Ezra 2:1
Now these are the people of the province who came up from the captivity of the exiles carried away to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar its king. They returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own town,
Sermons
EmancipationEzra 2:1-2
Going Up Out of CaptivityWilliam Jones.Ezra 2:1-2
The Restoration of IsraelJ.A. Macdonald Ezra 2:1, 2
Spiritual SignificancesW. Clarkson Ezra 2:1-67
Men Forsaking the Worldly LifeJ.S. Exell Ezra 2:1-70


This is an important subject. Great portion of Scripture occupied with it. Events of the utmost moment connected with it.

I. AS THE SCATTERING OF ISRAEL WAS GRADUAL, SO MAY HIS GATHERING BE.

1. His tribes became distributed into two kingdoms.

(1) United until the evil days of Rehoboam (see 1 Kings 12:20).

(2) Thence distinguished as Judah and Israel. Under the name of Judah is comprehended also the small tribe of Benjamin, with priests and others of the tribe of Levi.

2. The ten tribes were first carried captive by the Assyrians. This was in two detachments.

(1) By Tiglath-pileser, B.C. 739 (see 2 Kings 15:29).

(2) By Shalmaneser eighteen years later, when the deportation was complete (see 2 Kings 17:6, 18).

3. The Jews were afterwards carried away to Babylon. This was 130 years later, and was also accomplished in two detachments, viz. -

(1) That, B.C. 599, when Nebuchadnezzar removed the principal people (see 2 Kings 24:14).

(2) That eleven years later, when the remnant was removed (see 2 Kings 25:11).

(3) Then, six centuries later, came the dispersion by the Romans. Prophecy views the scattering as a whole, without breaking it up into its details, and so it views the restoration; and as the scattering was accomplished at long intervals by instalments, so may the gathering be.

II. THIS RESTORATION BY EZRA WAS NOT THE FULL ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE PROPHECIES.

1. The ten tribes were not included in it.

(1) They were the "children of the province." Not of Babylon, as some think, for Babylon is contrasted with it here. But of Judaea, now a province of the Persian empire (see Ezra 5:8). Behold the goodness and severity of God!

(2) Further specified as "those whom Nebuchadnezzar carried away." No mention made of those before carried into Assyria.

(3) Further, as "the number of the men of the people of Israel." Given in detail in this chapter. Here we find children of Judah, of Benjamin, of Levi and the priests, and even of the Gibeonites, but no mention of Ephraim and his associates.

(4) But the restoration of the ten tribes is promised (see Ezekiel 11:15-17). (What a rebuke to those who repeat this conduct of Judah in exclusively claiming for themselves as Christians the promises made to Israel!) Therefore there is yet a grand restoration for Israel.

2. This restoration did not reunite the divided nation.

(1) This fact already shown.

(2) But prophecy requires this (see Ezekiel 37:21, 22). "Therefore," etc.

3. This restoration was not permanent.

(1) Even the Jews were subsequently scattered by the Romans. Have since been kept scattered by Romanists and Mahomedans.

(2) But prophecy requires this (see Jeremiah 31:10; Ezekiel 34:27, 28; Amos 9:14, 15). "Therefore," etc.

III. THIS RESTORATION WAS A PLEDGE OF THE GREATER EVENT.

1. It answered great purposes of prophecy.

(1) Those connected with the incarnation. To take place while the tribe-rod was yet with Judah (see Genesis 49:10). (See Julius Bate on 'The Blessing of Judah by Jacob.') While the family of David yet had their genealogies; while yet they dwelt near Bethlehem (see Micah 5:2).

(2) Those connected with the atonement. Jerusalem the place of sacrifices. Zion the place from whence the gospel law should issue (see Isaiah 2:3; Joel 2:32).

2. There is a prophecy in accomplished predictions.

(1) The preservation of the Jews amongst the nations. Without a parallel in history. What for (see Jeremiah 30:11)? "Full end" of Assyria, Babylon, Rome. Anti-christian nations doomed.

(2) History of the land as remarkable as that of the people. No permanent settlers. Romans, Greeks, Saracens, Papists, Turks!

3. The Jews expect their restoration.

(1) Good reason, for the word is sure.

(2) Their faith is patient. Centuries of disappointment. Is our faith so patient under trials? - J.A.M.







Now these are the children of the province that went up out of the captivity.
I. THE DELIVERANCE FROM CAPTIVITY.

1. This captivity had been —

(1)A degradation;

(2)a subjection;

(3)a transformation;

(4)a retribution.The most deplorable degradation and the most real and terrible subjection are those of sin.

2. This deliverance —

(1)Originated in the favour of God;

(2)was effected by an unlikely agent;

(3)was permissive and not compulsory.Salvation from the bondage of sin is freely offered in the gospel, but no one is compelled to accept the offer.

II. The journey home. This journey was —

1. A restoration.

2. A restoration to their own home.

3. A restoration to religious privileges. The salvation of Jesus Christ restores man to his true condition and to his forfeited inheritance.

III. THE SUBORDINATION TO LEADERS. Society could not exist without leaders and rulers. They are necessary —

1. For the maintenance of order.

2. For insuring progress.

3. Because of the differences in the characters and abilities of men.

(William Jones.)

The Rev. J. Jackson Fuller, of the Cameroons, a coloured missionary, said at the Young People's Meeting of the Baptist Centenary: "Although our fathers in my country were born under the British flag, yet we were nothing more and nothing else than the chattels of the Englishman. We were British slaves, and it was partly by the missionaries going to our country — the island of Jamaica — and telling us of the love of Jesus Christ that their vivid description of our oppressed condition aroused the English nation, and in the year 1834, after paying twenty millions of money, you set us all free. The very day you passed the Emancipation Act in England, I was made free. You young people would have been glad, or your fathers before you would have been glad, had they the opportunity of seeing that morning in the year 1884 when thousands of children and their fathers and mothers gathered together during the evening, waiting for that morning of the 31st of July to dawn. At eleven o'clock at night they gathered in mass and waited for the hour to pass when the clock should strike twelve. And then you would have been glad to see that mighty mass of human beings rise on their feet and sing the Doxology — 'Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.' I was among that number that gathered that night. I heard the Doxology sung. I am one of the boys that were rescued when you paid twenty millions of money and set our fathers free."

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