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Ezra's thanksgiving

EZRA.

for God's mercies.

A. M. 3547.
B. C. 457.

B. C. 457.

23 5 Whatsoever is commanded by || laws of thy God; and * teach ye them A. M. 3547.

the God of heaven, let it be diligently that know them not. done for the house of the God of heaven: for 26 And whosoever will not do the law of thy why should there be wrath against the realm of God, and the law of the king, let judgment be the king and his sons ?

executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto 24 Also we certify you, that touching any of death, or 6 to banishment, or to confiscation of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethi- | goods, or to imprisonment. nims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall 27 y Blessed be the LORD God of our fanot be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, thers, 2 which hath put such a thing as this in

the king's heart, to beautify the house of the 25 And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy Lord which is in Jerusalem : God, that is in thy hand, set magistrates and 28 And a hath extended mercy unto me bejudges, which may judge all the people that fore the king, and his counsellors, and before are beyond the river, all such as know the | all the king's mighty princes. And I was

upon them.

5

Heb. Whatsoever is of the decree. Exod. xviii. 21, 22; Deut. xvi. 18. - Verse 10; 2 Chron. xvii. 7 ; Mal. ii. 7; Matt.

xxii. 2, 3. -6 Chald. to rooting out.-y1 Chron. xxix. 10.

Chap. vi. 22. na Chap. ix. 9.

Xerxes.

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here ordered, in silver, amounts to thirty-five thou- || which appears in the works of thy hand. Wisdom sand three hundred pounds sterling; the wheat to is sometimes ascribed to the hand, as Psalm lxxviii. eight hundred bushels; the wine to twelve or thir- | 72. Or, by the wisdom of God, he means the law of teen hogsheads; and the oil to the same quantity, God, which was said to be in his hand, verse 14. Set which shows the princely liberality of Arta- magistrates and judges, which may judge all the

people, &c.-All the Jews on that side of the river. Verse 23. Whatsoever is commanded by the God All such as know the laws of thy God—All that proof heaven, let it be diligently done-Here Jacobus fessed the Jewish religion were to be under the juCapellus cries out in a kind of rapture, “O, words to risdiction of these judges; which intimates that they be written upon the palaces of kings, in golden let- | were exempt from the jurisdiction of heathen magisters, and engraven on the minds of all, with a style trates. It was a great favour to the Jews to have of adamant! For they express an exceeding great such magistrates of themselves, and especially of sense of God, and of his supreme authority, and the Ezra’s nomination. And teach ye them that know regard due to him from the

est kings and po-them not—They were to instruct in the laws of God tentates.” It appears from this verse, that Ezra had those that were ignorant of them, whether Jews or informed Artaxerxes that the God of Israel had ap- others, which implies that he had no objection to pointed and given his people certain laws, according their making proselytes to the Jewish religion. to which he was to be worshipped, and therefore the Verse 26. Whosoever will not do the law of thy edict enjoins these laws to be exactly observed. God, &c.—They were not allowed to make new laws, For why should there be wrath against the realm but were to see the law of God duly executed, (which of the king and his sons ?—For the omission of any is here made the law of the king,) and therefore part of his worship, occasioned by my neglect. He were intrusted with the sword, that they might be a discerned his duty in this matter, and the danger of terror to evil-doers. What could Jehoshaphat, or incurring God's displeasure if he neglected it, partly | Hezekiah, or David himself, as king, have done more by the light of nature, and principally by the infor- for the honour of God and the furtherance of relimation of Ezra. The neglect and contempt of reli- | gion? gion brings the judgments of God upon kings and Verse 27. Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, kingdoms; and the likeliest expedient to turn away &c.—Ezra cannot proceed in his story without inhis wrath, when it is ready to break out against a serting this thankful acknowledgment to God's people, is to support and encourage religion. goodness to him and the people. Which hath put

Verse 24. It shall not be lawful to impose tolls, such a thing as this into the king's heartGod can &c.—Thus he discharged all the ministers of reli- and frequently does put things into men's hearts gion, from the greatest of the priests to the least of which would not rise there of themselves, and that the Nethinims, from paying taxes to the government, both by his providence and by his grace. Ifany good and made it unlawful for the king's officers to im- appear to be in our own hearts, or in the hearts of pose any taxes on them. This was putting a great others, we must acknowledge it was God that put it honour upon them, as free denizens of the empire, there, and must bless him for it, for it is he that workand would gain them respect as favourites of the eth in us both to will and to do that which is good. crown, at the same time that it gave them liberty to Verse 28. And hath extended mercy to me,

&c.attend on their ministry with freedom and cheerful. The king, in the honour he did Ezra, we may sup

pose, had an eye to his merits, and preferred him Verse 25. After the wisdom of thy God in thy hand because he judged him to be an intelligent, dis- That is, which God hath put into thy heart, and interested, and upright man: but he himself ascribes

ness.

Account of the families

CHAPTER VIII.

that went with Ezra.

A. M. 3547. strengthened as the hand of the gathered together out of Israel chief A. M. 3547.

LORD

my God was upon me, and I men to go up with me.

B. C. 457.

B. C. 457.

Chap. v. 5; Verses 6, 9; || Chap. viii. 18.

his elevation purely to God's mercy. And I was If God gives us his hand, we are bold and cheerful. strengthened—Endowed with courage and ability if he withdraws it, we are weak as water. Whatto undertake the services; as the hand of the Lord ever service we are enabled to do for God and our my God was upon me-To direct and support me. Il generation, God must have all the glory of it.

CHAPTER VIII. The company that went up with Ezra, 1-15. He sends for the Levites, 16–20. Proclaims a fast, 21–23. Delivers the treasure he brought to the priests and Levites, 24–30. Goes on to Jerusalem, 31, 32. The treasure delivered in there, 33, 34.

The people offer, 35. The king's commissions delivered to his lieutenants, 36. $ 1.357THESE are now the chief of their || the son of Michael, and with him 4. M. 3547.

B. C. 457. fathers, and this is the genealo- | fourscore males. gy of them that went up with me from Babylon, 9 Of the sons of Joab; Obadiah the son of in the reign of Artaxerxes the king.

Jehiel, and with him two hundred and eigh2 Of the sons of Phinehas; Gershom: of teen males. the sons of Ithamar; Daniel: of the sons of 10 And of the sons of Shelomith; the son David; Hattush.

of Josiphiah, and with him a hundred and 3 Of the sons of Shechaniah, of the sons of threescore males. Pharesh; Zechariah : and with him were 11 11 And of the sons of Bebai : Zechariah the reckoned by genealogy of the males a hundred son of Bebai, and with him twenty and eight and fifty.

males. 4 of the sons of Pahath-moab; Elihoenai 12 And of the sons of Azgad; Johanan 'the the son of Zerahiah, and with him two hun-| son of Hakkatan, and with him a hundred and dred males.

ten males. 5 Of the sons of Shechaniah ; the son of Ja- 13 And of the last sons of Adonikam, whose haziel, and with him three hundred males. names are these, Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shema

6 Of the sons also of Adin; Ebed the son of iah, and with them threescore males. Jonathan, and with him fifty males.

14 Of the sons also of Bigvai; Uthai, and 7 And of the sons of Elam; Jeshaiah the son 2 Zabbud, and with them seventy males. of Athaliah, and with him seventy males. 15 | And I gathered them together to the 8 And of the sons of Shephatiah; Zebadiah | river that runneth to Ahava; and there 3 abode

I Chron. iii. 22. — Chap. ii. 3.- Or, the youngest son.

* Or, Zaccur, as some read. - Or, pitched.

NOTES ON CHAPTER VIII.

Gershom and Daniel: not Daniel the prophet, but Verse 1. That went up with me from Babylon- | some eminent person of Ithamar's line. Multitudes of the Jews, who loved their ease better Verse 3. By genealogy of the malesThough the than their religion, thinking themselves well where males only be expressed, yet doubtless they carried they were, and either not believing that Jerusalem the women along with them, as they did the little would better their condition, or being deterred by a

ones, verse 21. prospect of the difficulties they might meet with on Verse 7. Of the sons of Elam, &c.—Concerning their journey, preferred staying in Babylon. Some, these, and the families that follow, to verse 15, it may however, willingly offered themselves to go with be observed, that out of them many went up with Ezra, and the heads of their several families are Zerubbabel, in the reign of Cyrus, as appears by the achere recorded for their honour, and the number of count given in the second chapter, and that now more males that each brought in, amounting in all to one went up with Ezra out of the very same families. thousand four hundred and ninety-six.

Verse 13. Of the last sons of Adonikam--It seems Verse 2. Of the sons of Phinehasof Ilhamar- the rest went before, so that now all the sons of that By the sons, he means the families of these two per- | family returned. sons, two of which he particularly names, those of Verse 15. To the river that runneth to Ahava-

Ezra sends

EZRA.

for the Levites.

B. C. 457.

B. C. 457.

A. M. 3517. we in tents three days: and I viewed || phia, that they should bring unto us 4. M. 3547.

the people, and the priests, and found ministers for the house of our God. there none of the d sons of Levi.

