(36 verses, 3:40 to read)
What I am about to READ
Ezra gives some details of his travel from Babylonia to Jerusalem.
MARK and LEARN
8:1-8:14 is a list of leaders or “heads” of the houses of God’s people who returned with Ezra back to Jerusalem from Babylonia. Among the returning exiles are the remnants of the royal house of David, which had been nearly wiped out. But the Lord preserved this blood line, for from it would come the Christ.
15-20 in these verses Ezra reviews the list of the returning leaders, likely the list found in 1-14, and he finds that none of the sons of Levi are set to return to Jerusalem. This poses a bit of a problem. The sons of Levi were those consecrated by God to serve in the house of the Lord, to assist the priesthood, and to look after the building and possessions of the temple. They were essential to the ministrations of the temple. Ezra therefore sends men to gather descendants from the tribe of Levi to return with them, and the Lord is gracious and provides them with servants of the temple, a mercy which Ezra acknowledges.
21-23 The people gathered together at Ahava (see map above) to consecrate a fast before they departed for Jerusalem. They fasted and prayed for protection on the way back, for they refused the service of soldiers who would have gone with them at the king’s command. They wanted to demonstrate the Lord’s protection and provision, which He did provide
24-36 Ezra appoints 12 priests to guard the offerings for the temple. Many of those who remained in Babylonia gave of their wealth for the services of the temple. Now Ezra and the 12 priests must make sure that these treasures get back to Jerusalem safely, for these treasures were holy and consecrated to the Lord. By God’s mercy the people arrive at Jerusalem and after a three-day rest they turn over the treasure to temple officials. They then offer sacrifices to the Lord in thanksgiving for a blessed journey and for the mercy of returning to the promised land.
The Lord was gracious and provided Ezra and his caravan with protection as they journeyed home. So we also should pray that they Lord would keep us body and soul, for He as promised to hear us for the sake of his Son Jesus.
Pr. Brandon Ross
Faith Lutheran Church