Study Guide

Ezra and Nehemiah Ezra Chapter 7: Enter Ezra

Ezra Chapter 7: Enter Ezra

  • During the reign of Artaxerxes, Ezra leaves Babylonia. He's a scribe who's an expert in the Law of Moses, and King Artaxerxes gives him whatever he wants.
  • We're given his illustrious ancestry, all the way back to the original High Priest Aaron, so it's clear that something pretty special is in the works.
  • Ezra and some other Israelites—temple servants, priests, singers, gatekeepers, Levites—take around four or five months to journey to Jerusalem. God makes sure he gets there safely.
  • Ezra wants to study the law of God, practice it, and teach it to others. He majored in Old Testament at NYU.
  • Artaxerxes sends a letter to Ezra. The letter permits any other Israelite to go to Jerusalem with Ezra (so this predates Ezra actually going to Jerusalem, it would seem).
  • He commissions Ezra to govern Judah according to God's law, and to bring gifts of gold and silver from Artaxerxes and from the whole province of Babylonia, along with freewill offerings from the people and priests.
  • The money, says Artaxerxes, is to purchase animals for sacrifice, along with grain and drink offerings.
  • They can use the remainder of the money for whatever they want. Par-tay!
  • He gives Ezra vessels for the temple and tells him to draw funds for whatever he requires for the temple out of the king's treasury.
  • Artaxerxes also orders the provinces' treasurers to give Ezra everything he needs up to a certain limit. This is a pretty sweet deal.
  • They should do whatever the God of Israel commands. He also tells them not to impose tribute or taxes of any kind on the various priests, singers, and others connected with the temple.
  • He tells Ezra to appoint judges and magistrates, and to instruct people in the law, punishing them however he needs to if they break it, including death or banishment. This is a pretty impressive amount of authority when you think about it.
  • Ezra's voice breaks in at the end, praising God for inspiring the king and his officials to help and favor Ezra. He says that he gathered other leaders of Israel to go with him.

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