Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible

Ezra 6

Verses 1-22

Having received the letter from Tattenai, Darius ordered that a search be made in the archives where the treasures were stored in Babylon.There is no doubt that God led the searchers to Achmetha in the province of Media, to find a scroll that recorded the decree of Cyrus concerning the rebuilding of the temple.The words of the decree are quoted in verses 3-5, confirming what has been told us in Ezra 1:1-11.Verses 6-12 record the words of Darius in reply to Tattenai. Neither this governor nor any of his companions was to interfere in the matter of the rebuilding of the temple, letting the work of this house of God alone (vv. 6-7), but allowing full right to the governor and the elders of the Jews to build as they had been given permission.

But more than that, Darius issued a decree that the cost of building should be borne by taxes due the king from his possessions west of the river (v. 8). Rehum had urged that if the temple were built, then the Jews would not pay taxes, but Darius decreed that the Jews would have tax money paid to them! Yet this was not all.Any needs the Jews had, bulls, rams and lambs for burnt offerings, wheat, salt, wine and oil, were to be given them at the requests of the priests in Jerusalem, not only on one occasion, but "day by day." It is interesting that Darius desired that the Jews should offer sacrifices to the God of heaven, and to pray for the life of the king and his sons (v. 10).Does not this appear to be a true work of God in the king's soul?Today, whatever government Christians may be under, it is important that they pray for those in authority over them.

Darius evidently thought it necessary also to solemnly decree that anyone who sought to alter his edict was to have his house destroyed and he himself hanged from the timber of his house (v. 11).This would rather effectually arrest any show of hostility by the enemies of the Jews.ThenDarius also invoked the God of Israel to act against any king or people who opposed the building of the house of God.He closed with the firm declaration, "I Darius issue a decree:let it be done diligently" (v. 12).

THE TEMPLE COMPLETED

(vv. 13-18)

Tattenai the governor and those associated with him did not hesitate to obey the king's decree, but were diligent in carrying out all his orders(v. 13).Through the prophesying of Haggai and Zechariah the Jews had resumed their building, and continued it also under such prophesying(v. 14). The decree of Darius was not sufficient to keep them building: they needed the help of God, just as we too need the grace and blessing of God if we are to build up the Church of God according to His Word.

We are not given precise dates as regards the length of the reign of Cyrus, Ahasuerus, Artaxerxes and Darius, so that we do not know how long the rebuilding took, but it was much longer than Solomon's seven years in building the first temple (1 Kings 6:38), and it was finally completed in the sixth year of King Darius (v. 15).

Thus God was honored in the restoration of His house, which is typical of the eventual restoration of the temple in the millennium as described in Ezekiel 40:1-49, though this in Ezra's time was much smaller.Since God was honored, the Jews had perfect right to rejoice in celebration of this glad event of the dedication of the temple.A large offering was made, though it was small in comparison to Solomon's offerings at the dedication of the first temple (1 Kings 8:62-63). In Ezra's case, the offerings were 100 bulls, 200 rams, 400 lambs and twelve male goats (v. 17). But the important matter is that all of these are types of the Lord Jesus in various aspects of the value of His sacrifice at Calvary. The priests and Levites were assigned to their proper places of service in connection with the temple, as prescribed in the book of Moses, no doubt specially Leviticus.

CELEBRATION OF THE PASSOVER

(vv. 19-22)

A Passover could finally be kept in Jerusalem.Previous to this, the last Passover recorded is that of Josiah, which must have taken place over 100 years before this (2 Chronicles 35:1-19). This too was kept on the proper day, in contrast to the Passover in Hezekiah's time (2 Chronicles 30:1-3), which was kept in the second month because many were not purified in the first month. On this occasion the priests and Levites had purified themselves, which speaks not only of being personally cleansed, but purified from any identification with evil, just as today whose who eat the Lord's supper should be free from evil associations.

The feast of Unleavened Bread, connected with the Passover, was kept for the seven days prescribed by Moses (v. 22).The seven days pictures the complete life of believers, being kept free from any contamination of evil, for we are not to suppose that we are intended to be free from evil just on certain holy days or occasions, but for our entire life.They kept the seven days with joy, and thus our joy is not to be temporary, but continued, as the Lord Jesus says, "that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full." (John 15:11).

It is interesting to observe at the end of Chapter 6 that the Lord had "turned the heart of the King of Assyria toward them." Thus the King of Persia is called also "the King of Babylon" (ch. 5:13) and "the King of Assyria." Persia had conquered Babylon after Babylon had conquered Assyria, so that Persia's king was in authority over Assyria and Babylon.

Ezra was the scribe whom God employed to give the history of these first six chapters, which took place before Ezra came to Jerusalem.Only in Chapter 7 does Ezra introduce himself into the picture.

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Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Ezra 6". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/ezra-6.html. 1897-1910.