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sons of Phinehas; Gershom : of the sons of Ithamar; Daniel j
3 of the sons of David ; Hattush. Of the sons of Shechaniah, of the sons of Pharosh; Zechariah: and with him were reck
4 oned by genealogy of the males an hundred and fifty. Of the sons of Pahathmoab; Elihoenai the son of Zerahiah, and with
5 him two hundred males. Of the sons of Shechaniah ; the son
6 of Jahaziel, and with him three hundred males. Of the sons, also of Adin; Ebed the son of Jonathan, and with him fifty
7 males. And of the sons of Elam; Jeshaiah the son of Atha
8 liah, ancl with him seventy males. And of the sons of Shephatiah ; Zebadiah the son of Michael, and with him four score
9 males. Of the sons of Joab ; Obadiah, the son of Jehiel, and
10 with him two hundred and eighteen, males. And of the sons of Shelomith ; the son of Josiphiah, and with him an hundred
11 and three score males. And of the sons of Bebai; Zechariah
12 the son of Bebai, and with him twenty and eight males. And of the sons of Azgad ; Johanan the son of Hakkatan, and with
13 him an hundred and ten males. And of the last sons of Adoniv kam, whose names [are] these, Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah,
14 and with them three score males. Of the sons also of Bigvai;
15 Uthai, and Zabbud, and with them seventy males. And I gathered them together to the river that runneth to Ahava, not far from Babylon; and there abode we in tents three days: and I viewed the people, and the priests, and found there none of the sons of Levi ; none of the Levites^ as distinguished from the firiests,fbr several of them ivere there. This was a great fault,
16 for they should have been among the first to have g^nc. Then sent I for Eliezer, for Ariel, for Shemaiah, and fdK EInathan, and for Jarib, and for EInathan, and for Nathan, and for Zecha-. riah, and for Meshullam, chief men; also for Joiarib, and for
17 EInathan, men of understanding, or influence among them. And I sent them with commandment unto Iddo the chief, the principal person among the Levites, at the place Casiphia, and I told them what they should say unto Iddo, [and] to his brethren the Nethinims, at the place Casiphia, that they should bring unto, us ministers for the house of our God; and expected from his authority and influence that he would be able to persuade some to
18 come to him. And by the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of understanding, of the sons cf Mahli, the' sop of Levi, the son of Israel; and, or even, Sherebiah, with his
19 sons and his brethren, eighteen; And Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, his brethren and their sons,
20 twenty; Also of the Nethinims, whom David and the princes had appointed for the service of the Levites., two hundred and twenty Nethinims: all of them were expressed by name.*
21 Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right
• The Gibeonires were originally devoted to this service; but many of them being destroyed by Saul, there were not sufficient left for the temple service. David appointed others, and called them Nethinims, that is, persons given or devoted/ namely, to the service of the sanctuary in tome of the meaner offices,
vray for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.*
22 For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way : because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God [is] upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath [is] against all them that forsake him. He did not ask for a guard, because it would have looked like a distrust of God's care of them, of which he had gloried before the king; who might have imagined all had been a vain boast, if after this he had desired a
23 guard. So we fasted and besought our God for this; what he could not seek from the king he asked from God: and he was entreated of us; he gave them some sign or assurance that their
24 petition should be granted. Then I separated twelve of the chief of the priests, Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren
25 with them. And weighed unto them the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, [even] the offering of the house of our God, which the king, and his counsellors, and his lords, and all Israel [there] present, had offered; that they might have no excuse if
26 any were embezzled or lost. I even weighed unto their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels an hundred
27 talents, [and] of gold an hundred talents; Also twenty basons of gold, of a thousand drams; and two vessels of fine copper,
28 precious as gold. And I said unto them, Ye [are] holy unto the Lord ; the vessels [are] holy also ; and the silver and the gold tare] a free will offering unto the Lord God of your fathers; these are the reasons why you should be careful of this treasure.
29 Wafch ye, and keep [them,] until ye weigh [them] before the chief «f the priests, and the Levites, and chief of the fathers of Israel, at Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of the Lord. So took the priests and the Levites the weight of the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, to bring [them] to Jerusalem unto the
of our God. Then we departed from the river of Ahava the twelfth [day] of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem: 'the hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way.f And we came to Jerusalem, and abode there three days, to refresh ourselves after a journey effour months. Now on the fourth day was the silver and the gold and the vessels weighed in the house of our God by the hand of Meremoth the son of Uriah the priest; and with him [was] Eleazar the son of Phinehas; with them [was] Jozabad the son of Jeshua, and Noadiah son of Bintiui, Levites; By number [and] by weight of
• Eira being the leader of this colony, had authority to command whatever he pleased far the good of the people; he therefore proclaimed a fast, to bumble themselves for their tin*, that they might carry none with them into rheir new settlement, that they might seek God's direction and protection in their journey, his guardian care of them and all they had. And the reason why he was more solicitous to secure the divine favour« was, that he had no. ard with him, as he might have had if he had asked the king.
t No doubt the bands of robbers would frequently lie in wait for them through so long; and with so great a booty, to the value of about seven hundred thousand pounds;
'a terror into their enemies, or led the Jews some other way, so that 1 army could net have secured them so well as this invisibte
35 every one: and all the weight was written at that time. [Also]
• the children of those that had been carried away, which were-' come out of the captivity, the children of the captivity, as they are often called, offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel, to express their gratitude to God for their safe and prosperous journey, and in remembrance of their brethren who stayed behind, twelve bullocks for all Israel, ninety and six rams, seventy and seven lambs, twelve he goats [for] a sin offering: all [this was]
36 a burnt offering unto tbe Lord. And they delivered the king's commissions unto the king's lieutenants, and to the governors on this side the river, that they might know the king's pleasure; and they furthered the people, and the house of God; they •tritely and dutifully obeyed the king's order, andfurthered the work which Ezra had so much at heart.
