Week #65; Wed, Mar 27: 2 Chronicles 36:1–Ezra 7:27
1. When the “people of the land” took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah and made him king, it appears that the will of the Lord moved the people to that action.
2. However, Neco the king of Egypt deposed Jehoahaz and took him to Egypt.
3. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon then came up against Jehoiakim binding him in chains and carrying him off to Babylon along with part of the vessels of the house of the Lord and Nebuchadnezzar put them in his palace.
4. Cyrus’ proclamation to rebuild the house of the Lord in Jerusalem resulted in all who were about them aiding them with gifts of vessels of silver and gold and with goods and beasts plus costly wares and freewill gifts.
2 Chronicles 36, Judah’s Decline, Jerusalem Captured and Burned, and the Proclamation of Cyrus
1. Jehoahaz became king at 23 and ruled for only three months in Jerusalem before Neco deposed him and replaced him with Eliakim his 25 year old brother; Neco renamed Eliakim to Jehoiakim.
2. Jehoiakim reigned 11 years and did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.
3. Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim reigned in his place when he was 18 and he reigned three months in Jerusalem doing evil in the sight of the Lord.
4. Nebuchadnezzar sent and brought Jehoiachin to Babylon along with the vessels of the house of the Lord and made his brother Zedekiah king over Judah and Jerusalem.
5. Zedekiah was 21 when he began to reign, and he reigned 11 years in Jerusalem doing evil in the sight of the Lord; his pride resulted in mocking against the prophet Jeremiah.
6. Zedekiah rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar and he stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the Lord.
7. All the officers and the priests were unfaithful and followed the abominations of the nations; they polluted the house of the Lord.
8. They mocked the messengers of God despising their words and scoffed at his prophets; but the wrath of the Lord rose against his people, until there was no remedy.
9. Jerusalem was captured and burned by the Chaldeans, who killed their young men with the sword and no compassion on anyone.
10. The Lord gave them all into their hands.
11. They burned the house of God and broke down the wall of Jerusalem while burning all of the palaces and destroying precious vessels.
12. Survivors were exiled to Babylon until the establishment of the kingdom of Persia to fulfill the prophesy of Jeremiah for 70 years.
13. In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom in writing.
14. He wrote: ” The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the Lord his God be with him. Let him go up.”
Ezra 1, The Proclamation of Cyrus
1. In the words of Cyrus’ proclamation, “And let each survivor, in whatever place he sojourns, be assisted by the men of his place with silver and gold, with goods and with beasts, besides freewill offerings for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”
2. 5,400 vessels were taken out of the house of Nebuchadnezzar and counted out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah.
6. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up, when the exiles were brought up from Babylonia to Jerusalem.
Ezra 2, The Exiles Return
1. The exiles that Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried captive to Babylonia were returned to Judah and Jerusalem.
2. The whole assembly was 42,360 besides their male and female servants.
3. The house of the Lord was rebuilt on its site.
Ezra 3, Rebuilding of the Altar and the Temple
1. Jeshua, with his fellow priests and Zerubbabel with his kinsmen built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of God.
2. They set the altar in its place, and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord morning and evening while keeping the Feasts of Booths and all of the burnt offerings in keeping with all the appointed feasts of the Lord.
3. When Jeshua and Zerubbabel oversaw the completion of the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments came forward with trumpets, and the Levites with cymbals, to praise the Lord with song and thanksgiving.
Ezra 4, Adversaries Oppose the Rebuilding, Letter to King Artaxerxes, The King Orders the Work to Cease
1. While foreign adversaries of Judah and Benjamin offered to build alongside the returned exiles, Jeshua and Zerubbabel refused their help.
2. These people of the land discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build and they frustrated their purpose all during the days of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes.
3. They wrote a letter to Artaxerxes against the Jews predicting that the Jews would again rebel against Artaxerxes and his kingdom.
4. King Artaxerxes searched the history and realized that rebellion and sedition have been made by Jews so he stopped the rebuilding of the city and the temple.
Ezra 5, Rebuilding Begins Anew, and Tattenai’s Letter to King Darius
1. Then Haggai and Zechariah prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of God.
2. The rebuilding began again and the prophets were with them, supporting them.
3. Local officials challenged the resumption of the building and wanted to know the names of the leaders overseeing the work and by what decree.
4. The local leaders sent King Darius a letter reporting on the construction by the Jews; they wanted confirmation that Cyrus originally authorized the rebuilding of the temple and Jerusalem.
5. They awaited the reply from King Darius.
Ezra 6, The Decree of Darius, The Temple Completed and Dedicated, and the Passover Celebrated
1. Darius the king made a new decree revealing that the original decree by Cyrus was found and it showed that he authorized the return of the exiles with ample resources to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, even identifying the dimensions and using gold and silver from the treasury to cover the cost.
2. The decree also commanded to “let the gold and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that is in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and brought back to the temple that is in Jerusalem, each to its place. You shall put them in the house of God.”
3. Darius told the local governors to keep away and to supply the Jews with materials for the rebuilding of this house of God with the costs paid in full without delay.
4. And whatever is needed for burnt offerings to the God of heaven as the priests in Jerusalem require, let that be given to them day by day without fail, that they may offer pleasing sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons.
5. He cautioned if anyone alters his edict, a beam shall be pulled out of his house, and he shall be impaled on it.
6. Darius’ decree was to be done with all diligence.
7. Darius’ decree was done with all diligence by the local governors of the land and the building was finished while Darius was still king.
8. All of the exiles celebrated the dedication of the house of God with joy.
9. The exiles also celebrated the Passover; the priest and the Levites had purified themselves together, all of them were clean.
10. And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread, thankful that the Lord had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them by having him aid the people of Israel in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.
Ezra 7, Ezra Sent to Teach the People
1. Ezra went up from Babylonia where he was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the Lord had given and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him.
2. Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.
3. Artaxerxes gave Ezra the priest, the scribe, a decree that “anyone of the people of Israel or their priests or Levites in my kingdom, who freely offer to go to Jerusalem, may go with you.”
4. Artaxerxes’ decree included instructions to Ezra to inquire about Judah and Jerusalem and to carry the silver and gold that the king and his counselors have freely offered to the God of Israel.
5. Artaxerxes’ decree allowed Ezra to use the money to buy livestock, grain, and drink offering to offer on the altar of the house of his God that is in Jerusalem.
6. Artaxerxes’ decree made provision for Ezra to use the remaining money according to the will of his God.
7. Artaxerxes’ decree instructed that the vessels that have been given for the service of the house of your God, shall be delivered before the God of Jerusalem and whatever else is required for the house of your God shall come out of the king’s treasury.
8. Artaxerxes’ decree dictated that all the treasurers in the province Beyond the River provide whatever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven requires.
9. Artaxerxes’ decree prohibited imposing tribute, custom, or toll on anyone of the priests, the Levites, singers, doorkeepers, temple servants, or other servants of this house of God.
10. Artaxerxes’ placed responsibility on Ezra to appoint magistrates and judges who may judge all the people in the province Beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God; those who do not know them you shall teach.
11. Artaxerxes’ also placed responsibility on Ezra to strictly judge all who do not obey the laws of his God with death, banishment, confiscation of goods or imprisonment.
12. Ezra blessed the Lord, the God of his fathers, who put things into the heart of the king to beautify the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem and who extended him his steadfast love before the king and his counselors and before the king’s mighty officers.
13. Ezra took courage, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him, and he gathered leading men from Israel to go up with him.