Spiritual Training

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May 9 - Morning

"During the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra son of Seraiah, the son …the son … the son … the son of …the son of Aaron the chief priest — this Ezra came up from Babylon.
He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him. Some of the Israelites, including priests, Levites, musicians, gatekeepers and temple servants, also came up to Jerusalem…
Ezra arrived in Jerusalem in the fifth month of the seventh year of the king. He had begun his journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, and he arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month, for the gracious hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel."

- Ezra 7:1-10

458 BC, Ezra the Scribe Arrives from Babylon

Ezra begins leaving the land of Babylon (map) on April 8, 458 and arrives in Jerusalem in August of 458 during the reign of Artaxerxes, the son of Esther's husband, Xerxes. Ezra and the 2,000 men, women and children (Ezra 8:21) he traveled with did not have an armed escort as Nehemiah (map) would have twelve years later in 446 BC (Nehemiah 2:9), because Ezra had expressed his faith in the Lord to Artaxerxes and was ashamed to ask for human protection (Ezra 8:22-23). Ezra's trip took 119 days (which included 11 days of preparation before the actual 108 day journey began, Ezra 8:31) and followed a 900 mile route. The average caravan traveled 15-20 miles per day, but Ezra's procession averaged only 8 miles per day.

With the arrival of Ezra in Jerusalem a new phase of Jewish history had begun because Ezra "was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given."

Ezra was from the priestly lineage and could list his fathers back sixteen generations to Aaron. The word "teacher" used to describe Ezra is the Hebrew soper, or literally, "a scribe." Soper, or "scribes" worked as secretaries for kings like Shaphan was a soper for Josiah (2 Kings 22:3) and Baruch was a soper for Jeremiah (Jeremiah 36:32). Besides being a skilled writer and educated in scrolls and documents, Ezra is also described as "well versed (or, mahir) in the Law of Moses." The Hebrew word mahir means "quick" and "swift." In Psalm 45:1 mahir is translated "a skillful writer."

The age of the skilled scribe who was swift with the Law of Moses had arrived in Jerusalem. This age of the scribe would set the pace for the next several centuries in Judaism, indeed, even until today.

February 15, in one night Zechariah is given a series of eight night visions in one night.

December 7, Zechariah receives the word of the Lord in the fourth year of Darius Hystaspes. (Zech. 7)

Ezra 6:13-18 Temple Rebuilt 70 years after it was destroyed
The temple is completed by Zerubbabel. It has been 70 years since the temple was destroyed in 586 BC.

Battle of Marathon
Darius attacks Athens by sailing across the Aegean Sea and land 20 miles from Athens on the plains of Marathon.
  1. The Persians have 600 ships with 20,000 men; Athenians
    have 10,000 men.
  2. A Greek runner runs 150 miles in 36 hours to Sparta for help
    but Sparta does not come.
  3. Miltiades, an Athenian general, launches an attack by
    charging down the hill in formation with thin middle ranks.
  4. Persia breaks through the middle line but find themselves
    trapped. They rush back to their ships.
  5. The Persians head for the bay of Athens but the Athenians
    out run them there and Persia returns home.
  6. Athenians capture seven Persian ships. Casualties suffered:
    Persia-6,400 Athens-192

Ezra 4:6
  • Xerxes begins to reign.
  • Samaritans take this chance to file a complaint. (Ezra 4:6)

Xerxes displays his vast wealth and military power at a
banquet in preparation for his invasion of Greece.

Battles of:

  • Thermopylae
  • Salamis
  • Plataea

Daniel 11:2
Xerxes goes to war against Greece. Persia fights the battles of:
  1. Thermopylae – This battle is the basis of the movie “300” that features the Spartan king Leonidas and his 300 men who fight the invading King Xerxes and his Persian troops.
  2. Salamis – Persians occupy Athens and burn the temple.
    The Persians move their ships into a strait through a bottle neck thinking the beached Greek trireme ships are trapped. Xerxes watches from his ivory throne placed on a hill in disbelief as his ships are rammed, congested and unable to maneuver while Persians ships continue to sail into the bottle neck. Xerxes heads back to Persia, leaving behind 1/3 of his troops which then burn Athens to the ground.
  3. Plataea – In what looked like a rout of the Greeks, the Persians fail to stay organized and are driven from Greece.

