Ezra 8:21 MEANING

Ezra 8:21
(21) To seek of him a right way for us.--The wilderness was now before them, and an enemy, indefinitely referred to, was in the way: probably desert tribes, always lying in wait for unprotected caravans.

Our little ones.--An intimation that whole households went up.

Our substance.--Chiefly the treasures for the Temple, though the term signifies cattle and other goods, with an undertone of abundance.

Verse 21. - Then I proclaimed a fast there. The fight of the civil ruler to "proclaim a fast" was unquestioned among the Jews and Israelites. Jezebel proclaimed one in Ahab's name when she wished to impress the Jezreelites with the notion that a great crime had been committed. Jehoshaphat did the same when he was invaded by the Ammonites, Moabites, and Mehunim (2 Chronicles 20:1-3). A fast was proclaimed in the fifth year of Jehoiakim when the kingdom of Judah was menaced by Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 36:9). Ezra therefore assumes that he may command one now, in connection with the perils of the coming journey. That we might afflict ourselves. The Jews were commanded to "afflict themselves" on the great day of atonement (Leviticus 16:29), and understood that the affliction was to be mainly by fasting and abstaining from the bath. To ask of him a right way. Or "a direct road," i.e. a prosperous and unimpeded journey to Jerusalem. For us and our little ones. The colonists went up attended by their families.

8:21-23 Ezra procured Levites to go with him; but what will that avail, unless he have God with him? Those who seek God, are safe under the shadow of his wings, even in their greatest dangers; but those who forsake him, are always exposed. When entering upon any new state of life, our care should be, to bring none of the guilt of the sins of our former condition into it. When we are in any peril, let us be at peace with God, and then nothing can do us any real hurt. All our concerns about ourselves, our families, and our estates, it is our wisdom and duty, by prayer to commit to God, and to leave the care of them with him. And, on some occasions, we should decline advantages which are within our reach, lest we should cause others to stumble, and so our God be dishonoured. Let us ask wisdom of God, that we may know how to use or to refuse lawful things. We shall be no losers by venturing, suffering, or giving up for the Lord's sake. Their prayers were answered, and the event declared it. Never have any that sought God in earnest, found that they sought him in vain. In times of difficulty and danger, to set a season apart for secret or for social prayer, is the best method for relief we can take.Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava,.... After the messengers to Iddo were returned with those they brought with them:

that we might afflict ourselves before our God; humble themselves before him for their sins, confess them, and declare their repentance of them, and ask forgiveness for them:

to seek of him a right way for us; to take from thence towards Jerusalem, to be directed by him in it: either by a prophet, or by a vision in a dream, as Eben Ezra; or rather by the guidance of his providence; this they sought in prayer by the river side, where it had been usual with them, and since has been, to perform religious exercises, see Ezekiel 1:1, hence Tertullian (z) calls the prayers of the Jews "orationes littorales"; they sought not so much which was the shortest and easiest way for them to travel in, as which was the safest:

and for our little ones and for all our substance; for the safe conveyance of them; this shows, that though males only are numbered, as before, yet they had their wives and children with them; for little ones cannot be supposed without women to take care of them.

(z) Ad nationes, l. 1. c. 13. Vid. lib. de jejuniis, c. 16.

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