Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Ezra Chapter 8
Metaphysically Interpreting Ezra 8:1-14
8:1Now these are the heads of their fathers' houses, and this is the genealogy of them that went up with me from Babylon, in the reign of Artaxerxes the king: 8:2Of the sons of Phinehas, Gershom. Of the sons of Ithamar, Daniel. Of the sons of David, Hattush. 8:3Of the sons of Shecaniah, of the sons of Parosh, Zechariah; and with him were reckoned by genealogy of the males a hundred and fifty. 8:4Of the sons of Pahath-moab, Eliehoenai the son of Zerahiah; and with him two hundred males. 8:5Of the sons of Shecaniah, the son of Jahaziel; and with him three hundred males. 8:6And of the sons of Adin, Ebed the son of Jonathan; and with him fifty males. 8:7And of the sons of Elam, Jeshaiah the son of Athaliah; and with him seventy males. 8:8And of the sons of Shephatiah, Zebadiah the son of Michael; and with him fourscore males. 8:9Of the sons of Joab, Obadiah the son of Jehiel; and with him two hundred and eighteen males. 8:10And of the sons of Shelomith, the son of Josiphiah; and with him a hundred and threescore males. 8:11And of the sons of Bebai, Zechariah the son of Bebai; and with him twenty and eight males. 8:12And of the sons of Azgad, Johanan the son of Hakkatan; and with him a hundred and ten males. 8:13And of the sons of Adonikam, that were the last; and these are their names: Eliphelet, Jeuel, and Shemaiah; and with them threescore males. 8:14And of the sons of Bigvai, Uthai and Zabbud; and with them seventy males.
Metaphysically Interpreting Ezra 8:15-20
8:15And I gathered them together to the river that runneth to Ahava; and there we encamped three days: and I viewed the people, and the priests, and found there none of the sons of Levi. 8:16Then sent I for Eliezer, for Ariel, for Shemaiah, and for Elnathan, and for Jarib, and for Elnathan, and for Nathan, and for Zechariah, and for Meshullam, chief men; also for Joiarib, and for Elnathan, who were teachers. 8:17And I sent them forth unto Iddo the chief at the place Casiphia; and I told them what they should say unto Iddo, and his brethren the Nethinim, at the place Casiphia, that they should bring unto us ministers for the house of our God. 8:18And according to the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of discretion, of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel; and Sherebiah, with his sons and his brethren, eighteen; 8:19and Hashabiah, and with him Jeshaiah of the sons of Merari, his brethren and their sons, twenty; 8:20and of the Nethinim, whom David and the princes had given for the service of the Levites, two hundred and twenty Nethinim: all of them were mentioned by name.
Metaphysically Interpreting Ezra 8:21-23
8:21Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek of him a straight way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. 8:22For I was ashamed to ask 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 that seek him, for good; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him. 8:23So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was entreated of us.
September 1, 1929: Ezra 8:21-23
Ezra proclaimed a fast. What is the metaphysical interpretation of fasting? Fasting, metaphysically interpreted, means our abstinence from mortal thoughts, to the end that we may meditate upon, and incorporate into our consciousness, spiritual truths.
Ezra and the multitude humbled themselves before God and showed their gratitude in their prayers. What is the object of this? Meekness in the presence of Spirit opens the mind to the inflow of the substance of good. “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth,” said Jesus. Ezra's prayer was “that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek of him a straight way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.”
December 1, 1935: Ezra 8:21-23
Why did not Ezra ask to be furnished an armed guard to protect him from robbers on his journey? Ezra was ashamed to admit lack of faith in God as his all-sufficient protection after assuring the king that the hand of God was “upon all that seek him for good.” To hold the king’s confidence he had to be true to his principles.
Metaphysically Interpreting Ezra 8:24-30
8:24Then I set apart twelve of the chiefs of the priests, even Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them, 8:25and weighed unto them the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, even the offering for the house of our God, which the king, and his counsellors, and his princes, and all Israel there present, had offered: 8:26I weighed into their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels a hundred talents; of gold a hundred talents; 8:27and twenty bowls of gold, of a thousand darics; and two vessels of fine bright brass, precious as gold.8:28And I said unto them, Ye are holy unto Jehovah, and the vessels are holy; and the silver and the gold are a freewill-offering unto Jehovah, the God of your fathers. 8:29Watch ye, and keep them, until ye weigh them before the chiefs of the priests and the Levites, and the princes of the fathers' houses of Israel, at Jerusalem, in the chambers of the house of Jehovah. 8:30So the priests and the Levites received the weight of the silver and the gold, and the vessels, to bring them to Jerusalem unto the house of our God.
Metaphysically Interpreting Ezra 8:31-36
8:31Then we departed from the river 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 the lier-in-wait by the way. 8:32And we came to Jerusalem, and abode there three days. 8:33And on the fourth day the silver and the gold and the vessels were weighed in the house of our God into 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, the Levite; 8:34the whole by number and by weight: and all the weight was written at that time.
8:35The children of the captivity, that were come out of exile, offered burnt-offerings unto the God of Israel, twelve bullocks for all Israel, ninety and six rams, seventy and seven lambs, twelve he-goats for a sin-offering: all this was a burnt-offering unto Jehovah. 8:36And they delivered the king's commissions unto the king's satraps, and to the governors beyond the River: and they furthered the people and the house of God.
November 12, 1905: Ezra 8:21-32
A fast represents a discipline of sense desire. It is not necessarily abstinence from food, but a sacrifice of some physical pleasure that a higher consciousness may be apprehended. The senses represent the substance side of the mind, and the tendency is to attach the preponderance of effort to their sustenance; thus man makes a material body, when he should make a body of radiant substance.
