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EZRA CHAPTER 1
Cyrus's proclamation to Israel for building the Lord's temple at Jerusalem, Ezra 1:1-4.
The chief of the people prepare for their return, Ezra 1:5,Ezra 1:6.
Cyrus restores the vessels of the temple to Sheshbazzar prince of Judah, Ezra 1:7,Ezra 1:8.
Their number, Ezra 1:9-11.
In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, to wit, of his empire or reign in Babylon; for he had now been king of Persia for many years. Stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, i.e. put into him a mind and will to his work.
All the kingdoms of the earth, to wit, in those parts of the world; all that vast empire formerly under the Assyrians and Babylonians. The gift of which he ascribes to the great God, either by virtue of those common notions which were in the minds of the heathens, who though they worshipped idols, yet many of them did acknowledge a true and supreme God; or by that clear and express prophecy of Isaiah concerning him, Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:1,Isaiah 45:13, so long before he was born; which prophecy the Jews had doubtlessly showed him, which also carried a great evidence with it, especially to him, who was so highly gratified and encouraged by it; or by a special illumination which God vouchsafed to him, as he did to Nebuchadnezzar and Darius, and some others of the heathen princes.
He hath charged me; either by his prophets, Isaiah formerly, or Daniel now; or by an inward suggestion to his mind.
Of all his people, to wit, of Israel. A material clause; by virtue of which they justly refused the help of those aliens who pretended to join with them in the building, Ezra 4:2,Ezra 4:3.
His God be with him; let his God help him, as I also shall do.
Which is in Jerusalem, or only
in Jerusalem, as it is in the Hebrew. So it notes the place where he allows and requires them to build it.
Whosoever remaineth; who, when his brethren were gone up, was desirous to go with them, but forced to tarry there for want of necessaries for his journey.
Let the men of his place help him; I require my officers to take care that they may be supplied, either by the voluntary contributions of the people, or by a moderate tax to be laid either only upon those Jews who were resolved to stay, or upon the Gentiles also, which the Persian monarchs, being absolute, had a power to do; and which was the more reasonable, because the king himself submitted to it, and bore a great part of the burden, and because it was for the house of that great God to whom they all owed their present peace and great felicity.
With silver and with gold, which upon this occasion I give you leave to transport.
The chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin; and with them some of other tribes, as appears from 1 Chronicles 9:3; but these only are named, because they were most considerable for number and quality.
Whose spirit God had raised to go up; to whom God had given that pious disposition, and that fortitude and resolution, which it required to break through their difficulties, which were great and many, such as their present penury, the length, and hazards, and costliness of the journey, their settlements in comfortable habitations, their dispersion in several and distant places, which hindered the conjunction of their counsels and actions, the multitude of their enemies, the actual possession of their country by others, the great backwardness of many of their own brethren to go with them, and many other discouragements.
Strengthened their hands; either because they had embraced, or at least favoured the Jewish religion, concerning which they were instructed by the Israelites that had now for a long time dwelt among them; or rather, that they might hereby gratify the king’s humour, and purchase his favour; for they perceived him to be hearty and forward in the work.
Object. These are said to have been cut in pieces, 2 Kings 24:13; how then are they here returned?
Answ. That Hebrew word used 2 Kings 24:13, signifies not so properly to
cut in pieces as to
cut off, as from the use of the word, Deuteronomy 25:12; 2 Samuel 4:12; 2 Kings 18:16; Jeremiah 9:26. And these vessels, when they were taken away from the temple, might very well be said to be cut off from it, because they had for so long time been so constantly, and as it were inseparably, united to it, and kept in it. In like manner,
the meat-offering and drink-offering are said to be cut off from the house of the Lord, Joel 1:9. And it is very improbable that they should deface and cut in pieces these magnificent vessels, which they could so easily transport whole to Babylon. Although, if some of the larger of them had been cut into two or more parts, yet the parts of them might be delivered to the Jews, who could, without great difficulty, restore them to their former unity and form.
Numbered them, i.e. he caused them to be delivered to the Jews by number.
Unto Sheshbazzar, i.e. Zorobabel, as appears by comparing Ezra 3:8, with Ezra 5:16, to whom the Persians, or rather the Chaldeans, had given this name of Sheshbazzar, as they gave other names to Daniel and his companions, Daniel 1:7.
The prince of Judah, and the captain and governor of these returning Jews, Ezra 2:2. So the sceptre is not yet departed from Judah.
Large knives used in the killing of the sacrifices, which are here mentioned, because the hafts of them were made of or covered with gold or silver.
Basons of a second sort; the first or chief were of gold, and these of silver are called the second, or next to them of worth and use.
Other vessels a thousand: he speaks of vessels of a middle size; for great and small were five thousand four hundred, as it follows here. Or, as some render it,
other vessels by
thousands: they were not distinctly numbered according to their various forms and uses, but were promiscuously put together by thousands.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Ezra 1". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19