|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 2. - There was found at Achmetha. Not "in a coffer," as our translators suggest in the margin, and as Aben Ezra and Jarchi interpret; but "at Ecbatana," which is expressed letter for letter by the word used in the original, except that the final n is dropped. Compare for this omission the passage of Harran into Carrhae, and of Shu-shan into Susa. In the palace that is in the province of the Medes. The palace of Ecbatana was very famous. Herodotus says that it was built by Deioces, the first Median king, occupied the centre of the town, and was defended by seven circles of walls, one inside the other (1:98). Polybius states that the building covered an area 1420 yards in circumference, and consisted of a number of halls and cloistered courts, supported by wooden pillars, of cypress or of cedar, both of which were coated with a plating of gold or silver, and supported roofs sloped at an angle, consisting of silver plates instead of the customary tiling (5:27, 10). This grannd building was the residence of the old Median monarchs, and also of Cyrus and Cambyses. Darius built himself still more magnificent residences at Susa and Persepolis; but both he and the later Achaemenian monarchs continued to use the Median palace as a summer residence, and it maintained its celebrity till the close of the empire (see Arrian, 'Exp. Alex.,' 3:19). A roll. According to Ctesias ('Died. Sic.,' 2:32), the Persians employed parchment or vellum for the material of their records, not baked clay, like the Assyrians and Babylonians, or paper, like the Egyptians. Parchment would be a suitable material for rolls, and no doubt was anciently used chiefly in that shape. Therein was a record thus written. The decree would no doubt be written, primarily, in the Persian language and the Persian cuneiform character; but it may have been accompanied by a Chaldaean transcript, of which Ezra may have obtained a copy. Public documents were commonly set forth by the Persians in more than one language (see 'Herod.,' 4:87; and comp. the 'Inscriptions,' passim, which are almost universally either bilingual or trilingual).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And there was found at Achmetha,.... Which Jarchi and Aben Ezra take to be the name of a vessel in which letters and writings were put for safety; but it was no doubt the name of a place; the Vulgate Latin version has it Ecbatana; and so Josephus (s); which was the name of a city in Media, where the kings of that country had their residence in the summer time (t); for it has its name from heat (u); the Persian kings dwelt at Shushan in the winter, and at Ecbatana in the summer (w); hence they are compared by Aelian (x) to cranes, birds of passage, because of their going to and from the above places:
in the palace that is in the province of the Medes, here was found
a roll; which was the decree of Cyrus, which perhaps he took with him when he went thither:
and therein was a record thus written; as follows.
(s) Antiqu. l. 11. c. 4. sect. 6. (t) Curtius, l. 5. c. 8. Vid. Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 3. c. 6. (u) Hiller. Onomastic. Sacr. p. 618. (w) Athen. Deipnosophist, l. 12. c. 1.((x) De Animal. l. 3. c. 13.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. Achmetha—long supposed to be the capital of Greater Media (the Ecbatana of classical, the Hamadan of modern times), [is] at the foot of the Elwund range of hills, where, for its coolness and salubrity, Cyrus and his successors on the Persian throne established their summer residence. There was another city, however, of this name, the Ecbatana of Atropatene, and the most ancient capital of northern Media, and recently identified by Colonel Rawlinson in the remarkable ruins of Takht-i-Soleiman. Yet as everything tends to show the attachment of Cyrus to his native city, the Atropatenian Ecbatana, rather than to the stronger capital of Greater Media, Colonel Rawlinson is inclined to think that he deposited there, in his fortress, the famous decree relating to the Jews, along with the other records and treasures of his empire [Nineveh and Persepolis].
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