Ezra is one who perceives the spiritual as the foundation of existence, and the necessity of returning Is-real minded thoughts to Jerusalem, city of peace. The river Ahava means “essence, being, generation,” which is the spiritual life stream from which all things come forth. In order to consciously realize this inner life current we have to shut away our mortal thinking and centre our attention upon God. When we “humble ourselves before our God,” we do not belittle nor condemn ourselves, but take an attitude of receptivity. The mind can put itself in an expectant, listening attitude toward Spirit, like one who strains his ears to catch a sound hard to distinguish in the presence of outer tumult. When we have proclaimed God as our security, we should not look for nor expect the help of those who believe in the force of arms.
The children of Israel had lost their spiritual centre through too much interest in things material, and Ezra was trying to get them to return and re-establish their temple worship. This is illustrative of the condition of all people who become immersed in sense life. They accumulate substance in gold and silver, representing experience in substance as wisdom and intelligence. This is carried back to Jerusalem to enrich the temple.
There are robbers by the way, and protection, is necessary. One can be robbed of good thoughts by coming in contact with those who do not respect the rights of others.
The distribution of the treasure to the twelve chief priests is the orderly apportioning to the twelve faculties of our being the substance of power and ability, which we have gathered in experience with the outer world. They care for it and protect it, until through the law of spiritual and mental equity, all that we have earned will be given to the custodians of the spiritual temple, which we are always building, though we may seem away off in the Babylon of confusion.
Then let us be content to go in whatever place we may be, doing our duty, fasting from sense gratification, and striving to be meek in the presence of our Lord, knowing that all that is of the good in our thoughts and acts will be finally gathered up and given to the “temple of God;” “which temple ye are.”
– UNITY magazine.
April 16, 1916: Ezra 8:21-32
Ezra is called the Puritan of the Bible. When he returned to Jerusalem from the Babylonian captivity, he found that those who had preceded him in the expedition seventy-eight years before had fallen into religious laxity. They had, through force of circumstances, made various alliances with the Gentiles, both in business and family relations, and the consequence was a great falling away from the high and exclusive Jewish standard of religion. The spiritual life had declined, ideals faded, and laxity, ignorance and indifference followed.
When it was reported to Ezra that the princes and rulers had taken heathen wives and committed other abominations in the sight of their God, he was scandalized. It is written in the ninth chapter of Ezra: “And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonished.” He was “all torn up.”
He called together all the people of Israel, fifty thousand, and demanded that they reform at once, put away their heathen wives and children, and observe the Hebrew law to the letter, which they agreed to do. For this course Ezra has been called a stern, narrow Puritan, bitterly intolerant, and with a total absence of human tenderness.
Metaphysically, Ezra represents Order, that faculty of the mind which holds every thought and act strictly to the truth of Being, regardless of circumstances or environments. Order is a mathematical faculty, and reduces everything to squares and cubes. Our Puritan fathers were excessively developed in order. They cut their clothes and hair on the square. Their religious worship was of the strict “decency and order” character. Musical instruments were barred, and all decorations, including flowers, strictly excluded.
Order is a divine faculty, and we could not do without it, but it should not be allowed to dominate the whole man and separate him from beauty and art. Order should always be balanced by judgment. When these go hand in hand in the consciousness all is well. When they are separated fanaticism or anarchy rules.
In today's lesson Ezra shows his loyalty to God in refusing to ask for soldiers of the king to protect him on the way to Jerusalem; for “we have spoken unto the king saying, The hand of our God is upon all them that seek him, for good.” And they were carried safely through.
It is the experience of those who use their highest judgment in conforming to Principle, that there is a law invisible that protects them and demonstrates for them in mysterious ways, when they are true to it and stand by it in the face of worldly ways.
When good judgment is used no one need come under the “fanatical” accusation. Take a firm stand in your mind that you will conform to the law of God, and when there is no call for its use become acquainted with that law: “in time of peace prepare for war,” then when you need to use the law it will be familiar to you, and you will know just what to do.
– UNITY magazine.
August 20, 1922: Ezra 8:21,23,31-32
Ezra proclaimed a fast. What is the metaphysical interpretation of fasting? Fasting, metaphysically interpreted, means abstinence from mortal thoughts, to the end that we may meditate upon and incorporate into our consciousness, spiritual truths.
Ezra and the multitude humbled themselves before God and showed their gratitude in their prayers. What is the object of this? Meekness in the presence of Spirit opens the mind to the inflow of the substance of good. “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth,” said Jesus. Ezra's prayer was that we might humble ourselves before God and seek of him a straight way for us and for our children, and for all our substance.
The text says that all the great company was protected from the enemy and from the “lier-in-wait by the way.” What do the enemy and this “lier-in-wait” mean to us? The great enemy of man is carnal mind, and the “lier-in-wait by the way” represents lawless and licentious thoughts that rob us of our substance.
What is the meaning of, “And we came to Jerusalem, and abode there three days”? This means that our prayers and affirmations have brought us where peace reigns in spirit,, soul and body.
September 1, 1929: Ezra 8:31-32
The test says that all the great company was protected from the enemy and from the “lier-in-wait by the way.” What do the enemy and this “lier-in-wait” mean to us? The great enemy of man is carnal mind and the “lier-in-wait by the way” represents lawless thoughts that rob us of our substance.
What is the meaning of the statement, “And we came to Jerusalem, and abode there three days”? This means that prayers and affirmations bring us to the place in consciousness where peace reigns in spirit, soul, and body.
December 1, 1935: Ezra 8:31-32
What is represented by the river Ahava? This stream represents a current of cleansing thought, in which the waters of denial serve to remove thoughts of fear and material beliefs.
How is freedom from material bondage realized? Through training the will to follow Truth gladly and fully one demonstrates his freedom from material bondage.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 02-06-2014