1 Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia [Artachshasta Melech Paras], Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah [Ezra ben Serayah ben Azaryah ben Hilkiyah,],

Seraiah. Slain at Riblah (2 Kings 25:18-21).

18 And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door:

19 And out of the city he took an officer that was set over the men of war, and five men of them that were in the king's presence, which were found in the city, and the principal scribe of the host, which mustered the people of the land, and threescore men of the people of the land that were found in the city:

20 And Nebuzaradan captain of the guard took these, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah:

21 And the king of Babylon smote them, and slew them at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was carried away out of their land


[2 Ben] the son of [Shallum, ben Tzadok, ben Achituv,

3 Ben Amaryah, ben Azaryah, ben Merayot,

4 Ben Zerachyah, ben Uzzi, ben Bukki,

5 Ben Avishua, ben Pinchas, ben Eleazar, ben Aharon HaKohen HaRosh] the chief priest

By this genealogy compared with 1 Chronicles 6:15, Ezra was brother to Jehozadak and uncle to the high priest Joshua. Ezra was deported with Zedekiah. (Bullinger)

6 This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which Yahweh Elahh of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of Yahweh his Elahh upon him.

The life of Ezra commences with this chapter. The aged scribe made the difficult journey across the deserts that separated Babylon from the city of Jerusalem. It is appropriate that these two great cities should be separated by dust and dryness: for there is a great gulf fixed between the Apostasy and the Truth. Ezra's work parallels with that of Zerubbabel, for the latter built the temple whilst the former reformed the people. So restoration follows with reformation. The purpose of Ezra's return was to "further the people, and the house of God" (ch. 8:36).

...Ezra evidently had the attention of the monarch (v. 6). Esther was in favour at this time, and might well have helped the cause (Est. 2:17-18). *

And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month - Neh 8:2.

This is the first mention of Ezra in this book. Up to now Nehemiah-the worker, the builder, the organizer-has dominated the scene. But now all the people, including Nehemiah himself, call upon Ezra to take the lead in reading and explaining the Law of God.

Ezra was a direct descendant from Aaron and appears to have been the grandson, or possibly great-grandson, of the High Priest Jehozadak, who was carried captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. He was not in the direct line of the High-Priesthood, being apparently a younger son, or son of a younger son.

(One of the "chief, or leading, priests who returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel was named Ezra, and it is a possibility that this was the same person. If so, he must have been quite young at the time of Zerubbabel, and he would be very old now-at least one hundred and twenty or one hundred and thirty).

It is a very strongly established Jewish tradition that Ezra was the instrument used by God to compile the book of Chronicles and to arrange and complete the canon of Scripture. There is no proof of this, but several facts fit in very well with it-

1. This work must have been done around this time. It could not have been earlier or later for this is the end of the historical period of the Old Testament, and the sun is descending over the prophets, leaving Israel in a darkness that was not dispelled until John came as a "shining and a burning light."

2. Ezra appears to be the most fitting and qualified for this work, and was clearly the leader in teaching the Law of God at this time.

3. Ezra had dedicated himself to-

"Seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments" 

(Ezra 7:10)

-and it was for this very purpose of teaching the Law that he had (like Nehemiah later) sought and been granted permission from the king to go with authority to Jerusalem.

4. He is spoken of in terms that appear to indicate a special relationship to the law in the sight of God, as-

"The scribe of the Law of the God of Heaven" {Ezra.7:21).

"Ready (skilled, prepared) scribe in the Law of Moses."

"The scribe of the words of the commandments of the Lord, and of His statutes to Israel" 

(Ezra 7:11). *

*Bro Growcott - Let us rise up and build

7 And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the 7th year of Artaxerxes the king.

The Levites - They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law (Deut 33:10)

Ezra must have been at least 73yrs of age if Artaxerxes is identified with Darius Hystaspes, but over 128 yrs if identified with Artaxerxes Longamanus. *

GEM - www.logos.org.au

8 And he came to Jerusalem in the 5th month, which was in the 7th year of the king.

Fifty-seven years have passed away. Now the second return under Ezra takes place.

Ezra means help. We find the name in Ebenezer, the stone of help (1 Sam. 7:12). We also would not forget Psalm 89:19, our help. Ezra went to teach the Jews God's law. He had authority to demand silver, wheat, wine, oil, and salt; for protection he must trust in God.

He did, and not in vain. In him was vested the power of life and death. The journey was long-above 500 miles, possibly 800, it depends at what point they turned into the desert. Probably at Ahava. The long, straggling caravan occupied four months on the journey. They stopped at Ahava 12 days in all, 40 Levites and 220 Nethinim were collected, and a final start made for Jerusalem.

The costly vessels were committed to the chief priests to be duly weighed and handed over when the House of God was reached. With what joy they set out, their one aim to reach the Holy City. Alas, we shall see what troubles awaited Ezra; truly they needed his "Help" very greatly. Both he and Nehemiah sacrificed themselves to the utmost for their people.

Bro C. A. Bower.

The Christadelphian, Sept 1904

13 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.

...man possesses free will, within certain limits. He cannot use his will against established conditions, but he can adapt it to them. His free will enables him to do this. He stays in the house as long as it suits his convenience: but when the house goes on fire, he leaves it quickly for the street. The Bible is one long illustration of man's possession of free will, and one long record of his use of it. It specifically recognizes his possession of it in many places: e.g. Lev. 1:3.; Num. 15:3.; Deut. 12:6

The Christadelphian, Feb 1886