Details of the journey (8:1-36)
Leaders of the family groups who returned under Ezra are listed, along with the numbers of people in the various groups (8:1-14). Surprisingly, no Levites were among them, so Ezra sent specially for some. Levites were essential, as religious service was the main purpose of Ezra’s return (15-20).
The journey to Jerusalem would take Ezra and his party about four months (see 7:9). During this time they would constantly be open to attacks from robbers. Yet even though they had with them large amounts of money and treasure, Ezra refused to ask the king for an escort of armed soldiers. He considered that to do so would contradict all that he had told the king concerning the protection God would give his people. So they fasted and prayed, trusting in God alone for their safety (21-23).
Ezra kept an exact record of all the wealth that they were taking with them. When that same amount was paid into the temple treasury at the end of the journey, it proved to all that God had answered their prayers and given them safety throughout their journey (24-34). The returned exiles acknowledged God’s goodness by offering sacrifices. After this, Ezra went to the local Persian officials to present the documents authorizing him to take control of the Jewish community (35-36).