I. r I 1 HE hand of God is to be thankfully acknowledged in JL supplying his churches with useful ministers. Ezra was concerned that no Levite was in his company; and when he obtained some, he ascribed it to the favour and influence of God.
To him we should look for faithful labourers, and when such are sent, and the churches are supplied, the praise is due to him.
2. It is good in all our ways to acknowledge God, and seek a right way from him : to seek for ourselves direction and preservation, success in our affairs, and a blensing upon our families and substance. Without his blessing, there is no comfort in relative life; our substance will waste and perish, or afford us no satisfaction. If we desire his favour, we must put away iniquity, be humbled for our sin, and in every thing, by prayer and supfilication, make known our requests unto God.
3. If we desire the friendship of God, we must be devout and obedient. It is an important remark of Ezra's, v. 22, the hand of God is •upon all them for good that seek him; on those who are employed in his worship, in studying and observing his laws: for it is opposed to forsaking him. The hand of God is for good to those that do so, but his almighty wrath is infinitely dreadful against all his enemies. The surest and safest way to be easy, honourable and happy, is to make God our friend, to live near to him by devotion, and be faithful to his covenant.
4. We learn, from'this example, to manifest lively faith and confidence in God, and not to be ashamed to own it before the greatest of men. Let us show that our talk of trust in God, and our belief of his power and providence, influences our conduct, restrains us from unreasonable fears of men, and makes us bold and resolute in the discharge of our duty. Let us openly acknowledge our regard to God and dependence on him, as Ezra/ did before the king ; and speak of God's testimonies, though kings should hear.
5. In all trusts that are reposed in us, it is our wisdom and duty to be fathfui and punctual. The care of Ezra in weighing out the »
vessels to the priests, and their care to deliver them by weight to those appointed to receive them, suggests to us how prudent and •necessary it is, in all affairs where things of value are concerned, to he exact and punctual. This is especially necessary for persons in trade; and would prevent many contentions and differences. Every .wise and prudent man will use such methods as to free himself from all suspicion; and it becomes us all to exercise ourselves daily to Jctefi a conscience void of offence toward God and toward all men.
Complaint is made to Ezra of a great fault among the people, and he is greatly affected with it.
1 O W when these things were done, after Ezra had JL^\ shown his commission, and it afifieared that he had power to redress abuses, and enforce the observation of the law of Moses, the princes, that is, some of the princes who were zealous for the reformation, came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, who should have set a better example, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, [doing] according to their abominations, [even] of the Canaanltes, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites,
S the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that' the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of [those] lands ; instead of expressing a becoming detestation of their idolatry, they have entered into an alliance with them: this was contrary to their law, it debased the holy seed, was a distrust of Providence, because they thought by such marriages to procure wealth and protection to themselves, and it endangered both themselves and their posterity of failing into idolatry: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass; they set the bad example, and therefore others would not reform.*
3 And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, the usual marks of grief and displeasure, and sat down astonied, that they should be s* forgetful of the law, and ungrateful to God
A their deliverer. Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, becanse of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifke.t
5 And at the evening sacrifice I rose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my
6 knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God, And
• ThU it a proof that the law of Moses was exactly restored, and not corrupted by Etra•lie he would scarce have left soch an unpopular law, the urging of which was likely to give to great offence ; and it plainly appears that they all allowed these prcctpts to be yrnomeand no contrivance of Ezra's.
t He now probably read and explained the Uw to them, and those v)h« trembled or heard with reverence, joined him.
said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face t& thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over [our] heady
7 and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens. Since the days of our fathers [have] we [been] in a great trespass unto this day, we have followed their stefis; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, [and] our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as [it is] this day ; the dreadful effects
S of which are not yet guile removed. And now for a little space grace hath been [showed] from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail, that is, a constant and »ure abode, (Ita. xxii. 23.) in his hoty place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.
9 For we [were] bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem ; to build the temple andihe walls of Jerusalem, and be an hedge of firotection about us from our enemies.
10 And now, O our God, what shall we say after this, what excusehave we to make for this transgression? for we have forsaken
11 thy commandments, Which thou hast commanded by thy servants, the prophets, saying, The land unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end
12 to another with their uncleanness. Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth fcp ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave [it] for an inheritance to your children for ever; he refioats the warning of the law, to affect himself and his hearers more powerfully
13 with their guilt and danger. And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities [deserve,] and
14 hast given us [such] deliverance as this; Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? wouklst not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed [us,] so that [there should be] no remnant nor escaping; Since our sufferings have been so great, though less than our iniquities have deserved, and wc have had such wonderful afi-, fiearances ofProvidence for us, we have the greatest reason to fear that our destruction will be entire and inevitable, if we persist
15 in our wicked ways- O Lord God of Israel, thou [art] righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as [it is] this day: behold, we [are] before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this. He concludes with acknowledging God's righteousness, that is, as same understand it, his mercy, that they were not utterly destroyed; or, Ms righteousness-in continuing them under some difficulties and discouragements: as their iniquity was
... too evident to be denied, so it was tea great and shameful to bt defended or excused. \ ,