Ezra 3:10
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.
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(10) After the ordinance of David, king of Israel.—All goes back to earlier times. As the first offerings on the altar were according to what was “written in the law of Moses, the man of God,” so the musical ceremonial of this foundation is according to the precedent of David (see 1 Chronicles 6, 1Chronicles 16:25). The trumpets belonged to the priests, the cymbals to the Levites, in the ancient ordinances of worship.

Ezra 3:10. To praise the Lord — The priests, with the trumpets appointed by Moses, and the Levites, with cymbals appointed by David, made up a concert of praise at the laying of the foundation of the temple, to assist the singing of that everlasting hymn which will never be out of date, and for which our tongues should never be out of tune, the burden of Psalms 136. Whatever our condition is, let it be owned that God is good; and whatever fails, that his mercy fails not.3:8-13 There was a remarkable mixture of affections upon laying the foundation of the temple. Those that only knew the misery of having no temple at all, praised the Lord with shouts of joy. To them, even this foundation seemed great. We ought to be thankful for the beginnings of mercy, though it be not yet perfect. But those who remembered the glory of the first temple, and considered how far inferior this was likely to be, wept with a loud voice. There was reason for it, and if they bewailed the sin that was the cause of this melancholy change, they did well. Yet it was wrong to cast a damp upon the common joys. They despised the day of small things, and were unthankful for the good they enjoyed. Let not the remembrance of former afflictions drown the sense of present mercies.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.

9. Jeshua with his sons—not the high priest, but a Levite (Ezr 2:40). To these, as probably distinguished for their mechanical skill and taste, the duty of acting as overseers was particularly committed. After the ordinance of David, Heb. by or according to the hands of David, i.e. in such manner and with such psalms, or songs, and instruments as God hath appointed by the hands or ministry of David. And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord,.... The masons, whose work it was, Ezra 3:7

they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets; these were set in a proper place by the prince and the high priest, in their priestly garments, with trumpets in their hands to blow with, as the foundation was laying:

and the Levites the sons of Asaph, with cymbals to praise the Lord, after the ordinance of David king of Israel; these were instruments of brass, and made a tinkling sound, and were by the order of David; and the persons that made use of them; and the songs of praise they were played upon unto; all by his appointment, as well as harps and psalteries, which might now be used, though not expressed; see 1 Chronicles 15:16. So the Messenians, when the walls of their city were raised by Epaminondas, and their houses and temples erected, attended it with sacrifices and prayer, and with piping and singing (b).

(b) Pausan. Messenica, sive, l. 4. p. 368.

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.
10. And when the builders &c.] By ‘the builders’ is clearly meant the workmen, not, as some commentators, Zerubbabel and Jeshua.

they set the priests &c.] So also R.V. text. (1) According to this reading, (a) the subject of the verb must be the leaders of the people (as described in Ezra 3:2); (b) the word ‘set’ in the Hebrew is the same as ‘appointed’ in Ezra 3:8 (see note); (c) and a parallelism may be noted between Ezra 3:8-11. Ezra 3:8; Ezra 3:10 describe the appointment (8) of the Levites, (10) of the priests; Ezra 3:9; Ezra 3:11 the work (9) of the Levites, (11) of the priests.

But the parallelism in other respects breaks down. In Ezra 3:8, the subject of the first clause (‘Zerubbabel &c. began’) is also the subject of the second (‘and they appointed’). In Ezra 3:10 the subject of the first clause cannot (except by the very unlikely interpretation which identifies ‘the builders’ with Zerubbabel and Jeshua) be taken as the subject of the second. Again in Ezra 3:8, after the word ‘appointed’ we find the sign of the accusative before ‘the Levites’ (so also in 1 Chronicles 15:17-18). In Ezra 3:10 its absence is very noteworthy, when taken in conjunction with the evidence for the other reading.