18 And by the good hand of our God upon 16 Then sent I for Eliezer, for Ariel, for She- us they brought us a man of understanding, maiah, and for Elnathan, and for Jarib, and of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son for Elnathan, and for Nathan, and for Zecha- of Israel; and Sherebiah, with his sons and his riah, and for Meshullam, chief men; also for brethren, eighteen; Joiarib, and for Elnathan, men of understand- 19 And Hashabiah, and with him Jesbaiah ing.

of the sons of Merari, his brethren and their 17 And I sent them with commandment unto sons, twenty ; Iddo the chief at the place Casiphia, and I told 20 Also of the Nethinims, whom David and them what they should say unto Iddo, and to the princes had appointed for the service of the his brethren the Nethinims, at the place Casi- Levites, two hundred and twenty Nethinims :

« Chap. vii. 7.

- Heb. I put words in their mouth, 2 Sam. ' xiv. 3, 19.

- Neh. viii. 7; ix. 4, 5.-Chap. ii. 43.

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Or the river of Ahava, as it is called, verses 21, 31. places of his book, particularly chap. xxxiii. 30, 31, By comparing of these places, it seems that Ahava &c. And Ezra, in all likelihood, was an instructer was the name both of the river and of the town or among them, as Joiarib and Elnathan also were, and place by which it ran. Either this was that river Iddo, to whom these were sent. By which means of Assyria, which other writers call Adiava, or Dia- ' many proselytes were made, who left their own va, which ran along the Adiabene, upon which country, and came with them to Jerusalem when Ptolemy places the city of Abane, or Aavane; or they returned, chap. vi. 21. At the place Casisome other river which ran into the Euphrates. phia--It is not easy to guess what place this was. Here, some imagine, was the country which (2 Kings The text calls it Casiphia the place. Some have xvi. 24) is called Ava, from whence the king of As- taken it for the Caspian mountains, situate between syria translated the people called Avites into Pales- Media and Hyrcania. But certainly these must tine, and in their room settled some of the captive have been at too great a distance from the road he Israelites. It was a common thing for those who was taking. Perhaps it was in Parthia, where was a travelled from Babylon to Jerusalem, in order to city called Caspi, known to the ancient geograavoid the scorching heat of the desert of Arabia, to phers. The LXX. render it, a place of silver, for shape their course northward at first, and then turning 903, keseph, signifies silver. That they should bring westward, to pass through Syria into Palestine. But us ministers for the house of our God-The furEzra had a further reason for his taking this route; nishing of God's house with good ministers is a good for, as he intended to get together as many Israelites work, and which will redound to the comfort and as he could, to carry along with him to Jerusalem, credit of all that have any hand it. he took his course this way, and made a halt in the Verse 18. By the good hand of our GodThat is, country of Ava, or Ahava, from whence he might by the blessing of God upon us, they brought us a man send emissaries, to a place afterward mentioned, to of understanding, &c.—They did not return withinvite such Jews as were there to come and join him.! out their errand; but, though the warning was short, See Calmet's Dict. on the word Ahava. And found they brought about forty Levites to attend Ezra. By there none of the sons of Levi--To wit, who were this it appears they were not averse to go, but were simple Levites, and not priests; and therefore the slothful, and only wanted to be called upon to Levites mentioned chap. vii. 7, by anticipation, were go. not yet come to him.

Verse 20. Also of the Nethinims, whom Darid Verse 16. Then sent I for Eliezer, &c.- To come and the princes had appointed— The Gibeonites, to me, and go along with me to Jerusalem. He sent who were devoted to the service of the Levites by for these eleven persons, that he might employ them Joshua and the princes of his time, (Josh. ix. 21,) in a message to a place where he knew there were and are said to have been appointed by David and a great many Levites, as it follows in the next verse. his princes, because they were confirmed by them in Also for Joiarib and Elnathan, men of understand their former office, and more particularly applied to ing-Who seem to have had more knowledge than the several services of the temple. of them two pious zeal for God and his house, and solemn wor- hundred and twenty, upon this hasty summons, listship, which was confined to Jerusalem.

ed themselves, and had the honour to be expressed Verse 17. And I sent them unto Iddo the chief-li by name in Ezra's muster-roll. This success Ezra Chief among the Levites, who dwelt at the place ascribes to the good hand of God upon them. If, here mentioned, and there had the free exercise of where ministers have been wanting, the vacancies their religion, as this and many other passages in are well supplied, let God have the glory, and his this book plainly enough prove. For we find the good hand, qualifying them for the service

, inclining people resorting to Ezekiel in their captivity, and them to it, and then opening a door of opportunity him preaching to them the word of God, in many ll for them.

