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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Ezra 3

 

 

Verses 1-3

Ezra 3:1-3. The Building of the Altar for Burnt Offerings.

Ezra 3:1. the seventh month: presumably of the year of the return, 537 The seventh month is called Tisri in the Jewish calendar and is approximately equivalent to October. The first day of Tisri, which was probably that on which this ceremony took place, was known as the feast of Trumpets (lit. Horns) (see p. 104, Numbers 29:1), or Yôm Teru‘ah, "Day of Shôfar-blowing," and Zikrôn Teru‘ah, "Memory of Shôfar-blowing" (see Leviticus 23:24*; cf. Psalms 81:3).

Ezra 3:2. builded the altar: this would, of course, precede the Temple building because it was necessary that the public burnt offerings for the people as a community should be offered first; the private sacrifices could wait.—as it is written: see Numbers 29:1-6.—the man of God: cf. 1 Chronicles 23:14, 1 Ch. 35:12, 26.

Ezra 3:3. upon its base: better, "in its place" (mg.), i.e. where it had formerly stood (cf. Ezra 2:68).—for fear . . . countries: read, "for the peoples of the land were at enmity with them"; see the Greek Ezra 5:50; the Heb. text is corrupt. When once the altar had been set up the returned exiles could feel greater confidence in Yahweh's protection.—morning and evening: see Exodus 29:38, Numbers 28:3-8.


Verses 4-6

Ezra 3:4-6. The Observance of the Feast of Tabernacles.

Ezra 3:4. And they kept . . .: see Exodus 23:16, Leviticus 23:34-42. Deuteronomy 16:13-15, and cf. Nehemiah 8:14-17 This feast (the vintage feast) was observed on the 15th of Tisri and lasted seven days (pp. 102-104). The Heb. name is Sukkôth ("Booths"), in reference to the way in which the Israelites dwelt in booths during their journey through the wilderness; this, at least, is the traditional explanation of the dwelling in booths during the whole of the feast.—by number . . .: see Numbers 29:12-38.

Ezra 3:5. the continual burnt offering: i.e. the daily sacrifices, morning and evening, of a lamb of the first year (see Exodus 29:38-42, Numbers 28:6).—the offerings of the new moons: i.e. the offerings at the feasts of the new moon (cf. Numbers 28:11-15, 1 Samuel 20:5, 2 Kings 4:23).—all the set feasts of Yahweh: see Leviticus 23:1-44, Numbers 23:2-30; these feasts were, in addition to those of the Sabbath and new moons, Passover, Weeks, Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles. The enumeration of all these feasts signifies the reinstatement of the whole sacrificial system.

Ezra 3:6. but: better "although"; it was inconceivable to the Jews of the Chronicler's day that offerings could be sacrificed without the Temple, hence the addition of these words. The occasion was wholly exceptional.


Verses 7-13

Ezra 3:7-13. The Laying of the Temple Foundation and the Joy of the People.

Ezra 3:7. masons . . . carpenters: those referred to were the men who hewed the stone from the quarries and those who prepared the rough stone thus obtained.—them of Zidon . . . them of Tyre: as in the case of the first Temple, see 1 Kings 5:6-11.—according . . . Persia: see Ezra 1:2; the Lebanon range belonged now to the kings of Persia.

Ezra 3:8. in the second year . . . in the second month: i.e. as the text stands, the second year of the return, 536 B.C., which was also the second month of the year (according to the Chronicler's mode of reckoning); the second month was lyar (= approximately May). But, according to the contemporary prophets Haggai and Zechariah, the beginning of the building of the Temple took place in the sixth month of the second year of Darius I, i.e. the month Elul (= approximately October) 520 (see Haggai 1:1; Haggai 1:15, cf. Haggai 2:10; Haggai 2:15; Haggai 2:18, Zechariah 1:1, Zechariah 1:7-9), while in Ezra 4:24 it is said that owing to the obstruction of the people of the land the building of the Temple had to cease, and was not taken up again until the second year of Darius; in this verse, as well as in the one before us, the Chronicler's chronology is at fault, the text here also being corrupt. Batten's reconstruction of Ezra 3:8-10 a, being in part supported by the Greek Ezra, is to be commended, viz.: And in the second year of Darius, in the sixth month, Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Josadak, and their brethren, and the priests, the Levites, and all (others) who had come in from the captivity to Jerusalem, began and laid the foundation of the house of God. On the first day of the second month of the second year of their coming to Judah and Jerusalem, then they appointed the Levites of twenty years and upward for the work on the house of Yahweh; then arose Jeshua and Bani and Ahijah and Kadmiel, the sons of Hodaviah and the sons of Henadad, their sons and their brothers, all the Levites doing the work on the house of God, and the builders were erecting the Temple of Yahweh. As Batten explains, "the dates are given with the particularity characteristic of the time, as in Hag., first by the king's reign, and then by the sojourn in Jerusalem. That two dates were in the original is suggested by the separation of the year and month by several intervening words." For further justification of the reconstruction, see Batten's notes.

Ezra 3:8. from twenty years old and upwards: the law as to the age when the Levites might begin their work in the sanctuary varied; in Numbers 8:24 f. it is twenty-five years, in Numbers 4:3; Numbers 4:23; Numbers 4:30; Numbers 4:35, thirty, which is also the age given in 1 Chronicles 23:3, while in 1 Chronicles 23:24 of the same chapter it is twenty.

Ezra 3:9. the sons of Judah . . . the Levites: the text is corrupt, read as above. In Ezra 2:40 the Levites are enumerated as the children of Jeshua and Kadmiel and the children of Hodaviah, but in Nehemiah 10:9 the children of Henadad are added.

Ezra 3:10. they set the priests: read "the priests stood" with a number of Heb. MSS, the LXX and Vulgate; cf. also the Greek Ezra 5:59.—in their apparel: cf. 2 Chronicles 5:12.—with trumpets: cf. Numbers 10:8*; a straight metallic tube, quite unlike the curved ram's horn (1 Chronicles 15:24*). Regarding their use in the worship of the Temple they were, as a rule, only used for the purpose of giving signals at certain times during the service; in 2 Chronicles 5:11-13, however, it is stated that the trumpets accompanied the singing: this was not the general rule, though in later times it appears to have become more usual to employ trumpets in the worship itself (cf. 1 Maccabees 4:40; 1 Maccabees 5:33).—cymbals: made of brass according to 1 Chronicles 15:19.—after the order of David: the Chronicler traces all these arrangements back to David although the Temple did not exist in his day; he was following the traditional belief (cf. 2 Chronicles 29:25-30).

Ezra 3:11. they sang one to another: i.e. they sang antiphonally; for the words of praise which follow cf. Psalms 106:1; Psalms 136:1, 1 Chronicles 16:34, 2 Chronicles 5:13; 2 Chronicles 7:3.

Ezra 3:12. that had seen the first house: cf. Haggai 2:3.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Ezra 3:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/ezra-3.html. 1919.

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Thursday, December 5th, 2019
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