11-4 Angels In Ezra And Nehemiah
EZRA Chapter 1
v. 1 "The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus". The Angel acted directly on his heart (or on his guardian Angel?).
EZRA Chapter 5
v. 5 "The eye of their God (the Angel) was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease" (building).
EZRA Chapter 6
v. 22 "The Lord had made them (Israel) joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel" (the God of Jacob- an Angelic term for the Angel that stands for Israel). Note the emphasis on the Angel directly working on human hearts.
EZRA Chapter 7
The theme of the Angel acting on the heart is common here: "The king granted (Ezra) all his request, according to the hand (Angel) of the Lord his God upon him. . . blessed be the Lord God of our fathers (the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was an Angelic term), which hath put such a thing as this in the king's heart. . . I was strengthened as the hand (Angel) of the Lord my God was upon me" (v. 6,9,27,28).
EZRA Chapter 8
v. 31 "We departed from the river of Ahava. . . to go unto Jerusalem; and the hand (Angel) of our God was upon us"- on the dangerous journey back across the desert with no military escort, carrying the temple treasures. As the Angel was with them from the Red Sea to Jerusalem at the Exodus, so He was again.
EZRA Chapter 10
v. 11 "Now therefore make confession unto the Lord God of your fathers"- confession of sin to an Angel.
Notice the same emphasis on the Angel acting directly on the hearts of the Jews and Persians- 2:8,12,18; 4:6.
The Angel Gabriel explained to Daniel that he had to battle with both the rulers of Persia and Greece in order to bring about the fulfilment of Daniel’s prayer and Jeremiah’s prophecy- in the command for the Jews to return to Judah. By appreciating the local politics which the Angel brought about between Persia and Greece, we can better understand why Gabriel had to manipulate Greece in order for the Persians to allow the Jews to return, and even to encourage them to do so: “From the point of view of the Persian king a strong pro-Persian Judea was a major threat to the Greek coastal lifeline, and as long as the Greeks dominated the coast and Egypt he supported a strong Judean province headed by a Judean-Persian official and peopled by a pro-Persian population, most of whose families were hostages in Babylon and Persia”(1).
(1) Othniel Margalith, "The Political Role of Ezra as Persian Governor," Zeitschrift für dieAlttestamentliche Wissenschaft 98:1 (1986):111.