Ezra 6

CHAPTER VI

Darius orders search to be made for the edict of Cyrus, 1.

It is found at Achmetha, 2.

A transcript of this edict, 3-5.

Darius confirms it, 6-12.

Tatnai encourages the Jews to proceed; and they finish the

temple in the sixth year of Darius, 13-15.

They dedicate the temple, 16-18;

keep the Passover, 19-21,

and the feast of unleavened bread, 22.

NOTES ON CHAP. VI

Verse 1. In the house of the rolls] beith siphraiya,

the house of the books, the king's library. This is the first time

we hear of a library.

Verse 2. At Achmetha] Ecbatana in India, whither it is probable

all the records of Cyrus had been carried. This was a sort of

summer residence for the kings of Persia.

Verse 3. The height thereof threescore cubits] This was much

larger than the temple of Solomon. This was sixty cubits high, and

sixty cubits broad; whereas Solomon's was only twenty cubits

broad, and thirty cubits high.

Verse 4. Three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber] We

have noticed this kind of building before, three courses of

stones, and then a course of strong balk; and this continued to

the square of the building.

And let the expenses be given] Cyrus had ordered wood to be cut

at Libanus, and conveyed to Joppa at his expense; but it does not

appear that he furnished the other expenses of the building, for

we have already seen that the Jews contributed for the defraying

of all others. But it appears that he provided at his own expense

the sacrifices and offerings for the temple. See Ezr 6:9.

Verse 6. Be ye far from thence] Do not interrupt the Jews in

their building; but, on the contrary further them all in your

power.

Verse 10. And pray for the life of the king, and of his sons.]

Even heathens believed that offerings made in their behalf to the

God of the Jews would be available. And this principle has had

considerable influence in certain states where there was even a

form of religion established by the law, to induce them to

tolerate other forms, that the state might have the benefit of

their prayers.

Verse 11. Let timber be pulled down] Whether this refers to the

punishment of hanging and gibbeting of whipping at a post, or of

empaling, is not quite clear. In China they tie culprits to posts;

and the executioner cuts them open while alive, takes out their

bowels, &c. Empaling thrusting a sharp stake through the body till

it comes out at the side of the neck, or hanging, seems to be

intended here.

Let his house be made a dunghill] Let it be reduced to ruins,

and never more used, except for the most sordid and unclean

purposes.

Verse 14. According to the commandment of the God of Israel] He

first gave the order, and stirred up the hearts of the following

Persian kings to second that order.

Of Cyrus] This sovereign gave his orders for the rebuilding of

the temple about A.M. 3468.

And Darius] Darius Hystaspes confirmed the above orders, A. M.

3485.

And Artaxerxes] Artaxerxes Longimanus sent Ezra to Judea with

new privileges, A.M. 3547. With the permission of the same king,

Nehemiah came to Judea in 3550. The writer recapitulates the

different sovereigns who favoured the Jews after the Babylonish

captivity. See Calmet.

Verse 15. This house was finished] The sixth year of Darius

mentioned here was about A.M. 3489, twenty years after the

foundation had been laid by Zerubbabel, under the reign of Cyrus.

Verse 17. Twelve he-goats] This was a sin-offering for every

tribe.

Verse 18. And they set the priests] With this verse the Chaldee

or Aramitic part of this chapter ends.

Verse 20. The Levites were purified together] They were all

ready at one time to observe the proper rites and ceremonies, and

had no need of having a second passover, which was appointed by

the law for those who had been accidentally defiled, or were at a

distance from the tabernacle. See 2Ch 30:3.

Verse 21. And all such as had separated themselves] These were

the proselytes who had embraced the Jewish religion by having

mingled with the Jews in their captivity. This proves that there

the poor captives had so acted according to the principles of

their religion, that the heathens saw it, and walked in the light

of the Lord with them. A good example is very persuasive; and

particularly so when founded on pure principles.

Verse 22. Turned the heart of the king of Assyria] I am of

Calmet's mind, that king of Assyria is here put for king of

Persia. Cyrus and his successors possessed all the rights and

estates of the ancient kings of Assyria, and therefore the same

monarch may be styled king of Assyria as well as king of Persia.

DARIUS had a very high character, as a wise, just, and merciful

prince. To strengthen his title to the crown, he married two of

the daughters of Cyrus, and, no doubt, to show his affection to

this family, he the more cheerfully confirmed the edict which

Cyrus had made in favour of the Jews.

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