Summary: Sermon 12 in the series. Between the events of chapter 6 and the return of Ezra in chapter 7 is a period of fifty-seven years. The entire book of Esther fits between these chapters. We now find ourselves at a point of transition. Although the people had
The Book of Ezra
Ezra The Man
• Between the events of chapter 6 and the return of Ezra in chapter 7 is a period of fifty-seven years.
• The entire book of Esther fits between these chapters.
• We now find ourselves at a point of transition.
• Although the people had re-established the Temple worship under Zerubbabel and Jeshua, they were not living in complete obedience to the Law.
• Unfortunately, they had lapsed into sin; and it was Ezra’s task to bring them back to the Lord.
• It was to the task of teaching and preaching the Law that Ezra had resigned himself (vs. 10). (Wiersbe and KJV Bible commentary)
I. Ezra - His Ancestry (1-5)
1 Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia [NOTE: King of Persia from 464-423 b.c], 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:
• These verses establish the priestly lineage of Ezra and thus give him the authority to deal with the Law and worship of Jehovah.
• His lineage is traced all the way back to Aaron, the high priest under Moses. (KJV Bible commentary)
• Between Azariah and Meraioth (v. 3) six extra names appear in the genealogy in 1 Chronicles 6:7-10 (cf. comments there).
• Seraiah was the High Priest when Jerusalem fell, and it appears as if Ezra was his great-grandson. (BKC)
• The Hilkiah mentioned is the grandfather of Seraiah, and the priest that discovered the book of the law during the temple renovations under young king Josiah.
II. Ezra - His Action (6A, 7-9)
6a This Ezra went up from Babylon; ... 7 And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims [NOTE: Gibeonites, servants to the Levites], unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king. 8 And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. 9 For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.
• 4 month journey of nearly a thousand miles.
• Accomplished by the “good hand of his God.”
• Ezra was no doubt comfortable where he was, yet there was a need among God’s people, so he went!
• Evidently, the priestly service in Jerusalem had faded into oblivion.
• So Ezra takes Levites, porters, Nethinims with him.
ILLUS: We now send missionaries to Brazil, Africa and South America. How long will it be before they must come here as missionaries?
538 B.C. Phase I Cyrus the Persian issued a decree which gave the Jews liberty to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. This was led by Zerubbabel. A small group responded.
458 B.C. Phase II A further group returned under the leadership of Ezra. This return was a whole generation later than the first.
445 B.C. Phase III Nehemiah, a high official in the Persian court, was given permission to return to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
III. Ezra - His Advancement (6)
A. The Investment in God’s Word (6B, 6C)
1. The Study of the Word (6B)
6B and he was a ready scribe (saphar mahir = wise scribe)
• This implies more than just a secretary who copied Scripture.
• It implies a scholar who was learned in the laws.
• Besides being a man of zeal, Ezra was a man of great intellect and devotion.
ILLUS: A friend of mine was telling me that his dad has the view that being a preacher is a 3 hour a week job. Just stand and preach. But if you were to call him and 9:00 Sunday morning and ask him to fill the pulpit for you, he would excuse himself and say that he had had no time to prepare! Prepare? Yes. Preaching is work!
2. The Source of the Word (6C; 1 Thes. 2:13)
6C in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given:
• Ezra believed in the inspiration of the Word of God.
• He is believed to have written the book bearing his name, perhaps with others records for the first 6 chapters.