Ezra 7:12

12 “From Artaxerxes, the king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the teacher of the law of the God of heaven. Greetings.

Ezra 7:12 Meaning and Commentary

Ezra 7:12

Artaxerxes, king of kings
Having many kings and kingdoms subject and tributary to him; for this was not merely a proud haughty title which the eastern kings F16 assumed, particularly the Persians; for after Cyrus they were so in fact, who took this title also, and had it put on his sepulchral monument,

``Here I lie, Cyrus, king of kings F17;''

this title was given to Grecian kings, particularly Agamemnon is called king of kings F18, he being general at the siege of Troy, under whom the rest of the kings fought; if this was Darius Hystaspis, of him Cyrus dreamed that he had wings on his shoulders, with one he covered Asia, and with the other Europe F19:

unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven;
of which titles see ( Ezra 7:11 ) :

perfect [peace], and at such a time;
the word "perfect" belongs to Ezra's title as a scribe, signifying that he was a most learned and complete scribe or teacher of the law of God; "peace" is not in the text, and the phrase "at such a time" respects the date of the letter, though not expressed, or is only an "et cetera", (See Gill on Ezra 4:10).


F16 See the Universal History, vol. 5. p. 16, 137. & vol. 11. p. 7, 8. margin, & p. 66.
F17 Strabo, Geograph. l. 15. p. 502.
F18 Vell. Patercul. Hist. Roman. l. 1. in initio.
F19 Herodot. Clio, sive, l. 1. c. 209.

Ezra 7:12 In-Context

10 This was because Ezra had determined to study and obey the Law of the LORD and to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel.
11 King Artaxerxes had given a copy of the following letter to Ezra, the priest and scribe who studied and taught the commands and decrees of the LORD to Israel:
12 “From Artaxerxes, the king of kings, to Ezra the priest, the teacher of the law of the God of heaven. Greetings.
13 “I decree that any of the people of Israel in my kingdom, including the priests and Levites, may volunteer to return to Jerusalem with you.
14 I and my council of seven hereby instruct you to conduct an inquiry into the situation in Judah and Jerusalem, based on your God’s law, which is in your hand.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. The original text of 7:12-26 is in Aramaic.
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