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Bible Commentaries
Ezra 3

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Ezra Chapter 3

Ezra 3:1 "And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel [were] in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem."

It appears, from this, that the people first went and reclaimed their inheritance. The seventh month was Tisri on their calendar. On our calendar, it is approximately October. This was speaking of them coming to Jerusalem right after their harvest time. This month had always been special to the Hebrews. This was a time of the blowing of the trumpets. Day of atonement occurred on the tenth day of this month. This would be a time they would have their minds on their LORD. The Feast of Tabernacles occurred in this month, as well. This was a special month for all Hebrews.

Ezra 3:2 "Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as [it is] written in the law of Moses the man of God."

Jeshua was acting high priest. His grandfather, Seraiah, was high priest at the time of the destruction of the temple before the Babylonian captivity. Zerubbabel had led this group of captives back from Babylon. Those priests and people in high authority had built the altar where they could offer burnt offerings. God had instructed them in the law of Moses how to go about offering. God had shown David that this was the only acceptable place for burnt offerings to be made.

Ezra 3:3 "And they set the altar upon his bases; for fear [was] upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD, [even] burnt offerings morning and evening."

We see, from this, that, perhaps, the bases had not been destroyed. The new altar was made to the size of the base. The altar sat upon this base. These nations, they seemed to be afraid of, were the nations around them that worshipped false gods. They would not have feared the Persians, because Cyrus had sent them to construct the temple. The following are the instructions they were keeping. Exodus 29:38 "Now this [is that] which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually." Exodus 29:39 "The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even:"

Ezra 3:4 "They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as [it is] written, and [offered] the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the custom, as the duty of every day required;"

This was a time of year that was required by the Levitical law for all males to worship. This would not be a true Feast of Tabernacles or Feast of Ingathering, but would be recognizing the days as such. The temple is not re-built at this time. This is the beginning of re-establishing worship in Jerusalem.

Ezra 3:5 "And afterward [offered] the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the LORD that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the LORD."

The "continual burnt offering" is speaking of the regular morning and evening sacrifices. We see, that the returned Hebrews kept the morning and evening sacrifices, and kept the new moons which was the beginning of a new month. They would, from this time on, keep all of the Feasts, including Passover and Pentecost. A freewill offering might be made at any time. It was not of obligation, but of their free will.

Ezra 3:6 "From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not [yet] laid."

It appears, the worship began in earnest on this first day of the seventh month, and continued as if the temple was there. They had not even begun the work on the temple at this time. They had taken care of their own affairs first. They re-established their homes, and then thought of sacrificing.

Ezra 3:7 "They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia."

We can assume from this, that the masons, carpenters, and workers received money to live on in coins while they were working on the temple. Tyre and Zidon did not have enough foodstuff, so they were paid for the cedar trees, they brought for building, in grain and other foodstuff, that was plentiful in Judah. The king of Persia had helped to finance the rebuilding of the temple out of his own funds.

Ezra 3:8 "Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the LORD."

This seems to be saying, that about May of the second year since they had returned, they set forward the work on the house of the LORD. Zif was their second month, which is comparable to our May. This is the same month that Solomon had laid the foundation for the temple he built. Zerubbabel seemed to be in charge of this whole operation. All young men 20 years, or older, were to come to work on the temple.

Ezra 3:9 "Then stood Jeshua [with] his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, [with] their sons and their brethren the Levites."

We see, from this, that the high priest would make sure that all was done according to the building of the first temple. Jeshua was that high priest. Kadmiel was of the tribe of Judah, but he was not priest. He was descended from Hodaviah. Henadad was a Levite, but not a priest.

Ezra 3:10 "And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD, after the ordinance of David king of Israel."

The trumpets, blown by the priests in their priestly robes, proclaimed the victory of the building of the foundation of the temple. The cymbals were struck to show that the building had begun. We remember, the family of Asaph was in charge of the praise and worship through singing and music.

Ezra 3:11 "And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because [he is] good, for his mercy [endureth] for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid."

This was a time of great celebration, because the re-establishing of the temple in Jerusalem had begun. God was, and is, good. His mercy does endure forever. This was especially so for these Hebrews. God kept a remnant for them to begin again. The praising and shouting was a way of saying thank you to God. We need to do a little shouting and praising today for the goodness God has bestowed upon us all.

Ezra 3:12 "But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, [who were] ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:"

The weeping from those whom remembered the greatness of the temple, before it was destroyed, was in joy. They were overwhelmed in their hearts with the prospect of it being built again.

Ezra 3:13 "So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off."

