Ezra 1

Verse 27. And his deeds, first and last] "The former things

which he did in his childhood, and the latter things which he did

in his youth; and all the judgments which he pronounced from his

eighth year, when he came to the kingdom, to his eighteenth,

when he was grown up, and began to repair the sanctuary of the

LORD; and all that he brought of his substance to the hand of

judgment, purging both the house of Israel and Judah from all

uncleanness; behold, they are written in the book of the Kings of

the house of Israel, and of the house of Judah."-Targum. These

general histories are lost; but in the books of Kings and

Chronicles we have the leading facts.



Chronological Notes relative to this Book

-Year from the Creation, according to Archbishop Usher, whose

system of chronology is most generally received, 3468.

-Year before the birth of Christ, 532.

-Year before the vulgar era of Christ's nativity, 536.

-Year of the Julian Period, 4178.

-Year since the flood of Noah, according to the English Bible,


-Year of the Cali Yuga, or Indian era of the Deluge, 2566.

-Year from the vocation of Abram, 1386.

-Year from the destruction of Troy, 649. This we collect from

three passages in Dionysius of Halicarnassus, (who flourished

in the Augustan ages) which state that an interval of four

hundred and thirty-two years elapsed from the destruction of

Troy to the building of Rome.

-Year from the foundation of Solomon's temple, 475.

-Year since the division of Solomon's monarchy into the kingdoms

of Israel and Judah, 439.

-Year of the era of Iphitus, who re-established the Olympic

games, three hundred and thirty-eight years after their

institution by Hercules, or about eight hundred and eighty-four

years before the commencement of the Christian era, 349.

-Year since the conquest of Coroebus at Elis, usually styled

the first Olympiad, (being the twenty-eighth Olympiad after

their re-establishment by Iphitus,) 241.

-First year of the sixty-first Olympiad.

-Year of the Varronian or generally received era of the building

of Rome, 218. This is upon the supposition that Rome was built

in the last year of the sixth Olympiad.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to Cato and the Fasti

Consulares, 217. Dionysius of Halicarnassus follows this

account; for he says that the metropolis of the Roman work was

built in the first year of the sixth Olympiad, which was the

first year of Charops, the first decennial archon of the


-Year from the building of Rome, according to Polybius, 216.

-Year from the building of Rome, according to Fabius Pictor, who

lived about two hundred and twenty-five years before the

Christian era, 212.

-Year of the Nabonassarean era, 212.

-Year since the destruction of the kingdom of Israel by

Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, 186.

-Year from the destruction of Solomon's temple by

Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, 53.

-Year of Servius Tullius, the sixth king of the Romans, and

father-in-law of Tarquin the Proud, 43.

-Year of Ariston, king of Lacedaemon, and of the family of the

Proclidae, or Eurypontidae, 29.

-Year of Anaxandrides, king of Lacedaemon, and of the family of

the Eurysthenidae, or Agidae, 28.

N. B. The kings of the Lacedaemonians of the families of the

Proclidae and the Eurysthenidae sat on the throne together for

several hundred years.

-Year of Amyntas, the ninth king of the Macedonians, 12.

-Year of the reign of Cyrus, computing from the year in which he

dethroned his grandfather Astyages, the last king of Media, 24.

But this was only his first year, if with the Holy Scriptures,

as well as Xenophon in the eighth book of his Institutes, we

compute the years of his reign from the time in which he was

put in possession of the whole Eastern empire. See Ezr 1:1.

-Year of the Babylonish captivity, 70. The years of this

captivity are generally reckoned from 606 B.C., when Jehoiakim

king of Judah was put in chains to be carried to Babylon; and

are supposed to be terminated by the edict of Cyrus to rebuild

the temple at Jerusalem. But others are of opinion that the

seventy years' captivity are to be computed from the total

destruction of the Jewish monarchy; and that they reach down

to the second year of Darius king of Persia, at which time

Zerubbabel and Joshua were encouraged by the prophets Haggai

and Zechariah to proceed with the rebuilding of the temple.


The proclamation of Cyrus for the rebuilding of the temple, 1-4.

The people provide for their return, 5, 6.

Cyrus restores to Sheshbazzar the vessels taken by

Nebuchadnezzar out of the temple of Solomon, 7-11.

In the introduction to this book the reader will find the

history of Ezra detailed at considerable length. It is only

necessary to say here that he is generally allowed among the Jews

to have been of the sacerdotal family, and therefore he is called

οιερευς, the priest by the Septuagint. Among the rabbins he

passes for a most extraordinary critic, Divinely authorized to

collect and arrange the different portions of the sacred writings,

and digest them into a system. How far all they say on this

subject is true, we cannot tell; he was, beyond all controversy, a

very eminent man; and in all that he did, acted under the

immediate direction and inspiration of the Almighty.

This history contains the transactions of about eighty-two

years; from the first year of Cyrus in Babylon, according to

Archbishop Usher, A.M. 3468, to the nineteenth year of Ardsheer

Diraz Dest, or Artaxerxes Longimanus, who sent Nehemiah to

Jerusalem, about A.M. 3550. For all other particulars, see the



Verse 1. Now in the first year] This is word for word with the

two last verses of the preceding book; which stand here in their

proper place and connection, but there are entirely destitute of

chronological connection and reference.

