Sermons

Wed, May 02, 2018

Ezra 5-7

Coming back to Jerusalem under an edict of King Cyrus to go and rebuild the temple, first rebuilding the altar so they could make sacrifices to God. We are looking at the events surrounding the return of the jewish nation back to Jerusalem after their captivity in Babylon. At this time the Babylonians had been conquered by the Medes and the Persians and Cyrus, king of Persia is now in power. The book of Ezra is a lesson in restoration. There is always a pathway. Be it an individual or a church.
Series:Ezra
Duration:52 mins 55 secs

Ezra Chapters 5-7

 

Ezra Chapter 5

 

Coming back to Jerusalem under an edict of King Cyrus to go and rebuild the temple, first rebuilding the altar so they could make sacrifices to God. 

 

We are looking at the events surrounding the return of the jewish nation back to Jerusalem after their captivity in Babylon. At this time the Babylonians had been conquered by the Medes and the Persians and Cyrus, king of Persia is now in power. 

 

The book of Ezra is a lesson in restoration. There is always a pathway. Be it an individual or a church. 

 

1. Longing

2. Rebuiding the altar of Christ

3. Rebuilding the church to the things the church is called to do

4. Adversity both internal and external.  

 

The people got discouraged and left off from building for about 20 years now here in chapter 5. 

 

God raises up two men to speak to the nation

 

Haggai begins prophesying in August of 520 BC until December 

Zechariah a young priest steps into the ministry of the prophet and prophesies beginning in October lasting over 4 years and as he does the work of the Lord begins again.

 

God has always used men to bring the word of God to the people and each time the work of God begins again. The church throughout history has become bogged down with lethergy and apathy and God has always raised up men to bring the people back. 

 

The people had lost sight of the big picture. How is God going to bless you when the best part of your life is spent on the wrong things. You have forgotten who has redeemed you. The reason you are not prospering is because you aren’t doing the things God is blessing. God is always blessing something somewhere. Come to the fountain! 

 

 

We must never forget, God is more interested in the Servant than He is the service. 

 

The Word of God begins to be spoken. As the Word of God is spoken the people are built up and as the people are built up the work goes up too. 

 

Ezra focuses on the external condition where as the prophet Zechariah and Haggai focus on the heart, the internal condition of the people being . 

 

The name Zechariah means “The Lord Remembers and is so fitting. God never forgets His promises. 

 

 

 

Ezra Chapter 5

 

1  Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. 

 

Haggai and Zechariah are the first words of a prophet since Jeremiah then when will come Malachi and then after 400 years John the Baptist…

 

Its been 15-16 years since the work of the temple had stopped…

 

In Haggai 1:2-10 we see that the prophet rebuked the people for their attitude towards the building of the temple. They said, “The time has not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.” In saying this, the people made their excuse sound spiritual. They couldn’t speak against the idea of building the temple, so they spoke against it’s timing. “It isn’t God’s timing to rebuild the temple.”

 

 

Haggai 1:1-9 

1  In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying, 

2  "Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: 'This people says, "The time has not come, the time that the LORD'S house should be built." ' " 

3  Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 

4  "Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?" 

5  Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: "Consider your ways! 

6  "You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes." 

7  Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Consider your ways! 

8  Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified," says the LORD. 

9  "You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?" says the LORD of hosts. "Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house. 

 

 

Zechariah 4:6-7  

6  So he answered and said to me: "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the LORD of hosts. 

7  'Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone With shouts of "Grace, grace to it!" ' " 

 

 

 

2  So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them. 

 

Everybody is helping out!

 

The Word of God always accomplishes His purpose in our lives. The word builds up, stirs up, and lifts us up…

 

The word of the Lord is “get back to work”… Are you discouraged? Don’t quit, trust God and get back to work. 

 

What was the message? We will study it more next week but let me suffice it to say the prophets message was, “Finish the work God has called you to do.” 

 

Within 4 years the temple was completed and dedicated as we read in chapter 6. 

