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EZRA CHAPTER 6
Darius answereth the former letter, Ezra 6:1-7;
and maketh a new decree, Ezra 6:8-12.
By the help of the adversaries, and the directions of the prophets, the temple is finished, Ezra 6:13-15. The feasts of the dedication, Ezra 6:16-18, and of the passover, are kept, Ezra 6:19-22.
Darius made a decree; either,
1. To search the rolls. Or rather,
2. To permit and promote the building of the temple. And so the following words may be rendered, after search was made, &c., the Hebrew particle vau being oft so used, as hath been noted before. In Babylon; either,
1. In the kingdom or empire of Babylon, which he now possessed; or rather,
2. In the city of Babylon, where search was first made, supposing that this edict, which was made presently after Cyrus had taken Babylon, was kept there; but not finding it there, they searched in Achmetha, and found it there.
Here the king’s answer may seem to begin, and this following account he sends to them, and after that lays down his commands.
Achmetha; the royal city of the Medes and Persians.
He did not command them to make it so large, for he left the ordering of the proportions of the building to their skill and choice; but he restrained them that they should make it no larger, lest they should hereafter make use of it to other purposes against himself: but those proportions differ much from those of Solomon’s temple, which was but thirty cubits high, only the porch was one hundred and twenty cubits high, and but twenty cubits in breadth. Either therefore Solomon’s cubits were sacred cubits, which were larger than the other, and these were but common cubits; or the sixty cubits of height are meant only of the porch, which he would not have to be so high and magnificent as that of Solomon’s was, lest they should be puffed up with it, and by degrees arrive at their former height and insolence. And the word rendered
breadth, may be, and is by some, rendered more generally, the extension, or amplitude, or the length of it; it being improbable that the king should give orders about the breadth, and none about the length of it.
With three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber; as Solomon’s temple was built, 1 Kings 6:36; whereof Darius was informed by some of the Jews, who also desired that it might be done in this manner.
Be restored to Sheshbazzar; for this is part of Cyrus’s decree, (which is here recited,) and not Darius’s, which does not begin till the next verse.
i.e. From hindering or discouraging the work.
From proceeding in their work for want of money.
They prospered through the prophesying of Haggai: this is a seasonable intimation that this great and unexpected success was not to be ascribed to chance, nor to the kindness or good humour of Darius; but unto God only, who by his prophets had required and encouraged them to proceed in the work, and by his mighty power disposed Darius’s heart to such kind and noble purposes and actions.
Artaxerxes; who is thought to be either,
1. Xerxes, Darius’s son and successor, who is called also Artaxerxes, and Ahasuerus, who is here joined with his father Darius, possibly because he favoured the Jews, and promoted their cause with his father, and saw to the execution of his father’s decree, and was his father’s viceroy, if not made co-emperor with his father in his lifetime, which was not unusual. Or,
2. Artaxerxes Longimanus, the son of Xerxes, who was best known by the name of Artaxerxes; who is here joined with Cyrus and Darius, because though the temple was finished, as to the substance of the work, in Darius’s reign, Ezra 6:15, yet it was afterwards more fully completed and adorned by Artaxerxes, as is evident from Ezra 7:20,Ezra 7:27, by whom Nehemiah was sent to Jerusalem with a large commission and full power to take care about the building of the city, and all other things concerning the Jewish nation and religion.
From the filthiness of the heathen, i.e. such as had forsaken that filthy and idolatrous religion of the heathens, and were proselyted to the Jewish religion; for such were allowed to eat the passover, Exodus 12:48; Numbers 9:14.
The heart of the king of Assyria, i.e. of the king of Persia, which was now king of Assyria also, or emperor of that vast and famous Assyrian empire; which was first subdued by the king of Babylon, who therefore is somewhere called the Assyrian; and for the same reason the Persian monarch is here so called emphatically, to note the great power and goodness of God in turning the hearts of these great monarchs, whose predecessors had been the chief persecutors and oppressors of God’s people.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Ezra 6". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13