The word that first came to my mind was “responsibility.”
Ezra is in charge of a great amount of money, given by the King of Persia, to help with the continuance of normal life in Judah, especially spiritual life, worship of God!
Here’s a traveling band of people, thousands of them apparently, “loaded” with silver and gold, copper too.
Watch how carefully (responsibly) Ezra handles these valuables.
“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.” Ezra 8:24-30
How much silver? “Six hundred and fifty talents” equals twenty-four (plus) tons of it! (A “talent” is generally said to be around a hundred pounds, though some scholars say seventy-five pounds.)
How much gold? “A hundred talents,” approaching four to five tons!
Yes, it is believed some Persian Kings were that wealthy, and at times that generous!
By the way, in the first line of our Text, “then I separated twelve of the chief of the priests, Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them” … that twelve “priests” are clearly involved … plus 12 Levites too! This is because both Sherebiah and Hashabiah were known Levites of that day. See them as such in Ezra 8:18 and 19.
This is because … in ancient Israel the Priests would have sanctified the offering, and the Levites would have transported it to its destination. Ezra is doing everything by the books, in accordance with Mosaic law! After all, he is a “Scribe!”
More than one man handled the money!
Always a good idea!
This procedure would have kept a lot of Preachers out of trouble! Let a treasurer and assistant (or even a finance committee) take care of the cash, the funds!
Wisdom with that money that belongs to God!
Thus … these valuable gifts were transported (under watchful eyes) from Babylon (Persia) to Judah (Jerusalem) safely. And once the funds arrive at the destination, everything is re-counted in the presence of other officials!
“The second mile” of accountability!
Or as Paul would have said it, “not greedy of filthy lucre.” (1 Timothy 3:3)
How diligent Ezra was as a man of God!
— Dr. Mike Bagwell
Do YOU care that much for the money God has sent your way? Money of which 10% belongs to Him? Or do you faithlessly squander (steal) it from the Lord?