Christ Notes > Bible Commentary > Wesley’s Explanatory Notes > Ezra > Ezra 8
 Of the sons of Shechaniah, of the sons of Pharosh; Zechariah: and with him were reckoned by genealogy of the males an hundred and fifty.
Males — Though the males only be expressed yet doubtless they carried the women along with them, as they did the little ones.
 And of the last sons of Adonikam, whose names are these, Eliphelet, Jeiel, and Shemaiah, and with them threescore males.
Whose names are, … — It seems the rest came before; so that now all the sons of that family returned.
 And I gathered them together to the river that runneth to Ahava; and there abode we in tents three days: and I viewed the people, and the priests, and found there none of the sons of Levi.
Of Levi — None who were simple Levites, and not the priests. And therefore the Levites mentioned, chap. 7:7, by anticipation were not yet come to him.
 And by the good hand of our God upon us they brought us a man of understanding, of the sons of Mahli, the son of Levi, the son of Israel; and Sherebiah, with his sons and his brethren, eighteen;
By the good hand — If where ministers have been wanting, the vacancies are well supplied, let us ascribe it to the good hand of God, qualifying them for the service, inclining them to it, and opening a door for them.
 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.
A fast — For public mercies. Publick prayers must be made, that all who are to share in the comfort, may share in the requests for it.
Afflict ourselves — For our sins; and so be qualified for the pardon of them. When we are entering on any new condition of life, our care should be to bring into it none of the guilt of the sins of our former condition. When we are in any imminent danger, let us make our peace with God, and then nothing can hurt us.
Right way — A safe and prosperous journey; such a way and course as might be best for us.
 So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.
Intreated — He gave us an assurance of his gracious answer to our request.
 Also the children of those that had been carried away, which were come out of the captivity, 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 the LORD.
Sin offering — For it is the atonement that secures every mercy to us, which will not be truly comfortable, unless iniquity be taken away, and our peace made with God. They offer twelve bullocks, twelve he-goats, and ninety six rams, (eight times twelve) signifying the union of the two kingdoms. They did not any longer go two tribes one way, and ten tribes another; but all the twelve met by their representatives at the same altar.