|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:1-12 When God's time is come for fulfilling his gracious purposes concerning his church, he will raise up instruments to do it, from whom such good service was not expected. While our thoughts are directed to this event, we are led by Zechariah to fix our regard on a nobler, a spiritual building. The Lord Jesus Christ continues to lay one stone upon another: let us assist the great design. Difficulties delay the progress of this sacred edifice. Yet let not opposition discourage us, for in due season it will be completed to his abundant praise. He shall bring forth the head-stone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.
Verse 1. - Darius the king made a decree. Rather, "gave an order" (Vulg., praecepit). A "decree" would not be necessary. And search was made in the house of the rolls. Literally, "in the house of the books," i.e. in the royal library, or record chamber. Where the treasures were laid up. The same repository was, apparently, used for documents of value and for the precious metals. An underground apartment is perhaps indicated by the word translated "laid up," which means "made to descend."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then Darius the king made a decree,.... To make inquiry after the edict of Cyrus, to search the public records for it:
and search was made in the house of the rolls; or "books" (r), in a public library or museum:
where the treasures were laid up in Babylon; where things of worth and value were reposited; not only gold, silver, jewels, and precious stones, and things rare and curious, but all sorts of writings relating to the monarchy, and the dominions belonging to it; but it seems it could not be found here, and therefore the king ordered search to be made elsewhere.
(r) , , Sept. "in bibliotheca", V. L. "in bibliotheca librorum", Tigurine version; "in domo librorum", Pagninus, Montanus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ezr 6:1-12. Darius' Decree for Advancing the Building.
1. Darius the king—This was Darius Hystaspes. Great and interesting light has been thrown on the history of this monarch and the transaction of his reign, by the decipherment of the cuneatic inscriptions on the rocks at Behistun.
in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon—An idea of the form of this Babylonian register house, as well as the manner of preserving public records within its repositories, can be obtained from the discoveries at Nineveh. Two small chambers were discovered in the palace of Koyunjik, which, from the fragments found in them, Mr. Layard considers "as a house of the rolls." After reminding his readers that the historical records and public documents of the Assyrians were kept on tablets and cylinders of baked clay, many specimens of which have been found, he goes on to say, "The chambers I am describing appear to have been a depository in the palace of Nineveh for such documents. To the height of a foot or more from the floor they were entirely filled with them; some entire, but the greater part broken into many fragments, probably by the falling in of the upper part of the building. They were of different sizes; the largest tablets were flat, and measured about nine inches by six and a half inches; the smaller were slightly convex, and some were not more than an inch long, with but one or two lines of writing. The cuneiform characters on most of them were singularly sharp and well-defined, but so minute in some instances as to be almost illegible without a magnifying glass. These documents appear to be of various kinds. The documents that have thus been discovered in the house of rolls' at Nineveh probably exceed all that have yet been afforded by the monuments of Egypt, and when the innumerable fragments are put together and transcribed, the publication of these records will be of the greatest importance to the history of the ancient world" [Nineveh and Babylon].
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