Nehemiah 7-8

Nehemiah 7-8

Chapter 7: Genealogy Records/Priesthood

When the wall was built; and the doors hung, when the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed, Nehemiah gave the charge of Jerusalem to his brother Hanani, and Hananiah the leader of the citadel, because he was a faithful man and feared God more than many.

Nehemiah said to them to not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot; and while they stand guard, let them shut and bar the doors; and appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, one at his watch station and another in front of his own house.

Now the city was large and spacious, but the people in it were few, and the houses were not rebuilt. Then God put it into his heart to gather the nobles, the rulers, and the people, that they might be registered by genealogy. Nehemiah found a register of the genealogy of those who had come up in the first return, and found written in it:

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, and who returned to Jerusalem and Judah, everyone to his city. Those who came with Zerubbabel were: Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, and Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel: the sons of Parosh, two thousand one hundred and seventy-two; the sons of Shephatiah, three hundred and seventy-two; the sons of Arah, six hundred and fifty-two; the sons of Pahath-Moab, of the sons of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and eighteen; the sons of Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four; the sons of Zattu, eight hundred and forty-five; the sons of Zaccai, seven hundred and sixty; the sons of Binnui, six hundred and forty-eight; the sons of Bebai, six hundred and twenty-eight; the sons of Azgad, two thousand three hundred and twenty-two; the sons of Adonikam, six hundred and sixty-seven; the sons of Bigvai, two thousand and sixty-seven; the sons of Adin, six hundred and fifty-five; the sons of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety-eight; the sons of Hashum, three hundred and twenty-eight; the sons of Bezai, three hundred and twenty-four; the sons of Hariph, one hundred and twelve; the sons of Gibeon, ninety-five; the men of Bethlehem and Netophah, one hundred and eighty-eight; the men of Anathoth, one hundred and twenty-eight; the men of Beth Azmaveth, forty-two; the men of Kirjath Jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred and forty-three; the men of Ramah and Geba, six hundred and twenty-one; the men of Michmas, one hundred and twenty-two; the men of Bethel and Ai, one hundred and twenty-three; the men of the other Nebo, fifty-two; the sons of the other Elam, one thousand two hundred and fifty-four; the sons of Harim, three hundred and twenty; the sons of Jericho, three hundred and forty-five; the sons of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred and twenty-one; the sons of Senaah, three thousand nine 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, of Kadmiel, and of the sons of Hodevah, seventy-four. The singers: the sons of Asaph, one hundred and forty-eight. The gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hatita, the sons of Shobai, one hundred and thirty-eight. The Nethinim: the sons of Ziha, the sons of Hasupha, the sons of Tabbaoth, the sons of Keros, the sons of Sia, the sons of Padon, the sons of Lebana, the sons of Hagaba, the sons of Salmai, 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 Meunim, the sons of Nephishesim, the sons of Bakbuk, the sons of Hakupha, the sons of Harhur, the sons of Bazlith, 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 Perida, 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 Amon. All the Nethinim, and the sons of Solomon’s servants, were three hundred and ninety-two. And these were the ones who came up from Tel Melah, Tel Harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer, but they could not identify their father’s house nor their lineage, whether they were of Israel: the sons of Delaiah, the sons of Tobiah, the sons of Nekoda, six hundred and forty-two; and of the priests: the sons of Habaiah, the sons of Koz, 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 it was 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. Altogether the whole assembly 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 and forty-five 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 donkeys six thousand seven hundred and twenty. And some of the heads of the fathers’ houses gave to the work. The governor gave to the treasury one thousand gold drachmas, fifty basins, and five hundred and thirty priestly garments. Some of the heads of the fathers’ houses gave to the treasury of the work twenty thousand gold drachmas, and two thousand two hundred silver minas. And that which the rest of the people gave was twenty thousand gold drachmas, two thousand silver minas, and sixty-seven priestly garments. So the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the Nethinim, and all Israel dwelt in their cities. When the seventh month came, the children of Israel were in their cities.

Chapter 8: Ezra Records the Law of Moses

Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month. Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.

Ezra the scribe stood on a platform of wood; and beside him, at his right hand, stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Urijah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah; and at his left hand Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. Ezra blessed the Lord. Then all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law; and the people stood in their place. So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.

Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, that this day is holy to the Lord; do not mourn nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them to go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. The Levites quieted all the people, by telling them to be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.

All the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them. On the second day the heads of the fathers’ houses of all the people, with the priests and Levites, were gathered to Ezra the scribe, in order to understand the words of the Law.

They found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month, and that they should announce and proclaim in all their cities and in Jerusalem, by telling them to go out to the mountain, and bring olive branches, branches of oil trees, myrtle branches, palm branches, and branches of leafy trees, to make booths. Then the people went out and brought them and made themselves booths, each one on the roof of his house, or in their courtyards or the courts of the house of God, and in the open square of the Water Gate and in the open square of the Gate of Ephraim. So the whole assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and sat under the booths; for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun until that day the children of Israel had not done so. And there was very great gladness. Also day by day, from the first day until the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day there was a sacred assembly, according to the prescribed manner.

Summary of Ezra

Summary of Ezra

Chapter by Chapter:

Ezra 1-2:  Jews go back to Jerusalem to Build Temple/Children of Captivity
Ezra 3-4: Altar of the Temple is Rebuilt/Samaritans Hinder the Work of the Temple
Ezra 5-6: Zerubbabel Renews Building of the Temple/The Temple is Finished and Dedicated
Ezra 7-8: Artaxerxes Beautifies the Temple/Ezra and the People Fast and Pray for Guidance
Ezra 9-10: The Jews Intermarry/Jews Put Away Foreign Wives

 

Ezra is a book of Narrative History and Genealogies. It was written by Ezra at approximately 440 B.C. and records events up to 450 B.C. Key personalities include Cyrus, Ezra, Haggai, Zechariah, Darius I, Artaxerxes I, and Zerubbabel. Ezra’s purpose was to accurately record the events of the return from the Babylonian exile, after a seventy-year period and the events that surround the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. God is faithful in fulfilling His promises and so the Jews return to Jerusalem from their exile in Babylon.

  • Cyrus said to Let the Lord’s people go up to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple. He gave the articles from the temple to Sheshbazzar.
  • The exiles returned to Judah with Zerubbabel. A total of 42,360 people returned. The heads of families gave offerings for the temple.
  • The Israelites made regular offerings. When the builders laid the foundation of the temple, the Levites sang praise to the Lord.
  • Enemies hindered the work in Judah. Rehum wrote to Artaxerxes that ‘Jerusalem is a rebellious city.’ So Artaxerxes stopped the building.
  • Zerubbabel began to build the temple. Tattenai wrote to Darius saying that Cyrus issued a decree to rebuild this temple.
  • Darius issued a decree that the cost of the temple shall come from the treasury. The temple was completed and the Israelites celebrated.
  •  Ezra went up to Jerusalem to teach the law. Artaxerxes wrote that whatever Ezra needs shall be done.
  • Ezra assembled the family heads from Babylon and gave the gifts for the temple to the Levites. They came to Jerusalem and made offerings.
  • The leaders told Ezra that the people had taken foreign wives. When Ezra heard this, he tore his robe and prayed.
  • The Israelites wept. They all assembled and Ezra told them to separate from their foreign wives. The family heads investigated the matter.

Ezra 7-8

Ezra 7-8

Chapter 7: Artaxerxes Beautifies the Temple

In the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra…

Who was the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest;

…Ezra came up from Babylon; he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given. The king granted him his entire request, according to the hand of the Lord his God.

Some of the children of Israel, the priests, the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers, and the Nethinim came up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. On the first day of the first month he began his journey from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him. For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.

This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave Ezra the priest, the scribe, expert in the words of the commandments of the Lord, and of His statutes to Israel: “Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time. I 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. Forasmuch 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; And 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, And 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: 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. The vessels also that are given thee for the service of the house of thy God, those deliver thou before the God of Jerusalem. And 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. And 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, (Ezra 7:12-21)

Now therefore, be careful to buy with this money bulls, rams, and lambs, with their grain offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them on the altar of the house of your God in Jerusalem. And whatever seems good to you and your brethren to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, do it according to the will of your God. Also the articles that are given to you for the service of the house of your God, deliver in full before the God of Jerusalem. And whatever more may be needed for the house of your God, which you may have occasion to provide, pay for it from the king’s treasury. And I, even I, Artaxerxes the king, issue a decree to all the treasurers who are in the region beyond the River, that whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven, may require of you, let it be done diligently, up to one hundred talents of silver, one hundred kors of wheat, one hundred baths of wine, one hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribed limit.

