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Bible Commentaries
Ezra 1

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary


Ezra Chapter 1

The book of Ezra is a book about the times immediately after the Babylonian captivity of the tribes of Judah and Benjanin. Ezra was, probably, the compiler of this book, as he was of the Chronicles. He, also, penned the 119th Psalm. I personally believe that he was the penman of most of the book of Ezra, if not all. He was a Hebrew in captivity in Babylon. Ezra was a priest, and a scribe, a descendent of Eleazar. Nehemiah 12:26 "These [were] in the days of Joiakim the son of Jeshua, the son of Jozadak, and in the days of Nehemiah the governor, and of Ezra the priest, the scribe." Nehemiah, at one time, was thought of as one book with Ezra. It appears, that Ezra had a great deal to do with it, as well. In this book, we see the release and return of the Hebrews to their homeland from Babylon. Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, lived and preached during this time. We will find that the captives came back at three different times. The first groups return was led by Zerubbabel. The next group was led by Ezra. The third group was led by Nehemiah who became governor. Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther cover about 100 years time from about 536 B.C. to about 432 B.C. This will be a time of re-building the temple, as well as re-establishing their homeland. One of the clear spiritual messages we must receive in this, is that God can use whomever He wants to, to bring His purpose about. As I have said so many times, the two real powers in the world are the spoken and the written Word of God. We will find that Ezra, along with Nehemiah cause the people to return to the study of God’s Word. Many believe that Ezra assembled the writing of the Old Testament for that study. This is a historical book of the events occurring after the return from captivity in Babylon. The name "Ezra" means help.

Ezra 1:1 "Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and [put it] also in writing, saying,"

Jeremiah had prophesied the very things that we will read of happening, here. This is absolute evidence that the prophecies of Jeremiah were true. Cyrus was a heathen king, but God created him, the same as He created everyone else. God will move upon the mind of Cyrus, and Cyrus will do the will of God. Cyrus took Babylon on the night of Belshazzar’s feast after he saw the handwriting on the wall. It appears, that God immediately moved upon Cyrus, king of Persia. What the LORD told Cyrus was so serious, that Cyrus wrote it down.

Ezra 1:2 "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 Jerusalem, which [is] in Judah."

Cyrus was aware that the great power he had received by conquering the lands around him, was supernatural. He seems to be giving the praise to 2 Jehovah for putting the kingdoms of the earth in his hands. The house that was to be built in Jerusalem would certainly be for the One True God. The Persians were practicing worship of false gods at this time, but Cyrus seems to have broken from that.

Ezra 1:3 "Who [is there] among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which [is] in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he [is] the God,) which [is] in Jerusalem."

This leaves absolutely no doubt at all who Cyrus was speaking of. He calls Him the LORD God of Israel. We see, also, that Cyrus is offering freedom to all who would return to Judah and build the temple. The temple is to be built in Jerusalem, but any of the captives of any of the twelve tribes, could return and work on the temple.

Ezra 1:4 "And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that [is] in Jerusalem."

We see that Cyrus was insisting on the heathen, as well as the Hebrews, giving silver, gold, and goods to rebuild the temple. Cyrus was going to send from his own freewill offering, many of the temple treasures that had been taken and brought to Babylon. He asked the people of the land to do the same.

Ezra 1:5 "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] in Jerusalem."

Primarily, those who rose up to go back to Jerusalem, were those of the tribes of Benjamin and of Judah. The Levites were those who had been chosen of God for His service. The priests were, also, Levites who served in the temple worship. The leaders of the various families went, also. Notice, the Spirit of God had entered them, and filled them with the desire to go and build the temple. The house of the LORD is the temple.

Ezra 1:6 "And all they that [were] about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all [that] was willingly offered."

Those that were about them were their neighbors, whether Babylonian or Hebrew. It appears, they did exactly as Cyrus had asked them to do. Cyrus gave willingly, here, and the others added to it as they were able.

Ezra 1:7 "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;"

Cyrus did not recognize the false gods of the Babylonians. He took the items from the temple in Jerusalem that had been placed in these temples of false gods, and sent them back to Judah. There were many golden cups and dishes even being used in the palace of the king. Cyrus seemed to gather up all he could find, and sent it back for the temple in Jerusalem.

