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THEN king Darius gave orders, and they searched in the library of the books that were laid up in Babylon,

Ver. 1.  Library.  Prot. "house of the rolls, where the treasures were," &c.

 

--- Babylon.  In the city, the search was fruitless: (Vatab.) but in the kingdom, the record was discovered.  M.




2 And there was found in Ecbatana, which is a castle in the province of Media, a book in which this record was written.

Ver. 2.  Ecbatana.  Chal. achmetha, signifies "a jug, or chest."  C.

 

--- "They found in the chest of the palace, under the inscription of Media."  Munster.  Pagnin.

 

--- "And a roll was found (some add, in Amatha) in the city, in a chest, (or tower; Barei) and this memorial was written in it."  (Sept.)  Prot. style the place, "Achmetha."  H.

 

--- Arab. "Athana."  Syr. "Ahmathane."  The memoirs of Cyrus had probably been conveyed to Ecbatana, which was built by Dejoces, the first king of the Medes, and greatly enlarged by his successor, Phraortes.  C.

 

--- Province.  Media now only formed a province of the empire.  T.




3 In the first year of Cyrus the king: Cyrus the king decreed, that the house of God should be built, which is in Jerusalem, in the place where they may offer sacrifices, and that they lay the foundations that may support the height of threescore cubits, and the breadth of threescore cubits,

Ver. 3.  And...foundations is not found in Sept. Syr. and Arab. but it is in Chald.  The temple was thus of larger dimensions than that of Solomon, which was only 30 cubits high, and 20 broad inside.  3 K. vi. 2.  The Rabbins assign 100 for each, (Tr. Middot. iv. 6.) speaking perhaps of the temple rebuilt by Herod, with still greater magnificence.  Josephus allows 100 in height, and 60 in breadth.  But the Scripture only speaks of 54 cubits breadeth, and 99 in length including the adjoining edifices.  C.

 

--- Breadth, from the front to the end of the holy of holies, which we should call the length.  T.

 

--- This temple was lower than Solomon's by one half, (2 Par. iii. 4.  M.) unless those 120 cubits refer only to a tower.  H.



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4 Three rows of unpolished stones, and so rows of new timber: and the charges shall be given out of the king's house.

Ver. 4.  Unpolished, to correspond with the polished stones and cedar employed by Solomon.  3 K. vi. 36.  M.

 

--- Prot. "great stones."  See C. v. 8.

 

--- Charges.  It appears that the Jews furnished money and meat to pay for the wood.  C. i. 4. and iii. 7.  Some annual sum might be assigned by Cyrus, either for the building, or for the daily holocausts.  C.


5 And also let the golden and silver vessels of the temple of Cod, which Nabuchodonosor took out of the temple of Jerusalem, and brought to Babylon, be restored, and carried back to the temple of Jerusalem to their place, which also were placed in the temple of God.

Ver. 5.  Placed formerly, before the destruction of the temple.  Prot. "and place them in the house of God."




6 Now therefore Thathanai, governor of the country beyond the river, Stharbuzanai, and your counsellors the Apharsachites, who are beyond the river, depart far from them, 7 And let that temple of God be built by the governor of the Jews, and by their ancients, that they may build that house of God in its place.


8 I also have commanded what must be done by those ancients of the Jews, that the house of God may be built, to wit, that of the king's chest, that is, of the tribute that is paid out of the country beyond the river, the charges be diligently given to those men, lest the work be hindered.

Ver. 8.  Hindered.  Thus Darius trod in the footsteps, or perhaps exceeded the liberality of Cyrus.  H.




9 And if it shall be necessary, let calves also, and lambs, and kids, for holocausts to the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the custom of the priests that are in Jerusalem, be given them day by day, that there be no complaint in any thing.

Ver. 9.  Complaint.  Prot. "without fail," (H.) or "delay." Mont.  C.




10 And let them offer oblations to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his children. 11 And I have made a decree: That if any whosoever, shall alter this commandment, a beam be taken from his house. and set up, and he be nailed upon it, and his house be confiscated.