The Israelites keep a fast

CHAPTER VIII.

at the river Ahava.

B. C. 457.

B. C. 457.

A M. 3547. all of them were expressed by name. 24 4 Then I separated twelve of the A. M. 3547.

21 1 Then I proclaimed a fast chief of the priests, Sherebiah, Hashathere, at the river of Ahava, that we might biah, and ten of their brethren with them, afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him 25 And weighed unto them the silver, and a ' right way for us, and for our little ones, and the gold, and the vessels, even the offering of for all our substance.

the house of our God, which the king, and his 22 For I was ashamed to require of the king counsellors, and his lords, and all Israel there a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us present, had offered : against the enemy in the way: because we had 26 I even weighed unto their hand six hunspoken unto the king, saying, "The hand of dred and fifty talents of silver, and silver vesour God is upon all them for good that seek sels a hundred talents, and of gold a hundred him ; but his power and his wrath is against talents; all thein that o forsake him.

27 Also twenty basins of gold, of a thousand 23 So we fasted and besought our God for drachms; and two vessels of “ fine copper, prethis: and he was Pentreated of us.

cious as gold.

82 Chron. xx. 3.- Lev. xvi. 29; xxiii. 29; Isa. lviii. 3, 5. Psa. v.8.i Cor. ix. 15. Chap. vii. 6, 8, 28.

m Psa. 111. 18, 19; xxxiv. 15, 22; Rom. viii. 28.

Psa. xxxiv. 16. 2 Chron. xv. 2.-- -P1 Chronicles v. 20; 2 Chron. xxxu. 13; Isa. xix. 22. –4 Chap. vii. 15.--Heb. yellow, or, shining brass. -6 Heb. desirable.

Verse 21. Then I proclaimed a fast there-Ezra had seemed to distrust the power and favour of that had procured Levites to go along with him, but what God of whom they had spoken so magnificently, would that avail unless he had God with him ? this by making application to the king for his protection is therefore his chief care. No doubt he had him- and defence. Rather, therefore, than give any such selí begged of God direction in this affair, from the first | umbrage, they were resolved to commit themselves time he had it in his thoughts: but for public mer- entirely to God: but then it was necessary they cies, public prayers must be made, that all who are should beseech that of him which they would not to share in the comfort of them, may join in requests ask of the king; this they did, as we have just seen, for them. Thus, in all our ways we must acknow-| by fasting and prayer. ledge God, and in those particularly wherein we are Verse 23. And he was entreated of usThey had endeavouring to serve the interests of his kingdom some comfortable assurance in their own minds that among men. That we might afflict ourselves before their prayers were answered ; and the event showed our God-For our sins, and so be qualified for the that they were, for they escaped all the dangers pardon of them. When we are entering on any | they had been afraid of, and in due time arrived safe new condition of life, our care should be to bring | in Judea. none of the guilt of the sins of our former condition Verse 24. Then I separated twelve of the chief into it. When we are in any imminent peril, let us | of the priests—With whom he might intrust the be sure to make our peace with God, and then we are gifts that had been offered for the temple. Having safe; nothing can do us any real hurt. To seek of committed the keeping of them to God, he also comhim a right way for us—A safe and prosperous jour- | mitted the keeping of them, under God, to proper ney; such a way and course as might be best for us. men, whose business it should be to watch over and Aid for our little ones, and for all our substance- take care of them. Thus our prayers must always They had the greater reason to fast and pray, be- be seconded with our endeavours; the care of Christ's cause they carried with them their little children, gospel, his church and ordinances, must not be so treasures of gold and silver, and divers vessels, and left with him, but that it must also be committed to other things, of very considerable value, and were | faithful men, 2 Tim. ii. 2. apprehensive of enemies, who would waylay them Verse 25. And weighed unto them the silver and to plunder them of their substance; namely, the the goldBecause he expected to receive it from Araba, Samaritans, and others, against whom they them again by weight. In all trusts, but especially peculiarly needed the divine protection and aid. sacred ones, we ought to be punctual, and preserve

Verse 22. For I was ashamed to require of the a right understanding on both sides. In Zerubbabel's king a band of soldiers, &c.—He might have ob- || time the vessels were delivered by number, here by tained from the king any thing that he desired; but weight, that all might be forth-coming, and it might he had so openly declared that he depended solely easily appear if any were missing, upon God for safe conduct, that he was ashamed to Verses 26, 27. Six hundred and fifty talents of ask a guard of the king to secure them on their silver-Making, at £375 sterling to the talent, journey from their enemies. For the king, not | £243,750 sterling. And silver vessels a hundred being much instructed in divine matters, might pos- | tulents-Making near £40,000 sterling.