 

3  At the same time Tattenai the governor of the region beyond the River and Shethar-Boznai and their companions came to them and spoke thus to them: "Who has commanded you to build this temple and finish this wall?" 

 

This was the man appointed by the King of Persia to govern the province that included Judea. He and his companions wanted to know why the work of building both the temple and the wall had resumed.

 

4  Then, accordingly, we told them the names of the men who were constructing this building.

 

He asks two questions. 1. Who gave you permission? What are your names? The Jews gave the information. 

 

5  But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, so that they could not make them cease till a report could go to Darius. Then a written answer was returned concerning this matter. 

 

This time they stand firm in their conviction to continue to work. 

 

6  This is a copy of the letter that Tattenai sent: The governor of the region beyond the River, and Shethar-Boznai, and his companions, the Persians who were in the region beyond the River, to Darius the king. 

 

A copy of the letter that Tattenai sent: As a good administrator, Tattenai not only sent a letter to Darius, he also preserved a copy that made its way into Ezra’s record.

 

7  (They sent a letter to him, in which was written thus) To Darius the king: All peace. 

8  Let it be known to the king that we went into the province of Judea, to the temple of the great God, which is being built with heavy stones, and timber is being laid in the walls; and this work goes on diligently and prospers in their hands.

 

In this letter, Tattenai seems to fairly recount the situation from his perspective. Without prejudice or malice he explains the matter to King Darius.

 

The heavy stones perhaps aroused suspicion in Tattenai; they made him wonder if the Jews were building a temple or a fortress.

 

9  Then we asked those elders, and spoke thus to them: "Who commanded you to build this temple and to finish these walls?" 

10  We also asked them their names to inform you, that we might write the names of the men who were chief among them. 

11  And thus they returned us an answer, saying: "We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and completed. (Solomon)

12  But because our fathers provoked the God of heaven to wrath, He gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this temple and carried the people away to Babylon.

 

This an accurate description of their history without revision…

 

13  However, in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, King Cyrus issued a decree to build this house of God. 

14  Also, the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple that was in Jerusalem and carried into the temple of Babylon--those King Cyrus took from the temple of Babylon, and they were given to one named Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor. Is this Babylonian name for Zerubbabel? 

15  And he said to him, 'Take these articles; go, carry them to the temple site that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be rebuilt on its former site.' This was King Cyrus. 

16  Then the same Sheshbazzar came and laid the foundation of the house of God which is in Jerusalem; but from that time even until now it has been under construction, and it is not finished." 

17  Now therefore, if it seems good to the king, let a search be made in the king's treasure house, which is there in Babylon, whether it is so that a decree was issued by King Cyrus to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send us his pleasure concerning this matter. 

 

Respectfully, Tattenai asked King Darius to research the matter, to determine if the rebuilding of temple and Jerusalem was royally sanctioned.

 

God turns the hearts of Kings as He pleases. 

 

Ezra 6

 

1  Then King Darius issued a decree, and a search was made in the archives, where the treasures were stored in Babylon. 

2  And at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of Media, a scroll was found, and in it a record was written thus: Achmetha is the Capital of the Medes 300 miles north east of Babylon. They were under the Medo-Persian empire.  

 

3  In the first year of King Cyrus, King Cyrus issued a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem: "Let the house be rebuilt, the place where they offered sacrifices; and let the foundations of it be firmly laid, its height sixty cubits and its width sixty cubits, 90’ high and 90’ wide. More detail that we didn’t read in chapter 1. 

 

4  with three rows of heavy stones and one row of new timber. Let the expenses be paid from the king's treasury. 

 

Government funds!

 

5  Also let the gold and silver articles of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple which is in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and taken back to the temple which is in Jerusalem, each to its place; and deposit them in the house of God"-- 

 

King Darius responds very plainly…

 

6  Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the region beyond the River, and Shethar-Boznai, and your companions the Persians who are beyond the River, keep yourselves far from there. 

7  Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God on its site. 