The crying, and shouting with it, was just as loud as the shouting and praising. This had to be a spectacular sound with the cymbals clanging, the trumpets blowing, the weeping loudly, and the shouts of praise. Everyone had to know what was happening by the loud sounds. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see a church in our day rejoicing so loudly that it would stir up the entire neighborhood? Where has our enthusiasm in the LORD gone?

Ezra 3 Questions

1. When did the children of Israel come to gather in Jerusalem?

2. What was the 7th month on their calendar?

3. What month is that on our calendar?

4. What special event had gone on during this month in times past?

5. _________ was acting high priest.

6. Who was high priest, when the temple had been destroyed?

7. Who had led the people home from Babylon?

8. Who built the altar?

9. It was built for what?

10. What was the altar set upon?

11. The nations around them worshipped ________ ______.

12. Quote Exodus 29:38-39.

13. What Feast did they keep?

14. What is this re-establishing?

15. The "continual burnt offering" is speaking of what?

16. What other thing did they observe, mentioned in Ezra 3:5?

17. How did the freewill offering differ from the other offerings?

18. When did the worship begin in earnest?

19. Who did they give money to for their work?

20. What did they give for the cedar trees?

21. When did they begin work on the temple?

22. Who was overseeing this whole thing?

23. What did the priests do?

24. Who was called into service to work on the temple?

25. Zif on their calendar is compared to our _______.

26. Who was Kadmiel?

27. Who blew the trumpets in celebration of the foundation being laid?

28. Who struck the cymbals?

29. Asaph’s family was in charge of what?

30. Quote Ezra 3:11.

31. Who cried over the foundation being laid?

Verses 1-5

Ezr 3:1-5

Ezra 3:1-5

THE ALTAR ERECTED;

THE FOUNDATION OF THE TEMPLE LAID; AND THE PEOPLE’S RESPONSE;

THE ALTAR ERECTED AT ITS OLD PLACE

"And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man in Jerusalem. Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt-offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God. And they set the altar upon its base; for fear was upon them because of the peoples of the countries: and they offered burnt-offerings thereon unto Jehovah, even burnt-offerings morning and evening. And they kept the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt-offerings by number, according to the ordinance, as the duty of every day required; and afterward the continual burnt-offering, and the offerings of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of Jehovah that were consecrated, and of every one that offered a freewill-offering unto Jehovah."

"And when the seventh month was come" (Ezra 3:1). "This was the month Tishri, corresponding to our September-October." "This was the first day of the month (Ezra 3:6), The Feast of Trumpets (Numbers 29:1-6), a foreshadowing of Israel’s final regathering. Assuming a two-year delay in the beginning of the journey from Babylon after Cyrus’ decree, this would have been September 25,536 B.C. The laying of the temple foundation the following spring would thus have brought to an official close the seventy-year captivity prophesied by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25:1-12), from 605 to 535 B.C.

"And builded the altar of God" (Ezra 3:2). "This altar was hastily constructed in less than a day (Ezra 3:6) of field stones in accordance with the earliest prescriptions for altars in the law of Moses (Exodus 2:25)."

Scholars are in disagreement over the date of the foundation’s being laid because "Both Haggai and Zechariah date the beginning of the building activity of Zerubbabel in the second year of Darius I (520 B.C.)." The writings of Josephus, however, are ambiguous on this point, for he placed the laying of the foundation in the period prior to the hostility of the Samaritans, or at least, at the very beginning of it, but went on to mention it later as taking place in the reign of Darius I. Since the "foundation" of any building may be: (1) the excavated earth where it will be constructed; (2) the basic masonry; or (3) the support of the whole structure on top of the masonry, there can be no criticism of the two mentions of the foundation as being laid in the second year of Israel’s return while Cyrus was still living, and again in the reign of Darius Hystaspes (Darius I), who was the second ruler after Cyrus’ death. Critics will have to come up with something harder to explain than this in order to establish what some of them call the "unhistorical" statements in Ezra.

The Persian Rulers from 559-358 B.C.

559-530 Cyrus

530-522 Cambyses

522-486 Darius I (Hystaspes)

486-465 Xerxes I (Ahashuerus)

465-424 Artaxerxes (Longimanus)

424-423 Xerxes II

423-404 Darius II (Nothus)

404-358 Artaxerxes (Mnemon)

"And they kept the feast of tabernacles, as it is written" (Ezra 3:4). This feast was kept on the fifteenth of Tishri (See Leviticus 23:34-42 and related passages of the law of Moses). "The Hebrew name of it was Sukkoth (Booths), a reference to the way in which the Israelites dwelt in booths during their journey through the wilderness." The day of Atonement was also held on the tenth day of this month; but no mention of it is made here. The observance of that solemn occasion would have to wait upon the building of the second temple.