Ver. 11.  Nailed.  Prot. "hanged."  Sept. "covered with wounds, or fastened on it."  H.

 

--- Some think that the criminal was to be scourged.  De Dieu.

 

--- "Let him be hanged on the wood, which shall stand upright, after his house shall have been demolished."  Vatable.

 

--- Such was the custom of the Persians.  Grot.

 

--- Aman perished on the gallows, which he had erected in his own house for Mardocheus.  Est. vii. 9.

 

--- Confiscated.  Prot. "be made a dunghill for this."  H.  Syr. &c.

 

--- We find some examples of such a treatment.  4 K. x. 27.  Dan. iii. 5, and ix. 6.  The effects of those who were condemned to die, in Persia, were generally confiscated.  Est.iii. 13. and viii. 11. and ix. 14.


12 And may the God, that hath caused his name to dwell there, destroy all kingdoms, and the people that shall put out their hand to resist, and to destroy the house of God, that is in Jerusalem. I Darius have made the decree, which I will have diligently complied with.


13 So then Thathanai, governor of the country beyond the river, and Stharbuzanai, and his counsellors diligently executed what Darius the king had commanded. 14 And the ancients of the Jews built and prospered according to the prophecy of Aggeus the prophet, and of Zacharias the son of Addo: and they built and finished, by the commandment of the God of Israel, and by the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes kings of the Persians.

Ver. 14.  Artaxerxes, one of the seven who overturned the power of the magi; (Usher, A. 3483) or rather the king of Persia, who lived some time after this, and was very favourable to the Jews.  He sent Esdras (A. 3537) and Nehemias (A. 3550) with great powers into the country.  C.


15 And they were finishing this house of God, until the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of king Darius.

Ver. 15.  Adar, corresponding  with our Feb. and March.  M.

 

--- In the latter month they celebrated the Passover, v. 19.

 

--- Darius.  Hence twenty years had elapsed from the first foundation.  They might continue to embellish the temple other twenty-seven years, as the Jews assert; (Jo. ii. 20,) unless they speak of the repairs made by Herod, (Baronius.  T.) or exaggerate, (Grot.) being under a mistake.  Salien, A. 3537.




16 And the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity kept the dedication of the house of God with joy.


17 And they offered at the dedication of the house of God, a, hundred calves, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and for a sin offering for all Israel twelve he goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.

Ver. 17.  Goats, which had not left off sucking.  M.  Numb. vii. 87.

 

--- Israel.  The Sam. Chronicles assert that the tribes returned, as the prophets had foretold, and the sacred history seems to suppose: (C.) which may be true of many, (H.) though the greatest part remained in captivity.  C.




18 And they set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses over the works of God in Jerusalem, as it is written in the book of Moses.

Ver. 18.  Moses.  Num. iii. 8.  David had perfected the plan, 1 Par. xxiii. &c.  H.



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19 And the children of Israel of the captivity kept the phase, on the fourteenth day of the first month.

Ver. 19.  And.  Here the author resumes the Heb. language.  C.

 

--- Captivity, from which they were released, v. 17.  H.


20 For all the priests and the Levites were purified as one man: all were clear to kill the phase for all the children of the captivity, and for their brethren the priests, and themselves.

Ver. 20.  One man, with zeal and unanimity; so that a second Phase was not to be celebrated.  2 Par. xxx. 3.


21 And the children of Israel that were returned from captivity, and all that had separated themselves from the filthiness of the nations of the earth to them, to seek the Lord the God of Israel, did eat.

Ver. 21.  To them, becoming proselytes, and receiving circumcision.  Ex. xii. 48.


22 And they kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy, for the Lord had made them joyful, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, that he should help their hands in the work of the house of the Lord the God of Israel.

Ver. 22.  Assyria.  The successors of Cyrus now ruled over those countries, (C.) which had belonged to the most potent Assyrian and Chaldean monarchs; and therefore the titles are given to them indiscriminately.  T.



Assyria

Assyria. The successors of Cyrus now ruled over those countries, (C.) which had belonged to the most potent Assyrian and Chaldean monarchs; and therefore the titles are given to them indiscriminately. T.

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