Ezra 8

Listen to Ezra 8

Genealogy of Those Who Returned with Ezra

1 These are the heads of their fathers' houses, and this is the genealogy of those who went up with me from Babylonia, in the reign of Artaxerxes the king:
2 Of the sons of Phinehas, Gershom. Of the sons of 1Ithamar, Daniel. Of the sons of David, 2Hattush.
3 Of the sons of Shecaniah, who was of the sons of 3Parosh, Zechariah, with whom were registered 150 men.
4 4Of the sons of Pahath-moab, Eliehoenai the son of Zerahiah, and with him 200 men.
5 Of the sons of Zattu,[a] Shecaniah the son of Jahaziel, and with him 300 men.
6 Of the sons of Adin, Ebed the son of Jonathan, and with him 50 men.
7 Of the sons of Elam, Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah, and with him 70 men.
8 Of the sons of Shephatiah, Zebadiah the son of Michael, and with him 80 men.
9 Of the sons of Joab, Obadiah the son of Jehiel, and with him 218 men.
10 Of the sons of Bani,[b] Shelomith the son of Josiphiah, and with him 160 men.
11 5Of the sons of Bebai, Zechariah, the son of Bebai, and with him 28 men.
12 Of the sons of Azgad, Johanan the son of Hakkatan, and with him 110 men.
13 Of the sons of Adonikam, those who came later, their names being Eliphelet, Jeuel, and Shemaiah, and with them 60 men.
14 Of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai and Zaccur, and with them 70 men.

Ezra Sends for Levites

15 I gathered them to the river that runs to 6Ahava, and there we camped three days. As I reviewed the people and the priests, I found there 7none of the sons of Levi.
16 Then I sent for Eliezer, Ariel, Shemaiah, Elnathan, Jarib, Elnathan, Nathan, Zechariah, and 8Meshullam, leading men, and for Joiarib and Elnathan, who were men of insight,
17 and sent them to Iddo, the leading man at the place Casiphia, telling them what to say to Iddo and his brothers and[c] the temple servants at the place Casiphia, namely, to send us ministers for the house of our God.
18 And 9by the good hand of our God on us, they brought us a man of discretion, of the sons of 10Mahli the son of Levi, son of Israel, namely Sherebiah with his sons and kinsmen, 18;
19 also 11Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of 12the sons of Merari, with his kinsmen and their sons, 20;
20 13besides 220 of the temple servants, whom David and his officials had set apart to attend the Levites. These were all 14mentioned by name.

Fasting and Prayer for Protection

21 15Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river 16Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, 17to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods.
22 For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, 18"The hand of our God is for good on 19all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him."
23 So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.

Priests to Guard Offerings

24 Then I set apart twelve of the leading priests: 20Sherebiah, 21Hashabiah, and ten of their kinsmen with them.
25 And I weighed out to them the 22silver and the gold and the vessels, the offering for the house of our God that the king and his 23counselors and his lords and all Israel there present had offered.
26 24I weighed out into their hand 650 talents[d] of silver, and silver vessels worth 200 talents,[e] and 100 talents of gold,
27 20 bowls of gold worth 1,000 darics,[f] and two vessels of fine bright bronze as precious as gold.
28 And I said to them, 25"You are holy to the LORD, and 26the vessels are holy, and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering to the LORD, the God of your fathers.
29 Guard them and keep them until you weigh them before the chief priests and the Levites and the heads of fathers' houses in Israel at Jerusalem, 27within the chambers of the house of the LORD."
30 So the priests and the Levites 28took over the weight of the silver and the gold and the vessels, to bring them to Jerusalem, to the house of our God.
31 Then we departed from the river Ahava 29on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. 30The hand of our God was on us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambushes by the way.
32 31We came to Jerusalem, and there we remained three days.
33 On the fourth day, within the house of our God, the silver and the gold and the vessels were 32weighed into the hands of 33Meremoth the priest, son of Uriah, and with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas, and with them were the Levites, 34Jozabad the son of Jeshua and Noadiah the son of 35Binnui.
34 The whole was counted and weighed, and the weight of everything was recorded.
35 At that time 36those who had come from captivity, the returned exiles, offered burnt offerings to the God of Israel, 37twelve bulls for all Israel, ninety-six rams, seventy-seven lambs, and as a sin offering twelve male goats. All this was a burnt offering to the LORD.
36 38They also delivered the king's commissions to the king's 39satraps[g] and to the governors of the province Beyond the River, and they aided the people and the house of God.

