Ezra - Chapter 2
I. Outline - The Remnant Returns
A. The People of God
B. The Priests of the Lord
C. The Progeny of Solomon’s Servants
D. The Property of the Israelites
God is never without a witness in this world -
Ill. Even in Elijah’s Day - If he had of been the only one, he would have been one, but he wasn’t. There were 7000 that hadn’t bowed the knee to Baal.
There is always a “saved Israel” within national Israel…a remnant
See the Remnant
In Elijah’s Day
Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
In Isaiah’s time
Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, We should have been as Sodom, And we should have been like unto Gomorrah.
During the Captivity
Representatives - Ezekiel, Daniel, Shadrach, Mescheck, Abednego, Esther, Mordecai
In Jesus Day
John the Baptist, Simeon, Anna, The Apostles
During the Church Age
But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.
A. The People of God - (vv. 1-35) - 24,144
God seems to enjoy recording names
God recognizes noble and worthy efforts when appropriate
The “province” in verse 1 - What was once a great and mighty nation - An Empire, sin has now reduced to a “province.” (A district of an empire)
For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods,
Task = Determine what, if any, significance to these numbers
Smallest = Azmaveth - 42 (v. 24)
Largest = Senaah - 3630 (v. 35)
Unusual = Adonikam = 666 (v. 13)
Significant = Bethlehem (v. 21)
B. The Priests of the Lord - (vv. 36-39) - 4289
The following verses reveal a group who said they were priests but it could not be proven…they would have had to have been of the tribe of Levi and of the Aaronic household. These verses show the importance of the geneological records.
And these were they which went up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsa, Cherub, Addan, and Immer: but they could not shew their father’s house, and their seed, whether they were of Israel: The children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred fifty and two. 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: 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. 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.
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: 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. 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.
How they lost their evidence
One of their ancestors married a daughter of Barzillai (the rich man who helped David when he fled from Absalom) - Interestingly, this man took Barzillai’s name, naming his children after them and recording their pedigrees recorded in Barzillai’s house rather than that of Aarons house. He apparently gloried in this association even above the priesthood. Some feel that he may have done it to get in on the wealth!
Paul said this, however
For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
Let nothing take precedence over your calling!
What they lost with it (vv. 62, 63)
In the captivity there was no honor in being a priest; but now that they are going back home they would gladly take their place and be looked on as priests. Smacks of a self-serving prideful attitude...
You won’t bear the cross? NO CROWN!
And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
You won’t endure the shame? NO RECOGNITION!
But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.
A Principle of Ministerial Service is here revealed
A principle that continued into the New Testament was that spiritual leadership carries higher qualifications and demands than membership in the community of faith. From the time of Moses (), descent from Aaron was an essential qualification for priesthood. So to avoid defilement or the Lord’s displeasure, these priests were excluded.
To be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before the Lord; that he be not as Korah, and as his company: as the Lord said to him by the hand of Moses.
Tirshatha in = governor - Refers to Sheshbazaar
Urim and Thummim
The Urim and Thummim were sacred lots used to know the will of God (; ). According to they were small objects, perhaps pebbles or precious stones, which the high priest carried in his garments. Few details are given about how they were used. Passages such as and 30:7–8 indicate that the question asked required a yes or no answer; thus the priest would use Urim and Thummim to obtain an indication of God’s will.
Thus the Urim and Thummim were a form of casting lots. A further hint of their use can be gained from the text of reconstructed from the Septuagint: “If this guilt is in me or in Jonathan my son, give Urim, and if it is in thy people Israel, give Thummim.”
Therefore Saul said unto the Lord God of Israel, Give a perfect lot. And Saul and Jonathan were taken: but the people escaped.
Some have suggested that “the Urim and Thummim were two flat objects; one side of each was called Urim, from אָרַר, ‘to curse,’ and when both displayed this side the answer was negative; the other side was Thummim, from תָּמַם, ‘to be perfect,’ and a complete Thummim meant ‘yes’; one Urim and one Thummim meant ‘no reply’ ” (NBD, 1306). The Urim and Thummim are not mentioned between the early monarchy and postexilic times, perhaps because God made his will known through the prophets.
Other’s have felt that maybe the Urim and the Tummim Glowed in various ways to reveal answers...
C. The Progeny of Levi, The Nethinims, and Solomon’s Servants (vv. 40-60) - 1385
Nethinims (v. 43) - A Certain class of people - these people were servants to the Levites. Remember the Gibeonites?
And the princes said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation; as the princes had promised them.
And Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the Lord, even unto this day, in the place which he should choose.
D. The Property (vv. 66-69)
736 Horses, 245 Mules, 435 camels, 6720 Donkeys
1000 Drams of Gold = about 1100 pounds of Gold = $19,348,214.00
5000 Pounds of Silver = $1,038,333.33
E. NOTE: “some” - vv. 68, 70
And some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the Lord which is at Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place:
So the priests, and the Levites, and some of the people, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, dwelt in their cities, and all Israel in their cities.
It has always been “some” and it always will be “some” who do the work.
THE TEN-PERCENT FACTOR
THE TEN-PERCENT FACTOR