Having A Basic Understanding Of Some Old Testament Truths
Part 338 – A Brief Recap Of Some Events From Ezra - Job
A PDF Of These Notes Will Be Available Once The Study Is Completed
1. Did Cyrus recognize God’s role in his domination?
Yes: “(1) Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, (2) Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah” (Ezra 1:1-2).
2. Was Cyrus willing to allow the temple to be rebuilt?
Not only did he allow it, he set it up and helped (Ezra 1:3-11).
3. What happened with the children of Barzillai?
“(61) And of the children of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai; which took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after their name: (62) These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood” (Ezra 2:61-62).
4. What did they need before they could eat of the most holy things?
“And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim” (Ezra 2:63).
Urim and Thummim (Exodus 28:30, Numbers 27:21, and I Samuel 28:6).
5. What was the apparent mindset of the people of God when they gathered together in Jerusalem with offerings and during the laying of the foundation of the temple?
They were full of happiness, unity, joy, praise, and weeping: “(1) And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem. (2) Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God… (11) And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. (12) But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy: (13) So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off” (Ezra 3:1-2; 3:11-13).
As one man (Nehemiah 8:2; cf. Amos 3:3 and Romans 15:6).
As written (Nehemiah 8:14; cf. I Kings 2:3).
The ancients had seen the first house (Haggai 2:3).
6. What caused God’s people to stop building the temple?
Their adversaries had worked against them after being rejected in their request to help the Jews rebuild the temple. The worked so hard against them that they hired counsellors to frustrate their purpose. They wrote letters to the kings. In the days of Artaxerxes they brought false charges that caused a decree that was enforced to stop the building of the temple. History of God’s kings rightfully reigning in power (ex. I Kings 4:21) was used to cause fear that Judah would rebel against the Medo_Persian empire. This lasted until the second year of the regin of Darius king of Persia (Ezra 4:1-24). These are most likely the times of Esther (Ezra 4:6 and Esther 1:1).
7. What caused the building of the temple to resume?
The work of the prophets (Ezra 5:1-2).
Haggai 1:1-15 and Zechariah 1:1-21
8. Did Darius adhere to the letters sent to him to stop the temple from being rebuilt?
The enemies of God’s people tried again to stop the building of the temple. God didn’t allow them to stop the building till the letter came to Darius. Then, Darius recognized Cyrus’ original decree, supported it, recognized God’s ability to destroy etc. (Ezra 5:3-6:12). The temple was finished (Ezra 6:13-15). See Daniel 9:1-19 for the mindset of Israel at this time.
9. What do we know about the man Ezra?
Ezra was a priest (Ezra 7:1-5). He was a ready scribe in the law of Moses (Ezra 7:6). He came from Babylon to Jerusalem (Ezra 7:7-9). “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” (Ezra 7:10). He was commissioned to come by Artaxerxes and given authority to be obeyed by Artaxerxes (Ezra 7:11-26). We can certainly know God was behind Ezra and his work: “(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” (Ezra 7:27-28). Consider also Nehemiah 8:1-8.
10. Why did Ezra proclaim a fast at the river Ahava?
After finding a Levite (Ezra 8:1-20), we read that they needed to have the faith to seek what they professed all along – trust in God: “(21) Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. (22) For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him. (23) So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us” (Ezra 8:21-23).
11. How did the people of Israel, the priests, and the Levites err?
Their marriages with the heathen and the following of their influences: “(1) Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. (2) For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass” (Ezra 9:1-2).
Deuteronomy 7:1-11 and Joshua 23:12-13
12. What did Ezra and the people do about these sins?
Ezra responded by rending his garment, mantle, plucking off hair from his head and beard, sat down astonied, and feared with those assembled with him. In shame he came before God. The language and actions of Ezra showed real humility and the feeling of worthlessness (Ezra 9:1-15). He then presented the errors of the people to them with the solution of repentance (Ezra 10:1-11). They responded by ending their marriages with heathens and ultimately making an end with all the men that had taken strange wives by the first day of the first month. Their marriages were unauthorized and thus the only way to repent was to cease those relationships (Ezekiel 14:6). That was the Old Law. Then sacrifices were offered (Ezra 10:12-19).
13. Ezra focused on the rebuilding of the temple, what rebuilding was Nehemiah focused on?
The walls of Jerusalem, gates, and such as pertained to them (Nehemiah 1:1-3:32).
We should note that Nehemiah had the mindset of repentance (Nehemiah 1:4-11). He asked the Lord to remember what covenant was in place through Moses (Deuteronomy 4:29-31).
Though opposition was there at the start (Nehemiah 2:12-19), Nehemiah found strength in the Lord (Nehemiah 2:20).
14. Was the task of Nehemiah and the people without challenges?
No, they had opposition from Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant (Nehemiah 2:19), the Ammonite, and the Arabians all conspiring against them to cause them to fail (Nehemiah 4:1-8). The prayed to God and had to have a watch night and day. They set guards and remained on high alert. They didn’t rest. They didn’t change clothes except to wash them (Nehemiah 4:9-23).
15. What complaint did some raise concerning their brethren?
They were bringing them into bondage and taking advantage of their brethren during this difficult financial time (Nehemiah 5:1-5). Nehemiah was angry and addressed the matter demanding those using their brethren restore what they had taken and make this terrible thing right (Nehemiah 5:6-11). The people heard and did as instructed (Nehemiah 5:12-13).
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