 

Leave them alone, get out of the way, and if they run short take money from the IRS to support the work there.

 

He takes it further. Don’t just stay out of the way but also assist them. I am going to do more than Cyrus decreed. 

 

A little miracle… when government wants to give to the work of God. They didn’t file for grant money. 

 

8  Moreover I issue a decree as to what you shall do for the elders of these Jews, for the building of this house of God: Let the cost be paid at the king's expense from taxes on the region beyond the River; this is to be given immediately to these men, so that they are not hindered. 

 

He was told to take tax money and rebuild the temple… That would be so awesome. God collects money through the IRS to build churches. 

 

 

9  And whatever they need--young bulls, rams, and lambs for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the request of the priests who are in Jerusalem--let it be given them day by day without fail, 

10  that they may offer sacrifices of sweet aroma to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and his sons. 

 

The king has an ulterior motive… pray for me… let me find favor in the sight of the God of Israel. 

 

11  Also I issue a decree that whoever alters this edict, let a timber be pulled from his house and erected, and let him be hanged on it; and let his house be made a refuse heap because of this. 

 

This is beyond crucifixion. They empaled them with a wooden pole and let them to rot.

 

12  And may the God who causes His name to dwell there destroy any king or people who put their hand to alter it, or to destroy this house of God which is in Jerusalem. I Darius issue a decree; let it be done diligently. 

 

The kings heart is in His hand and He turns it however He pleases. Darius and Cyrus were powerful kings who had million man armies at their disposal and yet God turns them as He wills. 

 

God never sleeps nor slumbers. Everything happens according to God’s time table. 

 

13  Then Tattenai, governor of the region beyond the River, Shethar-Boznai, and their companions diligently did according to what King Darius had sent. 

14  So the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the command of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. 

15  Now the temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar (February-March), which was in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. 

 

They finished building the temple 21 years after they started the work

Its been 4 1/2 years since Haggai and Zechariah began prophesying. 

 

The time now is the end of 515- and the beginning of 516 B.C.  

Its been 70 years since the temple has been torn down in 586 B.C. with the delays and all.

 

16  Then the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites and the rest of the descendants of the captivity, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. 

17  And they offered sacrifices at the dedication of this house of God, one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and as a sin offering for all Israel twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. 

 

There are no lost tribes. When the northern tribes were carried away into captivity by the Assyrians they were eventually overthrow by the Babylonians who then were overthrown by the Mede’s and the Persians so when Cyrus gives the decree to return and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, everyone who wanted to go and those with whom the Lord promoted to go went. All the tribes are represented. 

 

God doesn’t lose tribes, He doesn’t lose people… 

 

712 animals were sacrificed here

Solomon sacrificed 142,000 animals were sacrificed. 

22,000 oxen

120,000 sheep and goats

 

 

 

18  They assigned the priests to their divisions and the Levites to their divisions, over the service of God in Jerusalem, as it is written in the Book of Moses. 

 

They paid attention to the Word of God because they understood how they 

 

Chapter 4:6 verse all the way to verse 18 of chapter 6 were written in Aramaic because Ezra switched to the language of government 

 

Here he switches back to Hebrew. 900 years since the first Passover. 

 

19  And the descendants of the captivity kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. 

 

This doesn’t happen without a miracle. Captivity and Passover

 

20  For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves; all of them were ritually clean. And they slaughtered the Passover lambs for all the descendants of the captivity, for their brethren the priests, and for themselves. 

 

They separated themselves… true unity is built around holiness, those who come out from the carnality of the world. The church of Corinth was a mess because they lacked holiness. The people were unified.  

 

21  Then the children of Israel who had returned from the captivity ate together with all who had separated themselves from the filth of the nations of the land in order to seek the LORD God of Israel. 

 

Malachi and John the Baptist are the only Old Testament prophets that come after Haggai and Zechariah.

 

22  And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy; for the LORD made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel. 

 

Imagine the Fathers telling their children about the bread, the bitter water, the roasted lamb. 

