Ezra 7:8
And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) In the seventh year.—The repeated notes of time must be marked. The journey itself comes afterwards: it is here indicated as having occupied four months. Ezra’s company also is summarised beforehand, according to the manner of this book.

7:1-10 Ezra went from Babylon to Jerusalem, for the good of his country. The king was kind to him; he granted all his requests, whatever Ezra desired to enable him to serve his country. When he went, many went with him; he obtained favour from his king, by the Divine favour. Every creature is that to us, which God makes it to be. We must see the hand of God in the events that befal us, and acknowledge him with thankfulness.A ready scribe - Or, "a ready writer" Psalm 45:1. The professional scribe was well known in Egypt from an early date (see Genesis 39:4 note); and under David and his successors "scribes" were attached to the court as the king's secretaries (2 Samuel 8:17; 2 Samuel 20:25; 2 Kings 12:10, etc.). It was scarcely, however, until the time of the captivity that the class to which Ezra belonged arose. The "scribes" of this time, and of later Jewish history, were students, interpreters, and copiers of the Law (see the marginal references and Jeremiah 8:8). They retained the knowledge of the old dialect, which was being rapidly superseded by a new one. The emphatic application of the title "the scribe" to Ezra marks the high honor in which the office was now held. Its glories eclipsed those of the priesthood.

The hand of the Lord ... upon him - The use of this phrase in a good sense is rare elsewhere (compare 1 Kings 18:46), but is a favorite one with both Ezra and Nehemiah (see the marginal references; Nehemiah 2:8, Nehemiah 2:18).

8. he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month—that is, corresponding to the end of our July or beginning of our August. As he left Babylon on the Jewish New Year's Day (Ezr 7:9), the journey must have occupied not less than four months (a long period), but it was necessary to move at a slow pace and by short, easy stages, as he had to conduct a large caravan of poor people, including women, children, and all their household gear (see on [487]Ezr 8:24). No text from Poole on this verse. And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month,.... With the above company; this was the month Abib, answering to part of July and part of August: which was in the seventh year of the king; as in the preceding verse. And he came to Jerusalem in the {d} fifth month, which was in the seventh year {e} of the king.

(d) That contained part of July and part of August.

(e) Of king Darius.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. And he came] This verse resumes Ezra 7:6. ‘He came’ at the same time with those enumerated in Ezra 7:7. The importance of this journey to Jerusalem centres in Ezra.

the fifth month] This was the month Ab, the Assyrian Abu, corresponding roughly with our ‘August’.Verse 8. - And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month. From the ninth verse it appears that the first day of the first month - the opening day of the year - was selected for the commencement of the journey. This was no doubt viewed as an auspicious day for beginning an important undertaking. The time occupied on the way was exactly four months, which is longer than might have been supposed to be necessary. Herodotus reckoned it a three months journey from Sardis to Susa (ver. 53), and the younger Cyrus conducted an army from Ephesus to Cunaxa, near Babylon, in ninety- three marching days (Xen, 'Anab' 2 1, § 6) - the distance in either case being considerably more than that from Babylon to Jerusalem, even supposing the route followed to have been by Balis and Aleppo. But a caravan, like an army, requires rests; and we hear of one such rest at Ahava (Ezra 8:15). Cyrus gave his troops more days of rest than of movement, and took half the year to reach Cunaxa from Ephesus. We need not be surprised, therefore, that Ezra's journey occupied four months. Some delay must almost certainly have been caused by the perils of the route (see Ezra 8:31). What follows is slightly combined with the former occurrences by the formula "after these things," without any more exact chronological definition; comp. Genesis 15:1; Genesis 22:1, and elsewhere. Between the dedication of the temple in the sixth year of Darius and the arrival of Ezra in Jerusalem, a period of fifty-seven years had elapsed. "In the reign of Artachshasta king of Persia, went up Ezra," etc. The verb of the subject עזרא does not follow till Ezra 7:6, where, after the interposition of the long genealogy, Ezra 7:1-5, the distant subject is again taken up in עזרא הוּא. It is all but universally agreed that Artaxerxes Longimanus is intended by ארתּחשׁסתּא; the explanation of this appellation as Xerxes in Joseph. Antiq. xi. 5. 1, for which Fritzsche (on 1 Esdr. 8:1) has recently decided, being a mere conjecture on the part of that not very critical historian. The fact that the Artachshasta of the book of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:1; Nehemiah 5:14; Nehemiah 13:6) can be no other than Artaxerxes, is decisive of this point: for in Nehemiah 13:6 the thirty-second year of Artachshasta is mentioned; while according to Nehemiah 8:9; Nehemiah 12:26, Nehemiah 12:36, Ezra and Nehemiah jointly exercised their respective offices at Jerusalem.