"As it is written" (Ezra 3:4). The inspired author is making it clear that Israel, upon their return to Palestine, were determined to do everything exactly according to the instructions in the law of Moses.

"They kept ... all the set feasts of Jehovah" (Ezra 3:5). These were the Passover, the Pentecost (Feast of Weeks) and Tabernacles.

E.M. Zerr:

Ezra 3:1. Seventh month of the first year of Cyrus’ rule over Babylon was the time meant. The people of various classes bad taken up their residences in the cities that had been shown to be their proper location. Then, having been thus settled so that their families were cared for, the people next turned their attention to the city from which they had been taken 70 years before.

Ezra 3:2. Since the altar service was the subject of immediate interest, it was fitting that the men of the priestly rank take the lead. Zerubbabel was the leader and main man to supervise the work of the first section of the restoration. When Nebuchadnezzar finally destroyed the temple, it would be expected that he had wrecked the furniture of it also. The vessels that he took were the smaller articles of the service, such as bowls and trays that were used for eating and drinking purposes. Now then, in order to reinstate the sacrificial worship, it was necessary to erect an altar. They had not offered any sacrifices to God while in captivity. This is a fact not known or realized by many Bible students. The nation was sent into captivity because of the sin of worshiping idols, and that consisted chiefly in offering sacrifices to them, either of animals or other material things. One of the things to be accomplished, by the exile in a heathen land, was their being completely cured of the sin of idolatry. In keeping with that object, they were not permitted to offer any sacrifices to God while in captivity. This subject, the various predictions pertaining to it, and the history that shows the fulfillment, will be treated at length in the volume of this Commentary that contains the study of the prophetic books. For the present, the reader is cited to the following passages. Deuteronomy 28:36; Isaiah 1:10-15; Isaiah 2:18-21; Isaiah 43; Isaiah 22-28; Jeremiah 33:8; Ezekiel 20:38; Hosea 2:17; Micah 5:13; Zechariah 7:4-6. It will be seen, when all the history has been consulted, that the Jews were entirely weaned from idolatry when they came back from the captivity. And since they were not permitted to offer sacrifices during those 70 years, it is easy to understand their earnestness in renewing the lawful service when the way was opened up to them.

Ezra 3:3. Bases is from a word that the lexicon defines as meaning a pedestal or a spot. Moffatt’s translation gives us "spot," and the footnote in the American Revised Version says "spot" The idea is, the people were in fear because of the kind of men and women who were in that country. The Jews had great faith in their God, and relied on his protection in times of danger. But they understood that the Lord required something in the way of service before bestowing his favor on his servants. The most evident form of faithful devotion was in the animal sacrifices on the altar. Therefore, they lost no time in getting the altar in its place to begin the service.

Ezra 3:4. As fast as they could, they resumed the national ceremonies. The feast of tabernacles properly came in the 7th month, which was the month now reached. So they kept this feast as it is written (Leviticus 23:34). In observing this festival season they needed to follow the law to the number, and according to the custom. This custom is recorded in detail in Numbers 29:12-34.

Ezra 3:5. The continual burnt offering was another name for the "daily sacrifice." (Exodus 29:38-42.) Both does not apply to the offering just described. It is a Biblical way of saying that something was to be done in addition to what was just described. It is as if it read, "And afterward . . . offering, also of the new moons," etc. The thought is the fact that the people were so glad to be again in their own land where they could worship the true God, that they attended to all of the ordinances as completely as the circumstances would permit. In addition to the specified ordinances required, the people volunteered other sacrifices.

Verses 6-7

Ezr 3:6-7

Ezra 3:6-7

THE TRUE WORSHIP RESTORED; THEY PLANNED TO REBUILD THE TEMPLE

"From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt-offerings unto Jehovah: but the foundation of the temple of Jehovah was not yet laid. They gave money also unto the masons and to the carpenters; and food, and drink, and oil unto them of Sidon, and unto them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea, unto Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia."

There was never any doubt that the returnees would rebuild the temple, which they would do as soon as possible. They wasted no time in raising money for that purpose.

"The grant they had of Cyrus" (Ezra 3:7). "The full terms of this grant are found in Ezra 6:3-5." "The Lebanon range of mountains where those wonderful cedar trees grew belonged, at this point in history, to the kings of Persia."

