Ezra 7 - James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

Bible Comments
  • Ezra 7:6 open_in_new


    ‘Ezra … a ready scribe.’

    Ezra 7:6

    Here begins the second section of the book, that which gathers around the doings of Ezra.

    I. Between the close of the sixth chapter and the commencement of this, sixty years have passed away.—They had been to a very great extent uneventful years in the history of the people settled in Jerusalem. That the people had largely failed in the realisation of the purposes of Zerubbabel is evident from the work done by Ezra, and subsequently by Nehemiah.

    II. The present chapter tells the story of the coming of Ezra, and there are two verses which explain the movement for us.—They are Ezra 7:10; Ezra 7:23, in which we discover the individual inspiration in the case of Ezra and Artaxerxes. As to Ezra (Ezra 7:10) he was moved while still in Babylon toward the helping of his people in Jerusalem. In order to do this, he yielded himself personally to obedience to the law of God, and so prepared himself for his work of teaching. The verse should not be passed without noticing its suggestiveness for all such as are called, or feel they are called to teach. The order is, ‘to seek, … to do, … to teach.’ Then in Ezra 7:23 there is an explanation of the personal reason for the decree and beneficence of Artaxerxes. Why should there be ‘wrath against the realm of the king and his sons’? It is perfectly evident that he had some very clear consciousness of the power of God.

    III. The hand of God rests upon those who love His Word, and where it lights, there the hearts of men are inclined to help.—The king granted all Ezra’s requests. Beneath the covert of that hand we can journey safely.

    It is good to set our heart to seek God’s law, but searching must always be combined with doing, and when we do we have a right to teach. O God! give us the steadfast heart, set on knowing and performing Thy will. May the rudder of our soul be held by Thy strong hand, that it may vacillate beneath the touch of no cross current.

    IV. See how Ezra’s love for God’s law impressed Artaxerxes with the conviction that it was perfect.—He commanded also that the will of God should be the supreme court of reference to Ezra and his brethren in the disposal of the freewill offerings. He further enjoined that they should do exactly the commands of the God of heaven. He ordained that all who refused to do the will of God should be punished. So great was his respect for the law, that he left Ezra to do very much as he thought best. This reverence for God’s law on the part of a heathen monarch shames us. Oh, to make more of it ourselves! To be people of the Book, and to exalt it as we are exalted by it, in the judgment even of those who do not revere it!


    ‘We may learn something of Ezra’s mode of speech by the references in the royal charter, which he bore with him. Evidently he had spoken a good deal of the law of his God, which was in his hand, of the altar of God’s house, of his direct allegiance to the God of heaven, and of the necessity of careful obedience. It would be a blessed result of our own walk with God if we could impress on our associates and contemporaries the urgent importance of the service of God. Oh, that God were such a living reality with us that our life and conversation might make Him a living, moving force in the experience of others!’