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Christ Baptist Church Spring 2015 Chapter 8

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1 Christ Baptist Church Spring 2015 Chapter 8
Change from Ezra the storyteller to Ezra the biographer. are written in the third person (‘he’). It is clear why from the introduction. Ezra is presenting his report to the king with due formality. There was no better way for a Jew to reveal his status than by outlining his genealogy. Christ Baptist Church Spring 2015 Chapter 8

2 Four Characteristics we see in Ezra (Chapter 7)
Devoting ourselves to God Studying His Word Are we: Acting according to His Will Teaching others about His Grace

3 Ezra Chapter 8 – The Willing Remnant
I took courage, for the hand of the Lord my God was on me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me. Ezra 7:28b Ezra 8: The A List What is listed in Ezra 8:1-14? What were these men? The total number is 1,354. How does this compare to the size of the first group? Bonus Questions: Who were Phinehas and Ithamar? Thought question: This group made the journey 80 years after the original group in Ezra 1. Discuss the significance of Biblical training on the faithfulness of this new generation. How important is it to be training a new generation in our day? Having been given permission by Artaxerxes to take with him on his mission all Israelites who freely and voluntarily wanted to return to their own land, Ezra gathered together to go with him ‘chief men out of Israel’ who fitted into that category. 1. They were hand picked by Ezra from the volunteers. Phinehas was the son of Eliezer, who was the third son of Aaron (Numbers 25.11; 1 Chronicles 6.50). Gershom was the name of one of the sons of Moses (Exodus 2.22), and of one of the sons of Levi (1 Chronicles 6.10). It had now been taken by the current head of the house of Phinehas. He had probably died by the time Nehemiah’s covenant was sealed as he was not a sealant. He was presumably a head of his father’s house (verse 1). Note that the priests are not numbered (see Numbers 1.47). That there were a number of them comes out in 8.24 where twelve are chosen to watch over the money and vessels destined for the Temple. The reason for not numbering them is that they were sacred to YHWH and not seen as part of those available to fight, the latter being more dispensable. 8.2b ‘Of the sons of Ithamar, Daniel.’ Ithamar was the fourth son of Aaron (Exodus 6.23; 1 Corinthians 6.3). Daniel was the chief man of the house descended from him. He was one of those who sealed the sure covenant of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 10.6). There was also a Daniel who was one of David’s sons (1 Chronicles 3.1), and of course there was the famous prophet who traditionally wrote the book of Daniel was named Daniel. It was thus a popular name. Again the priests are not numbered. David was, of course, the king of Israel of that name. Hattush was his descendant and may well be the Hattush mentioned in 1 Chronicles 3.22, who was there described as ‘of the sons of Shecaniah’. This Hattush was probably the one who sealed the covenant of Nehemiah So those gathered with Ezra included two priests, one from each of the surviving branches of Aaron’s sons (a large proportion of priests had already gone back), a Davidide, and twelve representative family groups, possibly numerically representing the twelve tribes of Israel, thus covering every aspect of Israel’s life. That other priests accompanied the two mentioned is apparent from verse 24. But, as became priests, they were not ‘numbered’.

4 Ezra Chapter 8 – The Willing Remnant
Ezra 8:15-20 – No Levites? Where did they meet before leaving? How long were they there? Who did Ezra discover missing at the camp by the river? Thought Questions: Why do you suppose they were missing? Where did Ezra find them? What did Ezra do about this problem, who did the group address, and what was the result? By the river that runs to Ahava. 3 days but we’ll find out it was a total of 12. Levites would be required in order to carry the sacred Temple vessels. It was to Levites that God had given that privilege in the Law of Moses. Enjoyed life in Persia. Casiphia was clearly a place where Ezra knew that many Levites would be found. Levites had made it a Levitical city so that it was seen as a place for gathering for worship and religious guidance (note how the Levites participate in teaching and prayer in Nehemiah 8.7-8; 9.4 ff.; etc.), especially now that so few priests remained (note the number who had gone with Zerubbabel in chapter 2). These men who were free to live life as they liked, balked at the idea of becoming restricted to lowly service in the Temple. How does this apply to our lives today? -> We’d rather live in a cushy place and enjoy a worldly life than do the menial work that God may want us to do Ezra chose out some important men whom he could send to remedy the need. The importance of those in the delegation would be in order to impress those to whom they were going. (BTW, 6 of these names occur again in connection of taking foreign wives.) to Iddo, his brothers, the Nethinim Looking for volunteers. It was honored service that they were being called to. 38 responded Nethinim Who’s Ezra writing to? See vs 18

5 Ezra Chapter 8 – The Willing Remnant
Ezra 8: Preparations for the Journey What did Ezra have the people do before leaving? Why? Why had they not asked for soldiers to protect them? Do you ever go through times of apprehension when you take a step of faith? Nehemiah was provided an escort. Why the difference? Was Nehemiah less godly? (Romans 14:6) The people who had gathered for the journey had had about twelve days to get themselves organized for it, and towards the end of that period Ezra proclaimed a fast where they were at the river Ahava so that they could humble themselves before God, praying for their journey to be a safe one and to be relatively unhindered. Fasting had always been a way of expressing humility and recognition of unworthiness at difficult and dangerous times, and no more so than at this period (compare Judges 20.26; 1 Samuel 7.6; Isaiah 58.3; Joel 1.8, 14; ; Nehemiah 9.1; Esther 4.3, 16). Large caravan with significant wealth asking for military help would have seemed to him as a betrayal that would cast doubt on the faithfulness of God. The narrative demonstrates what often happens when men cast themselves on God and take a step of faith. They can go through periods of apprehension and wondering why they had done it. Not all have such faith that they never have a moment of doubt. It is an encouragement to us that Ezra, the great man of faith, should also have experienced doubts. Note Ezra’s honesty This differs from Nehemiah … priest vs political office. Both godly men, but God works differently. Had Ezra accepted protection, it would have seen as a lack of faith. Romans14:6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. Armed guards were a precaution not a guarantee.

6 Ezra Chapter 8 – The Willing Remnant
Ezra 8:24-30 Priests Guard the Offering Describe what they took with them. What does this show about their were concerned about protection? Thought question: Does this mean they did not trust God? Who was put in charge of the treasure? Note that they prayed about this, then they put men in charge. What does this teach us about prayer?  It is never right to use faith as an excuse for foolishness. It is never right to use faith as an excuse for foolishness. So having committed everything to God, and having obtained assurance of His protection, he now took wise steps to safeguard the treasure. He divided the treasure up among a number of trustworthy men, so that each could protect what was entrusted to him. They would have to watch against both internal thieves, and any attempts made by brigands on the caravan. xx 13. Deep meaning within this passage regarding who was entrusted with the treasures. Commentary by Dr Peter Pett

7 Ezra Chapter 8 – The Willing Remnant
What was put into the hands of the appointed? Ezra 8:31-36 – Home Sweet Home When did they depart? How does this differ from Ezra 7:9? Why the delay? Describe some things they did after arriving. What were they celebrating? What had to be carried was considerable, in weight as well as in value. There were at least 850 talents and 1,000 darics. If we take a talent as representing approximately 30 kilograms (66 pounds), the talents would come to over 25,000 kilograms (56,000 pounds). Divided among 258 Levites and their assistants that would mean each carried about 100 kilograms (or 225 pounds), although of course they would be able to call on asses and camels for the most part. (The holy vessels may have had to be carried by hand). It is not therefore impossible. They left the river Ahava on the twelfth day of the month. The intention to leave earlier was possibly because of the approaching Passover, which they would celebrate as a family festival en route. The first month may well have been chosen in order to parallel the flight from Egypt. Not having Levites caused the delay. 1) handing over the treasure (note the detail). 2)offering God’s Faithfulness And during their journey, which would be almost a thousand miles, they were aware that the hand of God was upon them. Given that their journey took around four months, they would have had to travel at about nine miles a day which was good going for such a mixed caravan. But the Persian network of roads made it quite feasible.

8 Weekly Challenges - Applying God’s Word
What lessons can we learn from this about our own journeys today? It is ever right to use faith as an excuse for foolishness? What has God put into your care? Are you guarding it as you should?

9 Timeline

10 Ezra / Nehemiah Timeline
PERSIAN KING DATES BIBLICAL CORRELATION Time Line CYRUS Return of Zerubbabel and Jeshua (Ezra 1-3) Temple work begins 538 536 CAMBYSES Rebuilding at Jerusalem stopped (Ezra 4) 530 DARIUS I Haggai and Zechariah prophesy Temple Completed (Ezra 5-6) 520 516 XERXES Story of Esther (Esther 1-9) ARTAXERXES I Return of Ezra (Ezra 7-10) Return of Nehemiah (Nehemiah (1-2) Prophecy of Malachi 458 445 443 Chap 1 – 4:6,24 80 years Chap 5 - 6 Chap 4:7-23 Chap

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