 

Leaven is representative of sin, of defilement. They were separating themselves from the world and seeking God. 

 

God made them joyful… they didn’t have the ark of the covenant and no Shekinah glory. None of those things were noted but God was pleased  

 

Psalm 126

 

 

1  When the LORD brought back the captivity of Zion, We were like those who dream. 

2  Then our mouth was filled with laughter, And our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them." 

3  The LORD has done great things for us, And we are glad. 

4  Bring back our captivity, O LORD, As the streams in the South. 

5  Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy. 

6  He who continually goes forth weeping, Bearing seed for sowing, Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, Bringing his sheaves with him.

 

 

Ezra 7 


After 6 chapters Ezra comes on the scene. The year is 458 B.C. Its at least 60 years after the Jews first returned to Jerusalem. Ezra lead a second expedition from Babylon to Jerusalem to help strengthen the struggling colonists. 

 

 

1 Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah,
2 the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub,
3 the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth,
4 the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki,
5 the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest--

 

Not just 60 years have passed but 60 largely uneventful years have passed between Ezra chapter 6 and chapter 7. The ruler of Persia at the end of that period was Artaxerxes, who is also known to history as Artaxerxes Longimanus, the successor to Xerxes, the king who married Esther. 

 

The events that we read about in the Book of Esther took place between Ezra 6 and 7.

 

 
6 this Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given. The king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him. 

 

 

In his commentary on Ezra, David Guzik points out…

 

“To us a scribe sounds like a glorified secretary, someone who simply writes. That is not the idea of this description of Ezra. For the Jewish culture of that day, a skilled scribe was an expert in the Law of Moses, someone who was like a highly trained lawyer in the word of God.

 

“In his case it is emphasized by the word skilled, or literally ‘rapid’ (cf. Psalm 45:1) – suggesting a quickness of grasp and ease of movement amid this complex material which was the fruit of the devoted study described in verse 10.” (Kidner)

 

Scribes were important and influential, and one might say that they had three main duties: 1. to preserve the Word of God, 2. to teach the Word of God, 3. and to administrate the Word of God (in the sense of interpreting and applying it).

 

 


7 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.
8 And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.
9 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.
10 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. 

 

Ezra is a model of what a man or woman can do to prepare themselves for the work of the Lord… Guard your heart, be ready in and out of season. Seek God with all your heart. 

 

Determine in advance to not just study the Word of God but to act on what the Lord reveals to you. 

 

Be open and available to teach God’s Word to others. Help them learn to listen to God by being obedient to the Lord.

 

Ezra was a good helper. His name actually means “Help”. 

 


11 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:

 

From verse 11 here in chapter 7 all the way to verse 14 of chapter 8 we read of how king Artaxerxes almost half blindly aides in accomplishing God’s plans for His people. God can use anyone, willingly or unwillingly to achieve His purposes.

 

 
12 Artaxerxes, king of kings, To Ezra the priest, a scribe of the Law of the God of heaven: Perfect peace, and so forth.
13 I issue a decree that all those of the people of Israel and the priests and Levites in my realm, who volunteer to go up to Jerusalem, may go with you. 

 

This second group of Jews coming from Babylon back to Jerusalem with Ezra is 1,700.

 

It took them 4 months to make the roughly 900 mile journey. The direct route was about 500 miles but the travelers would have followed the Euphrates River which would have added the additional miles. 

 

Artaxerxes financed the entire mission trip. You have to love how God provides for His Work. 

 

13 years from now this same king, Artaxerxes will authorize Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Not all pagan kings were evil towards the Jews as we see Cyrus and Darius and Artaxerxes all showed favor to the Jews.  

 
14 And whereas you are being sent by the king and his seven counselors to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, with regard to the Law of your God which is in your hand;
15 and whereas you are to carry the silver and gold which the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel, whose dwelling is in Jerusalem;
16 and whereas all the silver and gold that you may find in all the province of Babylon, along with the freewill offering of the people and the priests, are to be freely offered for the house of their God in Jerusalem--
17 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.
18 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.
19 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.
20 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.
21 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,
22 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.
23 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?

