King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Ezra 7

Ezra goes up to Jerusalem. (1-10) The commission to Ezra. (11-26) Ezra blesses God for his favour. (27,28)

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Ezra goes up to Jerusalem

1 Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah,

2 The son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub,

3 The son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth,

4 The son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki,

5 The son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest:

6 This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him.

7 And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king.

8 And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.

9 For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.

10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

The commission to Ezra

11 Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the LORD, and of his statutes to Israel.

12 Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time.

13 I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee.

14 Forasmuch as thou art sent of the king, and of his seven counsellors, to enquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which is in thine hand;

15 And to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counsellors have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem,

16 And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem:

17 That thou mayest buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem.

18 And whatsoever shall seem good to thee, and to thy brethren, to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God.

19 The vessels also that are given thee for the service of the house of thy God, those deliver thou before the God of Jerusalem.

20 And whatsoever more shall be needful for the house of thy God, which thou shalt have occasion to bestow, bestow it out of the king’s treasure house.

21 And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily,

22 Unto an hundred talents of silver, and to an hundred measures of wheat, and to an hundred baths of wine, and to an hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much.

23 Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?

24 Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them.

25 And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not.

26 And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.

Ezra blesses God for his favour

27 Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem:

28 And hath extended mercy unto me before the king, and his counsellors, and before all the king’s mighty princes. And I was strengthened as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me, and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Things, sixty-eight years after the journey of Zorobabel. C. — Salien adds ten years more. H. — Artaxerxes Longimanus. M. T. — Son, or great grandson of Saraias, who had been slain 121 years. Esdras was still living, in the days of Nehemias. Many persons are omitted in this genealogy. The immediate descendants of Azarias may be found, 1 Par. vi. Similarity of names has occasioned many mistakes. 3 Esd. viii. reckons only eleven persons between Aaron and Esdras; and 4 Esd. i. has eighteen; whereas here we behold sixteen generations, and 1 Par. twenty-two. C.

Ver. 5. Beginning of the Jewish republic.

Ver. 6. Went up, a second time. 2 Esd. xii. 1. W. — Ready. Heb. mahir, “diligent,” &c. H. — Scribe, not so much noted for his skill in writing fast, or drawing up deeds, as for his knowledge of the divine law. C. — The gospel sometimes gives the title of scribe to the doctors of the law. Matt. xxii. 35, with Mark xii. 28. It is peculiarly due to Esdras, who gave a correct copy of the Scriptures, and wrote them in a different character, leaving the ancient one to the Samaritans, that the people might be less connected. Bellarm. De Verb. xx. 1, citing (T.) the most learned Fathers and Jewish writers. C. Diss. — The author of 4 Esdras (xiv. 19,) intimates that the sacred books had been all destroyed, and were dictated again to Esdras by the Holy Spirit. But this book is not of sufficient authority to establish so dangerous an opinion; (H.) which is refuted by the whole context of the Bible, in which we see that the law was never forgotten. C. Diss. D. — As Esdras was inspired, what additions he might make, must be accounted divine and authentic. C. — Hand; protection, (Delrio, adag. 217,) or inspiration. M. — God can incline the heart of the king, (Prov. xxi.) to accomplish his decrees. H.

Ver. 9. Month. Thus four entire months were spent on the journey, as they did not go the shortest way, and had much baggage, &c. C.

Ver. 10. Heart. Thinking continually (M.) how he might keep the law himself, and direct others. H. — It would be well if all would thus teach by example, like Jesus Christ, who began to do and then to teach. H. — Judgment. Both these terms express the same thing. M.

Ver. 11. Of the edict, is a farther explanation of the letter. H.

Ver. 12. Kings. This title was placed on the tomb of Cyrus, (Strabo xv.) and denoted a very powerful king. Artaxerxes had many tributaries in Media, Sidon, &c. The kings of Assyria had before assumed such pompous titles. Osee viii. 10. C. — The most learned, comes later in the original Chald. H. — “The priest, scribe of the law,…perfection, (health and happiness, (C.) or consummate in learning, &c. H.) as at present.” C. — Gemir uceheneth, “perfection (Castel. Lexic.) even now.” C. iv. 10. Prot. “perfect peace, and at such a time.” H.

Ver. 14. Counsellors. Interpreters of the laws. Joseph. xi. 6. — The number seems to have been established at the courts of the Assyrian and Chaldee monarchs. Tob. xii. 15. We find their names, Est. i. 10. 14. The history of this queen happened in the reign of Darius Hystaspes. C. — Hand. By this he was to pass sentence, v. 25. H. — The Jews were authorized to follow their own laws (C.) under the Persian dominion, v. 26. T.

Ver. 16. Babylon, which the Chaldees may freely give. M.

Ver. 20. By me. Heb. “to spend, take it out of the king’s treasure-house.” Sept. adds, “and from me.”

Ver. 22. Salt was used in all the sacrifices. Lev. ii. 13. In 3 Esd. no mention is made of oil or salt; but we read, “and all other things in abundance.”

Ver. 24. Nathinites. 3 Esd. “sacred slaves.” H. — Artaxerxes confirms the immunities granted by the law of God, (Num. iii. 6. 12,) by the kings of Egypt, (Gen. xlvii. 22,) and by all nations to the ministers of religion. C.

Ver. 25. River. 3 Esd. “In all Syria and Phenicia.” H. — Hitherto, it seems, the royal judges had decided all affairs of consequence, which required any public chastisement.

Ver. 26. Banishment. Heb. lit. “eradication” by death or exile, (C.) or by being cut off from all society. C. x. 8. De Dieu. — Sept. “correction.” H.

Ver. 27. Blessed. Here the author beings to write again in Heb. and in the following verse, Esdras speaks in person. C.