Ezra 1:8 "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."

Mithredath was a name which meant given by Mithre. The name was Persian. These were things in the treasury, then. There was a close accounting kept of what had been removed and sent to Jerusalem.

Ezra 1:9 "And this [is] the number of them: thirty chargers of gold, a thousand chargers of silver, nine and twenty knives,"

The chargers were called wine-coolers, but had, probably, been used in the drink offerings in the temple services. It could have even been speaking of basins, or bowls. They were very expensive, since they had been made of gold and silver. The knives, mentioned here, are thought by some to be the censers. It is not clear exactly what they were.

Ezra 1:10 "Thirty basins of gold, silver basins of a second [sort] four hundred and ten, [and] other vessels a thousand."

Ezra 1:11 "All the vessels of gold and of silver [were] five thousand and four hundred. All [these] did Sheshbazzar bring up with [them of] the captivity that were brought up from Babylon unto Jerusalem."

From the number of vessels sent to Jerusalem by Cyrus, we can see that he sincerely wanted to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, and he wanted everything that belonged in it returned. Sheshbazzar was apparently the name Zerubbabel was called by in Babylon. This would be the first group of people leaving captivity to return to Jerusalem to build the temple. It is interesting that all through history, the Jews have come back from time to time into the their land. They never were out from under Gentile rule for very long at a time, until in 1948 when they received their independence.

Ezra 1 Questions

1. The book of Ezra is telling about what?

2. What books did Ezra, probably, have something to do with compiling.

3. Ezra was a ________, and a ______, descended from ________.

4. What other book was one time thought of as part of Ezra?

5. We see the ________ and the _______ of the Hebrews to their homeland in Ezra.

6. What prophets were active at this time?

7. The first group of those returning were led by ____________.

8. The next group was led by ___________.

9. Who became governor?

10. Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther cover approximately _____ years.

11. What will those who return be doing?

12. What does the author believe is a clear spiritual message in this book?

13. What are the two real powers in the world?

14. Ezra and Nehemia tried to cause the people to return to the _______ of _______ _______.

15. Ezra is a __________ book.

16. "Ezra" means _______.

17. When did Cyrus decide to re-build the temple?

18. Whose prophecy will this fulfill?

19. What was unusual about Cyrus, king of Persia, wanting to do this?

20. When did Cyrus take Babylon?

21. Quote Ezra 1:2.

22. Who did Cyrus credit with his success?

23. Who does Cyrus release to go to build the temple?

24. Where would the goods, silver, and gold come from?

25. Who does Cyrus insist should give to the temple?

26. Who did the Spirit of God raise up to go?

27. Who was Cyrus’ treasurer?

28. What did Cyrus have him do?

29. What was a charger?

30. How many were sent to Jerusalem?

31. What is another name for Zerrubbabel?

Verses 1-4

Ezr 1:1-4



The seventy years of Israel’s captivity had expired, exactly as Jeremiah had prophesied; and one of the most unbelievable events in human history promptly occurred, when, during the very first year of Cyrus’ authority over the Chaldean kingdom (which at that time included Israel), the great ruler of Persia not only granted Israel permission to return to Palestine, but aided them very substantially in other ways also. There was no precedent whatever for such a thing. Where, in all the wretched history of the human race, was there ever anything that could be compared with a development like this? The very uniqueness of this return of Israel to their homeland is the only proof needed that it was accomplished by the direct intervention of God Himself in the sordid affairs of sinful men.

Isaiah had prophesied the end of Israel’s captivity, even foretelling the very name of the key instrument of God in the accomplishment of it, declaring emphatically that Cyrus would accomplish the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple (Isaiah 44:28 to Isaiah 45:7). Only those who are blinded by the false axiom of radical critics who deny the possibility of predictive prophecy can accept their unfounded, passionate, and vehement denials of this passage in Isaiah. There it stands! And here in Ezra, as well as in the final verses of Second Chronicles, we have the record of God’s fulfillment of his sacred word.