 

Artaxerxes motive was simple. He didn’t want to upset the gods of the people and the territory he conquered and make life miserable for he and his family. The concept of coexisting isn’t new. The pagan kings of the Persian Empire were practicing it 1000’s of years ago. 

 
24 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. 

 

 

Tax exempt status for those doing the work of the Lord. 

 


25 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. 

 

Quite a compliment the king gives Ezra here. The king recognizes Ezra’s love for the Word of God. 


26 Whoever will not observe the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily on him, whether it be death, or banishment, or confiscation of goods, or imprisonment. 

 

Artaxerxes gave Ezra the authority to practice corporal punishment if needed. 


27 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, 

 

Ezra recognized that this kind of broad favor had to come by the hand of the Lord God. 

 

(Proverbs 21:1) “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.” 


28 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. 

 

Ezra was encouraged not as much by the favor of the king to support the work he had been called to do but rather that the hand of God was upon him. Life doesn’t get any better than that than to know God is with you. 

 

Ezra 8

 

 

1  These are the heads of their fathers' houses, and this is the genealogy of those who went up with me from Babylon, in the reign of King Artaxerxes: 

2  of the sons of Phinehas, Gershom; of the sons of Ithamar, Daniel; of the sons of David, Hattush; 

3  of the sons of Shecaniah, of the sons of Parosh, Zechariah; and registered with him were one hundred and fifty males; 

4  of the sons of Pahath-Moab, Eliehoenai the son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred males; 

5  of the sons of Shechaniah, Ben-Jahaziel, and with him three hundred males; 

6  of the sons of Adin, Ebed the son of Jonathan, and with him fifty males; 

7  of the sons of Elam, Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah, and with him seventy males; 

8  of the sons of Shephatiah, Zebadiah the son of Michael, and with him eighty males; 

9  of the sons of Joab, Obadiah the son of Jehiel, and with him two hundred and eighteen males; 

10  of the sons of Shelomith, Ben-Josiphiah, and with him one hundred and sixty males; 

11  of the sons of Bebai, Zechariah the son of Bebai, and with him twenty-eight males; 

12  of the sons of Azgad, Johanan the son of Hakkatan, and with him one hundred and ten males; 

13  of the last sons of Adonikam, whose names are these--Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah--and with them sixty males; 

14  also of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai and Zabbud, and with them seventy males. 

15  Now I gathered them by the river that flows to Ahava, and we camped there three days. And I looked among the people and the priests, and found none of the sons of Levi there. 

16  Then I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and Meshullam, leaders; also for Joiarib and Elnathan, men of understanding. 

17  And I gave them a command for Iddo the chief man at the place Casiphia, and I told them what they should say to Iddo and his brethren the Nethinim at the place Casiphia--that they should bring us servants for the house of our God. 

18  Then, 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, namely Sherebiah, with his sons and brothers, eighteen men; 

19  and Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, his brothers and their sons, twenty men; 

20  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. 

21  Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions. 

22  For I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we 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." 

23  So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer. 

24  And I separated twelve of the leaders of the priests--Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them-- 

25  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. 

26  I weighed into their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, silver articles weighing one hundred talents, one hundred talents of gold, 

27  twenty gold basins worth a thousand drachmas, and two vessels of fine polished bronze, precious as gold. 

28  And I 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. 

29  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." 

30  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. 

31  Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. And the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambush along the road. 

32  So we came to Jerusalem, and stayed there three days. 

33  Now on the fourth day the silver and the gold and the articles were 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 were the Levites, Jozabad the son of Jeshua and Noadiah the son of Binnui, 

34  with the number and weight of everything. All the weight was written down at that time. 

35  The children of those who had been carried away captive, who had come from the captivity, offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel: twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and twelve male goats as a sin offering. All this was a burnt offering to the LORD. 

36  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. 

 

 

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