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Ezra 7:1-10

Context
The Arrival of Ezra

7:1 Now after these things had happened, during the reign of King Artaxerxes 1  of Persia, Ezra came up from Babylon. 2  Ezra was the son of Seraiah, who was the son of Azariah, who was the son of Hilkiah, 7:2 who was the son of Shallum, who was the son of Zadok, who was the son of Ahitub, 7:3 who was the son of Amariah, who was the son of Azariah, who was the son of Meraioth, 7:4 who was the son of Zerahiah, who was the son of Uzzi, who was the son of Bukki, 7:5 who was the son of Abishua, who was the son of Phinehas, who was the son of Eleazar, who was the son of Aaron the chief priest. 7:6 This Ezra is the one who came up from Babylon. He was a scribe who was skilled in the law of Moses which the Lord God of Israel had given. The king supplied him with everything he requested, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him. 7:7 In the seventh year of King Artaxerxes, Ezra brought 3  up to Jerusalem 4  some of the Israelites and some of the priests, the Levites, the attendants, the gatekeepers, and the temple servants. 7:8 He entered Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of the king. 7:9 On the first day of the first month he had determined to make 5  the ascent from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he arrived at Jerusalem, 6  for the good hand of his God was on him. 7:10 Now Ezra had dedicated himself 7  to the study of the law of the Lord, to its observance, and to teaching 8  its statutes and judgments in Israel.

1 sn If the Artaxerxes of Ezra 7:1 is Artaxerxes I Longimanus (ca. 464–423 B.C.), Ezra must have arrived in Jerusalem ca. 458 B.C., since Ezra 7:7-8 connects the time of his arrival to the seventh year of the king. The arrival of Nehemiah is then linked to the twentieth year of the king (Neh 1:1), or ca. 445 B.C. Some scholars, however, have suggested that Ezra 7:7 should be read as “the thirty-seventh year” rather than “the seventh year.” This would have Ezra coming to Jerusalem after, rather than before, the arrival of Nehemiah. Others have taken the seventh year of Ezra 7:7-8 to refer not to Artaxerxes I but to Artaxerxes II, who ruled ca. 404–358 B.C. In this understanding Ezra would have returned to Jerusalem ca. 398 B.C., a good many years after the return of Nehemiah. Neither of these views is certain, however, and it seems better to retain the traditional understanding of the chronological sequence of returns by Ezra and Nehemiah. With this understanding there is a gap of about fifty-eight years between chapter six, which describes the dedication of the temple in 516 b.c., and chapter seven, which opens with Ezra’s coming to Jerusalem in 458 b.c.

2 tn The words “came up from Babylon” do not appear in the Hebrew text until v. 6. They have been supplied here for the sake of clarity.

3 tc The translation reads the Hiphil singular וַיַּעֲל (vayyaal, “he [Ezra] brought up”) rather than the Qal plural וַיַּעַלוּ (vayyaalu, “they came up”) of the MT.

tn Heb “he brought”; the referent (Ezra) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

4 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

5 tc The translation reads יִסַּד (yissad, “he appointed” [= determined]) rather than the reading יְסֻד (yÿsud, “foundation”) of the MT. (The words “to make” are supplied in the translation for clarity and for stylistic reasons.)

6 sn Apparently it took the caravan almost four months to make the five hundred mile journey.

7 tn Heb “established his heart.”

8 tn Heb “to do and to teach.” The expression may be a hendiadys, in which case it would have the sense of “effectively teaching.”



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