Ezra 1:1-4


"Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of Jehovah by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, Jehovah stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath Jehovah, the God of heaven, given me; and he hath charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whosoever there is among you of all his people, his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of Jehovah, the God of Israel (he is God), which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever is left, in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, besides the freewill-offering for the house of God which is in Jerusalem."

"In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia" (Ezra 1:1). A number of scholars place this date at 538 B.C., but Darius was ruler of Persia (as Cyrus’ deputy) for a couple of years; and Keil’s placement of this date at 536 B.C. is a more accurate discernment, as that was Cyrus’ first year of sole sovereignty over Babylon.

"That the word of Jehovah by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished" (1). This is a reference to Jeremiah 15:12-14 which records that prophet’s announcement of the seventy-year duration of the exile.

Oesterley asserts that, "The seventy years is a designation for a long period of time, and is not to be taken in a literal sense." However, this comment, in spite of its being echoed by a number of scholars, is simply not true. The captivity began in 606 B.C. and lasted until 536 B.C., a period of exactly seventy years, as Keil has fully explained. The point which many scholars overlook is that from the very first day of the accession of Jehoiakim, Israel was no longer an independent nation. That the seventy years was indeed a precise and exact prophecy, and not a mere idiom for "a long time," is proved by the fact that God designed it to give the land its sabbaths, which Israel had totally neglected during the 490 years from the accession of Saul to the Captivity. It required exactly seventy years to accomplish that. This fact is stressed by the sacred author in 2 Chronicles 36:21.

"Cyrus ... made a proclamation throughout his kingdom, and put it also in writing" (Ezra 1:1). This statement that the proclamation was made both orally and written, "Should not be surprising; it was quite usual in the ancient world for oral messages to be backed up by written documents, as in 2 Kings 19:9-14."

Many critics have challenged the authenticity of Cyrus’ edict; but, "Archaeology has demonstrated that Cyrus’ concession to Jewish exiles was not an isolated act, but the general policy of a remarkably humane leader of conciliating his new subjects by showing favor to their religions." Some have pointed out that Cyrus’ knowledge of the true God Jehovah was by no means perfect and that in a similar way he honored the pagan deity Marduk and the Moon god, Sin. Still, the honors and guidance of his successes which Cyrus mentioned in the particular proclamations mentioned here as pertaining to Jehovah, the God of Israel, are certainly included in those inscriptions found upon the bricks in one of the gates of Babylon, namely, "The great gods have delivered all lands into my hands; the land I have caused to dwell in a peaceful habitation."

The objection may then be raised that Cyrus’s knowledge of Jehovah was far from perfect. So what? Did not Isaiah’s prophecy indicate that very fact regarding Cyrus? "I have called thee by thy name; I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me" (Isaiah 45:4). It was altogether natural, therefore, that the author of Ezra should have stressed Jehovah alone, and not the pagan deities, in his report of the decree.

"All the kingdoms of the earth hath Jehovah, the God of heaven, given me" (Ezra 1:2). Williamson and others have repeated the inaccurate declaration found frequently in the writings of early 20th-century critics that, "The God of heaven makes its first appearance here as a description of the God of the Bible." There is only one thing wrong with such a comment; it is simply not true! In the eighth century B.C., Jonah told the mariners on their storm-threatened ship that, "I am a Hebrew; and I fear the God of heaven who hath made the sea and the dry land" (Jonah 1:9). Furthermore, the very first book in the Bible, namely, Genesis, refers to the God of heaven twice (Genesis 24:3; Genesis 24:7)!

The absolute historicity and validity of this great decree of Cyrus is impossible of any intelligent denial. Furthermore, the Biblical narrative of how it came about that Israel was delivered from Babylonian captivity must be accepted as the only logical explanation of it. Unbelievers may scoff at the pertinent prophecies God gave through Jeremiah and Isaiah; but what else could have led to that remarkable deliverance? If God Himself did not indeed "stir up the spirit of Cyrus," as related in Ezra 1:1, then who did? The entire operation that brought Israel back to Palestine, rebuilt Jerusalem, and the Second Temple, and reestablished a nation that had languished in slavery for seventy years - that whole operation, first and last, was an act of Almighty God.

