Verse 1 – There is a gap of over 50 years between chapter 6 and 7. The story of Esther occurred during this time. Ezra returned to Jerusalem in 458 B.C.
Verses 6, 7 – Eighty years after the first exiles returned to Jerusalem, Ezra returns. The temple had been standing about 58 years. In order for Ezra to lead many Jews back to Jerusalem, he needed a decree from the king, so he asked. The kings generous decree showed that God was blessing Ezra. Ezra demonstrates how a gifted teacher could move God’s people forward. He taught through both his speaking and his examples. He was also both priest-descendant of Aaron, and a scribe.
Verse 10 – Ezra studied, obeyed, and then taught God’s law to the people. Not only that but, the trip from Babylon to Jerusalem was about 900 miles. How willing would we be today to even walk a mile, if we had no other transportation to go to the house of God? Sad to say, but I’ve known people who have a disease that is chronicle and are not willing to come to God for healing.
Verse 11 – Ezra came to Jerusalem bearing a letter from king Artaxerxes authorizing him and everyone who wanted to come with him, to go to Jerusalem.
Verses 21, 22 – The provisions that Ezra would use for daily sacrifices, were sufficient for approximately two years. These provisions came from the royal treasury. A gift of even 10 talents of silver, which was 750 pounds, would have been a very generous gift.
Verse 24 – Persian texts and Greek writings about Persian practice, confirm that exemption from taxes was granted to temples and the sacred personnel who served there. Artaxerxes recognized that the priests and Levites filled an important role in society as spiritual leaders, so he freed them of tax burdens.
Verse 25 – The charge given to Ezra here, is not clear. He was to appoint magistrates and judges. Probably these judges and magistrates dealt only with cases specific to the Old Testament law.
Verse 27 – Ezra acknowledges that God “put it into the king’s heart,” to be generous to him and the Jewish people. Proverbs 21:1–The heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. When we face life’s challenges, we need to recognize His hand in our success, and remember to praise Him for His help and protection.
Verse 28 – Ezra from here on, writes in the first person for the remainder of the book.