(Note: Very superficial are the arguments, and indeed the whole pamphlet, Etude Chronologique des livres d'Esdras et de Nhmie, Paris 1868, p. 40, etc., by which F. de Saulcy tries to show that the Artachshasta of Ezra 7 and of Nehemiah is Artaxerxes II((Mnemon).)

Ezra is called Ben Seraiah, whose pedigree is traced to Eleazar the son of Aaron; Seraiah the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, was the father of Josedec the high priest carried into captivity (1 Chronicles 6:14, etc.), and was himself the high priest whom Nebuchadnezzar slew at Riblah (2 Kings 25:18-21). Between the execution of Seraiah in the year 588 and the return of Ezra from Babylon in 458 b.c., there is a period of 130 years. Hence Ezra could have been neither the son nor grandson of Seraiah, but only his great or great-great-grandson. When we consider that Joshua, or Jeshua (Ezra 2:2), the high priest who returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel, was the grandson of Seraiah, we cannot but regard Ezra, who returned thence 78 years later, as a great-great-grandson of Seraiah. Moreover, we are justified in inferring from the fact that Ezra is not, like Joshua, designated as Ben Josedech, that he did not descend from that line of Seraiah in which the high-priestly dignity was hereditary, but from a younger son, and hence that his immediate ancestors were not (though his forefathers from Seraiah upwards were) of high-priestly descent. Hence the names of Ezra's ancestors from Seraiah up to Aaron (Ezra 7:1-5) agree also with the genealogy of the high-priestly race (1 Chronicles 6:4-14), with the one deviation that in Ezra 7:3, between Azariah and Meraioth, six members are passed over, as is frequently the case in the longer genealogies, for the sake of shortening the list of names. - In v. 6 Ezra, for the sake of at once alluding to the nature of his office, is designated בת מהיר סוף ר, a scribe skilful in the law of Moses. The word סופר means in older works writer or secretary; but even so early as Jeremiah 8:8 the lying pen of the ספרים is spoken of, and here therefore סופר has already attained the meaning of one learned in the Scripture, one who has made the written law a subject of investigation. Ezra is, however, the first of whom the predicate הסּופר, ὁ γραμματεύς, is used as a title. He is so called also in the letter of Artaxerxes (Ezra 7:11), because he is said (Ezra 7:9) to have applied his heart to seek out and to do the law of the Lord, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgment, i.e., because he had made the investigation of the law, for the sake of introducing the practice of the same among the congregation, his life-task; and the king granted him all his desire, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him. The peculiar expression עליו אלהיו יהוה כּיד which is found only here and in Ezra 7:9, Ezra 7:28, Ezra 8:18; Nehemiah 2:8, Nehemiah 2:18, and in a slightly altered guise in Ezra 8:22, Ezra 8:31, "according to the good hand of his God, which was over him," means: according to the divine favour or divine care arranging for him; for the hand of God is הטּובה, the good (Ezra 7:9, and Ezra 8:18), or לטובה, Ezra 8:22. בּקּשׁה, the desire, request, demand, occurs only here and in the book of Esther.

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