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that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and 2 [put it] also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord GOD of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at 3 Jerusalem, which is in Judah.t Who [is there] among you of all his people? of the ten tribes, as well as of Judah and Benjamin; for he had Assyria and Media under his power, where many of them were; his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which fis] in Judah, and build the house of the Lord GOD of Israel, (he [is] the God,) which [is] in Jerusalem; he gives them leave and urges them to go, and prays for their 4 success. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, for want of necessaries for his journey, let the men of his place, either the public officers, or their neighbours, as the Jews had behaved well to the heathen during their captivity, help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that 5 [is] in Jerusalem, given by those who chose to stay behind. Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all [them] whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which [is] 6 in Jerusalem. And all they that [were] about them, their neighbours, strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, helped them with provisions and accommodations for their journey, beside all [that] was willingly offered.
Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods; Nebuchadnezzar looked upon them as sacred things, and had taken care of them. It was a singular providence that they were kept so long, & considering their great value. Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah.|| 9 And this [is] the number of them; thirty chargers of gold, a 10 thousand chargers of silver, nine and twenty knives, Thirty basons of gold, silver basons of a second [sort] four hundred and ten, [and] other vessels a thousand, or rather, by thousands. 11 All the vessels of gold and of silver [were] five thousand and four hundred; the larger vessels are only specified here, the rest
Jeremiah had foretold the destruction of the king and empire of Babylon, Jer. xxix. 10. and the return of the Jews after seventy years. This was accomplished at the death of Belshazzar, the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, Dan. v. Upon the conquest of Babylon, Cyrus made his uncle Cyaxares, there called Darius, the Median king of Babylon. He reigned two years, and after his death, Cyrus' took the kingdom himself, and reigned over all Persia and the country that had been subject to the kings of Assyria and Babylon; and in this first year of his reign he issued this proclamation.
✦ Cyrus had knowledge of the true God, and had seen Isaiah's prophecy of him, Isa. xl. 28. xlv. 4. This was shown him by Daniel, as Josephus says. Therefore, in gratitude to God who had given him success, and agreeable to his commands, he was determined to fulfil the prophecy.
#The name was the same as Zerubbabel, one being his Babylonish and the other his Jew. ish nause. He was a prince of Judah by birth, and made captain of those who chose to
are lumped together. All [these] did Sheshbazzar bring up with [them of] the captivity that were brought up from Babylon unto Jerusalem.
ET us adore the exact fidelity of God to his promises. When the time to favour Zion, the set time was come, he remembered her. This should induce us to reverence him, should encourage our own faith in him, and to hold fast the profession of that faith without wavering; for faithful is he that hath promised, and will also do it.
2. We learn to adore the power of God over the spirits of men, in stirring up that of Cyrus, an heathen, and the hearts of his own people, to overcome all their temptations to stay in that country, and undertake so difficult a work. He can do what he pleases in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.
3. We infer, that the exaltation and possessions of men are owing to God. This Cyrus gratefully acknowledged, saying, The God of heaven hath given me the kingdoms of the earth. He putteth down one and setteth up another. Promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. This shows the rea sonableness of praying that God would prosper our works; and the duty of thanksgiving, when he makes our way prosperous; of our obligations to serve him; and to render unto him according to his benefits.
4. Let us heartily wish and pray for the presence of God with all those who are sincerely desirous to build his house: so Cyrus did. It is a good work, though a difficult one. They will find many discouragements from themselves, and from the temper and cir cumstances of the world. Let us pray that the Lord may be with them, and encourage them in all the ways that are in our power. God's ministers should be especially ready to show a good example on such occasions, be the first to lead in every good work, and employ all their authority and influence to quicken and animate others.
5. This should lead our thoughts to the gospel offers, and the redemption granted by our Lord Jesus Christ. Sinners are slaves, and have long been the captives of Satan. Christ proclaims liberty; to him all authority is given to do so. He urges and beseeches them to go up to the new Jerusalem; he intercedes that God may be with them, he encourages them, and furnishes them with all necessary supplies for the way. Too many stay behind, and love their slavery too well; but others go; and this is to be ascribed to God's influence on their spirits; the work is of grace. Let us hear Christ's voice, thankfully receive his offers, and earnestly pray that we ourselves and all about us may be disposed to ask the way to Zion with our faces thitherward; and join ourselves to God in the bonds of an everlasting covenant.
CHAP. II. and CHAP. III.
In these two chapters we have an account of the number that returned from the captivity; the building of the altar; the offerings are renewed; and the foundation of the temple laid, amidst the rejoicing of some, and the weeping of others.
The former part of this chapter may be passed over, and the reader begin at v. 68.