A number of dependable scholars have mentioned "corruptions" in the text of this chapter. Keil stated that, "This text cannot be regarded as authoritative"; and Oesterley stated, with regard to both Ezra 3:8 and Ezra 3:9 that, "The text here is corrupt." In spite of this, the basic truth of what is here proclaimed is unimpeachable; and the alleged "corruptions" do not change that. Furthermore, we believe that the allegations regarding a corrupt text are related to the false assumption of scholars that "laying the foundation" occurred only one time. We reject that as unreasonable. How do men know that it was not done twice, once at the very beginning, during the reign of Cyrus, and many years later under Darius I?

E.M. Zerr:

Ezra 3:6. From the first day would be in accordance with the law of Moses. The new moon was a holy day, also the beginning of the month (1 Samuel 20:24; 1 Samuel 20:27), and that called for a sacrifice; hence the statement in this place. The work of building the temple would require much more time than it would take to arrange for these services, therefore they did the latter before starting on the major task before them. Such is the significance of the closing sentence of the verse.

Ezra 3:7. Having got the altar worship under way, the people turned their attention to the great work of rebuilding the temple. They had been allowed to take money with them when they left Babylon, and they expended it on the workmen employed in the building project. Tyre and Zidon were cities in the country of Phoenicia, the territory that produced the famous cedar trees, celebrated in story and song. Solomon had procured this wood from the king of Tyre for the first temple, and now the Jews turned to that source for the same kind of timber. Sea of Joppa means the seacoast of Joppa, that city being an important shipping port on the Mediterranean Sea. From there the timber would be floated in rafts to some suitable port accessible to the territory of Judah. According to the grant refers to the permission that Cyrus gave the Jews to obtain materials for the building, and to pay for them with money obtained in the land of Persia proper, or other places under the same rule.

Verses 8-10

Ezr 3:8-10

Ezra 3:8-10

THE FIRST LAYING OF THE FOUNDATION

"Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God in Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the rest of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity into Jerusalem, and appointed the Levites from twenty years old and upward, to have the oversight of the work of the house of Jehovah. Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to have the oversight of the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites. And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of Jehovah, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise Jehovah, after the order of David the king of Israel."

All of the ceremonies mentioned here would seem to have been something like what is known today as "Ground breaking." It is a major misassumption to suppose that the structural foundations of the Second Temple were at this time completed. Years would pass before that could occur, during which the opposition of the "peoples of the land" would be vented against Israel in their full hostility.

Bowman, of course, insisted that what took place here occurred during the reign of Darius I, Sept. 21,520 B.C. This writer, however, believes that there were two occasions when the foundation "was laid," and that the one in 520 B.C. was the second. This chapter plainly states that the first time was during the reign of Cyrus, or at least leaves that impression.

"The Levites twenty years old and upward" (Ezra 3:8). Various ages are given in Scripture when the Levites were accounted able to do service in the temple. Those ages vary from the age of 20, as here, up to 25,30, or 35. The reasons for the differences are not given; but one possible explanation is that suggested by Simmons’ statement that, "There were 24,000 Levites to see after the work of Solomon’s temple (1 Chronicles 29:4); and only 341Levites returned from Babylon." It hardly takes a genius to figure out why they lowered the required age: they needed more men!

E.M. Zerr:

Ezra 3:8. Second year . . . to set forward the work of the house of the Lord. This is a proper place to make some remarks as to dates and names, in order to keep the run of things clearly in mind. It should be borne in mind that all the civilized countries, practically, were under Persian rule at the time of which we are studying. What the Jews did was under the authority of various Persian kings, because the land of Israel had been taken over first, by the Babylonians, and they had given way to the Persians, making them the government over all lands, including Judah. Some of the Persian kings were favorable to the Jews and some were not. I will suggest that the reader draw a chart for reference while studying this and the following book. Make the chart as follows, with 6 perpendicular columns. At the top of the columns write the dates 536-529; 529- 522; 522-521; 521-484; 484-464; 464-415. These numbers show the beginning and closing dates, B. c., of the reigns of the Persian kings named in the several columns. Next, put the following names in the 6 columns, from left to right: Cyrus, Cambyses, Smerdis, Darius I, Xerxes, Artaxerxes. Some of these men had other names in the Bible, and to keep the matter clear, put the following names in parentheses under the ones I shall denote. In the 2nd column write Ahasuerus, 3rd column write Artaxerxes, in the 6th column write Longimanus. This last name, however, is not in the Bible, but is a name given him by secular writers as a sort of nickname, meaning "longhanded." But it is well for us to use it to distinguish him from the Artaxerxes in the 3rd column. Now, having arranged your chart, have it near and put the information on it as I suggest while going on with the study. The first notation is in the first column as follows: "1st year, edict of Cyrus to rebuild the temple." Let it be understood that all references to 1st or 2nd or any other year, mean such a year of the period indicated by the dates at the top of the column. We have reached the second year of the 1st column in our study, but the notation to be made in addition to that just indicated, will be suggested a few verses down.

