1. Exposition

What is the meaning of "joy"?

Ezra 6:22 (ESV)

22 And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the LORD had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.

Joy is found in many psalms and passages of the Bible. It signifies a spontaneous and vocal expression of joy.1 This word is often used with festive celebrations: eating, drinking, dancing, instruments, clapping hands. Lots of events lead to joy: victory over enemies, wealth, harvest, wine and weddings. Moses commands tangible expressions of joy as part of Israel’s celebration on feast days; they were meant to be joyful. The Psalms also encourage rejoicing because of God’s presence, comfort, protection, blessings, strength, precepts, love, rule, and intervention on behalf of his people. The prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 33:10–13) prophesied that the day of restoration to the land will be a day of joy and gladness.

According to the New Testament, joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Thus, joy is something that God needs to work in his people. That is why we read that the Lord filled them with joy. Through his Spirit, the Lord made the people of Israel joyful.