Ezra 7

1 Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, 2 the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, 3 the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, 4 the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, 5 the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest; 6 this Ezra went up from Babylon. He was a skilled scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD, the God of Israel, had given; and the king granted him all his request, according to the LORD his God’s hand on him. 7 Some of the children of Israel, including some of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the porters, and the temple servants went up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king. 8 He came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. 9 For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylon; and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God on him. 10 For Ezra had set his heart to seek the LORD’s law, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel. 11 Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, even the scribe of the words of the LORD’s commandments, and of his statutes to Israel: 12 Artaxerxes, king of kings, To Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the perfect God of heaven. Now 13 I make a decree, that all those of the people of Israel, and their priests and the Levites, in my realm, who intend of their own free will to go to Jerusalem, go with you. 14 Because you are sent by the king and his seven counselors, to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of your God which is in your hand, 15 and to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem, 16 and all the silver and gold that you will find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem; 17 therefore you shall with all diligence buy with this money bulls, rams, lambs, with their meal offerings and their drink offerings, and shall offer them on the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem. 18 Whatever seems good to you and to your brothers to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, do that according to the will of your God. 19 The vessels that are given to you for the service of the house of your God, deliver before the God of Jerusalem. 20 Whatever more will be needed for the house of your God, which you may have occasion to give, give it out of the king’s treasure house. 21 I, even I Artaxerxes the king, make a decree to all the treasurers who are beyond the River, that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, requires of you, it shall be done with all diligence, 22 up to one hundred talents of silver, and to one hundred cors of wheat, and to one hundred baths of wine, and to one hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much. 23 Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be done exactly for the house of the God of heaven; for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons? 24 Also we inform you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll, on any of the priests, Levites, singers, porters, temple servants, or laborers of this house of God. 25 You, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God that is in your hand, appoint magistrates and judges, who may judge all the people who are beyond the River, who all know the laws of your God; and teach him who doesn’t know them. 26 Whoever will not do the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgement be executed on him with all diligence, whether it is to death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment. 27 Blessed be the LORD, the God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the LORD’s house which is in Jerusalem; 28 and has extended loving kindness to me before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty princes. I was strengthened according to the LORD my God’s hand on me, and I gathered together chief men out of Israel to go up with me.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–10

Ezra went from Babylon to Jerusalem, for the good of his country. The king was kind to him; he granted all his requests, whatever Ezra desired to enable him to serve his country. When he went, many went with him; he obtained favour from his king, by the Divine favour. Every creature is that to us, which God makes it to be. We must see the hand of God in the events that befal us, and acknowledge him with thankfulness.

Verses 11–26

The liberality of heathen kings to support the worship of God, reproached the conduct of many kings of Judah, and will rise up in judgment against the covetousness of wealthy professed Christians, who will not promote the cause of God. But the weapons of Christian ministers are not carnal. Faithful preaching, holy lives, fervent prayers, and patient suffering when called to it, are the means to bring men into obedience to Christ.

Verses 27–28

Two things Ezra blessed God for: 1. For his commission. If any good appear in our hearts, or in the hearts of others, we must own that God put it there, and bless him; it is he that worketh in us, both to will and to do that which is good. 2. For his encouragement: God has extended mercy to me. Ezra was a man of courage, yet he ascribed this not to his own heart, but to God’s hand. If God give us his hand, we are bold and cheerful; if he withdraw it, we are weak as water. Whatever we are enabled to do for God and those around us, God must have all the glory.

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