Ezra 1-2

Ezra 1-2

Chapter 1: Jews go back to Jerusalem to Build a Temple

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah came to be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying; “The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem”. (Ezra 1: 2-4)

Then the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, with all whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem. And those who were with them encouraged them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with precious things, besides all that was willingly offered.

King Cyrus also brought out the articles of the house of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem and put in the temple of his gods; and Cyrus king of Persia brought them out by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. This is what was taken out: thirty gold platters, one thousand silver platters, twenty-nine knives, thirty gold basins, four hundred and ten silver basins of a similar kind, and one thousand other articles. All the articles of gold and silver were five thousand four hundred. All these Sheshbazzar took with the captives who were brought from Babylon to Jerusalem.

Chapter 2: Children of Captivity

These are the people of the province who came back from the captivity, of those who had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away to Babylon, and who returned to Jerusalem and Judah. Those who came with Zerubbabel were; Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah.

The number of the men of the people of Israel:

The people of Parosh, two thousand one hundred and seventy-two;  the people of Shephatiah, three hundred and seventy-two; the people of Arah, seven hundred and seventy-five; the people of Pahath-Moab, of the people of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and twelve; the people of Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four; the people of Zattu, nine hundred and forty-five; the people of Zaccai, seven hundred and sixty; the people of Bani, six hundred and forty-two; the people of Bebai, six hundred and twenty-three; the people of Azgad, one thousand two hundred and twenty-two; the people of Adonikam, six hundred and sixty-six; the people of Bigvai, two thousand and fifty-six; the people of Adin, four hundred and fifty-four; the people of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety-eight; the people of Bezai, three hundred and twenty-three; the people of Jorah, one hundred and twelve; the people of Hashum, two hundred and twenty-three; the people of Gibbar, ninety-five; the people of Bethlehem, one hundred and twenty-three; the men of Netophah, fifty-six; the men of Anathoth, one hundred and twenty-eight; the people of Azmaveth, forty-two; the people of Kirjath Arim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred and forty-three; the people of Ramah and Geba, six hundred and twenty-one; the men of Michmas, one hundred and twenty-two; the men of Bethel and Ai, two hundred and twenty-three; the people of Nebo, fifty-two; the people of Magbish, one hundred and fifty-six; the people of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four; the people of Harim, three hundred and twenty; the people of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred and twenty-five; the people of Jericho, three hundred and forty-five; the people of Senaah, three thousand six hundred and thirty.

The priests: the sons of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred and seventy-three; the sons of Immer, one thousand and fifty-two; the sons of Pashhur, one thousand two hundred and forty-seven; the sons of Harim, one thousand and seventeen. The Levites: the sons of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the sons of Hodaviah, seventy-four. The singers: the sons of Asaph, one hundred and twenty-eight. The sons of the gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hatita, and the sons of Shobai, one hundred and thirty-nine in all. The Nethinim: the sons of Ziha, the sons of Hasupha, the sons of Tabbaoth, the sons of Keros, the sons of Siaha, the sons of Padon, the sons of Lebanah, the sons of Hagabah, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hagab, the sons of Shalmai, the sons of Hanan, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Gahar, the sons of Reaiah, the sons of Rezin, the sons of Nekoda, the sons of Gazzam, the sons of Uzza, the sons of Paseah, the sons of Besai, the sons of Asnah, the sons of Meunim, the sons of Nephusim, the sons of Bakbuk, the sons of Hakupha, the sons of Harhur, the sons of Bazluth, the sons of Mehida, the sons of Harsha, the sons of Barkos, the sons of Sisera, the sons of Tamah, the sons of Neziah, and the sons of Hatipha. The sons of Solomon’s servants: the sons of Sotai, the sons of Sophereth, the sons of Peruda, the sons of Jaala, the sons of Darkon, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Shephatiah, the sons of Hattil, the sons of Pochereth of Zebaim, and the sons of Ami.

These were the ones who came up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer; but they could not identify their father’s house or their genealogy, whether they were of Israel: the sons of Delaiah, the sons of Tobiah, and the sons of Nekoda, six hundred and fifty-two; and of the sons of the priests: the sons of Habaiah, the sons of Koz, and the sons of Barzillai, who took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called by their name. These sought their listing among those who were registered by genealogy, but they were not found; therefore they were excluded from the priesthood as defiled. And the governor said to them that they should not eat of the most holy things till a priest could consult with the Urim and Thummim.

The whole assembly together was forty-two thousand three hundred and sixty, besides their male and female servants, of whom there were seven thousand three hundred and thirty-seven; and they had two hundred men and women singers. Their horses were seven hundred and thirty-six, their mules two hundred and forty-five, their camels four hundred and thirty-five, and their donkeys six thousand seven hundred and twenty.

Some of the heads of the fathers’ houses, when they came to the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God, to erect it in its place: According to their ability, they gave to the treasury for the work sixty-one thousand gold drachmas, five thousand minas of silver, and one hundred priestly garments.

One interesting thing I found in this chapter: I believe this is the first time Genealogy is named in the Bible, yet it is so important!

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1 Chronicles 21-22

1 Chronicles 21-22

Chapter 21: David Numbers Israel

David commands that a census be taken, to “number” Israel. This is prompted however by Satan who has his own reasoning for doing things. God allows this temptation to move David into numbering Israel because God wants to chastise David. So why was it so bad to “number” Israel? In these times a man would “number” only what belonged to him. David did not own Israel or its people, God does. If God were to command a “numbering” of his people, then the motive would be service to the Lord and doing as He had commanded. However in this instance David was only concerned with protecting and putting his trust in a “multitude” of hosts, or in other words putting his trust in numbers of a manmade army over the trust of God.

In our daily lives we can see this happen to us on a daily basis. How often do we put our trust in something manmade or putting our trust in another man (or woman) over God? I would say quite often. We must put our trust in God. That, however, does not mean that we are free to do as we please, or to simply sit back and say that we are putting our trust in God, without any actions! To trust, or have faith in God, we must ACT. We must do all that we can in following the commandments and working hard for what we feel is right, and then and only then will the hand of God be shown in our lives.

Joab objects to the numbering and asks David to reconsider his foolish ways. Joab knew that David’s reasoning was built up in pride, wanting to know how powerful he was, perhaps to conquer a neighboring nation. In Samuel 24:4 we read that it was not only Joab who objected to the numbering, but also the captains of the army, but David however prevails in his desire to number Israel, and he was immediately sorry for doing so.

Joab comes back to David with the census complete and finds that there are 1.3 million fighting men among the twelve tribes, which is a small portion of the 6 million people living in Israel. Although Joab did not count the tribes of Levi and Benjamin, for fear that God would strike them down and all that would remain would be those who were not numbered. God would have struck down all of Israel, but God had already done so with the deeply afflicted heart of David. David, wasn’t perfect, but when he knew that he had sinned his heart was very sensitive to sin and therefore was very remorseful of his ways. David admits that he has been foolish and asks God for, forgiveness.

God sends a messenger to David and gives him three options of Judgment to forgive his sin:

#1: 3 years of famine.

#2: 3 Months until you are defeated by your enemies.

#3: For 3 days a plague would engulf the land.

 

God gave David these three options to test David’s heart and wisdom:

 

#1: 3 years of famine would surely kill most of Israel, the wealthy and resourceful would survive by depending on neighboring nations for food.

#2: 3 Months until you are defeated by your enemies would surely mean the death of most of the soldiers, and would probably result in new enemies.

#3: For 3 days a plague would engulf the land, this would cause a great deal of death among all of Israel, no matter whom; rich, poor, military…etc.

 

David chooses to have 3 days of plagues. This is important, because had David chose war; his family and himself would have been protected. Had David chosen famine, his wealth would have sustained him. Therefore he humbled himself and accepted of God’s punishment by choosing something that could ultimately affect himself and his loved ones. By choosing 3 days of plague he was also in the hands of God, whom he knew would be more merciful than man.

The destroying angel comes and kills 70,000 men of Israel and as the destruction is happening, God steps back and relented of the disaster and commanded the angel to restrain from continuing. David seeing the destructions laments to God asking him why he had killed so many of his innocent sheep and had refrained from touching him. God then commands David to erect a altar to the Lord. So
David does as he is commanded.

David goes to Ornan and asks him to build an altar where his threshingfloor stands. David buys the land for 600 shekels of God, the full price of the property. David offers peace and burnt offerings there, as a tribute to his understanding of God and his ways in destroying 70,000 of his sheep.

 

David finally knows where the Lord wants his temple to be built, right there on the threshingfloor.

 

Chapter 22: Solomon Is to Build the Temple

David is commanded to gather men who were foreigners in the land of Israel, which were about 70,000 slaves to build the temple of Solomon. David gathered the finest materials, cedar trees from Lebanon. The house of God would have to be magnificently built unto the Lord, so David made preparations for his son Solomon to continue building the temple after his death. David charges (gives blessing) to Solomon to complete this great work of building the House of the Lord after his death, in a sense if Solomon failed in building the temple, David failed as well. David warns Solomon to stay faithful to God and his word, in accomplishing the construction of the temple. David counsels Solomon to;

“…be strong, and of good courage; dread not, nor be dismayed.” (1 Chronicles 22:13)

This is something that we can all appreciate and place in our hearts in our daily activities. Life, after all, is tough. Our challenges we face on a day to day level are not easy ones, but if we put our trust in God and don’t worry about the future or how something will come about, then we can have that courage and strength that we need to continue fighting towards our righteous individual dreams and desires.

David prepares the construction by leaving Solomon in charge of a great deal of money and resources to ensure that the temple does get built and with all its magnificence.

Exodus 25-26

Exodus 25-26

Chapter 25: Israel is Commanded to Build a Temple        

                The Lord speaks with Moses and tells him that the people of Israel need to donate property so that they can build a temple to the Lord.

                What is to be donated:

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Brass
  • Blue, Purple, and Scarlet Linen
  • Goats Hair
  • Dried, and dyed red Ram’s skin
  • Badgers Skins
  • Shittim Wood
  • Oil
  • Spices
  • Onyx Stones

                Israel is commanded to build the Ark of the Covenant: which is a chest of Aracia and Shittim Wood, overlayed with Gold. It is 2.5 cubits long and 1.5 cubits broad. This chest is also referred to as the “Ark of Jehovah”.

                They are to build a room in the temple that has the mercy seat and cheribums. A table for the shewbread, and the candlestick according to what Moses was commanded.

Chapter 26: Temple Veil

                In the Tabernacle there is to be a veil with ten curtains of blue and purple, that have loops. These curtains have “taches” or marks on them and are to separate the holy place from the most holy place. The Ark of the Testimony is to be placed in the most holy place.

                What is really interesting to me is that Modern LDS temples have what the scriptures of old talked about. God has always called prophets and commanded them to build temples. That to me is a living testimony that the LDS church is indeed the same church that was lost in ancient times and restored today for our benefit and before the ushering in of the second coming.