Ezra 3:9. The men named are the ones of Ezra 2:40. Bet forward the workmen means they put them at their work, to get the house of God under construction.

Ezra 3:10. Now make the following notation in the first column of the chart: "2nd year, the foundation of the temple is laid." The manual labor of the foundation was accompanied with the praise service of the priests. They were in their apparel which signifies they put on their priestly garments, and gave the service of blowing the trumpets, which were instruments similar to our cornets as to the manner of playing. Even a Levite would not have the right to wear the special garments unless he belonged to the priestly family. That is why the writer mentions the priests in connection with the apparel, then adds his reference to the Levites who used the cymbals, which were instruments of metal, and used to make a loud sound by beating upon them in rhythmic count with the trumpets that were being played by the priests. Not all or just any of the Levites were used this time, but those who had belonged to that group of musical composers known as the sons of Asaph. This musical program was after the ordinance of David. See 1 Chronicles 6:31; 1 Chronicles 16:4; 1 Chronicles 16:7; 1 Chronicles 25:1-2.

Verses 11-13

Ezr 3:11-13

Ezra 3:11-13

CELEBRATING THE OCCASION

"And they sang one to another in praising and giving thanks unto Jehovah, saying, For he is good; for his lovingkindness endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised Jehovah, because the foundation of the house of Jehovah was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, the old men that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy: so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people; for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off."

"They sang one to another" (Ezra 3:11). This means that the musical renditions were done antiphonally, from one choir answering another, or from a priestly soloist answered by the singers, or by some other antiphonal arrangement. "The Psalm they sang on that occasion was Psalms 136, which shows that they were thinking in terms of Jeremiah’s great prophecy (Jeremiah 33:11)." The overwhelming joy of the occasion came from the fact that nearly three quarters of a century of hopes and fears, sorrows and frustrations, had reached a happy climax; God had forgiven and restored his Chosen People to their homeland.

However, there were those whose weeping rivaled the shouts of joy! Why? The relative insignificance and poverty of that projected New Temple was in no way comparable to that magnificent and glorious Wonder of the World that was the Temple of Solomon. There is no wonder that the old men who could remember the former Temple in its glory could find only tears as they saw the projection of the structure that would take its place. And yet, the glory of the Second Temple would far surpass that of Solomon, because the Christ himself would appear in the Second!

"The people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping" (Ezra 3:13). This does not mean that the shout of joy was drowned out by the weeping; but that those who heard could not discern between them. "Among Eastern people expressions of sorrow are by loud wailing, the howl of which is sometimes not easily distinguished from joyful acclamations."

E.M. Zerr:

Ezra 3:11. They sang by course which means they sang in sections; not all of them sang at one time. That method prevented confusion, so that the people could respond intelligently to the service. They did so, for it says all the people shouted with a great shout after this praise service. The first word is from BUWA and defined "a primitive root; to mar (especially by breaking); figuratively to split the ears (with sound), i, e. shout (for alarm or joy.)"--Strong. The last word is from TERUWAH, and Strong’s definition is, "clamor, i. e. acclamation of joy or a battle cry." Taking the central thought of the words as a basis, the whole expression would properly be worded, "the people made the ears to vibrate with their acclamations of joy." The cause of all this demonstration was the fact that the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid, which gave a foresight of the restoration about to be accomplished.

Ezra 3:12. This verse furnishes a practical illustration of an old saying namely: "Much depends on the viewpoint." All of the people were looking at the same object, yet some of them were made to weep, while others shouted for joy. The former were the older men who could remember the temple that had been destroyed by the Babylonians. While the present one was good, it was inferior to the first one, and that caused them to weep in regret at the contrast. The latter were the younger ones who were contrasting the brightness of the prospects in view of the foundation, with the dejected situation they had been in for so many years in captivity. That was what caused them to be joyous. This subject is treated in Haggai 2:3.

Ezra 3:13. This indicates that the crowd was almost equally divided, either as to the number in each group, or in the volume of their expression of feelings.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Ezra 3". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/ezra-3.html.
 
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