[OW these [are] the children of the province that went
up out of the captivity, of those which had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away unto Babylon, and came again unto Jerusalem and Judah, 2 every one unto his city; Which came with Zerubbabel : Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, Baanah. The number of the men of the people .3 of Israel; The children of Parosh, two thousand an hundred sev4 enty and two. The children of Shephatiah, three hundred sev5 enty and two. The children of Arah, seven hundred seventy 6 and five. The children of Pahathmoab, of the children of Jeshua 7 [and] Joab, two thousand eight hundred and twelve. The chil8 dren of Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four. The chil9 dren of Zattú, nine hundred forty and five. The children of 10 Zaccai, seven hundred and three score. The children of Bani, 1 six hundred forty and two. The children of Bebai, six hundred 12 twenty and three. The children of Azgad, a thousand two hun13 dred twenty and two. The children of Adonikam, six hundred 14 sixty and six. The children of Bigvai, two thousand fifty and 15 16 six. The children of Adin, four hundred fifty and four. The 17 children of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety-and eight. The children 18 of Bezai, three hundred twenty and three. The children of 19 Jorah, an hundred and twelve. The children of Hashum, twò 20 hundred twenty and three. The children of Gibbar, ninety 21 and five. The children of Bethlehem, an hundred twenty and 22 23 three. The men of Netophah, fifty and six. The men of 24 Anathoth, an hundred twenty and eight. The children of Az. 25 maveth, forty and two. The children of Kirjatharim, Chephirah, 26 and Beeroth, seven hundred and forty and three. The children 27 of Ramah and Gaba, six hundred twenty and one. The men of 28 Michmas, an hundred twenty and two. The men of Bethel 29 and Ai, two hundred twenty and three. The children of Nebo, 30 fifty and two. The children of Magbish, an hundred fifty and 31 six. The children of the other Elam, a thousand two hundred 32 fifty and four. The children of Harim, three hundred and 33 twenty. The children of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, seven hundred 34 twenty and five. The children of Jericho, three hundred forty 55 and five. The children of Senaah, three thousand and six hundred and thirty.
36 The priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, 37 nine hundred seventy and three. The children of Immer, a Ss thousand fifty and two. The children of Pashur, a thousand
39 two hundred forty and seven. The children of Harim, a thousand and seventeen.
The Levites the children of Jeshua, and Kadmiel, of the 41 children of Hodaviah, seventy and four. The singers: the 42 children of Asaph, an hundred twenty and eight. The children
of the porters: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, [in] all an hundred thirty and nine. 43 The Nethinims: the children of Ziha, the children of Ha44 supha, the children of Tabbaoth, The children of Keros, the 45 children of Siaha, the children of Padon, The children of Le46 banah, the children of Hagabah, the children of Akkub, The
children of Hagab, the children of Shalmai, the children of Ha47 nan, The children of Giddel, the children of Gahar, the chil48 dren of Reaiah, The children of Rezin, the children of Nekoda, 49 the children of Gazzam, The children of Uzza, the children of 50 Paseah, the children of Besai, The children of Asnah, the chil$1 dren of Mehunim, the children of Nephusim, The children of 52 Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur, The
children of Bazluth, the children of Mehida, the children of 53 Harsha, The children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the 54 children of Thamah, The children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha.
55 The children of Solomon's servants: the children of Sotai, 56 the children of Sophereth, the children of Peruda, The children
of Jaalah, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel, 57 The children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the children of 58 Pochereth of Zebaim, the children of Ami. All the Nethinims,
and the children of Solomon's servants, [were] three hundred 59 ninety and two. And these [were] they which went up from Telmelah, Telharsa, Cherub, Addan, [and] Immer: but they could not show their father's house, and their seed, whether they 60 [were] of Israel: The children of Delaiah, the children of Tobiah, the children of Nekoda, six hundred fifty and two.
And of the children of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz, the children of Barzillai : which took a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, and was called after 62 their name: These sought their register [among] those that were reckoned by genealogy, but they were not found: there63 fore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood. And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim.
The whole congregation together [was] forty and two thou65 sand three hundred [and] three score, Beside their servants and their maids, of whom [there were] seven thousand three hundred thirty and seven and [there were] among them two hundred singing men and singing women. The whole number that returned were not quite fifty thousand; whereas in Jehoshaphat's 66 time they were two hundred thousand fighting men. Their horses
[were] seven hundred thirty and six; their mules, two hundred 67 forty and five; Their camels, four hundred thirty and five; [their] asses, six thousand seven hundred and twenty.
And [some] of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the LORD which [is] at Jerusalem, offered freely. for the house of God, that is, for supplies, to set it up in his place, where it formerly stood. This was a token for good, that they took 69 pleasure in the stones thereof. They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work three score and one thousand drams of gold, and five thousand pounds of silver, about seventy thousand 70 pounds, and one hundred priests' garments. So the priests, and the Levites, and [some] of the people, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, dwelt in their cities, and all Israel in their cities. Some of the other tribes, who were dispersed in their own country, came up and settled with their brethren. Soon after this, they all assembled together, built an altar, kept a feast, and laid the foundation of the temple.
1 CHAP. III. And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel [were] in the cities, the people gathered them2 selves together, as one man to Jerusalem. Then stood up Jeshuat the son of Jozadak, who was the high priest, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, who was the captain or governor, under the king of Persia, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, that they might have public worship before the temple could be got ready, as [it is] written in the law of Mo3 ses the man of God. And they set the altar upon his bases, or, upon its old foundation; for, or rather, although fear [was] upon them because of the people of those countries ;* and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD, [even] burnt 4 offerings morning and evening. They kept also the feast of tabernacles and atonement, as [it is] written, and [offered] thẻ. daily burnt offerings by number, according to the custom, as the duty of every day required; all the sacrifices for every common 5 day, for every sabbath, and for every feast day. And afterward [offered] the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the LORD that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a free will offering unto the 6 LORD. From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not [yet] laid.
7 They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters, to make preparation and provide materials for the work; and meat,
It may be here remarked, that the Jews were not entirely slaves in Babylon; they had liberty to traffic and get money for themselves. Some of this was presented to them by the Chaldeans when they came away, and much by their brethren who stayed behind.
+ Though they were dispersed for a while about the country, to cultivate some land and prepare their habitations, yet they unanimously came together in the seventh month, at the feast of atonement and tabernacles.
Or, Joshua, Hag, i. 1. Zech. iii. 1.
Called Zorobabel, Matt. i. 12, Luke iii. 27.
• This intimates that they were not so solicitous to fortify themselves, as to enjoy the divine protection,