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sons of Phinehas; Gershom : of the sons of Ithamar; Daniel 5
3 of the sons of David j Hattush. Of the sons, of Shechaniah, of the sons of Pharosh j Zechariah : and with liim were reck
4 oned by genealogy of the males an hundred and fifty. Of tht> 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 Aulas' Hah, and with him seventy males. And of the sons of Shepha
tiah ; 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 ofShelomith ; the son of Josiphiah, and with him an hundrtdl
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 Argad ; Johanan the son of Hakkatan, and with
13 him an hundred and ten males. And of the last sons of Adonikam, 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 priests, for several of them were there. This tvas a great faulty
16 Jpr they should have been among the first to have gone. Thensent I for Eliezer, for Ariel, for Shemaiah, and for EInathan, and for Jarib, and for EInathan, and for Nathan, and for Zechariah, and for Meshullam, chief men; also for Joiarib, and for
1? EInathan, men of understanding, or influence among them. And I sent them with commandment unto Iddo the chief, the firinci* pal 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 hit authority andUnfluence 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 of Mahli, the son 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 Meraii, 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 Gihf onires were originally devoted to this service; but many of them beinp; destroyed by Saul, there were not sufficient lefl for the temple strvice. David appointed others, and called them Nethinims, that is, persons given or devoted, namely! to the service of the saner*" ary iu some of the nuiacr oftces.
way 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 ihem 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 mould have looked like a distrust of God's care of them, of-which he had gloried before the king; viho 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 fliuld 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 viere 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 [are] a free will offering unto the Lord God of your fathers; these are the reasons why you should be careful of this treasure.
29 Watch ye, and keep [them,] until ye weigh [them] before the chief of the priests, and the Levites, and chief of the fathers of Israel, at Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of the Lord.
30 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
31 house of our God. Then we departed from the river of Ahavs on the twelfth [day] of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem z and the hand of our God wus upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way.f
92 And we came to Jerusalem, and abode there three days, to re~
33 fresh ourselves after a journey of four 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; and with them [was] Jozabad the son of Jeshua, and Noadiah
34 the son of Binoui, Levites; By number [and] by weight of
• Exra being the leader of this colony, had authority to command whatever he pleased for the good of the people; he therrfore proclaimed a fast, to humble themselves for their sins, that they might carry none with them into their new settlement, that they mie,ht seek God', direction and protection in their journey, his guardian care of them and all thry had. And the reason why he was more solicitous to secure the divine favour, was, that he had no guard with him, as he might have had if he had asked the king.
■f No doubt the bands of robbers would frequently lie in wait for them through so long a journey, and with so great a booty, to the value of about seven hundred thousand pounds; hut God either struck a terror Into their enemies, or led the Jews some other way, so that they escaped. All Artaxerxet' army could net have secured them so well u ibis invisible r-'otccliou.
> 35 every one : and all the weight was written at that time. [atsq]^ the children of those that had been carried away, which were come out of the captivity, the children of the captivity, as tlicy areoften called, offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel, to. express their gratitude to God for their safe and prosperous jour-*, ney, and in remembrance of their brethren who stayed behindt twelve bullocks for all Israel, ninety and six rams, seventy and seven lambs, twelve he goats [for] a sin offering: all [this was] 3* a burnt offering unto the 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. wisely and dutifully obeyed the king's order, and furthered the ivorlewhich Ezra had so much at heart. .
1. r ■ ] 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 aresent, 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 blessing 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 supp(icationr make known our requests unto Gad,
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 it ■upon all them for good that seek turn; 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, hut 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 sear to him by devotion, and be faithful to his covenant.
A. 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 fathful and punctual. The care of Ezra in weighing out the? Vessels to the priests, atid their care to deliver them by Weight to ttiose appointed to receive them, suggests to us how prudent and necessary it is, in all affairs where things of value are concerned! to be 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 j and it becomes us all to exercise ourselves daily to keep a conscience void of offence toward God and toward all men.
Complaint it made to Ezra of a great fault among the peopief and he is greatly affected with it.
1 "^>J O W When these things were done, after Ezra had _LN shown his commission, and it appeared that he had power to redress abuses, and enforce the observation of the law of Moses, fche princes, that is, some of the princes who were zealous for the reformation, came to me, saying, The people of Isfael, 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 Canaanfes, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites,
i the«Woabites, 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 Prwidencc, because they thought by such marriages to procure wealth and protection to themselves, and it endangered both themselves and their posterity of falling 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.*
S And when 1 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 so forgetful of the law, and ungrateful to God
4 their deliverer. Then Were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice.!
5 And at the evening sacrifice I rose tip from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my
6 knees, and spread out my hands unto, the Loan my God, And
• Thii Is a proof that the law of Moars was exactly restored, and not corrupted by Etn, else he would scarce have left such an unpopular law. the urgine of which w as likely to sjlvo •o yreat offence ; and it plainly appears that they all allowed these precepts to be genuine. smd Do Contrivance of Ezra's.
. J He now probably read and explained the law to them, mi tinea who. iretnbkd or
■card with reverence, joined aim.