And of sibly have thought that what they had said of God's gold (probably in coin) a hundred talentsWhich, savour toward them, and the prophecies concerning at £4,500 per talent, make £450,000 sterling. Also their restoration, were but vain boasts, in case they || twenty basins of gold of a thousand drachms—About The Israelites offer burnt-offerings

EZRA.

unto the God of Israel.

A. M. 3547.
B. C. 457.

B. C. 457.

28 And I said unto them, Ye are 33 I Now on the fourth day was the A. M. 3547.

holy unto the LORD; the vessels are silver and the gold and the vessels . holy also; and the silver and the gold are a weighed in the house of our God by the hand free-will-offering unto the LORD God of your of Meremoth the son of Uriah the priest ; and fathers.

with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas; 29 Watch ye, and keep them, until ye weigh and with them was Jozabad the son of Jeshua, them, before the chief of the priests and the and Noadiah the son of Binnui, Levites ; Levites, and chief of the fathers of Israel, at 34 By number and by weight of every Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of the one: and all the weight was written at that LORD.

time. 30 So took the priests and the Levites the 35 Also the children of those that had been weight of the silver and the gold, and the ves- carried away, which were come out of the capsels, to bring them to Jerusalem unto the house tivity, "offered burnt-offerings unto the God of our God.

of Israel, twelve bullocks for all Israel, ninety 31 | Then we departed from the river of and six rams, seventy and seven lambs, twelve Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, he-goats for a sin-offering : all this was a burntto go unto Jerusalem : and the hand of our offering unto the Lord. God was upon us, and he delivered us from the 36 1 And they delivered the king's ? comhand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait missions unto the king's lieutenants, and to by the way.

the governors on this side the river: and 32 And we came to Jerusalem, and abode they furthered the people, and the house of there three days.

God.

- Lev, xxii. 2, 3; Num.

Leviticus xxi. 6,8; Deut. xxxiii. 8.

iv. 4, 15, 20.

Chapter vii. 6, 9, 28.-_u Nehemiah ii. 11.- - Verses 26,30.

y Chap. vi. 17.2 Chap. vii. 21.

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£1,000 sterling value. And two vessels of fine copper ||— There was a public record made of it; and the -As valuable as gold.

persons before mentioned, who brought the money Verses 28, 29. I said, Ye are holy unto the Lord; and the vessels, were discharged by a public instruthe vessels are holy alsoBeing men consecrated to ment signed by them that received it. God's service, you are bound, above all others, to be Verse 35. Which were come out of the captivityfaithful in the discharge of your duty, especially | Namely, those new-comers whom God had safely being intrusted with holy things, which must be conducted thither. Offcred burnt-offerings unto the carefully delivered at Jerusalem, just as they were God of IsraelWhereby they acknowledged the committed to your trust. Watch ye, and keep them, | Lord for their God, and expressed their gratitude for until ye weigh them, &c.—That they be not lost or their restoration. Twelvehe-goats for a sin-offering embezzled, or mingled with other things, keep them -For it is the atonement that secures every mercy together; keep them by themselves; keep them to us, which will not be truly comfortable, unless safe, till you weigh them in the temple, before the iniquity be taken away, and our peace be made with great men there.

God. They offer twelve bullocks, twelve he-goats, Verses 31, 32. The hand of our God was upon and ninety-six rams, (eight times twelve,) signifying us—To protect and strengthen us in so dangerous the union of the two kingdoms. They did not any and long a journey. And he delivered us from the longer go two tribes one way, and ten tribes another; hand of the enemyThere were not only many | but all the twelve met by their representatives at the enemies who hated them, and were desirous to cut

same altar. them off; but many robbers, who watched for a Verse 36. They delivered the king's commissions buoty, whom God either diverted some other way, || to the lieutenants, and they furthered the people, or disheartened from attempting any thing against Even the enemies of the Jews became their friends, them. And of such as lay in wait by the wayTo | yielded to Ezra's commission, and, instead of hinwit, in the direct way. From this it may be con- || dering the people of God, furthered them, purely jectured, that God inclined them to fetch a little | out of complaisance to the king. When he appeared compass, and to go a more unsuspected way, as they | moderate, they all coveted to appear so too. And had begged of him. And abode there three days, the house of God—The completion of which they Before Ezra opened out his commission, or did any furthered, adorning and furnishing it with these vesthing material.

sels and other conveniences, and promoting God's Verse 34. All the weight was written at that time || worship and service therein. 414

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