Cyrus] This prince, so eminent in antiquity, is said to have

been the son of Cambyses king of Persia, and Mandane, daughter of

Astyages king of the Medes; and was born about six hundred years

before Christ. Josephus accounts for his partiality to the Jews

from this circumstance; that he was shown the places in Isaiah the

prophet where he is mentioned by name, and his exploits and

conquests foretold: see Isa 44:28; 45:1, &c. Finding himself thus

distinguished by the God of the Jews, he was anxious to give him

proofs of his gratitude in return; and so made the decree in

favour of the Jews, restored their sacred vessels, gave them

liberty to return to their own land, and encouraged them to

rebuild the temple of Jehovah, &c.

It is very probable that when Cyrus took Babylon he found Daniel

there, who had been long famed as one of the wisest ministers of

state in all the East; and it is most likely that it was this

person who pointed out to him the prophecy of Isaiah, and gave him

those farther intimations relative to the Divine will which were

revealed to himself. Of his death there are contradictory

accounts. Herodotus says, that having turned his arms against the

Massagetes, and killed the son of Tomyris their queen, the mother,

impatient to avenge the death of her son, sent him a defiance;

promised to glut him with blood; and, having attacked him,

pretended to be worsted and to fly; and thus she drew him and his

army into an ambuscade, where he was routed and slain, and a

considerable part of his army destroyed. The enraged queen having

found his body, cut off his head, and threw it into a vessel full

of human blood, with this most bitter sarcasm:-



-HEROD. Clio, c. 214.

"Although living and victorious, thou hast destroyed me in

slaying my son, whom thou hast overcome by deceit; but, as I have

threatened, I will now slake thy thirst with blood."

Cyrus, thy thirst was blood, now drink thy fill.

By-Jeremiah] This prophet, Jer 25:12; 29:11, had foretold that

the Babylonish captivity should last only seventy years: these

were now ended; Cyrus had given the Jews permission and

encouragement to return to Judea, and rebuild the temple of the

Lord; and thus the prediction of Jeremiah was fulfilled.

Verse 2. The Lord God of heaven] It is not unworthy of remark,

that in all the books written prior to the captivity, Jehovah is

called The Lord of Hosts; but in all the books written after the

captivity, as 2 Chronicles, Ezra Nehemiah, and Daniel, he is

styled The God of Heaven. The words however have the same meaning.

All the kingdoms of the earth. At this time the empire of the

Medo-Persians was very extensive: according to ancient writers,

Cyrus, at this time, reigned over the Medes, Persians, Hyrcanians,

Armenians, Syrians, Assyrians, Arabians, Cappadocians, Phrygians,

Lydians Phoenicians, Babylonians, Bactrians, Indians, Saci,

Cilicians, Paphlagonians, Moriandrians, and many others. His

empire extended on the EAST, to the Red Sea; on the NORTH, to the

Euxine Sea; on the WEST, to the island of Cyprus and Egypt; and on

the SOUTH, to Ethiopia.

Verse 4. Whosoever remaineth in any place] Every one was at

liberty to go, but none was obliged to go. Thus their attachment

to God was tried; he whose heart was right with God went; he who

was comfortably settled in Babylon, might go if he chose. Those

who did not go, were commanded to assist their brethren who went.

Verse 6. Vessels of silver] Articles of silver, gold, &c.

Verse 7. The king brought forth the vessels] See on

Ezr 1:9-11.

Verse 8. Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.] This was probably the

Chaldean name of him who was originally called Zerubbabel: the

former signifies joy in affliction; the latter, a stranger in

Babylon. The latter may be designed to refer to his captive state;

the former, to the prospect of release. Some think this was quite

a different person, a Persian or Chaldean, sent by Cyrus to

superintend whatever officers or men Cyrus might have sent to

assist the Jews on their return; and to procure them help in the

Chaldean provinces, through which they might be obliged to travel.

Verse 11. All the vessels-were five thousand and four hundred.]

This place is without doubt corrupted; here it is said the sum of

all the vessels, of every quality and kind, was five thousand four

hundred; but the enumeration of the articles, as given in

Ezr 1:9, 10, gives the sum of

two thousand four hundred and ninety-nine only. But we can

correct this account from 1Esdras 2:13, 14.

I shall set both accounts down, that they may be compared


EZRA, Ezr 1:9-11.

Golden chargers.............................. 30

Silver chargers.............................. 1000

Knives....................................... 29

Golden basons................................ 30

Silver ditto, second sort.................... 410

Other vessels................................ 1000


Said to be 5400..........................only 2499

Difference of the first account from itself.. 2901

1 ESDRAS, 1Esdras 2:13, 14.

Golden cups................................. 1000

Silver cups................................. 1000

Silver censers.............................. 29

Golden vials................................ 30

Silver vials................................ 2410

Other vessels............................... 1000


Total....................................... 5469

Difference of the second account from the

first...................................... 69

According, therefore, to the sum total in Ezra, the sum total in

Esdras is only 69 different. See the next chapter.

It may be said that the vessels did actually amount to 5400, and

that the chief of them only were intended to be specified; and

these happen to amount to 2499; but that it was not the design of

Ezra to insert the whole; and that the ninth verse should be

considered as stating, And of the chief of them, that is, the gold

and silver articles, this is the number. But the expression in

Ezr 1:10,

other vessels, sets this conjecture aside: the place is most

manifestly corrupted.

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