"Let the men of his place help him with silver and gold" (Ezra 1:4). It is disputed as to whether or not the helpers here were Israelites only, or if they also included their neighboring Babylonians. There is more than a hint of the Exodus here; for it will be remembered that the Egyptians enriched the children of Israel on the occasion of their leaving Egypt. Something of that same Divine Providence might have been effective upon this occasion also.

One might wish that all Israel had heeded the edict of Cyrus and made their way back to Palestine; but it was not to be. Isaiah’s great prophecy of "The Remnant" would be literally fulfilled. Only a relative handful of the captives, considerably less than 50,000, ever made their way back to Judah and Jerusalem. The vast majority had accommodated themselves to the lifestyle, the riches, and the religion of the Babylonians.

E.M. Zerr:

Ezra 1:1. First year of Cyrus. This means his first year as ruler over Babylon. He had been king of the Persians for some 20 years up to the time of his taking this city. It will throw some light on this part of the subject to quote from Myers’ Ancient History, pages 88, 89: "Cyrus the Great (558-529 B. C.) founds a Great World Empire.-----The leadership of the Median chieftains was of short duration. A certain Cyrus, king of Anshan, in Elam, overthrew their power, and assumed the headship of both Medea and Persians. Through his energy and soldierly genius Cyrus soon built up an empire more extended than any over which the scepter had yet been swayed by Oriental monarch, or indeed, so far as we know, by any ruler before his time. After the conquest of Media and the acquisition of the provinces formerly ruled by the Median princes, Cyrus rounded out his empire by the conquest of Lydia and Babylonia." A more extended account of the taking of Babylon may be found in Five Great Monarchies, by George Rawlinson; Vol. 3, pages 69-72. Between the close of the preceding book, and the beginning of this, some 51 years have passed in history. That space of time was what remained of the 70 years’ captivity after the taking of Zedekiah, last Jewish king to sit on the throne in Jerusalem. Many events that occurred in the course of the famous 70 years will be referred to and discussed when we come to the books of the prophets. It is enough now for us to know that the captivity came to an end with the same event that ended the Babylonian Empire, which was brought about by the victory of Cyrus over Babylon, which is mentioned above. Passing over the history of the 70 years for the present, the inspired writer takes up the line at the beginning of the reconstruction in Jerusalem under the orders of Cyrus. By the mouth of Jeremiah. The prophet had foretold the conquest of Cyrus over Babylon, which put him in position to release the Jews from captivity and to permit them to restore their city and country. See Jeremiah 33:6 ff. Stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia. God has used various kings and other persons of the world, both good and bad, to accomplish his purpose. See Exodus 9:16; Numbers 22-24; 1 Kings 19:15; Isaiah 10:5-6. Cyrus was one of the good (morally) heathen kings. On this point I shall again quote some history: "Almost universal testimony has ascribed to him (Cyrus) the purest and most beneficent character of any Eastern monarch." Myers’ Ancient History, P. 90. Cyrus not only released the Jews from their bondage (yet retaining them as citizens under him), but authorized them to return to their former country. Made a proclamation was an official order put out to the public notice, but applying to the Jews. Put it in writing would be necessary for two reasons. The dominions of Cyrus now were so extensive that the proclamation would have to be circulated by postman. Another reason was to prevent any misunderstanding of the requirements.

Ezra 1:2. Lord God of heaven. Cyrus was a heathen, but when God saw fit to use him he made himself known to him in the things he wished him to do. It had nothing to do with his moral character, before or after the service. He was used as an instrument of God for a certan purpose. But in order for him to be available for the work, it was needful for God to assure him that he was being directed by a Being whom he should not ignore. Moreover, he was given to understand that the conquests he had made over the nations and kingdoms were made possible by this very God. Given me all the kingdoms of the earth. This was no vain boast, but was in fulfillment of a prophecy of Daniel in his book, Daniel 2:38-40. It pertained to the 4 great world empires of which we will hear much in later studies of the Bible. Those empires were, Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Greece or Macedonia, and Rome. Cyrus was king of the second of these world empires, hence it was necessary to give him all those kingdoms as he just claimed. He announced that he had been charged to build the Lord a house in Jerusalem. Not that he would personally supervise the work, but that he would see that the necessary provisions were made for the building. There was a political reason for this official procedure. Jerusalem had been destroyed while in a state of revolt, and the restoration of it might be interpreted as an act of renewed rebellion. In fact the attempt was made to bring such a charge as we shall see in the progress of operations. So without the sponsorship of Cyrus the work of rebuilding would fail.

