58 years after completion of the Temple, another group of Jews comes from Persia. This group is led by Ezra the scribe.
7:1-5 after these things. The events of ch.6 took place during the reign of King Darius; more specifically the temple was completed and dedicated in 515 B.C. Chapter 7 jumps forward many years to the reign of Artaxerxes (464-424 B.C.), for Ezra returned around 458 B.C. Thus between chs. 6 and 7 there is a gap of approximately 60 years. During this period, the events of the Book of Esther took place.
1 Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, 2 the son of Shallum, the son of Zadok, the son of Ahitub, 3 the son of Amariah, the son of Azariah, the son of Meraioth, 4 the son of Zerahiah, the son of Uzzi, the son of Bukki, 5 the son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest-
Ezra’s mission: 7:1-28. Ezra is a “teacher, well versed in the law of Moses” (6). He is given privileges by Artaxerxes which indicate he was a trusted official in the Persian court. This mission of Ezra, defined by the Persian king, is to appoint magistrates and judges to administer justice to all the people of Trans-Euphrates: according to “the law of your God and the law of the king” (26). This gives Ezra judicial as well as religious authority, and makes the OT law the “law of the land” in Judah.
7:6 Ezra was not only from a priestly family, he was also a skilled scribe – one who copied and studied the Law. After the Exile, the office of the scribe came into prominence, in some ways replacing the prophet in importance, and eventually eclipsing even the role of the priest. The Law of Moses actually refers to God’s law. Moses may have been the person most closely associated with the Law, but it was the Law that the Lord God of Israel had given. The phrase according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him is used repeatedly throughout this chapter and the next one (7:9, 28; 8:18, 22, 31; Neh. 2:18, 18). This phrase depicts God’s grace working on Ezra’s behalf.
6 this Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given. The king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him.
26 Whoever will not observe the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily on him, whether it be death, or banishment, or confiscation of goods, or imprisonment.
7:10 Throughout his life, Ezra had concentrated fully on the study, practice, and communication of the Word of God. Heart indicates the whole of one’s being. Ezra diligently searched the Scriptures so that he could live by them and teach them to Israel. Because of this, the gracious hand of God empowered him (v.9).
9 On the first day of the first month he began his journey from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him. 10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.
–> False teachers are the ones who do not seek and practice the Word of God but follows the dictates of their own hearts. Thank God for placing the Scriptures in our own hands so that we don’t have be deceived by false teachers. Instead, we get to learn from Ezra, a true teacher established by God.