(2) According to some MSS. and ancient versions the priests stood, R.V. margin. This reading is supported by thirteen Hebrew MSS. (according to Kennicott and de Rossi), by the LXX. (ἔστησαν), by the Vulgate (steterunt), and by the parallel version in 1Es 5:59 (‘and the priests stood’ &c.). It is more likely to have been the original reading, and to have been altered by the insertion of a single small letter (yôdh) so as to correspond with the form which appears in Ezra 3:8, ‘appointed’. Supposing the received text to be the original, we have to account for (α) the omission of this letter in the authorities quoted above, (β) the absence of the sign of the accusative, (γ) the statement that Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the priests appointed the priests.

Adopting the intransitive ‘stood’, (α) we are able to account for the common text by the supposition that it is a reproduction of the form used a few lines above; (β) the construction is perfectly simple, cf. 2 Chronicles 29:26; 2 Chronicles 35:10; (γ) though the parallelism of verses is lost, the order of the sentences is less artificial; with the introduction of the foundation of the Temple a fresh subject is started; (δ) in the ceremonies of the Temple the priests would be independent, ‘they stood’: the expression ‘they caused to stand or set’, though suitable as applied to ‘the Levites’, the subordinate order (Ezra 3:8), is less suitable as applied to ‘the priests’.

in their apparel] literally ‘arrayed’ or ‘vestured’, i.e. in their priestly garments, cf. Ezra 2:69. In the similar description given in 1 Chronicles 5:12 the same word receives closer definition ‘arrayed in white linen’ or ‘byssus’.

with trumpets] as in 1 Chronicles 15:24; 1 Chronicles 16:6; 2 Chronicles 5:12. The priests were specially commissioned to blow the sacred trumpets. Numbers 10:8.

with cymbals] David assigned the instrumental music to the Levites, the cymbals especially to the sons of Asaph. Compare 1 Chronicles 25:1 with 1 Chronicles 16:4-5; 1 Chronicles 25:6.

after the ordinance of David king of Israel] R.V. after the order of &c. The same phrase occurs in 1 Chronicles 25:2, ‘after the order of the king’, (R.V. marg. Heb. ‘by the hands of the king’).Verse 10. - When the builders (Zerubbabel and Jeshua) laid the foundation of the temple, they set the priests in their apparel - the rich apparel, designed "for glory and for beauty," which the law required (Exodus 28:40; Exodus 40:27-29), and which the people had recently provided (Ezra 2:69). With trumpets. To blow with trumpets was always the duty of the priests (Numbers 10:8; Numbers 31:6; Joshua 6:4; 1 Chronicles 15:24; 1 Chronicles 16:6; 2 Chronicles 5:12), to praise God with cymbals the task of the Levites (1 Chronicles 15:16, 19; 1 Chronicles 16:5; 2 Chronicles 5:12, 13; 2 Chronicles 29:25, etc.), perhaps because the trumpet was regarded as the instrument of greater dignity. After the ordinance of David. David's ordinance on the subject is first expressed briefly in 1 Chronicles 15:16; afterwards, more fully, in vers. 17-21 of the same chapter. The musical service of Zerubbabel fell short of the "ordinance of David," since it comprised neither psalteries nor harps, which were an essential part of David's system. Apparently, the musical skill of the Levites had declined under the depressing circumstances of the captivity (see Psalm 137:2). They kept the feast of tabernacles as prescribed in the law, Leviticus 23:34. "The burnt-offering day by day, according to number," means the burnt-offering day by day, according to number," means the burnt-offerings commanded for the several days of this festival, viz., on the first day thirteen oxen, on the second twelve, etc.; comp. Numbers 29:13-34, where the words כּמשׁפּט בּמספּרם, Numbers 29:18, Numbers 29:21, Numbers 29:24, etc., occur, which are written in our present verse כּם בּמספּר, by number, i.e., counted; comp. 1 Chronicles 9:28; 1 Chronicles 23:31, etc.
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