Ezra 8 Commentary

Chapter 8

The companions of Ezra. (1-20) Ezra implores God's blessing. (21-23) Treasures committed to the priests. (24-30) Ezra arrives at Jerusalem. (31-36)

Verses 1-20 Ezra assembles the outcasts of Israel, and the dispersed of Judah. God raised up the spirits of a small remnant to accompany him. What a pity that good men should omit a good work, for want of being spoken to!

Verses 21-23 Ezra procured Levites to go with him; but what will that avail, unless he have God with him? Those who seek God, are safe under the shadow of his wings, even in their greatest dangers; but those who forsake him, are always exposed. When entering upon any new state of life, our care should be, to bring none of the guilt of the sins of our former condition into it. When we are in any peril, let us be at peace with God, and then nothing can do us any real hurt. All our concerns about ourselves, our families, and our estates, it is our wisdom and duty, by prayer to commit to God, and to leave the care of them with him. And, on some occasions, we should decline advantages which are within our reach, lest we should cause others to stumble, and so our God be dishonoured. Let us ask wisdom of God, that we may know how to use or to refuse lawful things. We shall be no losers by venturing, suffering, or giving up for the Lord's sake. Their prayers were answered, and the event declared it. Never have any that sought God in earnest, found that they sought him in vain. In times of difficulty and danger, to set a season apart for secret or for social prayer, is the best method for relief we can take.

Verses 24-30 Do we expect that God should, by his providence, keep that which belongs to us, let us, by his grace, keep that which belongs to him. Let God's honour and interest be our care; and then we may expect that our lives and comforts will be his.

Verses 31-36 Enemies laid wait for the Jews, but God protected them. Even the common perils of journeys, call us to go out with prayer, and to return with praise and thanksgiving. But what shall we render when the Lord has led us safely through the pilgrimage of life, through the gloomy vale of death, out of the reach of all our enemies, into everlasting happiness! Among their sacrifices they had a sin-offering. The atonement sweetens and secures every mercy to us, which will not be truly comfortable, unless sin be taken away, and our peace made with God. Then had the church rest. The expressions here used, direct us to the deliverance of sinners from spiritual bondage, and their pilgrimage to the heavenly Jerusalem, under the care and protection of their God and Saviour.

Cross References 39

Footnotes 7

  • [a]. Septuagint; Hebrew lacks of Zattu
  • [b]. Septuagint; Hebrew lacks Bani
  • [c]. Hebrew lacks and
  • [d]. A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms
  • [e]. Revocalization; the number is missing in the Masoretic Text
  • [f]. A daric was a coin weighing about 1/4 ounce or 8.5 grams
  • [g]. A satrap was a Persian official

Chapter Summary


In this chapter we are told who and how many went up with Ezra to Jerusalem, Ezr 8:1-14, the gathering of them together at a river, from whence he sent to Babylon for Levites to come to him, who did, Ezr 8:15-20, the proclaiming a fast for a safe and prosperous journey, Ezr 8:21-23, the delivery of the vessels and money given him into the hands of priests, to take the care and charge thereof, Ezr 8:24-30, their safe arrival at Jerusalem, where they deposited the gifts in the temple, offered sacrifices to God, and delivered the king's commissions to his lieutenants and governors, Ezr 8:31-36.

Ezra 8 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.