Ezra 8:1-23


Verse 1-14, These are now the chief of their fathers, and this is the genealogy of them that went up with me from Babylon, in the reign of Artaxerxes the king. {2} Of the sons of Phinehas; Gershom: of the sons of Ithamar; Daniel: of the sons of David; Hattush. {3} Of the sons of Shechaniah, of the sons of Pharosh; Zechariah: and with him were reckoned by genealogy of the males an hundred and fifty. {4} Of the sons of Pahathmoab; Elihoenai the son of Zerahiah, and with him two hundred males. {5} Of the sons of Shechaniah; the son of Jahaziel, and with him three hundred males. {6} Of the sons also of Adin; Ebed the son of Jonathan, and with him fifty males. {7} And of the sons of Elam; Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah, and with him seventy males. {8} And of the sons of Shephatiah; Zebadiah the son of Michael, and with him fourscore males. {9} Of the sons of Joab; Obadiah the son of Jehiel, and with him two hundred and eighteen males. {10} And of the sons of Shelomith; the son of Josiphiah, and with him an hundred and threescore males. {11} And of the sons of Bebai; Zechariah the son of Bebai, and with him twenty and eight males. {12}  And of the sons of Azgad; Johanan the son of Hakkatan, and with him an hundred and ten males. {13}  And of the last sons of Adonikam, whose names are these, Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah, and with them threescore males. {14}  Of the sons also of Bigvai; Uthai, and Zabbud, and with them seventy males.

I.    These people may mean nothing to us, but they should.

A.  They are recorded in the Bible for a reason.

1.   We shouldn't read quickly over these names, for there are lessons to learn from these people.

2.   We never get to the "meat of the Word" because we read our Bibles in haste, overlooking many very valuable points.

B.   These names show us the faithfulness of families in the Bible.



(As shown in Ezra chapter 2 and in Ezra chapter 8)



Ezra 8 verse:

Ezra 2 verse:

# 1.




# 2.




# 3.




# 4.




# 5.




# 6.




# 7.




# 8.




# 9.








Ezra 8 verse:

# 1.



# 2.



# 3.



# 4.

Shechaniah (son of Pharosh)


# 5.

Shechaniah (son of Jahaziel)


# 6.




1.   The above chart shows us the Godly influence of believers on their own families.

2.   The above chart also shows us the Godly influence a family of believers can have on other families.

3.   We must also note that there were a total of 39 families, cities, or locations mentioned in Ezra chapter 2.

a.   There were 9 families that responded to Ezra's invitation to go to Jerusalem.

b.   This means there were 30 families, locations, or cities that didn't respond to Ezra's invitation to go to Jerusalem.

C.   Verse 13, the last sons of Adonikam.

1.   Some commentaries state that the sons of Adonikam were the last to present themselves at Ahava.

a.   This presents them as lazy.

b.   Or maybe that they didn't care a lot about going.

2.   I believe the opposite is true.

a.   The sons of Adonikam were the last of his sons to leave Babylon.

b.   If this is true, then all of Adonikam's family will be at Jerusalem.

c.   This is the only family mentioned whose members are all in Jerusalem.


II.   There was a total of 1,714 men who gathered at the river Ahava.

A.  I think it is logical to assume that most of these men brought their wives and children with them.

1.   If every man has one wife and two children, this would bring the total number to 5,142.

2.   There were probably more people than this.

B.   It is amazing that all of the Jews didn't leave Babylon for the promised land.

1.   Many of the Jews probably were very comfortable where they were, and didn't want to go to all the trouble a move would take.

2.   Some of the Jews were probably too old to make the trip.


Verse 15,  And I gathered them together to the river that runneth to Ahava; 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.

I.    Ezra appointed a place to meet.

A.  This small well known river running to the city Ahava, is probably on the west side of Babylon.

1.   Ahava is located about 80 miles north west of Babylon on the Euphrates River.

2.   There must have been a fairly good place for 5,000 people to camp.

3.   Everybody would know where the river was.

4.   The place was far enough away from Babylon that all who came there would be determined to go all the way to Jerusalem.

