Dave Burnette's Commentary

Ezra Chapter 7

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Ezra
Date Penned: (450 BC)
Overview: The Return of the Jewish Exiles (c 1-10)
Theme: The Return Led By Ezra (c 7-10)
Message: The Second Group Of Exiles Return (1-17)

Ezra 7 Commentary 

(7:1) 60 years  - There is a gap of almost 60 years between the events of Ezra 6 and Ezra7. The story in the book of Esther occurred at this time, during the reign of Ahasuerus (also called Xerxes the Great), who ruled from 486 to 465 BC.Artaxerxes, his son, became king in 465, and Ezra returned to Jerusalem in 458.

(7:6-10)  Ezra's Influence - Ezra demonstrates how a gifted Bible teacher can move God's people forward. He was effective because he was a well-versed student of the law of the Lord and because he was determined to obey God's laws. He taught through both his speaking and his example. Like Ezra, we should determine both to study and to obey God's Word, and to live by his principles daily.

(7:6) A Decree - Eighty years after the first exiles returned to Jerusalem (21), Ezra returned. This was his first trip, and it took four months. The temple had been standing for about 58 years. Up to this point in the narrative, Ezra had remained in Babylon, possibly compiling a record of the events that had taken place. Why did Ezra have to ask the king if he could return? He wanted to lead many Jews back to Jerusalem, and he needed a decree from the king stating that any Jew who wanted to return could do so. This decree would be like a passport in case they ran into opposition along the way. The king's generous decree showed that God was blessing Ezra (7:6, 28). It also indicated that Ezra was probably a prominent man in Artaxerxes's kingdom. He was willing to give up this position in order to return to his homeland and teach the Israelites God's laws.

(7:14) Seven Counsellor - The seven counsellors were Artaxerves's supreme court (see Esther 1:14).

(7:14) Nebuchadnezzar's Plunder - When Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple, he took a vast amount of plunder that may have included a copy of the book of the law (2 Chronicles 36:18). It is also possible that this book was brought by the Jews into exile and was confiscated and read by their conquerors. Foreign leaders who worshiped many gods liked to have records of the gods of other nations for military and political reasons.

(7:24) A Value is Noticed - Why did Artaxerxes exempt temple workers from paying taxes? He recognized that the priests and Levites filled an important role in society as spiritual leaders, so he freed them of tax burdens. While the Bible does not teach tax exemption for religious employees, Artaxerxes, a pagan king, recognized and supported the principle. In the New Testament, both Jesus and the apostle Paul support this concept (see Luke 10:7 and 1 Timothy 5:17-18), and Paul cites God's law in Deuteronomy 25:4, which allows oxen to feed while they work on the threshing floor. Today, churches should wrestle with the responsibility of keeping certain worldly burdens off the shoulders of spiritual workers.

(7:27-28) Ezra Praises God - Ezra praised God for all that God had done for him and through him. Ezra had honored God throughout his life, and God had chosen to honor him. Ezra could have assumed that his own greatness and charisma had won over the king and his princes, but he gave the credit to God. We, too, should be grateful to God for our success and not think that we achieved it in our own power. Our words and actions should reflect our gratitude for God's work in our lives.

(7:27) God Changes the King's Heart  - In Ezra's doxology, he acknowledges that God "put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the LORD." God can change even a king's heart (see Proverbs 21:1). When we face life's challenges, we often must work diligently and with extraordinary effort, realizing that God oversees all our work. Recognize his hand in your success, and remember to praise him for his help, protection, and intervention.

(7:28) Ezra's Exhortation - The speaker here is Ezra. He writes in the first person for the remainder of the book.



Dave Burnette's Life Application

His Way, His Word, His Will

 Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of Ezra with Chapter 7 and we see Ezra making a way for the second group of God's people to come back to their land. They were without God and His Word and as a result their lives were in a mess. In making application we see a parallel in How God made a way for us in Christ-Jesus. We also see how a life without God or His Word will produce an un-Godly, unfruitful life. How about you? Do you see the way that God has prepared for you? Do you also see the need for His Word to produce a fruitful life? Let us learn from our text today and the Life of Ezra who reminds us of the importance of the Lord's Way, the Lord's Will, and the Lord's Word.


Ezra 7

Ezra 7

 1Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah,

 2The son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub,

 3The son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth,

 4The son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki,

 5The son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest:

 6This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him.

 7And 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, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king.

 8And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.

 9For 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.

 10For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

 11Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the LORD, and of his statutes to Israel.

 12Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time.

 13I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee.

 14Forasmuch as thou art sent of the king, and of his seven counsellors, to enquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which is in thine hand;

 15And to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counsellors have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem,

 16And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem:

 17That 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.

 18And 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.

 19The vessels also that are given thee for the service of the house of thy God, those deliver thou before the God of Jerusalem.

 20And whatsoever more shall be needful for the house of thy God, which thou shalt have occasion to bestow, bestow it out of the king's treasure house.

 21And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily,

 22Unto an hundred talents of silver, and to an hundred measures of wheat, and to an hundred baths of wine, and to an hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much.

 23Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?

 24Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them.

 25And 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; and teach ye them that know them not.

 26And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.

 27Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem:

 28And hath extended mercy unto me before the king, and his counsellors, and before all the king's mighty princes. And I was strengthened as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me, and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me.