Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ezra-Stolen Temple Pieces Taken Home

By Mary Vee
Ezra 1

From Ezra's Journal

Photo Courtesy King Cyrus returns what was stolen
I am here on the streets of what is now called Persia with many other of my Hebrew brothers and sisters. 

Many are packed and ready for the journey back home.

Yes, you read that right. Many. Not all. Some Hebrews didn't want to leave their home in Babylon. They'd grown up in this land, learned the language, had businesses, and felt settled. 

No one judged those who chose to stay. No one judged those who chose to leave.

Those of us who chose to take the long journey home were helped by our neighbors. They gave us goods, livestock and valuable gifts. Most of this will be used to dedicate the temple once it is restored. The rest will help us settle back into the city.

King Cyrus ordered the silver dishes, gold dishes, silver pans, gold bowls, matching silver bowls and other articles which Nebuchadnezzar had stolen from the temple in Jerusalem to be given to us. He asked us to return them to their rightful place.

In all 42,360 Hebrews, 7,337 servants, 200 singers, 736 horses, 245 mules, 435 camels and 6,720 donkeys set out on foot for Jerusalem.

We sang and bonded together as we'd never done before. 

God had blessed us.

We walked through fields, over mountains and around lakes. The days swept by as we neared Jerusalem. Then, one amazing morning, we saw the broken walls and ruined city. on the hill in front of us. We didn't weep in sorrow. No. We wept with joy. This was the City of David. The city God gave to us. The place where the temple was built.

My heart stirred, as I ran up the hill. No need to open the gates. They lay in ruins. But I didn't care. I was home. We were home. And we would rebuild.

The whole group went straight to the temple. Even in it's ruined state we rejoiced. Some of the heads of the families came forward and gave an offering toward the rebuilding of the house of God on its site. Altogether, they gave 61,000 drachmas of gold, 5,000 minas or about 3 tons of silver, and 100 priestly garments.

After our celebration, the people went to their homes. Some had lived in nearby towns. We agreed to give ourselves seven months to settle in, adjust to our new life before regathering back in Jerusalem to start the rebuilding.

That night I slept in my own bed, in my own house. Sure it was dirty. Broken items laid on the floor and broken furniture needed repairing. It was the best sleep I'd had in a very long time. 

Thank you, God. I am home.
1.  Where did this journey begin?
2.  Where were the people going?
3.  Why didn't all the Hebrews go home?
4.  What did King Cyrus give the Hebrews to take home?
5.  What did the heads of the families do when they saw the house of God?
6.  How long did the people take to get settled.
7.  What did they do then?

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