Approximately seventy-nine or eighty years after the first group of exiles was permitted by Cyrus to leave Babylon, Ezra was allowed to lead a large number of Jews back to Jerusalem. Being of the lineage of Aaron through Eleazar and Phinehas, Ezra was a priest. He was also a skilled scribe very educated in the Law of Moses. The Persian king, Artaxerxes wrote a decree giving Ezra gold, silver and other necessary commodities to be used in the worship of the God of heaven. There were to be no taxes levied against the people involved with the temple of God. Furthermore, Ezra was given permission and instructions for setting up a civil government. He was encouraged and very thankful to God for the generosity of King Artaxerxes.
As Ezra and his company began their journey, he took a genealogical inventory of the persons with them. It was soon discovered that there was no one from the tribe of Levi to perform the priestly duties of the temple. That deficiency was soon corrected and they moved on. Travel was hazardous because of the danger of attack, but Ezra refused to request for protection as he trusted in God to deliver them from any enemies. At the conclusion of their safe four-month trip, documents were delivered to the proper authorities and burnt offerings were offered up to the God of Israel. “So they gave support to the people and the house of God.” The number of Jews that went with Ezra to Jerusalem was about fifteen hundred men plus women and children.