These Greek battles fulfill Daniel 11:2: “a fourth Persian king, who will be far richer. . .will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece.” This sets the stage for the rise of Alexander the Great who will seek deliverance and revenge for the burning of Athens in 336 BC.

Esther goes to Xerxes and becomes Queen in Dec/Jan.

Esther 3:7


  • Esther’s fifth year as queen.
  • April 17 is the date set to meet to determine fate of Jews.

  • According to Haman’s plans and Xerxes order, the Jews are to be killed in Persia on March 7
  • March 7, the Jews defend themselves. The Jews kill 500 men in Susa and 10 of Haman’s sons.

  • Xerxes is inside his bedchamber when he is assassinated by 3 conspirators. They convince Artaxerxes, Xerxes’s son, to slay his older brother. They then try to kill Artaxerxes who is only wounded but kills his attacker.
  • Artaxerxes becomes Persian Emperor and will reign for 41 years.
  • Esther would be about 38 years old if she became queen when she was 25.

  • Artaxerxes orders the rebuilding of the rebellious city, Jerusalem, to stop.
  • Samaritans send a letter to Artaxerxes to say Jerusalem is a rebellious city. (Ezra 4:7)
  • Artaxerxes replies: “this city will not be rebuilt until I so order.” (Ezra 4:21)

  • In Artaxeres’ seventh year he issues the decree to rebuild and restore Jerusalem.
  • Ezra leaves Babylon on April 8 and arrives in Jerusalem on August.
  • December 19 the people assemble and the investigation of intermarriage begins.
  • The 70 weeks (or, 490 years) of Daniels prophecy in Daniel 9:25 begins with Artaxerxes’ decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem in 458 BC. The decree is found in Ezra 7:12-26. The 70 weeks (490 years) are interrupted after 69 weeks (483 years) with the coming of the Messiah. 458 BC minus 483 years equals 25/26 AD which is when John the Baptist will introduce the Messiah to the Jewish nation.

Ezra committee ends their three month long investigation into intermarriage by Mar/Apr (Ezra 10:17)
Natsach (Hb) – Keep (Eng) – the Hebrew word natsach means “to keep,” “to oversee,” and “to have charge over.” Natsach is used as “to lead” in 1 Chr. 23:4 and Ezra 3:8. The participle natseach is used 55x in Psalms to refer to the “director” or “overseer” of the music in the headings for Psalms such as Psalm 5, 6, 9 and others.
Do I recognize God's skill in myself? or, God's skill in others?
I will recognize, honor and promote the gifts, talents and skills the Lord has placed among mankind.

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


Complete Text

General Text


Ask for Godly counsel and friends


Time of refreshing
Congressional leaders

Original Proto-Aeolic capitals that most likely originated from the royal palace of the kings of Judah in Jerusalem. This design consists of a rectangular stone with a triangle shape in the middle that is flanked by the spiral volute, a scroll-like ornamentation, on both sides of the central triangle shape.
(details 1, 2)
Larry looks over the Kidron Valley at Pharaoh Daughter's Tomb from near David's royal palace in the City of David. The Mount of Olives is in the background of the photo in the middle.

Someone to Quote

“Sir, it does matter what I as a Christian believe, because the value of Christian faith is not in the one believing, but in the one who is believed in, its object.” – Josh McDowell

Something to Ponder

The first copy of the Guttenberg Bible (printed on a printing press) took 3 years of constant printing to produce, being finished in 1445. Printed in 2 volumes, totaling 1284 pages.
Nearly 200 originals were printed and remarkably, 48 still exist today.

Here’s a Fact

Tiglath-pileser also records the fate of Israel’s king Pekah and records the installing of Hoshea as king. This agrees with the biblical record in 2 Kings 15:27-31. Assyrian records also lists the tribute of 10 talents of gold, 1,000 talents of silver taken to Assyria:
“Omi-land (or, Israel)… overthrew their king Pekah and I placed Hoshea as king over them. I received from them 10 talents of gold, 1,000 talents of silver as their tribute and brought them to Assyria.”


"For through wisdom your days will be many,
    and years will be added to your life."

- Proverbs 9:11

Coach’s Corner

Learn to distinguish the difference between trivial and fleeting information, and the knowledge that is useful and worth remembering.

