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Bible Commentaries

F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary
Ezra 3



Verses 1-13

As WE BEGIN to read the third chapter, a fourth feature of true revival is plainly manifested: obedience to the Word of God. In verse Ezra 3:2, and again in verse Ezra 3:4, we find the words, 'as it is written'. Their first recorded action, when back in their land, was to approach their God in the manner He had laid down at the first. There was a very great contrast between their present humble circumstances and the great days when the law was given and the tabernacle constructed under Moses, or the palmy days of Solomon, when the first temple was built, yet they recognized that what God may lay down at the start of His dispensations stands unchanged to the finish.

So they did not attempt innovations, according to their own ideas of what might be suitable, but just reverted to God's original Word. They began with the burnt offering, which lay at the basis of all God's dealings with them; and the seventh month being come, they observed the feast of tabernacles, which fell at that time. This they did though the foundation of the temple had not been laid. The burnt offerings very rightly preceded the 'house'. That, however was not forgotten, as verse Ezra 3:7 shows. The necessary preparations for it were started, for it was the prime object of their return to the land.

Reaching verse Ezra 3:8, we pass on to the second year of their return and find them setting forward this work, so that the foundations of the house were actually laid. This provoked a very moving scene, in which both joy and sorrow were mingled. There was joyful praise and thanksgiving to God, according to the 'ordinance of David king of Israel', as was indeed fitting. In Psalms 136:1-26 it is stated of God twenty-six times that 'His mercy endureth for ever', and this they now acknowledged in regard to themselves as representing Israel. It was the confession that no merit on their side had led to the revival in which they had part. It was all on the ground of God's mercy. Every revival, granted by God, in the sad history of Christendom, has been based upon the mercy of God, without merit on our side. Let us never forget this.

There was another side to this great occasion, for there were present 'ancient men', who had seen the first house in all its magnificence, and the sound of their weeping matched the shouting of those who rejoiced, so that the two sounds were indistinguishable. The number of men, so ancient that they saw the first temple still standing, must have been small compared with the total number present, so their weeping must have been unrestrained and loud. Do we feel inclined to regard them as unthankful and melancholy, marring the brightness of a great occasion?

No, we do not. We regard them as expressing another side of things, which should ever be present, when we are able to rejoice in some time of revival, granted in the mercy of God. However blessed the revival granted, our rejoicing is tempered by the remembrance of the grace and power that characterized the beginning of things under apostolic energy, as shown in the early chapters of the Acts of the Apostles. We become conscious how small and imperfect is anything we may experience compared with that; and this, though it may not bring teats to our eyes, will have a very sobering effect upon us for our good.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hole, Frank Binford. "Commentary on Ezra 3:4". "F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary". 1947.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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