5.   This wasn't a place for temporary travelers, or visitors.

6.   All good-byes have already been said.

B.   Ezra 7:9 declares that Ezra left for Jerusalem on the first day of the first month.

1.   Ezra 8:31 clarifies Ezra 7:9 by stating that the actual departure date was the twelfth day of the first month.

2.   Traveling to Jerusalem - What a marvelous way to start out a new year!!

3.   Preparation for the departure day began some days before.

C.   It might be assumed that Ezra didn't take the Passover that year.

1.   There is no record of what he did.

2.   It could just as readily be assumed that he did take the Passover after traveling 14 days.

3.   They probably waited until the proper time, next year, at Jerusalem to take the Passover.


II.   The purpose of waiting three days.

A.  So everybody that wanted to go would have time to get there.

B.   So Ezra would have time to find out who was there.

1.   He is responsible to God and Artaxerxes for the people.

2.   He will have time to divide duties to responsible people.


III. What is the difference between a priest and a Levi?

A.  A priest is always a Levite.

1.   A priest is a special people called out of the Levitical tribe.

2.   Some of the Levites could not serve as priest because of some physical, mental, or spiritual deformity.

3.   Some of the Levites would be women or children, therefore could not serve as a priest.

B.   Why didn't the Levi's come?

1.   There is no way to tell because the Bible doesn't say.

2.   It is possible they wanted to be asked.

a.   It would be terrible to have to ask a Levite to do what God expected him to do.

b.   Some church members are like this, having to be asked to do what they ought to do without having to be asked.

c.   It is always good to be an encouragement to those that have to be asked.

d.   We might get tired of having to ask all the time, but God hasn't gotten tired of asking us to continue serving us.

3.   It is possible they were already involved in the service of God to those Jews remaining in Babylon.

a.   There were already some Levites in Jerusalem.

b.   The Jews remaining in Babylon needed some Levites to guide them in true worship.

4.   It is important to notice that as soon at the Levites understood they were needed, they decided to go.


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

I.    Of the Jews gathered at Ahava, Ezra sent 11 men to get the Levites.

A.  Nine of these men are said to be chief men (leaders).

B.   Two of the men are said to be men of understanding.

C.   It is interesting to note that they went together.

1.   The chief men (leaders) understood that they needed men of understanding who were not chief men.

2.   The men of understanding were willing to go even if they weren't chief men (leaders).


II.   Why did Ezra sent these 11 men?

A.  Why didn't he go himself?

1.   He had other things to do in order to prepare for the journey.

2.   It is never really good for one person to do everything.

B.   Delegation of authority and responsibility are necessary in any well run organization.

1.   Ezra gives his authority and responsibility to these 11 men.

2.   They are able to understand the need and fill in the gap.


Verse 17,  And I sent them with commandment unto Iddo the chief 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.

I.    Ezra goes to the top.

A.  Casiphia.

1.   Casiphia means silver.

2.   There is really no way to know where this place is or what goes on there.

3.   It does seem reasonable to believe that there were many Levites there.

4.   It probably wasn't very far away because the Jews leave for Jerusalem in just 9 days.

B.   He sends to Iddo, the chief at Casiphia.

1.   Iddo is probably a Levi who is over other Levites who live at Casiphia.

2.   Ezra will not ask this man to give an order to the Levites to leave their city, for they must leave of their own free will.

3.   Iddo will simply give the necessary information to the Levites and they will make up their own minds.


II.   What the 11 will say.

A.  There is no record of the exact words.

B.   The gist of the conversation is to cause the Levites to be ministers for the house of our God.


III. Who the 11 will speak to.

A.  They must speak to Iddo, who will speak to the Levites and Nethinims.

B.   They must persuade them in spiritual matters.

1.   Show them the necessity of the matter.

2.   Show them the urgency of the matter.


Verse 18-20,  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 Sherebiah, with his sons and his brethren, eighteen; {19} And Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, his brethren and their sons, twenty; {20} 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.

