Ezra 6 – The Decree of Darius

Chapters 4 and 5 refer to both the building of the Temple and the construction of the wall; and discuss the opposition that the Jews ran into – despite Cyrus’s decree.  The reign of Cyrus ended upon his death in 530 BC, and the construction of the Temple was halted due to that opposition for more than 15 years.  In chapter 6, by the time that Darius became king, the record of the decree of Cyrus was in question as to whether it had actually taken place.  So Darius made a decree that it would be searched for.  Verses 3-12 detail the additional orders that Darius decreed concerning the construction, once the record of the decree of Cyrus was found.

English: Tomb of Cyrus the Great

English: Tomb of Cyrus the Great (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Verses 13-22 mark the completion of the Temple (as verse 15 notes that it was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius, that would be about 515 BC).  Then the text describes its dedication and the celebration of Passover.   Verse 14 emphasizes that completion of the Temple was really influenced by the will of God, speaking through His prophets Haggai (Haggai 1:1-11) and Zechariah (Zechariah 1:7-17).

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Ezra 3 – Rebuilding the Temple

In verse 1, by Israel’s calendar, the seventh month was Tishri (about September).  It was the month of the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:26–32), and then came the Feast of Booths (Leviticus 23:33–43), celebrating the exodus.  It was important to build the altar first, as it was the first thing done when the people first entered the land after the exodus (Deuteronomy 27:1-8); and it was built at the site of the old altar (verse 3), and they began sacrificing at once.  In verse 7, they gave money to the masons and carpenters, and to the Sidonians and the Tyrians for the cedars of Lebanon to be brought.

Day of Atonement

Day of Atonement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Temple project began in the  second year (about 537 BC). The second month, in verse 8, was Ziv (1 Kings 6:1) and is in the spring.  It was the same time of year that Solomon began construction of the original temple (2 Chronicles 3:2).  In verses 10-11, the people shouted with joy at the laying of the foundation.  But in verses 12-13, some of the very old remembered the first temple, and they did not believe that the new one would be as awesome and beautiful as the first (see Haggai 2:2-9).  So the sounds of weeping and joy could not be distinguished from each other.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Ezra 1 – The Proclamation of Cyrus

Cyrus Cylinder. Terracotta, Babylonian, ca. 53...

Cyrus Cylinder. Terracotta, Babylonian, ca. 539-530 BC. From Babylon, southern Iraq. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ezra begins in 539 BC with the proclamation of Cyrus.  This was prophesied hundreds of years before he was even born – in Isaiah 44:28-45:1.  Verse 1 says that “the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia,” affirming that the proclamation was the Lord’s doing.  The reference to the words of Jeremiah is about Jeremiah 25:11-14 and 32:36-38, wherein the prophet predicts the exile to Babylon as well as their return.  The leaders of the tribes of Benjamin and Judah, along with the priests and Levites, gather money and material for the temple – as Cyrus decreed it to be rebuilt.  Cyrus also brings the treasures that were taken from the temple in 586 b.c. for them to take back to Jerusalem (verses 7-11).

Side note: The Cyrus Cylinder was discovered in 1879 by Hormuzd Rassam.  Cyrus conquered the Babylonians and captured Nabonidus, the last Babylonian king.  He details the restoration of exiles and the return of temple “gods” to their sanctuaries.  There is a great story about this cylinder in this article from BibleArchaeology.org.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.