Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava
After the messengers to Iddo were returned with those they brought with them:
that we might afflict ourselves before our God;
humble themselves before him for their sins, confess them, and declare their repentance of them, and ask forgiveness for them:
to seek of him a right way for us;
to take from thence towards Jerusalem, to be directed by him in it: either by a prophet, or by a vision in a dream, as Eben Ezra; or rather by the guidance of his providence; this they sought in prayer by the river side, where it had been usual with them, and since has been, to perform religious exercises, see ( Ezekiel 1:1 ) ( 3:15 ) ( Acts 16:13 ) , hence Tertullian F26 calls the prayers of the Jews "orationes littorales"; they sought not so much which was the shortest and easiest way for them to travel in, as which was the safest:
and for our little ones and for all our substance;
for the safe conveyance of them; this shows, that though males only are numbered, as before, yet they had their wives and children with them; for little ones cannot be supposed without women to take care of them.