Summary: Sermon 14 in the series. Artaxerxes has granted Ezra's request to return to Jerusalem. And not only that, but provision is made for the journey to be financed by freewill offerings, official government contributions, and tax revenues from the Trans-Euphra
The Book of Ezra
The Return of Ezra
• 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)
• Two studies ago we looked at the way the Ezra had prepared himself for leadership and the Lord’s blessings.
• Last time, we saw that Ezra asks for permission to leave and head for Jerusalem to minister to the Lord’s people.
• He would minister to:
Those Defiant of the Word (25A)
 And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God;
Those Deficient in the Word (25B)
(25B) and teach ye them that know them not.
• Surprisingly, Artaxerxes grants his request.
• And not only that, but provision is made for the journey to be financed by freewill offerings, official government contributions, and tax revenues from the Trans-Euphrates province.
• I marvel that this pagan king is paying for the journey of Ezra, that he might teach the people the word of God!
• Let’s look back at his words concerning the offering:
Ezra 7:17-18 That thou mayest buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem.  And whatsoever shall seem good to thee, and to thy brethren, to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God.
• Now, Ezra begins to assemble the people and to make physical and spiritual preparations.
• Please note that, beginning in the last verse of chapter 7 (7:28) through chapter 8, Ezra is referred to in the first person.
NOTE: Once again the careful student of the Bible will observe the repeated mention of “the hand of the Lord.” (See study #13, Conclusion)
I. EZRA’S RETURN ARRANGED (1-30)
A. The Men (1-14)
NOTE: A comparison of verses 3-14 with 2:3-15 shows that Ezra's companions were mainly the relatives of those Jews who had returned 80 years earlier under Sheshbazzar. The one exception was Joab's family (v. 9). (Constable)
NOTE: The total number of males in this section is 1,496 plus the men named, so with the addition of the women and children the number easily approaches 7 - 8,000. (MacArthur, J. J. )
Ezra 8:1-36 These are now the chief of their fathers, and this is the genealogy of them that went up with me from Babylon, in the reign of Artaxerxes the king.  Of the sons of Phinehas; Gershom: of the sons of Ithamar; Daniel: of the sons of David; Hattush.