Main point summary
Arriving of Ezra - priest, scholar and teacher. God blesses the heart of those, who do His word and pass it to others.
Now after this, v in the reign of v Artaxerxes king of Persia,
w Ezra the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah,
son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub,
son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth,
son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki,
son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of
Aaron the chief priest—
this Ezra went up from Babylonia.
He was a scribe
x skilled in the Law of Moses that the Lord , the God of Israel, had given,
and the king granted him all that he asked,
y for the hand of the Lord his God was on him.
And there went up also to Jerusalem,
in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king,
some of the people of Israel, and z some of the priests and a Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple b servants.
And Ezra 1 came to Jerusalem
in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.
For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia,
and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem,
c for the good hand of his God was on him.
For Ezra had set his heart
to study the Law of the Lord ,
and to do it
d and to e teach his statutes and rules in Israel.
This chapter introduces us to Ezra and his return to Jerusalem. We can trace some history before we read this story. Namely great events in chapter 6 like completion of the temple and celebration of the Passover. Background behind this story in Ezra 4:6 and Esther 1:1 which describe an opposition to Ahasuerus. He is going from Babylon during the Artaxerxes reign in Persia. Presumably he was born during the exile and grew up in Babylon, where most of Jews lived. And this is significant point, because here we are given Ezra's genealogy, which gives us some preparation for upcoming information about him. First of all his line goes back to Aaron, establishing his priestly authority, which perfectly explain his duties and actions in forthcoming passages. We find here Seraiah - high priest during the falling of Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1) - he is more of remote relative and Hilkiah - height priest during king Josiah (2 Kin. 22:4). Here we find example of God's providence and work in one person life like Ezra. He was in captivity in foreign and pagan country. Nightmare for the Jew. He had all the chances to assimilate with Persians, adopt their religion and worldview. Also he could practice syncretism (combination between pagan beliefs and belief in true and only God) in order to maintain his priesthood along with idolatry. But he did not do it. God could use his parents who brought up him well in God's law. Indeed He started good work in Ezra's heart (as Paul says in Phil. 1:6) and moved him to go back to Jerusalem under the specific historical circumstances which God had also provided - this is why I think we have so many references to time and places here. We also find similar story with prophet Daniel, who knew God's word and how to pray from childhood and he carried it thought all his life in captivity. In some sense Moses was a Jew who learnt Egyptian's wisdom in pharaoh's palace and it worked out well because God was preparing him for significant purpose in redemptive history - exodus of His chosen people. So we have God at work here, godly environment among some Jew's in pagan culture and Ezra's heart surely getting ready for great calling from God. This brings us to the description of Ezra's skills and education in Mosaic law, that Lord had given, which is basically the God's law which Moses thought to Israel and line of the priesthood started with Aaron. Ezra is a scribe and he holds the same view and relation to God's word. Later in Ezr. 7:25 we read that he is an official in Persian administration. Along with that in Old Testament we learn that scribes composes official papers and also take care of temple treasures. In this passage we read twice about God's hand with Ezra. Certainly you could not get any stronger, better, encouraging and blessed help that from God Himself. He takes care of his people in all situations. He reminds of Himself when we tend to forget about Him. He talks through His holy, saving and liberating word while we do not talk to him. He brings our attention to listen to Him because He wants us to be saved. And this is our awesome God! And His blessing and good hand with Ezra. Why God goes with him? Why does he support, sustain and care for this man during all these years and this journey? Conclusion is Ezra's disposition of the heart toward God' law. And it is the main point why he goes back to Jerusalem and why God walked along with him in exile and this journey. Ezra set his heart and feelings towards God's law. He prepared himself for it and made a decision to take responsibility. When I set myself to do something it means I have certain purpose to do it. In his case it is responsibility which comes with knowledge and practice of God's word. We see presentation of his purpose in 3 steps. First step: study the word. Not a superficial look at the law as you would read magazine or comic book, but rather research, observation, estimation of God's law along with diligent prayer and desire to apply it. He wants to know God, He wants to worship Him - same as people in Ezr. 6:21. He can't afford to be frivolous about holy God and His commands, so he is first of all a student and in a some way reformer who follows God's precepts and then pass it to others. (Ps. 119:100). Second step: doing the word. When I buy a new gadget or nice equipment I surely want to try it at work with all its functions and modes. God's law influences convictions. It bounds conscience and mind with love for God. After studying inquisitive mind and heart will desire to obey holy words. Why? Because God loves it! His is willing to stretch His good hand to people whose regenerate heart expresses love to Him through obeying. He is happy like good parent who taught His children how to be secure, blessed and mature. Good father is glad to know and see when his children growing strong. Finally, who act according to the law - act righteously. Third step: studying and doing the word give responsibility to teach others. We enjoy to pass good information about our favorite and lovely things in life to other people. Truth should take at least first nine positions in these list. God's law is ultimate truth that does not change. It does not need any correction or improvement. Why it is good to teach others: 1. For good and strong relationship with God. 2. For spiritual strength of the church and God's people. 3. For retention from sin. 4. For good and righteous deeds. 5. For formation of godly character. 6. For family worship, children's education and nurture. 7. For solid faith and worship. 8. For encouragement during suffering and hard times. 9. For correction of crooked paths and behavior. It is an introduction to godly life of a man in a difficult time. God still does work day and night in his redemptive history - to bring people to Jesus Christ - our friends, families, neighbors, people in foreign countries. And He does it not only through well-trained and skilled ministers with great credentials and genealogy but also and mostly via all His children who love Him and obey His law.