Any Who Are Willing

Psalm 106 reflects on the mistakes of Gods chosen people who God had asked to “observe justice” and do “righteousness at all times”. The Psalm turns to a plea in vs. 5 “that I may see the good done”, but the good is not just personal, it is also for the nation, for all of them.

This is transition time for Ezra as he readies to return to Jerusalem. His request is granted. He is being sent to bring restoration, justice, good “for the nation”. The king issues a decree “any of the people of Israel, their priests, or their Levites in my kingdom who are willing to go to Jerusalem may go with you” and he sends an offering of silver and gold. And then says, pay “the remainder of the needs … from the house of the kings treasury”. The king doesn’t leave any room for opposition. Finally, the king charges Ezra in Ezra 7:25-26 to “appoint magistrates and judges … and teach those that do not know … let judgement be executed”. Ezra closes this account saying “the hand of Yahweh my God was upon me”. 

The Mighty Deeds of Yahweh

Psalm 106:1–5
As we are working our way through the time of Ezra, in Psalm 106:1-3 we come to this recognition of the great and loving goodness of God toward “those who observe justice, he who does righteousness at all times”. This turns to a plea in Psalm 106 4-5 “remember me … show favor … look after me … that I may see the good done”. But the good is not personal, it is for the all of them, “the joy of the nation” and is very much the heart also of Paul as described here: “This little prayer beautifully relates the one to the many, refusing to lose the individual in the crowd, yet retreating into no private corner of enjoyment. We are reminded again of Paul, whose joy and crown was the prosperity of God’s chosen (e.g. Phil. 4:1; 1 Thess. 2:19; 3:8), and whose daily burden was ‘the care of all the churches’ (2 Cor. 11:28, AV)”.1

They Did Not Remember

Psalm 106:6–12
There is an accusation in Psalm 106:7 that “they did not remember” yet it is only given to bring to memory how God dealt with them. He didn’t abandon them, in Psalm 106:8-11 “he saved them … he led them … and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy”. Then we find the action that was prompted in them in

Psalm 106:12 (LEB) Then they believed his words; they sang his praise.

And we can come back to opening statement that says “we”, in Psalm 106:6 “have sinned along with our ancestors”. We followed them in sin and have come to the action for us also to take in vs. 12. Now let us follow them in praise.

They Tested God

Psalm 106:13–27
The ways they turned from God are listed in Psalm 106:13-25 they “forgot his works”, “did not wait on his counsel”, “craved”, “were jealous”, “exchanged their glory”, “forgot God their savior”, “refused the desirable land”, “did not believe his word”, “grumbled in their tents”, “did not obey the voice of Yahweh”. And in Psalm 106:26-27 “he made an oath against them”.

Many have said that the length of our life is seventy years by quoting Psalm 90:10 but they fail to connect Psalm 106:26-27 with Psalm 90:7-9 which is the length of our life as it was for them wandering in the wilderness as they tested God and stirred up his anger against them.

Psalm 90:7–10 (LEB) For we are brought to an end by your anger, and we hasten off by your wrath. 8 You have put our iniquities before you, our hidden sins into the light of your countenance. 9 For all of our days dwindle away in your rage; we complete our years like a sigh. 10 As for the days of our years, within them are seventy years or if by strength eighty years, and their pride is trouble and disaster, for it passes quickly and we fly away.

The length of life was one hundred and twenty in Genesis 6:3, were in Genesis 6:5 “Yahweh saw that the evil of humankind was great upon the earth”. Again, a statement related to evil behavior that shortened their life. So, “The hundred and twenty years could be the time of respite before the flood (cf. 1 Pet. 3:20), or the shortened average life-span now to be expected. Either of these meanings would be consonant with what follows in Genesis”.2

Or as another commentator says, “they will have 120 years to do repentance. It is not therefore that human life was contracted to 120 years”.3

What do you believe about your life? The world believes it exceptional to live to be one hundred. I don’t see this limitation anywhere in the Bible. I do see that God will satisfy you with long life in Psalm 91:16 and that “hope that is deferred makes the heart sick” in Proverbs 13:12. What do you believe about your life?

Psalm 27:13 (LEB) 13 Surely I believe that I will see the goodness of Yahweh in the land of the living.