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

Also we inform you that it shall not be lawful to impose tax, tribute, or custom on any of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, Nethinim, or servants of this house of God. And you, Ezra, according to your God-given wisdom, set magistrates and judges who may judge all the people who are in the region beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God; and teach those who do not know them. Whoever will not observe the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily on him, whether it is death, or banishment, or confiscation of goods, or imprisonment.

Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, and has extended mercy to me before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty princes. So I was encouraged, as the hand of the Lord my God was upon me; and I gathered leading men of Israel to go up with me.

Chapter 8: Ezra and the People Fast and Pray for Guidance

These are the heads of their fathers’ houses, and this is the genealogy of those who went up with Ezra from Babylon, in the reign of King Artaxerxes…

…of the sons of Phinehas, Gershom; of the sons of Ithamar, Daniel; of the sons of David, Hattush; of the sons of Shecaniah, of the sons of Parosh, Zechariah; and registered with him wereone hundred and fifty males; of the sons of Pahath-Moab, Eliehoenai the son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred males; of the sons of Shechaniah, Ben-Jahaziel, and with him three hundred males; of the sons of Adin, Ebed the son of Jonathan, and with him fifty males; of the sons of Elam, Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah, and with him seventy males; of the sons of Shephatiah, Zebadiah the son of Michael, and with him eighty males; of the sons of Joab, Obadiah the son of Jehiel, and with him two hundred and eighteen males; of the sons of Shelomith, Ben-Josiphiah, and with him one hundred and sixty males; of the sons of Bebai, Zechariah the son of Bebai, and with him twenty-eight males; of the sons of Azgad, Johanan the son of Hakkatan, and with him one hundred and ten males; of the last sons of Adonikam, whose names are these; Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah; and with them sixty males; also of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai and Zabbud, and with them seventy males.

He gathered them by the river that flows to Ahava, and they camped there three days. And Ezra looked among the people and the priests, and found none of the sons of Levi there.

Ezra sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, leaders; also for Joiarib and Elnathan, men of understanding. And he gave them a command, Iddo the chief man at the place Casiphia, and he told them what they should say to Iddo and his brethren the Nethinim at the place Casiphia; that they should bring the servants for the house of our God. Then, by the good hand of our God upon them, they brought them  a man of understanding…

…of the sons of Mahli the son of Levi, the son of Israel, namely Sherebiah, with his sons and brothers, eighteen men; and Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, his brothers and their sons, twenty men; also of the Nethinim, whom David and the leaders had appointed for the service of the Levites, two hundred and twenty Nethinim. All of them were designated by name.

Ezra proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that they might humble themselves before God, to seek from Him the right way for them and their little ones and all their possessions. For he was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help them against the enemy on the road, because they had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.” So they fasted and entreated their  God for this, and He answered their prayer.

He separated twelve of the leaders of the priests; Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them; and weighed out to them the silver, the gold, and the articles, the offering for the house of our God which the king and his counselors and his princes, and all Israel who were present, had offered. He weighed into their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, silver articles weighing one hundred talents, one hundred talents of gold, twenty gold basins worth a thousand drachmas, and two vessels of fine polished bronze, precious as gold. And he said to them, “You are holy to the Lord; the articles are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering to the Lord God of your fathers. Watch and keep them until you weigh them before the leaders of the priests and the Levites and heads of the fathers’ houses of Israel in Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of the Lord.” So the priests and the Levites received the silver and the gold and the articles by weight, to bring them to Jerusalem to the house of our God.

They departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. And the hand of their God was upon them, and He delivered them from the hand of the enemy and from ambush along the road. So they came to Jerusalem, and stayed there three days.

On the fourth day the silver and the gold and the articles were weighed in the house of their God by the hand of Meremoth the son of Uriah the priest, and with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas; with them were the Levites, Jozabad the son of Jeshua and Noadiah the son of Binnui, with the number and weight of everything. All the weight was written down at that time.

And they delivered the king’s orders to the king’s satraps and the governors in the region beyond the River. So they gave support to the people and the house of God.