Ezra 1

** The history of this book is the accomplishment of Jeremiah's

prophecy concerning the return of the Jews out of Babylon. From

its contents we especially learn, that every good work will meet

with opposition from enemies, and be hurt by the misconduct of

friends; but that God will make his cause to prevail,

notwithstanding all obstacles and adversaries. The restoration

of the Jews was an event of the highest consequence, tending to

preserve religion in the world, and preparing the way for the

appearance of the Great Deliverer, the Lord Jesus Christ.

* The proclamation of Cyrus for the rebuilding of the temple.

(1-4) The people provide for their return. (5-11)

1-4 The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus. The hearts of

kings are in the hand of the Lord. God governs the world by his

influence on the spirits of men; whatever good they do, God

stirs up their spirits to do it. It was during the captivity of

the Jews, that God principally employed them as the means of

calling the attention of the heathen to him. Cyrus took it for

granted, that those among the Jews who were able, would offer

free-will offerings for the house of God. He would also have

them supplied out of his kingdom. Well-wishers to the temple

should be well-doers for it.
5-11 The same God that raised up the spirit of Cyrus to

proclaim liberty to the Jews, raised up their spirits to take

the benefit. The temptation was to some to stay in Babylon; but

some feared not to return, and they were those whose spirits God

raised, by his Spirit and grace. Whatever good we do, is owing

to the grace of God. Our spirits naturally bow down to this

earth and the things of it; if they move upward in any good

affections or good actions, it is God who raises them. The calls

and offers of the gospel are like the proclamation of Cyrus.

Those bound under the power of sin, may be made free by Jesus

Christ. Whosoever will, by repentance and faith, return to God,

Jesus Christ has opened the way for him, and raises him out of

the slavery of sin into the glorious liberty of the children of

God. Many that hear this joyful sound, choose to sit still in

Babylon, are in love with their sins, and will not venture upon

a holy life; but some break through all discouragements,

whatever it cost them; they are those whose spirit God has

raised above the world and the flesh, whom he has made willing.

Thus will the heavenly Canaan be filled, though many perish in

Babylon; and the gospel offer will not have been made in vain.

The bringing back the Jews from captivity, represents the

redemption of sinners by Jesus Christ.

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