Ezra 1:3. Cyrus called for volunteers to take up the work which was charged upon him to have done. He gave his good wishes for the favor of his (the volunteer’s) God upon him, and gave his royal authority for him to leave the borders of Persia and go to Jerusalem. But let it be noted that it was not merely a furlough to make a journey of pleasure. He was to go to Judah to build the house of the Lord. And since there are lords many and gods many, Cyrus specified what one he meant; the God of Israel. He is the God was not a primary acknowledgment of God as the supreme One. He meant to say that the God of Israel was the God to be recognized in Jerusalem.

Ezra 1:4. The Jews are no longer captives, for that period was ended by the overthrow of Babylon by the Persians. But they are still the citizens of the country that is being ruled by the successors of the Babylonian Empire. That relationship makes them accountable to the Persians in all matters pertaining to a national government. Even their religious privileges are subject to the "powers that be," and their exercise will depend on the will of the same. Fortunately, the incoming government is friendly toward the people of God, just as the Lord had predicted by his prohpets that it would be. In taking possession of the Babylonian Empire, the Persians also gained control of the countries that had been under the control of that great power, which included Palestine and its adjacent territories. These facts should explain why Cyrus would have any business whatever in the affairs of the people sojourning in any place. Since that would include men who would be scattered throughout the various provinces in the Mesopotamian lands in general, as well as all Syria and Palestine, we should understand this verse in the light of the remarks at the beginning of this paragraph. Therefore, in all of the places indicated, there were individuals who might be interested in the restoration of the Jewish interests in Jerusalem. The proclamation indicated in this verse was to make them feel free to show their friendliness toward that work, and be willing to assist it. It went further than permitting the men interested to lend a hand in the work. Such action would call for materials, and Cyrus ordered that the people of the communities among whom these others were sojourning, were to cooperate by furnishing them with materials for the building, and animals that they might use in their altar services.

Verses 5-11

Ezr 1:5-11

Ezra 1:5-11


"Then rose up the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, even all whose spirit God had stirred up to go up to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem. And all they that were round about them strengthened their hand with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, besides all that was willingly offered. Also Cyrus the king brought for the vessels of the house of Jehovah, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and put in the house of his gods; even these did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah. And this is the number of them: thirty platters of gold, a thousand platters of silver, nine and twenty knives, thirty bowls of gold, silver bowls of a second sort four hundred and ten, and other vessels a thousand. All the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand and four hundred. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up, when they of the captivity were brought up from Babylon unto Jerusalem."

"The heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin" (Ezra 1:5). Although Cyrus’ decree was broad enough to have included any of the northern tribes who might have survived the Assyrian captivity (Ezra 1:3), this mention of those who responded makes it clear that there was no significant response from any of the tribes except that of Judah and Benjamin.

"And all that were about them strengthened their hand" (Ezra 1:6). "This is usually held to include Babylonians." And why not? The generous example set by the king himself would have prompted many others to follow his lead; and, as the text stands, it could hardly fail to include all the neighbors, even the Babylonians.

"Even these did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth ... and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah" (Ezra 1:8). "This is a reference to Nebuchadnezzar’s looting of the Temple of Solomon on both of those occasions when he captured Jerusalem in 597 B.C. and in 587 B.C. These sacred vessels he had laid up as trophies in the house of his gods; and upon the night when Babylon fell, the drunken king Belshazzar was having a great feast for his lords and concubines, when he sent for the sacred vessels of the Jewish Temple to drink from them. That was the occasion (Daniel 5) when the fingers of a man’s hand wrote the doom of Babylon on the wall, and the city fell that night.

"All these did Sheshbazzar bring up when they of the captivity were brought up from Babylon to Jerusalem" (Ezra 1:11). Two things of importance should be noted here. Sheshbazzar who here is seen to have led the first emigration to Jerusalem disappears from the Biblical narrative after this brief mention; but as Williamson noted, "This should not surprise us, because no first hand account (of all that happened) has survived."

