Now that Your new house and temple are built, what’s going to happen?
The genealogy of Ezra lists ancestors back to Aaron (Ezra 7:1-5).
“This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him.
And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king.
And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.
For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.
For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments” (Ezra 7:6-10).
Ezra’s letter from King Artaxerxes:
“Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time.
I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee.
Forasmuch as thou art sent of the king, and of his seven counselors, to enquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which is in thine hand;
And to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counselors have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem,
And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem:
That thou mayest buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem.
And whatsoever shall seem good to thee, and to thy brethren, to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God.
The vessels also that are given thee for the service of the house of thy God, those deliver thou before the God of Jerusalem.
And whatsoever more shall be needful for the house of thy God, which thou shalt have occasion to bestow, bestow it out of the king’s treasure house.
And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily,
Unto an hundred talents of silver, and to an hundred measures of wheat, and to an hundred baths of wine, and to an hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much.
Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?
Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them.
And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and Judges, which may Judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not.
And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let Judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.
Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem:
And hath extended mercy unto me before the king, and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty princes. And I was strengthened as the hand of the LORD my God was upon me, and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me” (Ezra 7:12-28).
These are the people returning with Ezra: (Ezra 8:2-14).
These are the people that returned to Jerusalem: (Ezra 8:15-20.)
“Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.
For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.
So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.
Then I separated twelve of the chief of the priests, Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them,
And weighed unto them the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, even the offering of the house of our God, which the king, and his counsellors, and his lords, and all Israel there present, had offered:
I even weighed unto their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels an hundred talents, and of gold an hundred talents;
Also twenty basons of gold, of a thousand drams; and two vessels of fine copper, precious as gold.
And I said unto them, Ye are holy unto the Lord; the vessels are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering unto the Lord God of your fathers.
Watch ye, and keep them, until ye weigh them before the chief of the priests and the Levites, and chief of the fathers of Israel, at Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of the Lord.
So took the priests and the Levites the weight of the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, to bring them to Jerusalem unto the house of our God.
Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem: and the hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way.
And we came to Jerusalem, and abode there three days.
Now on the fourth day was the silver and the gold and the vessels weighed in the house of our God by the hand of Meremoth the son of Uriah the priest; and with him was Eleazar the son of Phinehas; and with them was Jozabad the son of Jeshua, and Noadiah the son of Binnui, Levites” (Ezra 8:21-32).
On the 4th day the silver, gold, and vessels were weighed and the people counted and amount of people was 1 written down. 12 bullocks, 96 ram, 77 lambs, and 12 he goats were given for a sin offering.
And they delivered the king’s commissions unto the king’s lieutenants, and to the governors on this side the river: and they furthered the people, and the house of God (Ezra 8:36).
1 According to Babylonian practice, e.g., the Hammurabi Code, almost every transaction, including sales and marriages, had to be recorded in writing.
The Hammurabi Code
Established in Mesopotamia during the 1st Dynasty under the reign of King Hammurabi (1790-1750 B.C.), the code consists of 282 Babylonian laws (deciphered and published by Scheil) in cuneiform, and originally placed in the temple of Marduk, the national god of Babylon.
The Code of Hammurabi contains references to family law (marriage, divorce), civil law (slavery, debt), and criminal law (theft and assault).
Cast in the form of traditional law, it provides a prologue and a body of laws, followed by an epilogue.
Hammurabi created the code “to bring about the rule of righteousness to the land, to destroy the wicked and evil-doers; so that the strong should not harm the weak.”
Perhaps one of the most contemporary ‘codes’ of Hammurabi is its adoption law, which states, “if a man adopt a child and to his name a son, and rear [raise] him, this grown son can not be demanded back again.”
The term, ‘an eye for an eye,’ and ‘a tooth for a tooth’ has its roots in the code?
Hammurabi’s Code communicates how laws are a fundamental part of many societies, and the writing of law is in itself is a way of communicating information.
To date, the principles of the code have not been translated in the realm of contemporary law, the code has provided us with the principles that punishment should be regulated and governments have a responsibility to compensate the victims of crime.
Can be read here.Hammurabi’s attempts to unify and organize social life led him to collect and expand existing minor law codes. The resulting legislation was of a most comprehensive nature, and Hammurabi ordered it to be incised on a basalt column and placed in the temple of Shamash, god of justice, for all to see.
This column is in every sense a monument of ancient jurisprudence. It was carried away as a trophy by invading Elamites in a surpise raid during the 12th century and was unearthed only in A.D. 1901 at Susa (biblical Shushan) by J. de Morgan.
The charge is often made that the Law of Moses was not divinely communicated but that it borrowed heavily from the Code of Hammurabi, or at least from the Mesopotamian context. The Mesopotamian materials were then supposedly purified of polytheistic elements and put in the Old Testament.
As a basis for our thinking, it must be noted that the Code of Hammurabi was discovered in Susa. Found December 1901 and January 1902, it was broken in three pieces. When combined the pieces revealed a code on a black diorite shaft almost 8 feet tall and 6 feet in circumference, with 3,600 lines of cuneiform text arranged in 44 columns. A total of 282 laws, written in Akkadian appear in the text.
The top front of the shaft features a low relief of Hammurabi standing before the sun god Shamash, the god of justice, and presumable receiving the text in the code from him.
This was originally set up in the Great Temple to Marduk in Babylon during the second year of Hammurabi’s reign, the code was carted by the Elamites to Susa about 1200 B.C. Today it sits on display in the Louvre Museum in Paris. Hammurabi is dated to be 1728-1686 B.C., but most scholars date him around 1792-1750 B.C.
In 1947, a Sumerian Code of Lipit-Ishtar was found in southern Mesopotamia, dating before 1850 B.C., it had laws similar to Hammurabi’s and it shows that he had concocted all of his laws. Some took the position that he was bringing up to date the common law of Mesopotamia.
Then in the very next year at Eshnunna (modern Tell Asmar), also in southern Mesopotamia, an Akkadian code of King Bilalma came to light. This dated some 70 years earlier than Lipit-Ishtar’s. Four years later, in 1952, archaeologists found the Sumerian code of Ur-Nammu at Ur, dating perhaps 2100-2050 B.C.
The Hammurabi Code and the Mosaic Law are similar, but they are also quite different. Hammurabi’s Code is polytheistic, civil, commercial, and punishments are geared to class distinctions.
The Mosaic Law is monotheistic, civil, religious, and does not class distinctions in meting out punishments. Moses claims no credit for formulating his code; this was God’s set of requirements for His people.