Matthew Poole's Commentary
Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah,Ezra’s genealogy, Ezra 7:1-5. The priests, Levites, and Ezra go up to Jerusalem, Ezra 7:6-10. The gracious commission of Artaxerxes to Ezra, Ezra 7:1-26. Ezra blesseth God for his favour to his people, Ezra 7:27,28.
Artaxerxes; the same of whom he speaks Ezra 6:14. The son of Seraiah, i.e. his grandson. Here are divers persons omitted for brevity sake, which may be supplied out of 1Ch 6$ 1 Chronicles 7 1Ch 8 1Ch 9.
The son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub,No text from Poole on this verse.
The son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth,No text from Poole on this verse.
The son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki,No text from Poole on this verse.
The son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest:No text from Poole on this verse.
This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him.Ezra went up from Babylon, with the king’s consent and commission.
A ready scribe, i.e. a learned and expert doctor; for in that sense the word scribe is oft used, as Jeremiah 8:8 Matthew 7:29 Matthew 17:10 23:2,13 Mr 12:28, compared with Matthew 22:35,36.
According to the hand of the Lord his God upon him, i.e. by the grace and favour of God so disposing the heart of the king.
And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king.This is here related in the general, but how he procured this is particularly related hereafter.
And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.No text from Poole on this verse.
For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.No text from Poole on this verse.
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 had prepared his heart, or, directed, &c., i.e. he had set his mind and affections upon it, and made it his chief design and business.
To seek the law, i.e. to search and find out the true sense and meaning of it, and thence to learn what sins or errors were to be reformed, and what duties were to be performed.
And to teach in Israel. The order of things in this verse is very observable; first he endeavours to understand God’s law and word, and that not for curiosity or ostentation, but in order to practice; next he conscientiously practiseth what he did understand, which made his doctrine much more effectual; and then he earnestly desires and labours to instruct and edify others, that they also might know and do it.
Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the LORD, and of his statutes to Israel.A scribe of the words of the commandments, the phrase seems emphatical, noting that he explained both the words and the things; for the Jews in the land of their captivity had in a great measure lost both their language, and the knowledge of God’s commands, and therefore Ezra and his companions instruct them in both; of which see more on Nehemiah 8:8.
Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time.No text from Poole on this verse.
I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee.No text from Poole on this verse.
Forasmuch as thou art sent of the king, and of his seven counsellers, to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which is in thine hand;His seven counsellors; his chief nobles and officers of state, of whom see also Esther 1:10,14.
To inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, i.e. to make inquiry into all abuses and deviations from your law, and to redress them.
Which is in thine hand; which is now and always in thy hand, being the matter of thy daily study and exercise; which thou now carriest along with thee, the interpretation whereof belongeth unto thee.
And to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counsellers have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem,No text from Poole on this verse.
And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem:That thou canst find, i.e. procure, as that word is used, Genesis 6:8 26:12 Psalm 84:3 119:162 Proverbs 1:13 2:5 3:13. Whatsoever thou canst get of my subjects by way of free gift.
The free-will-offering of the people, to wit, of Israel.
That thou mayest buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem.No text from Poole on this verse.
And whatsoever shall seem good to thee, and to thy brethren, to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God.No text from Poole on this verse.
The vessels also that are given thee for the service of the house of thy God, those deliver thou before the God of Jerusalem.No text from Poole on this verse.
And whatsoever more shall be needful for the house of thy God, which thou shalt have occasion to bestow, bestow it out of the king's treasure house.For the house of thy God; towards the reparation, or adorning, or completing of it. See Poole "Ezra 6:14".
And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily,No text from Poole on this verse.
Unto an hundred talents of silver, and to an hundred measures of wheat, and to an hundred baths of wine, and to an hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much.Because it was but of mean price, and of very common and necessary use in all their sacrifices, Leviticus 2:13 Mark 9:49.
Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?For the omission of any part of his worship occasioned by my neglect. This danger and duty he discerned, partly by natural light, and principally by the information of Ezra, Ezra 8:22, who had the king’s ear and heart.
Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them.No text from Poole on this verse.
And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not.The wisdom of thy God that is in thine hand, i.e. which God hath put into thy heart, and which appears in the works of thy hand. Wisdom is sometimes ascribed to the hands, as Psalm 78:72. See my Latin Synopsis on Genesis 48:14. Or, by the wisdom of God, he means the law of God, which was said to be in his hand, Ezra 7:14.
And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.The law of thy God, and the law of the king, to wit, concerning these matters. Or, which law of God is by this my sanction now become my law also, to which I expect their punctual and ready obedience. For as far the civil laws of the empire, Ezra neither was skilful in them, nor was intrusted with the execution of them, which was committed to other hands.
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:No text from Poole on this verse.
And hath extended mercy unto me before the king, and his counsellers, 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.No text from Poole on this verse.