Listen to King Artaxerxes of Persia command our protagonist Ezra. These particular instructions are just part of a longer letter to the returning (from the land of Babylon to the land of Israel) Jewish patriot and Bible scribe … “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.” Ezra 7:25
A King who is conversant with the word “wisdom!”
Not much (if any) of that kind of vocabulary at the United Nations, is there? At least, not any more. In fact, there may have never been!
Yes, here are being sought “magistrates” and “judges” who know the Law of God!
By the way, some of the language the King is using here is Aramaic, foreign to the Jews, but apparently spoken in ancient Persia! (Is the Bible accurate, or what?) For example, the verb “set” is “mena,” certainly NOT Hebrew!
However, “magistrates” is the typical noun for “judges” in the Old Testament, “shaphat.” Here we’re back to Hebrew … to the core!
And the plural noun “judges” is a hapax legomenon, meaning a word used only one time in all a body of literature, here in all the Bible! (Though it appears as a verb a few times, in Ezra and Daniel.) And it is Aramaic again! “Dayan,” simply meaning the act of “pleading” … as in a court of law or in a counsellor’s office. (Let me be clear here. Not that Aramaic and Hebrew are all that radically dissimilar … but they are definitely NOT the same, NOT identical!)
Even the verb “may judge” is Aramaic, used 71 times (!!!) in the Word of God, but all occurring in Ezra and Daniel, “Babylonian Captivity” era Books of Scripture!
A Persian King expressing Wise Godly Ideas … in the corrupted language of the heathen! God is absolutely amazing, His myriad “Ways!”
But that’s not my point today, not yet.
Now … here’s my burden this morning …
If a nation is going to prosper in the eyes of God … she needs the right kind of leaders, both executively and judicially! Legislatively, God had already given Israel the Law by which she was to live. They needed no Congress!
And here in the book of Ezra, Judah certainly had the right kind of executive leadership; first Zerubbabel and now Ezra … and then later Nehemiah!
So, judicial prudence is “on the way!” By the edict of a vile King! Again, his mandate to Ezra: “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.”
A people led (governed) by the Law of God!
Like America used to be, in times past.
Before sinful perversion so gripped our Land!
“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” Proverbs 29:2
The wrong kinds of judges, with which America is rife (overflowing) these days, men and women who sadly exemplify Isaiah 5:20 … “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
Psalm 9:17 is a stark warning, too. “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” Thought provoking!
Judah needed (and wanted) the right kind of judges.
America needs them too, but does America want them any longer?
Let’s pray for our President as he tries to appoint the right kind of men and women to the bench!
We must believe 2 Chronicles 7:14 is still in force. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Let us pray …
— Dr. Mike Bagwell