The Tide is Turned: Completion of the Temple
Ezra 5 – 6
Ezra 5 – 6
- Haggai and Zechariah Stir Up the People – the Work Resumes (5:1-2)
- The Governor Tetnai Questions the Authority to Build (5:3-5)
- A Copy of Tetnai’s Letter to Darius Asking for an Investigation (5:6-17)
- Darius’ Search of the Archives – Cyrus’ Decree Found (6:1-5)
- Darius Reissues the Decree, Makes Provision for the Building (6:6-12)
- Tetnai Enforces the Decree (6:13)
- The Work is Finished (6:14-15)
- The Dedication of the Temple (6:16-18)
- The Feast of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (6:19-22)
Haggai and Zechariah Stir Up the People – the Work Resumes (5:1-2)
1 Now the prophets, Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem; in the name of the God of Israel did they prophesy to them. 2 Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem; and with them were the prophets of God, who helped them. v.2 We see a beautiful spirit in Zerubbabel, who was of the royal line of Christ (Matt. 1), and would have, except for the captivity, been the king sitting upon the throne of David. Once the remnant returned to the land, Zerubbabel did not insist on his lineage and take a position of royalty. Rather, he took the humble position of “governor” and it says here that he “began to build”. He owned the government of God on his people, and he was not above putting his hand to the trowel. What a Christ-like spirit! No wonder he serves, in Haggai’s fifth vision, as a type of Christ; the humble, dependent man, soon to come forth crowned with many crowns, and be displayed to the world as God’s “chosen” man!
The Governor Tetnai Questions the Authority to Build (5:3-5)
3 At that time came to them Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shethar-boznai, and their companions, and said thus to them: Who gave you orders to build this house and to complete this wall? 4 And they said to them after this manner: What are the names of the men that build this building? 5 But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, and they did not make them cease till the matter came to Darius; and then they returned answer by letter concerning it.
A Copy of Tetnai’s Letter to Darius Asking for an Investigation (5:6-17)
6 The copy of the letter that Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shethar-boznai, and his companions the Apharsachites, who were on this side the river, sent to Darius the king. 7 They sent a report to him in which was written thus:
To Darius the king, all peace! 8 Be it known to the king that we went into the province of Judah, to the house of the great God, which is being built with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work is being carried on with diligence, and prospers in their hand. 9 Then asked we those elders: thus we said to them, Who gave you orders to build this house and to complete this wall? 10 We asked their names also, to inform thee, that we might write the names of the men that were the chief of them. 11 And thus they returned us answer, saying, We are the servants of the God of the heavens and the earth, and build the house that was built these many years ago; and a great king of Israel built and completed it. 12 But after that our fathers had provoked the God of the heavens to wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Chaldean, and he destroyed this house, and carried the people away unto Babylon. 13 But in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon, king Cyrus gave orders to build this house of God. 14 And the vessels also of gold and silver of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was at Jerusalem and brought into the temple of Babylon, those did king Cyrus take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered to one Sheshbazzar by name, whom he had appointed governor. 15 And he said to him, Take these vessels, go, carry them into the temple that is at Jerusalem, and let the house of God be built in its place. 16 Then came the same Sheshbazzar, and laid the foundation of the house of God which is at Jerusalem; and since that time even until now has it been in building, and it is not completed. 17 And now, if it seem good to the king, let search be made in the king’s treasure-house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that orders were given by king Cyrus to build this house of God at Jerusalem; and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.
Darius’ Search of the Archives – Cyrus’ Decree Found (6:1-5)
1 Then king Darius gave orders, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon. 2 And there was found at Achmetha in the fortress that is in the province of Media a roll, and therein was a record thus written: 3 In the first year of king Cyrus, king Cyrus made a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem:
Let the house be built for a place where they offer sacrifices, and let its foundations be solidly laid; its height sixty cubits, its breadth sixty cubits, 4 with three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber; and let the expenses be given out of the king’s house: 5 and also let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that is at Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be restored and brought again to the temple that is at Jerusalem, in their place; and thou shalt put them in the house of God.
Darius Reissues the Decree, Makes Provision for the Building (6:6-12)
6 Therefore Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shethar-boznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, who are beyond the river, be ye far from thence: 7 let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in its place. 8 Moreover, I give orders what ye shall do to these elders of the Jews, for the building of this house of God: that of the king’s goods, of the tribute beyond the river, expenses be diligently given to these men, that they be not hindered. 9 And that which they have need of, both young bullocks and rams and lambs, for the burnt-offerings to the God of the heavens, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the appointment of the priests that are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail; 10 that they may present sweet odours to the God of the heavens, and pray for the life of the king and of his sons. 11 Also I have given order that whosoever shall alter this rescript, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon, and let his house be made a dunghill for this. 12 And the God that has caused his name to dwell there overthrow every king and people that shall put forth their hand to alter or to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem. I Darius have given this order; let it be done diligently.
Tetnai Enforces the Decree (6:13)
13 Then Tatnai, governor on this side the river, Shethar-boznai, and their companions, because of that which king Darius had sent, did so diligently.
The Work is Finished (6:14-15)
14 And the elders of the Jews built; and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they built and completed it according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. 15 And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of king Darius.
The Dedication of the Temple (6:16-18)
16 And the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy; 17 and they presented at the dedication of this house of God a hundred bullocks, 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. 18 And they set the priests in their classes, and the Levites in their divisions, for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem: as it is written in the book of Moses.
The Feast of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (6:19-22)
19 And the children of the captivity held the passover upon the fourteenth of the first month. 20 For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves as one man: they were all pure; and they killed the passover for all the children of the captivity, and for their brethren the priests, and for themselves. 21 And the children of Israel that were come back out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves to them from the filthiness of the nations of the land, to seek Jehovah the God of Israel, did eat; 22 and they kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy; for Jehovah had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.