Judges 12
New International Version (NIV)
Jephthah and Ephraim
12 The Ephraimite forces were called out, and they crossed over to Zaphon. They said to Jephthah, “Why did you go to fight the Ammonites without calling us to go with you? We’re going to burn down your house over your head.”
Jephthah answered, “I and my people were engaged in a great struggle with the Ammonites, and although I called, you didn’t save me out of their hands. When I saw that you wouldn’t help, I took my life in my hands and crossed over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave me the victory over them. Now why have you come up today to fight me?”
Jephthah then called together the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim. The Gileadites struck them down because the Ephraimites had said, “You Gileadites are renegades from Ephraim and Manasseh.” The Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan leading to Ephraim, and whenever a survivor of Ephraim said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead asked him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he replied, “No,” they said, “All right, say ‘Shibboleth.’” If he said, “Sibboleth,” because he could not pronounce the word correctly, they seized him and killed him at the fords of the Jordan. Forty-two thousand Ephraimites were killed at that time.
Jephthah led Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in a town in Gilead.
Ibzan, Elon and Abdon
After him, Ibzan of Bethlehem led Israel. He had thirty sons and thirty daughters. He gave his daughters away in marriage to those outside his clan, and for his sons he brought in thirty young women as wives from outside his clan. Ibzan led Israel seven years. 10 Then Ibzan died and was buried in Bethlehem.
11 After him, Elon the Zebulunite led Israel ten years. 12 Then Elon died and was buried in Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.
13 After him, Abdon son of Hillel, from Pirathon, led Israel. 14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys. He led Israel eight years. 15 Then Abdon son of Hillel died and was buried at Pirathon in Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.
1 Kings 17
New International Version (NIV)
Elijah Announces a Great Drought
17 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”
Elijah Fed by Ravens
Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”
So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath
Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him: “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”
12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”
13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”
15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.
17 Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. 18 She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?”
19 “Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”
22 The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. 23 Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!”
24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.”
2 Samuel 8-9
New International Version (NIV)
David’s Victories
In the course of time, David defeated the Philistines and subdued them, and he took Metheg Ammah from the control of the Philistines.
David also defeated the Moabites. He made them lie down on the ground and measured them off with a length of cord. Every two lengths of them were put to death, and the third length was allowed to live. So the Moabites became subject to David and brought him tribute.
Moreover, David defeated Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah, when he went to restore his monument at the Euphrates River. David captured a thousand of his chariots, seven thousand charioteers and twenty thousand foot soldiers. He hamstrung all but a hundred of the chariot horses.
When the Arameans of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah, David struck down twenty-two thousand of them. He put garrisons in the Aramean kingdom of Damascus, and the Arameans became subject to him and brought tribute. The Lord gave David victory wherever he went.
David took the gold shields that belonged to the officers of Hadadezer and brought them to Jerusalem. From Tebah and Berothai, towns that belonged to Hadadezer, King David took a great quantity of bronze.
When Tou king of Hamath heard that David had defeated the entire army of Hadadezer, 10 he sent his son Joram to King David to greet him and congratulate him on his victory in battle over Hadadezer, who had been at war with Tou. Joram brought with him articles of silver, of gold and of bronze.
11 King David dedicated these articles to the Lord, as he had done with the silver and gold from all the nations he had subdued: 12 Edom and Moab, the Ammonites and the Philistines, and Amalek. He also dedicated the plunder taken from Hadadezer son of Rehob, king of Zobah.
13 And David became famous after he returned from striking down eighteen thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.
14 He put garrisons throughout Edom, and all the Edomites became subject to David. The Lord gave David victory wherever he went.
David’s Officials
15 David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people. 16 Joab son of Zeruiah was over the army; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was recorder; 17 Zadok son of Ahitub and Ahimelek son of Abiathar were priests; Seraiah was secretary; 18 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was over the Kerethites and Pelethites; and David’s sons were priests.
David and Mephibosheth
David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”
Now there was a servant of Saul’s household named Ziba. They summoned him to appear before David, and the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?”
“At your service,” he replied.
The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?”
Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.”
“Where is he?” the king asked.
Ziba answered, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.”
So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel.
When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor.
David said, “Mephibosheth!”
“At your service,” he replied.
“Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”
Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”
Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s steward, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. 10 You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.” (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.)
11 Then Ziba said to the king, “Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons.
12 Mephibosheth had a young son named Mika, and all the members of Ziba’s household were servants of Mephibosheth. 13 And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table; he was lame in both feet.

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