Also, "The passive verb `were brought up’ is deliberately chosen here to imply divine activity. The narrative thus echoes the description of the Exodus (Exodus 33:1). `Brought up’ from Babylon to Jerusalem thus becomes the counterpart of `brought up’ out of the land of Egypt."

E.M. Zerr:

Ezra 1:5. Then is an adverb of time, referring to the proclamation of Cyrus, which was in the first year of his rule over Babylon and its possessions. Since the matter of dates has been brought up, I believe this is a good place to offer some explanatory remarks touching the chronological connection of this short, but comprehensive book. It covers two of the three important sections of the total reconstruction work that followed the "70" years. The three sections were, rebuilding of the temple (under Zerubbabel), the reformation of the worship (under Ezra), and the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem (under Nehemiah). The first is covered by chapters 1 to 6; the second by chapters 7 to 10, and the third is covered by the book of Nehemiah. The time consumed by the first was 21 years, reaching to the 6th year of Darius I of Persia. Nothing much was done further until the work of Ezra on the second section of the restoration. That began 58 years after the completion of the work of Zerubbabel. More will be said about that at the proper chapter; but now, let us come back to the immediate study of the present verse. The 10 tribes had been taken away by the Assyrians a century before the kingdom of Judah was overthrown by the Babylonians. The 10 tribes were in practically the same general territory as the others, but had become more or less interspersed with the people of the land, and their tribal distinction was not so evident. The 70 years just ended left the tribes forming the kingdom of Judah with their leading men still recognized as such, and they were the ones who took the lead in responding to the proclamation of Cyrus. We note that the priests and others of the tribe of Levi were among those who answered the call of the Persian king. The motive that prompted them to act favorably was the fact that God had raised or aroused their spirit. In other words, they were going to Jerusalem to work in the cause of the Lord because their heart was in the matter.

Ezra 1:6. In verse 4 is the order of Cyrus for the people with whom the Jews were sojourning to furnish them with metals and animals. That order was obeyed, and in addition they gave them things that had not been specifically required. That is what is meant by the words beside all that was willingly offered.

Ezra 1:7. The vessels mentioned here are the ones of 2 Kings 24:13; 2 Kings 25:13-17, and 2 Chronicles 36:18. This conduct of Cyrus was consistent with the proclamation he had just made on behalf of the Jewish nation. These sacred vessels had been taken out of the land of Judah by the captors, and had even been disgracefully used by the heathen king Belshazzar. (Daniel 5:1-4.) Hence all the rules of war as well as moral justice required that they be restored to their former and rightful owner. In saying that the vessels were restored, exception must be made, of course, to the ark. It was never accounted for after being taken from Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Smith’s Bible Dictionary says: "It was probably taken captive or destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, 2 Esdras 10:22 [one of the apocryphal books], so that there was no ark in the second temple." Schaff-Herzog Encyclopaedia says of the ark: "It was probably burnt up in the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar; and in the YOMA [a secular writing], it is said that there was a stone in the Holy of holies on the spot where the ark should have stood; and on this stone the postexilian (after the exile) high priests set the censer." The vessels that were still available will be numbered but not named in a following verse.

Ezra 1:8. Numbered means he made a list or invoice of the articles with the knowledge of his own treasurer, and turned over to Sheshbazzar who was a leading man of the Jews. That action was for the protection of Cyrus’ reputation as to honesty.

Ezra 1:9-11. A charger is a basin to hold liquids and other loose matter. A bason is defined by Strong as "a covered goblet." Second sort is said of them because they were for a less important use. This is a clear instance of the thought in 2 Timothy 2:20. These vessels were not in the tabernacle built by Moses. Solomon was permitted to enlarge over the work done at Mt. Sinai, which is why we read of so many things here that are not to be found in the tabernacle service. This assortment of vessels was placed in the hands of Sheshbazzar who was a prince; that is, a leading man of the land of Judah. He was made responsible for the transportation of the precious articles, as the group of Jews went out of the land of their captivity to their own country, whose capital was Jerusalem.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Ezra 1". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/ezra-1.html.
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