I.    Ezra gives God the glory for the work of the 11 men.

A.  It may be the energy of men that gets the job done, but it is God who gives the energy.

B.   May God help us to give Him the glory for the good we do, and take the blame for the wickedness we do.


II.   The Levities that come.

A.  Note the following chart.



Man of Understanding












B.   The Levites that come.

1.   There doesn't seem to be a name given to the man of understanding, but his genealogy is given.

2.   Of the other Levites there were only 39 that showed up.

3.   It would seem there would be more Levites than that.

4.   Sometimes preachers don't do what they ought to do.

5.   I know some preachers that join a church, hold the title "preacher", but never preach.

6.   I have heard these preachers called "jack leg preachers", because they, like the wooden leg, didn't have any life in them.

C.   The Nethinims that come.

1.   They don't have as "important" a job in the temple service as the others.

2.   But they are there to do that job.

3.   Oftentimes, those people that seem less "important" to worship are those people that are the most faithful.

4.   We don't want to forget, however, that they still have to be asked, when they should have volunteered.


Verse 21-22, Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right 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 them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.

I.    The purpose of the fast.

A.  Ezra would have to inform all the people of the circumstances so they would understand.

B.   Afflict themselves.

1.   This doesn't mean they cut themselves, and cried a lot.

2.   It means they opened their hearts to God, showing Him their weakness, and total dependency upon Him.

3.   It wasn't necessarily an emotional time, except that those emotions were stirred by their spiritual longing for God's revealed hand upon them.

C.   Who is the enemy Ezra speaks about?

1.   There is no mention of who the enemy is.

2.   I believe Ezra is thinking ahead to all of the evil possibilities that may come upon them as they travel.


II.   Why is Ezra ashamed?

A.  There must have been a conversation between Ezra and Artaxerxes about protection on the journey.

1.   There must have been several conversations between Ezra and Artaxerxes because he understands that the Jews are God's chosen people and that God protects those that protect the Jews, Ezra 7:23.

2.   In these conversations Ezra must have bragged about the abilities of his God to protect those that serve Him.

B.   Ezra is not ashamed of his God, but is ashamed to tell Artaxerxes that he isn't sure God will protect them on this journey.

1.   This is the same thing as admitting either that God isn't able to protect those that serve Him, or that Ezra and his companions aren't serving God.

2.   This will force Ezra and his companions to depend totally on God.


III. Ezra didn't brag about his strength, but the strength of His God.

A.  Some might speak against this bragging, for it could get Ezra into trouble.

B.   The truth of the matter is that his bragging caused him to trust God even the more and to understand more of God's strength than ever before.

C.   This is called "growing in grace, and faith".


IV. Nobody spoke against Ezra because of his words, but gathered around him, helping him pray for victory.

A.  What a marvelous thing it is for all of these people to worship God together and to see the power of God revealed to them together during the long 4 month trip to Jerusalem.

B.   They suffered no harm in all those days because God watched over them.


V.  This is different from the Jews that came out of Egypt.

A.  They murmured and complained against God and Moses at every turn, and died in the wilderness because of their complaining.

B.   These Jews receive the victory of a safe trip to Jerusalem and obtaining the promises of God because of their belief and trust in God and Ezra.


Verse 23, So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was entreated of us.

I.    James 5:16, The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.


II.   True fasting is internal (spiritual), as well as external (physical).

A.  When a person is really fasting, nobody knows they are doing it.

B.   In this case, since all the people were fasting, they would necessarily know what the other person was doing.

C.   This did not remove from the purity of fasting, but rather confirmed to each person that they were together in their request to God.


III. God saw their fasting and heard their prayer.

A.  We must notice that they received assurance that God was with them before they ever left Ahava.

B.   This is not walking by sight, for they couldn't physically see what lay ahead of them.

C.   They were walking by faith because they were trusting God to supply for them the safety they couldn't see by sight.