Chapters 7 and 8 record the coming of Ezra to Jerusalem.
Ezra was a priest from the family of Aaron. He was also a ready
student of the Law, and a scribe (see Jeremiah 8:8). It took him
four months to make the journey of nearly 1,000 miles from Babylon
to Jerusalem, but the hand of God was upon him and he prospered. The
king decreed that any Jew could go up with Ezra and return to the
Chapter 8 lists the names of the families and the men that
accompanied Ezra on his hazardous trip to Jerusalem. It was
important that the Levites go along because it was their duty to
study the Word and teach it to the people. Unfortunately, Ezra had
to draft some of the Levites, because they did not volunteer to go.
No sooner had the teacher of the Word of God arrived than
the Word of God began to reveal sin in the land. Ezra discovered
that the Jews had mingled with their heathen neighbors and married
heathen wives. Because of his sorrow and repentance, the people who
knew God’s Word began to tremble, fearing what the Lord might do to
the feeble nation. Ezra’s prayer of confession in chapter 9:6-15
should be compared with Daniel’s prayer (Daniel 9) and the prayer of
Nehemiah (Nehemiah 9). Ezra said, “…O my God, I am ashamed and
blush to lift up my face to thee….” It is interesting to note that
Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah all had to confess national sin and plead
for forgiveness. However, it was not enough for the religious
leaders to pray. The entire nation had to face its sin and make
matters right with God.
Chapter 10 covers the cleansing of the nation. There was a
definite revival in Jerusalem. God answered Ezra’s prayer by
touching and convicting the hearts of the people. You may want to
read Nehemiah 8:8-13 for some parallel accounts of this revival.