Ezra 8As the hand, &c. - If God gives us his hand, we are bold and chearful: if he withdraws it, we are weak as water. Whatever service we are enabled to do for God and our generation, God must have all the glory of it. Males - Though the males only be expressed yet doubtless they carried the women along with them, as they did the little ones. Whose names are, &c. - It seems the rest came before; so that now all the sons of that family returned. Of Levi - None who were simple Levites, and not the priests. And therefore the Levites mentioned, chap.7:7, by anticipation were not yet come to him. By the good hand - If where ministers have been wanting, the vacancies are well supplied, let us ascribe it to the good hand of God, qualifying them for the service, inclining them to it, and opening a door for them. A fast - For public mercies. Publick prayers must be made, that all who are to share in the comfort, may share in the requests for it. Afflict ourselves - For our sins; and so be qualified for the pardon of them. When we are entering on any new condition of life, our care should be to bring into it none of the guilt of the sins of our former condition. When we are in any imminent danger, let us make our peace with God, and then nothing can hurt us. Right way - A safe and prosperous journey; such a way and course as might be best for us. Intreated - He gave us an assurance of his gracious answer to our request. Sin offering - For it is the atonement that secures every mercy to us, which will not be truly comfortable, unless iniquity be taken away, and our peace made with God. They offer twelve bullocks, twelve he - goats, and ninety six rams, (eight times twelve) signifying the union of the two kingdoms. They did not any longer go two tribes one way, and ten tribes another; but all the twelve met by their representatives at the same altar.
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