And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem.The seventh month - i. e., the month Tisri (nearly our September), the most sacred month in the Jewish year Exodus 23:16; Leviticus 23:24-41.
Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God.Jeshua, the high priest, was the son of Jozadak, who was carried into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar 1 Chronicles 6:15.
Zerubbabel was really the son of Pedaiah, Shealtiel's (or Salathiel's) younger brother. But Shealtiel having no sons, and the royal line being continued in the person of his nephew, Zerubbabel, the latter was accounted Shealtiel's son.
And they set the altar upon his bases; for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD, even burnt offerings morning and evening.Upon his bases - They restored the old altar of burnt-offerings, which stood directly in front of the temple-porch, upon the old foundation. This became apparent on the clearing away of the ruins, and on a careful examination of the site.
They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the custom, as the duty of every day required;
And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the LORD that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the LORD.
From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid.
They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia.According to the grant - i. e., in accordance with the permission granted them by Cyrus to rebuild their temple Ezra 1:1-4.
Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the LORD.Unto the house of God - i. e., to the place where the house of God had been, and where God was believed still to have His special dwelling.
And appointed the Levites - This is the emphatic clause of the present verse. Though so small a number of Levites had returned from Babylon Ezra 2:40, yet they were especially singled out to be entrusted with the task of superintending and advancing the building of the temple.
Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites.Jeshua - See the marginal reference. Not the high priest, but the head of one of the two Levitical houses which had returned.
Together - The Hebrew phrase is very emphatic - "they stood up as one man."
And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.They set the priests - Or, according to another reading, "The priests stood."
The Levites the sons of Asaph - i. e., "such of the Levites as were descendants of Asaph." It would seem as if no descendants of Heman or Jeduthun had returned.
And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.
But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:Wept ... shouted ... for joy - Compare the marginal reference and Zechariah 4:10. It is implied that the dimensions of the second temple were smaller than those of the first. Hence, the feeling of sorrow which came upon some. They, however, who had not seen the former temple, and so could not contrast the two, naturally rejoiced to see the sanctuary of their religion begin to rise from its ruins.
So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.