The record, or genealogy, of those who returned to Jerusalem included sons of the priests, and sons of David. This represented those who were inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah, and was a sample of those who made up the nation of Judah after the kingdom was divided. One thousand one hundred and seventy-six men returned to Jerusalem to assist with the work of restoring the temple to its prior glory.
While this may seem like a simple list, there are spiritual truths that jump off the page. First, restoration is a gift of God. While many thought that perhaps there would not be a restoration of Judah, Jerusalem, and the temple, the remnant of Judah believed and held out hope that there would be, and these families represent the fulfillment of that hoped-for restoration. Second, God’s plan is a plan of order, and Ezra did not just grab whoever and run for Jerusalem. Instead, he numbered and named the leaders of the fathers’ houses and put them in order to make the trip back home. This restoration was going to be as complete as possible. The third and final thought I offer today is that God will grant you favor, even from the most unlikely sources, when He is leading you to restoration. Artaxerxes was the king of the nation which captured Judah and took them into captivity. I am sure no one believed that he would be their sponsor and savior for this mission. However, he saw the power of God and heard of His might, and wanted to be on the winning side. God moved him to sponsor God’s work. God can do the same for you!