Ezra 8

1 Now these are the heads of their fathers’ households, and this is the genealogy of those who went up with me from Babylon, in the reign of Artaxerxes the king: 2 Of the sons of Phinehas, Gershom. Of the sons of Ithamar, Daniel. Of the sons of David, Hattush. 3 Of the sons of Shecaniah, of the sons of Parosh, Zechariah; and with him were listed by genealogy of the males one hundred and fifty. 4 Of the sons of Pahathmoab, Eliehoenai the son of Zerahiah; and with him two hundred males. 5 Of the sons of Shecaniah, the son of Jahaziel; and with him three hundred males. 6 Of the sons of Adin, Ebed the son of Jonathan; and with him fifty males. 7 Of the sons of Elam, Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah; and with him seventy males. 8 Of the sons of Shephatiah, Zebadiah the son of Michael; and with him eighty males. 9 Of the sons of Joab, Obadiah the son of Jehiel; and with him two hundred and eighteen males. 10 Of the sons of Shelomith, the son of Josiphiah; and with him one hundred and sixty males. 11 Of the sons of Bebai, Zechariah the son of Bebai; and with him twenty-eight males. 12 Of the sons of Azgad, Johanan the son of Hakkatan; and with him one hundred and ten males. 13 Of the sons of Adonikam, who were the last; and these are their names: Eliphelet, Jeuel, and Shemaiah; and with them sixty males. 14 Of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai and Zabbud; and with them seventy males. 15 I gathered them together to the river that runs to Ahava; and there we encamped three days: and I looked around at the people the priests, and found there were none of the sons of Levi. 16 Then sent I for Eliezer, for Ariel, for Shemaiah, for Elnathan, for Jarib, for Elnathan, for Nathan, for Zechariah, and for Meshullam, chief men; also for Joiarib and for Elnathan, who were teachers. 17 I sent them out to Iddo the chief at the place Casiphia; and I told them what they should tell Iddo, and his brothers the temple servants, at the place Casiphia, that they should bring to us ministers for the house of our God. 18 According to the good hand of our God on us they brought us a man of discretion, of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel; and Sherebiah, with his sons and his brothers, eighteen; 19 and Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, his brothers and their sons, twenty; 20 and of the temple servants, whom David and the princes had given for the service of the Levites, two hundred and twenty temple servants. All of them were mentioned by name. 21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a straight way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our possessions. 22 For I was ashamed to ask of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the way, because we had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is on all those who seek him, for good; but his power and his wrath is against all those who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and begged our God for this: and he granted our request. 24 Then I set apart twelve of the chiefs of the priests, even Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brothers with them, 25 and weighed to them the silver, the gold, and the vessels, even the offering for the house of our God, which the king, his counselors, his princes, and all Israel there present, had offered. 26 I weighed into their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, one hundred talents of silver vessels; one hundred talents of gold, 27 twenty bowls of gold weighing one thousand darics; and two vessels of fine bright brass, precious as gold. 28 I said to them, “You are holy to the LORD, and the vessels are holy. The silver and the gold are a freewill offering to the LORD, the God of your fathers. 29 Watch and keep them, until you weigh them before the chiefs of the priests and the Levites, and the princes of the fathers’ households of Israel, at Jerusalem, in the rooms of the LORD’s house.” 30 So the priests and the Levites received the weight of the silver and the gold, and the vessels, to bring them to Jerusalem to the house of our God. 31 Then we departed from the river Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was on us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy and the bandit by the way. 32 We came to Jerusalem, and stayed there three days. 33 On the fourth day the silver and the gold and the vessels were weighed in the house of our God into 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, the Levite; 34 everything by number and by weight; and all the weight was written at that time. 35 The children of the captivity, who had come out of exile, offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel, twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and twelve male goats for a sin offering. All this was a burnt offering to the LORD. 36 They delivered the king’s commissions to the king’s satraps, and to the governors beyond the River. So they supported the people and God’s house.

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

Verses 1–20

Ezra assembles the outcasts of Israel, and the dispersed of Judah. God raised up the spirits of a small remnant to accompany him. What a pity that good men should omit a good work, for want of being spoken to!

Verses 21–23

Ezra procured Levites to go with him; but what will that avail, unless he have God with him? Those who seek God, are safe under the shadow of his wings, even in their greatest dangers; but those who forsake him, are always exposed. When entering upon any new state of life, our care should be, to bring none of the guilt of the sins of our former condition into it. When we are in any peril, let us be at peace with God, and then nothing can do us any real hurt. All our concerns about ourselves, our families, and our estates, it is our wisdom and duty, by prayer to commit to God, and to leave the care of them with him. And, on some occasions, we should decline advantages which are within our reach, lest we should cause others to stumble, and so our God be dishonoured. Let us ask wisdom of God, that we may know how to use or to refuse lawful things. We shall be no losers by venturing, suffering, or giving up for the Lord’s sake. Their prayers were answered, and the event declared it. Never have any that sought God in earnest, found that they sought him in vain. In times of difficulty and danger, to set a season apart for secret or for social prayer, is the best method for relief we can take.

Verses 24–30

Do we expect that God should, by his providence, keep that which belongs to us, let us, by his grace, keep that which belongs to him. Let God’s honour and interest be our care; and then we may expect that our lives and comforts will be his.

Verses 31–36

Enemies laid wait for the Jews, but God protected them. Even the common perils of journeys, call us to go out with prayer, and to return with praise and thanksgiving. But what shall we render when the Lord has led us safely through the pilgrimage of life, through the gloomy vale of death, out of the reach of all our enemies, into everlasting happiness! Among their sacrifices they had a sin-offering. The atonement sweetens and secures every mercy to us, which will not be truly comfortable, unless sin be taken away, and our peace made with God. Then had the church rest. The expressions here used, direct us to the deliverance of sinners from spiritual bondage, and their pilgrimage to the heavenly Jerusalem, under the care and protection of their God and Saviour.

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