ESM Blog

Torah Meditations: Ezra & Nehemiah


From II Kings Pastor Mark brought out the background of the people who were living in the Land during the days of Ezra and Nehemiah’s return after the Babylonian captivity. Did we catch the significance of this?

II Kings 17:13 says: yet the LORD forewarned Israel, and Judah, by the hand of every prophet, and of every seer, saying: Turn ye from your evil ways and Keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers…..

  1. To whom is the LORD speaking?
  2. What keeps a people from evil ways?
  3. Though the generations had changed, had the law become outdated?

II Kings 17:14,15 ……not withstanding they would not hear, but hardened their neck, like to the neck of their fathers, who believed not in the LORD their God; and they rejected His statutes, and His covenant that He made with them; and they went after things of nought, and became nought, and after the nations that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them that they should not do like them…..

  1. According to the above verses, what actions did the Israelites take?

We know that every action has a consequence, and the actions of the Israelites were no exception! So, what happened?

II Kings 17:22-25  And the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did, they departed not from them until the LORD removed Israel out of His sight, as He spoke by the hand of all His servants the prophets.  So Israel was carried away out of their own land to Assyria, unto this day.  And the king of Assyria brought men from Cuthah, and from Avva, and from Hamath and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof. And so it was at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they feared not the LORD, therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which killed some of them.

  1. Why were the children of Israel carried out of their land?
  2. What did the king of Assyria do with the empty land that remained?
  3. Why did the lions come?

How would the problem with the lions be addressed?

II Kings 17:28,29 Then the king of Assyria commanded saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence and let them go and dwell there and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land.  So one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Beth-el, and taught them how they should fear the LORD.  Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt.

  1. Is there anything in these verses you find shocking?
  2. Is KNOWLEDGE of the LORD enough to cause someone to truly worship the one true G-d, or does something else need to accompany knowledge?

Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’


And, as Pastor Mark say, There is more!

II Kings 17:32-34 So they feared the LORD and made unto them from among themselves priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places. They feared the LORD, andserved their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away. Unto this day they do after the former manners; they fear not the LORD, neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law or after the commandment which the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom He named Israel.

 Matthew 6:24a “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. 

It is always easy to see what others are doing wrong, but these words are written for us too. What are these verses telling us, today?  Are there other gods that we are serving?  Have they crept in without our even being aware?  Maybe little idols of money or entertainment or a desire to be like the world some way or a desire for power or position?  Sometimes we can tell where our hearts are by just looking at how much time we spend doing something or thinking about something.  It is always a good thing to examine our hearts before the LORD whose hand is stretched out still.

Isaiah 30:18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;  Therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.  For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for him.