The final stop in Jerusalem (Ezra 8:31-8:34)

“Then we departed from the river Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was upon us. He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambushes along the way. We came to Jerusalem. There we remained three days. On the fourth day, within the house of our God, the silver, the gold, and the vessels were weighed into the hands of the priest Meremoth son of Uriah, and with him was Eleazar son of Phinehas, and with them were the Levites, Jozabad son of Jeshua and Noadiah son of Binnui. The total was counted and weighed. The weight of everything was recorded.”

Once again, notice the first person plural “we.” This group of about 5,000 with Ezra left on the 12th day of the 1st month. They were protected by God so that no enemy attacked them. They were lucky since they had a huge fortune with them. It does say how long it took them to make this journey, but the first group, some 80 years earlier, took about 5 months. However, the Temple was built by the time Ezra and his group arrived. They stayed 3 days before they presented their great treasures to the Temple priests. They then counted and weighed everything so that it could be recorded. Meremoth will play an important role in the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. This Eleazar is obviously not the son of Aaron, but a common name for priests. There were other people name Jozabad, but this is the only Noadiah.

The fast of Ezra (Ezra 8:21-8:23)

“Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river Ahava that we might deny ourselves before our God, to seek from him a straight journey for ourselves, our children, and all our possessions. I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and cavalry to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king that the hand of our God is gracious to all who seek him. However, his power and his wrath are against all who forsake him. So we fasted. We petitioned our God for this. He listened to our entreaty.”

Ezra, “I”, proclaimed a 3 day fast at the River Ahava. They wanted to prepare for the journey ahead, which if like 80 years earlier would be about 4 or 5 months. They wanted God to protect them, their children, and their possessions. Ezra, “I”, was ashamed to ask the king for army protection. He believed that the gracious God would protect them. They fasted so that God would hear their petition. Their request was granted. All went well.