In Ezra 7:1-10 and Ezra 8:1-14, we see that King Artaxerxes I allows Ezra to return to Jerusalem (the year is 457 B.C). and to take with him anyone who would like to return. Not much is known about the relationship between the king and Ezra, or whether Ezra worked for the court. Ezra 8 lists the heads of the families of those who returned, starting with the priestly returnees, followed by the royal line, and ending with the general Jewish population.
Twelve families are named specifically, giving the impression that this is a deliberate reminder of the twelve tribes of Israel.
The passage lists about 1,500 men, which would approximate 5,000 to 6,000 total, counting women and children. This was a much smaller group than the first group that had returned with Zerubbabel and Joshua.
Read Ezra 7:1-10. What does it teach us about Ezra?
Ezra is a scribe with a priestly legacy. As a priest, he is a descendant of Aaron, the brother of Moses, who was the first priest of the nation of Israel. Due to the accounts recorded in Ezra, as well as in Jewish tradition, Ezra’s name stands very high even today. Whether Ezra served as a scribe in the court of King Artaxerxes is not known; thus, this description of Ezra as a scribe either refers to his previous responsibilities or to his abilities, which he begins to use after his arrival in Judah. However, Ezra must have worked for Artaxerxes in some close capacity in order for the king to send him out as the leader of the expedition.
In Ezra 7:6 and Ezra 7:10, Ezra is labeled as a “skilled” and “devoted” scribe or teacher. The word “skilled” literally means “rapid”, connoting someone who is quick in comprehension and mental maneuvering of information. Ezra had a quick mind — he was known for his knowledge and mental astuteness regarding the Law of God. Moreover, the fact that the king chose Ezra to bring a group of Israelites to Judah is a testament to Ezra’s courage and leadership abilities.
|Notice, Ezra prepared his heart to seek “the law of the LORD” (Ezra 7:10). How would we apply that principle to our own lives now?|