Ezra 3

CHAPTER III

The altar of burnt-offerings is set up, 1-3.

They keep the feast of tabernacles, 4-6.

They make provision for rebuilding the temple; and lay its

foundation in the second month of the second year, 7, 8.

Ceremonies observed in laying the foundation, 9-11.

Some weep aloud, and others shout for joy, 12-18.

NOTES ON CHAP. III

Verse 1. When the seventh month was come] The month Tisri, which

answers to the latter part of our September, and beginning of

October. It seems that the Israelites had left Babylon about the

spring of the year; that on their arrival at Jerusalem they

constructed themselves huts and sheds to lodge in among the ruins,

in which they must have spent some months. After this they rebuilt

the altar of burnt-offerings, and kept the feast of tabernacles,

which happened about this time, and continued to offer sacrifices

regularly, as if the temple were standing.

Verse 2. Jeshua the son of Jozadak] He was grandson of Seraiah

the high priest, who was put to death by Nebuchadnezzar,

2Ki 25:18, 21. This Jeshua or Joshua was the first high priest

after the captivity.

Verse 3. They set the altar upon his bases] Rebuilt it on the

same spot on which it had formerly stood. As it was necessary to

keep up the Divine worship during the time they should be employed

in re-edifying the temple, they first reared this altar of

burnt-offerings; and all this they did, "though fear was upon

them," because of the unfriendly disposition of their surrounding

neighbours.

Verse 4. They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as it is

written] This began on the fifteenth day of the seventh month;

but they had begun the regular offerings from the first day of

this month, Ezr 3:6. And these were religiously continued all the

time they were building the temple.

Verse 7. They gave money also] They copied the conduct of

Solomon while he was building his temple; see 1Ki 5:11. He

employed the Tyrians, gave them meat and drink, &c.; and this

permission they now had from Cyrus.

Verse 8. In the second year] The previous time had been employed

in clearing the ground, felling timber, hewing stones, and

transporting them to the place, and making other necessary

preparations for the commencement of the building.

Verse 10. After the ordinance of David] With psalms which he

composed, acting in the manner which he directed.

Verse 12. Wept with a loud voice] They saw that the glory had

departed from Israel; in their circumstances it was impossible to

build such a house as the first temple was; and had this been even

possible, still it would have been greatly inferior, because it

wanted the ark of the covenant, the heavenly fire, the mercy-seat,

the heavenly manna, Aaron's rod that budded, the Divine shechinah,

the spirit of prophecy, and most probably the Urim and Thummim.

Many shouted for joy] Finding they were now restored to their

own land, and to the worship of their God in his own peculiar

city: these, in general, had not seen the original temple; and

therefore could not feel affected in that way which the elderly

people did.

The sight must have been very affecting: a whole people, one

part crying aloud with sorrow; the other shouting aloud for joy;

and on the same occasion too, in which both sides felt an equal

interest! The prophet Haggai comforted them on this occasion by

assuring them that the glory of this latter house should exceed

that of the former, because the Lord (Jesus Christ) was to come to

this temple, and fill it with his glory. See Haggai, Hag 2:1-9.

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