Zechariah, A Man of Vision Ezra Tears His Hair Out. The Book of Zechariah The Book of Ezra, Chapters 7 - 10. The Prophet Zechariah. Born in Babylon Returned to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel’s leadership A contemporary of Haggai, he encouraged the people to rebuild the Temple.
Zechariah, A Man of VisionEzra Tears His Hair Out
The Book of Zechariah
The Book of Ezra, Chapters 7 - 10
Chapters 1 – 8 = Series of eight visions and a two chapter summary of Old Testament prophecy.
These are apocalyptic visions of God’s future victory
encouraged the exiles that their building project was
not in vain—not a waste of time.
Chapters 9 – 14 = Oracles about the coming Messiah.
Many NT writers refer to these promises of restoration and salvation as fulfilled in Jesus.
“Who so sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed.” (Genesis 9:6)
They report that Judah’s enemies are at rest and
peaceful because they have destroyed God’s people
and their land.
The horns correspond to the empires that attacked the
people of Israel.
CENTERPIECE OF THE STRUCTURE
The flying scroll is like a huge banner snapping in the
wind. The two sides of the scroll are a reminder of the
two tables of the law (10 Commandments).
Evil is symbolized by a woman in a measuring basket.
This time the patrol spreads God’s sovereign rule over
all the earth. God’s rule brings peace.
How does this point to Jesus? (cf. John 12:12 – 15)
How does this point to Jesus? (cf. Matthew 26 & 27)
How does this point to Jesus? (cf. Matt. 14:27-31)
Read Philippians 2:9 -11
We have almost no information about what took place in Judah from the time of the completion of the Temple until Ezra and Nehemiah show up in Jerusalem.
All we know is that King Artaxerxes sent Ezra to teach the Law to Jews in Judah and to enforce obedience to it. Disobedience to the Torah was made equivalent to disobeying the laws of King Artaxerxes!
All in all, it appears Ezra was only in Jerusalem for a year. His impact however was similar to Moses!
The people of Israel, including the priests and Levites, had not kept themselves separate from the neighboring people (Edomites, Samaritans).
They had intermarried with the people of the region and thus adopted their pagan and wrongful practices and beliefs.
What did the leaders report to Ezra?
With extreme grief and distress.
Ezra tore his clothes, tore hair from his hard and beard and sat down in shock and disbelief.
How did Ezra respond?
According to the Torah, intermarriage with pagan neighbors was forbidden. It always created problems for Israel when they ignored this law…do you remember?
Protective alliances, wanting to find a wife, convenience.
Why do you think the exiles intermarried with the other tribes living in Judah?
The people had divided or broken loyalties. They gave their hearts and allegiance to gods who made no moral or ethical demands. Injustice and immorality corrupted their lives.
The distinctiveness of the remnant would disappear. They would become indistinguishable from everyone else.
What was Ezra’s fear about the situation in Judah?
The Messiah had not yet come. God promised that a Savior would come from the faithful remnant of David.
For the Lord’s guidance to model for all His people how they ought to reform their ways and live.
What did Ezra pray?
They wept bitterly and confessed their sin. They renewed their commitment to the covenant. They promised to send away their foreign wives and children in order to separate themselves from unclean and unholy practices.
Keep two things in mind…
First, Ezra didn’t preach anything new. God’s law was clearly stated from the minute the people entered the Promised Land (Canaan). God warned of the consequences of intermarriage—their identity as a people would be at stake!
Second, there was an allowance within the Law for welcoming foreigners who separated themselves from unclean practices (see Ezra 6:21).
The women and children who honored God and abandoned false gods were probably not sent away!
Through Ezra, God put the Law back at the center of Israel’s life.
Until Ezra’s reforms, the returning Jews had thought of themselves primarily as a remnant of a political nation, with dreams of reviving that nation.
Under Ezra’s leadership, the people began to think of themselves as a faith community, with a primary allegiance to their relationship with God. Their identity was defined by this—not by politics.