The celebration at the Temple (Ezra 6:16-6:18)

“The people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the returned exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. They offered at the dedication of this house of God one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, and four hundred lambs. Then they had a sin offering for all Israel, twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. Then they set the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God at Jerusalem, as it is written in the book of Moses.”

This appears to be the end of the Aramaic section of this book. This celebration is like at the time of Solomon, in 1 Kings, chapter 8, only more subdued. Certainly the priests, Levites, and the returned exiles were there, but there is no mention of the other Israelites who had not gone into captivity. These offerings are rather small when compared with earlier great celebrations. There were100 bulls, 200 rams, and 400 lambs, which is quite substantial. They even had the scapegoat sin offering of 12 goats for the 12 tribes of Israel. However, this celebration was really for the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Very little was said about the other tribes. In fact, many of them may be their enemies now. Finally the priests and Levites were set in their distinctive Temple classes. Once again, it was King David who set up these classes and not Moses, even though the euphemism of “the book of Moses” is mentioned.

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