Good morning! Today’s passage (Ezra 7-8) officially introduces us to Ezra—the priest, scribe and leader for whom this book is named. Note the prominence of writing again as a theme, both in the occupation of Ezra (scribe), and in the content of chapter 7, which is one long letter from Persian king Artaxerxes. Ezra is essentially an ancient lawyer, commissioned by Artaxerxes to lead a wave of Hebrew migrants from Babylon to Jerusalem. Their journey comes with the full blessing of the Persian king, including gold and silver. Ezra receives what amounts to a blank check to cash at treasuries anywhere along the way through the province Beyond the River.
With this letter of passage in hand, Ezra assembles the caravan who will make the journey with him. Chapter 8 describes those who “sign up” to go along. When he discovers there are no Levites in the travel party, Ezra recruits some so that there will be the proper tribal descendants in order to have law-abiding worship. The rest of this chapter reads like a travel journal—where they stayed and for how long, written in the first person voice of Ezra himself. We’ll see tomorrow what leadership Ezra conducts in Jerusalem, but for today the focus is on the journey. Happy reading!
Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. The passage for tomorrow is Ezra 9-10. Thanks for reading!