THE CAPTIVES OF JUDAH LIBERATED
When the Medes and Persians defeated Babylon, Darius the Mede was ruler, and not until Cyrus the Persian took the throne was liberty proclaimed to Judah. This was God's time, as He had foretold by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25:12) and Isaiah (Isaiah 44:28). The proclamation of Cyrus is definite and specific, that he was persuaded that the Lord God of heaven had commanded him to build a house at Jerusalem. It seems rather strange that a Gentile king would be so emphatic in thus speaking for God, but it is recorded that God Himself had stirred up the spirit of Cyrus (v.1).
He invited and encouraged God's people, the Jews, to return to Jerusalem with the object of building God's house there. Notice, he does not give any honor to the idols of Persia, but says of the God of Israel, "He is God" (v. 3). He also gave instructions to neighbors of anyone who was concerned about taking this journey to Jerusalem, to "help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God, which is in Jerusalem" (v. 4). This was not only a matter of liberating slaves, but enriching them. Thus Cyrus was rightly representing a God of grace.
This proclamation had positive effect on the heads of the fathers' houses of Judah and Benjamin and on priests and Levites, as well as others whose spirits God had moved. Of course, their number was small compared to the number who had been taken captive, but God is pleased with every response of faith to His working.
People in the vicinity of those who purposed to go were willing to help them as Cyrus had directed, giving them articles of silver and gold, goods and livestock and precious things, that is, things of special value(v. 6).This shows at least that those so exercised to go to Jerusalem had not incurred the contempt of the people among whom they lived.
More importantly still, King Cyrus had all the articles that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem, brought out from the temple of his idols, to send them back to their rightful place. He knew that Babylon's idols were not God. The Persian treasurer, Mithredath, counted these out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. The record of them was faithfully kept, 30 gold platters, 1000 silver platters, 29 knives, 30 gold basins,410 silver basins, and 1000 other articles. The total number of gold and silver articles was 5,400.Sheshbazzar took charge of all these, to bring them from Babylon to Jerusalem (vv. 9-11).
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Ezra 1". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany