thanked him enthusiastically for that special blessing.
My favorite passage in this chapter is verse 10.
For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.Ezra 7:10 NASB
Ezra was a wise man. He had a heart and desire to study the Word of God. In fact, as I wrote earlier, he memorized it. You could say he meditated on it. From there, what does the text communicate about his process? He practiced it. He didn’t regurgitate it to others. He didn’t use it for power. He didn’t hold meetings and conference just to talk about it. He didn’t hypothesize what it would be like if we applied it.
He actually went out and DID it!
We have all heard the saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.” This was certainly not the case for Ezra. His heart posture was to know the Word and then practice the Word. Only after he had practiced it did he then teach it to the people of Israel. I really believe the ordering of the text is not a coincidence.
How many leaders today are desiring and living the Word before they are going out and teaching it to others? I’m not saying you must “master” the Word before you can teach it, because we all know that no one is perfect. But there is a lot of truth in seeking, doing, and then teaching. I think the most powerful truth is that the hand of the Lord was upon Ezra, and he glorified and sought after God with that favor.