They Mingled With the Nations

Psalm 106:28–39
Rather than live with God in righteousness, they sought the ways of the world in Psalm 106:28-38 and in Psalm 106:39 “became unclean by their works”. It wasn’t just that they thought to separate from God. They “mingled with the nations” and “sacrificed their sons and daughters to the demons”.

He Remembered His Covenant

Psalm 106:40–48
In Psalm 106 :46 it says “he let them find compassion before all their captors” as we have read in Daniel and Ezra, and Esther. And now in Psalm 106:47 they cry out “Save us”, “gather us”. This might have been the cry of those in Ezra’s day who are now ready to return to Jerusalem.

After These Things

Ezra 7:1–10
There often are things that must occur before God’s plan unfolds. And after these things in Ezra 7:1, Ezra secured permission from the king in Ezra 7:6 to go to Jerusalem and take these others with him. It was a four month journey but this was Ezra’s life, purpose, mission in

Ezra 7:10 (LEB) 10 For Ezra had set his heart to seek the law of Yahweh, to do it, and to teach the regulations and judgments in Israel.


Any … Who Are Willing

Ezra 7:11–17
Here is the decree of the king, not the first king Cyrus’s decree or the second king Darius’s decree, but the third king, Artaxerxes who said in

Ezra 7:13–14 (LEB) I issue forth a decree that any of the people of Israel, their priests, or their Levites in my kingdom who are willing to go to Jerusalem may go with you. 14 For you are sent from the king and his seven counselors to enquire about Judah and Jerusalem concerning the law of your God, which is in your hand.

And Artaxerxes also sends this delegation with, in Ezra 7:15-17 “silver and gold that the king and his advisors have freely offered” and from “the whole province of Babylonia, with the freewill offerings of the people and the priests”. 

All That is Commanded by the God of Heaven

Ezra 7:18–28
The king then goes on in Ezra 7:20 to say “the remainder of the needs … from the house of the kings treasury”. Then in Ezra 7:21 “to all the treasurers … whatever the priest Ezra asks (up to a very generous limit)”. And in Ezra 7:23 “let it be done with diligence”, don’t drag you feet or impede this work in any way. And in Ezra 7:24 do not “place tax, tribute, or duty”. The king understands the ways people get around what was commanded and doesn’t leave any room for the treasurers of the region to reclaim what they are told to freely give. Finally, the king charges Ezra in Ezra 7:25-26 to “appoint magistrates and judges … and teach those that do not know … (and) all who do not obey …let judgement be executed”. Then Ezra closes this chapter with a personal note in Ezra 7:27-28 “the hand of Yahweh my God was upon me”.

The Heads of Their Families

Ezra 8:1–14
This is the record of those that willingly prepared themselves to return with Ezra.

The Sons of Levi

Ezra 8:15–20
As the whole delegation gathers in preparation in Ezra 8:15 “I (Ezra) found no one there from the sons of Levi”. Ezra 8:17 “suggest that Iddo occupied a top administrative position within a Judean temple enclave in Babylon, a social structure commonly found within Achamenid Babylon”.4

And there is a positive response with a solid leader and nineteen other qualified as priests in Ezra 8:18-19 and two-hundred and twenty, in Ezra 8:20 “temple servants … all of them were registered by name”.

Study Verses

Today’s Reading

  • Psalm 106:1-48
  • Ezra 7:1-28
  • Ezra 8:1-20

Operation Exodus

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Return to Israel – Ezra

We often read one book of the Bible at a time and that is easier for everyone to follow. The order of our readings, beginning with Ezra, are from the Tyndale One Year Chronological Bible because the return from Babylonian exile includes Haggai, Zechariah, Nehemiah, Esther, a few Psalms, and other connections. Covering these events chronologically as they happened, gives a much better context and helps us understand the move of God as He is reestablishing His people. Review the whole series beginning with Go Up To Jerusalem.


  • 1. Kidner, D. (1975). Psalms 73–150: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 16). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  • 2. Kidner, D. (1967). Genesis: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 1, p. 90). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  • 3. Louth, A., & Conti, M. (Eds.). (2001). Genesis 1–11 (p. 125). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  • 4. Wright, J. W. (1992). Iddo (Person). In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 3, p. 376). New York: Doubleday.