The Return of Zerubbabel

Scripture Passage: 
Ezra 1-11; Ezra 2:1-70
Attached audio files: 

INTRODUCTION: Ezra chapter one describes the return to Israel under Zerubbabel. Ezra chapter two gives the official census record of those who returned at this time. [Note: there is no need to deal with chapter two verse by verse; just point out special details.] In this passage, God began to renew that which had fallen. Though it looked to all the earth as if Israel was gone forever as a nation, God had other plans. After all, He can resurrect the dead back to life. Certainly, He can resurrect a nation.

  1. THE DECREE OF CYRUS (Ezra 1:1-4)
    1. The Making of the Decree (Ezra 1:1)
      1. The time of the decree: first year of Cyrus king of Persia
      2. The fulfillment of the decree
        1. According to the word of the Lord
        2. By the mouth of Jeremiah (2 Chronicles 36:21-22; Jeremiah 25:11-12; Jeremiah 29:10-14)
      3. The bringing forth of the decree
        1. The stirring of the Lord (Haggai 1:14; Acts 17:16; 2 Timothy 1:6)
        2. The spirit of Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:1-4; Proverbs 21:1)
      4. The proclamation of the decree
        1. Throughout the kingdom
        2. Put also in writing
    2. The Content of the Decree (Ezra 1:2-4)
      1. To build the house of God (Ezra 1:2) – the Mission
        1. According to the commission of the Lord
          1. The Lord God of heaven
          2. Having given Cyrus all the kingdoms of the earth (Daniel 4:25)
        2. According to the charge of the Lord
          1. To build the Lord a house
          2. At Jerusalem in Judah
      2. To send the people of the Lord (Ezra 1:3) – the Men
        1. The people sought – “Who is there among you?”
        2. The people strengthened – “his God be with him” (Joshua 1:9-11)
        3. The people sent – “let him go up”
        4. The people signed up – “build the house”
      3. To gather the offering of God (Ezra 1:4) – the Means
        1. For the purpose of sending
          1. The part of those not going; Note: compare to missionaries.
          2. To help those who are going
        2. For the purpose of building
          1. Set up as a free-will offering (Exodus 25:1-2, 8)
          2. To build the house of the Lord
  2. THE GATHERING OF THE PEOPLE (Ezra 1:5-6)
    1. The Moving of the People (Ezra 1:5)
      1. The leadership in motivation
        1. The chief of the fathers
        2. The priests
        3. The Levites
      2. The source of motivation – God (Proverbs 16:1)
      3. The method of motivation – in their spirit (Romans 1:9)
    2. The Offering of the People (Ezra 1:6)
      1. The strength of the offering (2 Corinthians 9:6-8) – “strengthened their hands”
      2. The willingness of the offering (2 Corinthians 8:3, 11-12)
  3. THE BRINGING OF THE VESSELS (Ezra 1:7-11)
    1. The Commissioning of the Vessels (Ezra 1:7-8)
      1. By the king of Persia (Ezra 1:7)
        1. Taken from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Chronicles 36:7, 18)
        2. Stored in the house of his gods (Daniel 5:1-4)
        3. Brought forth by Cyrus of Persia
      2. To the rulers of Judah (Ezra 1:8)
        1. Brought by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer
        2. Numbered by Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah
    2. NOTE: Sheshbazzar is certainly another name for Zerubbabel. He is called Sheshbazzar, a name meaning joy in tribulation , by the Persians. However, his own people called him Zerubbabel, which means a stranger in Babylon . Their common identity is seen in the following facts:
      1. They both were the prince of Judah (cp. Ezra 1:8 with Matthew 1:12, which shows Zerubbabel to be in the royal line of David).
      2. They both led the first return from captivity (cp. Ezra 1:11 with Ezra 2:2).
      3. They were both the governor of Judah (cp. Ezra 5:14 with Haggai 1:14).
      4. They both laid the temple foundation (cp. Ezra 5:16 with Zechariah 4:9).
      5. They are never both mentioned in the same place.
    3. The Inventory of the Vessels (Ezra 1:9-11)
      1. A detailed account of some (Ezra 1:9-10)
        1. Chargers of gold (Ezra 1:9)
        2. Chargers of silver (Ezra 1:9)
        3. Knives (Ezra 1:9)
        4. Basins of gold (Ezra 1:10)
        5. Basins of silver (Ezra 1:10)
        6. Other vessels (Ezra 1:10)
      2. The grand total of all (Ezra 1:11)
        1. 5400 vessels total
        2. Brought from Babylon to Jerusalem
  4. THE RETURN OF THE MEN OF ISRAEL (Ezra 2:1-2)
    1. A Return out of Captivity (Ezra 2:1)
      1. That had been carried away by Nebuchadnezzar
      2. That came again unto Jerusalem and Judah
    2. A Listing of Their Leaders (Ezra 2:2; Haggai 2:2)
  5. THE ACCOUNT OF THE CONGREGATION (Ezra 2:3-35)
    1. By Families (Ezra 2:3-20)
    2. By Cities (Ezra 2:21-35)
  6. THE ACCOUNT OF THOSE IN CHARGE OF WORSHIP (Ezra 2:36-42)
    1. The Priests (Ezra 2:36-39)
      1. The children of Jedaiah – 973 (Ezra 2:36)
      2. The children of Immer – 1,052 (Ezra 2:37)
      3. The children of Pashur – 1,247 (Ezra 2:38)
      4. The children of Harim – 1,017 (Ezra 2:39)
    2. The Levites – 74 (Ezra 2:40)
    3. The Singers – 128 (Ezra 2:41); Asaph (1 Chronicles 25:1-2)
    4. The Porters – 139 (Ezra 2:42; 1 Chronicles 26:1; Psalm 84:10); a doorkeeper or gatekeeper
  7. THE CHILDREN OF THE SERVANTS (Ezra 2:43-58)
    1. The Nethinims (Ezra 2:43-54)
      1. Those set apart to do the menial work of the sanctuary (Ezra 7:24; 1 Chronicles 9:2)
      2. Originated with the Gibeonites (Joshua 9:22-27)
    2. Solomon’s Servants (Ezra 2:55-58)
    3. Total – 392 (Ezra 2:58)
  8. THOSE WITH INCOMPLETE GENEALOGIES (Ezra 2:59-63)
    1. From the Common People (Ezra 2:59-60)
      1. Their distinction (Ezra 2:59-60)
        1. By cities (Ezra 2:59)
        2. By families (Ezra 2:60)
      2. Their problem – they could not shew their father’s house (Ezra 2:59).
      3. Their number – 652 (Ezra 2:60)
    2. Children of the Priests (Ezra 2:61-63)
      1. They were not found in the genealogy (Ezra 2:62).
      2. Therefore, they were polluted and could not fulfill the priesthood (Ezra 2:62).
      3. The decision of the Tirshatha (Ezra 2:63); Note: Tirshatha is the governor.
        1. They should not eat of the most holy things.
        2. They must wait for the Urim and Thummim (Exodus 28:30; Numbers 27:21).
  9. THE RESULTS OF THE NUMBERING (Ezra 2:64-70)
    1. The Congregation – 42,360 (Ezra 2:64)
    2. The Servants – 7,337 (Ezra 2:65)
    3. The Singers – 200 (Ezra 2:65)
    4. The Animals (Ezra 2:66-67)
    5. The Offering (Ezra 2:68-70)

CONCLUSION: For decades, all most of these Jews had known was the metropolis of Babylon. Now, they left their comfort and the security of what they had known in order to return to a ruined land and restore the kingdom of Israel. They put forth the effort to start all over again. We need people with that same kind of spirit today.

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 24:3

Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: