From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings to the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)From the first day.—The notes of time demand notice. The altar was raised before the month came; from the first until the fifteenth, when the Feast of Tabernacles began, the daily sacrifice was offered. The whole verse recapitulates, and its latter part is the transition to what follows.Ezra 3:6. To offer burnt-offerings — And the other sacrifices which were to be offered with them upon that first day of the seventh month, which was the feast of trumpets. Burnt-offerings are often put for all sacrifices, and the meaning of these two verses is, that the holy rites of sacrificing were restored, and continued ever after, in their several seasons, on the new moons, and other festival solemnities.
4, 6. They kept also the feast of tabernacles … From the first day of the seventh month—They revived at that time the daily oblation, and it was on the fifteenth day of that month the feast of tabernacles was held.To offer burnt-offerings, and the other sacrifices which were to be offered with them upon that day, being the feast of trumpets, Numbers 29:1, &c. Burnt-offerings are oft put for all sacrifices, as hath been observed once and again.
The foundation of the temple was not yet laid; though it is probable they had done something towards the removing of the rubbish, and preparing the way for it. Leviticus 23:24, and no doubt but they observed the tenth day of this month, with all the rites of it, which was the day of atonement, Leviticus 23:27,
but the foundation of the temple of the Lord was not yet laid; they began first with sacrifices, that having thereby given thanks to God for their return to their own land, and for all the benefits they enjoyed, and made atonement for their sins in a typical way, they might be the more prepared and fit for the work of building the temple; or, "though the foundation" of it was not laid (z), yet they offered the above sacrifices.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)6. From the first day of the seventh month &c.] This statement taken in conjunction with Ezra 3:5 (‘and afterward’ &c.) can only mean, that the Jews began to offer burnt offerings on their altar on ‘the first day of the month’, when the altar was set up, but that the regular offering of the daily sacrifice was not begun till after the Feast of Tabernacles (15th to 22nd).
But the foundation &c.] R.V. ‘but’ &c.: no full-stop. The explanatory clause is added. The burnt offerings were regularly made on the altar, although there was no Temple building, nor Temple worship. Such a thing would have been almost incredible to the Jew of later centuries.Nehemiah 7:70-73. - Some of the heads of houses, when they came to the house of Jahve, i.e., arrived at the site of the temple, brought free-will offerings (התנדּב; comp. 1 Chronicles 29:5) to set it up in its place (העמיד, to set up, i.e., to rebuild; identical in meaning both here and Ezra 9:9 with הקים). After their ability (כּכוחם; comp. 1 Chronicles 29:2) they gave unto the treasure of the work, i.e., of restoring the temple and its services, 61,000 darics of gold equals 68,625, and 5000 mina of silver, above 30,000, and 100 priests' garments. The account of these contributions is more accurately given in Nehemiah 7:70-72, according to which some of the heads of houses gave unto the work (מקצת as Daniel 1:2 and elsewhere); the Tirshatha gave to the treasure 1000 darics of gold, 50 sacrificial vessels (see on Exodus 27:3), 30 priests' garments, and 500 ... This last statement is defective; for the two Numbers 30 and 500 must not be combined into 530, as in this case the hundreds would have stood first. The objects enumerated were named before 500, and are omitted through a clerical error, מנים וכסף "and silver (500) mina." And some of the heads of houses (others than the Tirshatha) gave of gold 20,000 darics, of silver, 2200 mina; and that which the rest of the people gave was-gold, 20,000 darics, silver, 2000 mina, and 67 priests' garments. According to this statement, the Tirshatha, the heads of houses, and the rest of the people, gave together 41,000 darics in gold, 4200 mina in silver, 97 priests' garments, and 30 golden vessels. In Ezra the vessels are omitted; and instead of the 30 + 67 equals 97 priests' garments, they are stated in round numbers to have been 100. The two other differences have arisen from textual errors. Instead of 61,000 darics, it is evident that we must read with Nehemiah, 41,000 (1000 + 20,000 + 20,000); and in addition to the 2200 and 2000 mina, reckon, according to Nehemiah 7:70, 500 more, in all 4700, for which in the text of Ezra we have the round sum of 5000. The account of the return of the first band of exiles concludes at Ezra 2:70, and the narrative proceeds to the subsequent final statement: "So the priests, etc ... .dwelt in their cities." העם וּמן, those of the people, are the men of the people of Israel of Ezra 2:2, the laity as distinguished from the priests, Levites, etc. In Nehemiah the words are transposed, so that העם מן stand after the Levitical door-keepers and singers. Bertheau thinks this position more appropriate; but we cannot but judge otherwise. The placing of the people, i.e., the laity of Israel, between the consecrated servants of the temple (the priests and their Levitical assistants in the sacrificial service) and the singers and door-keepers, seems to us quite consistent; while, on the other hand, the naming of the שׁוערים before the משׁררים in Nehemiah seems inappropriate, because the performance of the choral service of the temple was a higher office than the guardianship of the doors. Neither can we regard Bertheau's view, that בּעריהם, which in the present verse follows והנּתינים, should be erased, as a correct one. The word forms a perfectly appropriate close to the sentence beginning with ויּשׁבוּ; and the sentence following, "And all Israel were in their cities," forms a well-rounded close to the account; while, on the contrary, the summing up of the different divisions by the words כל־ישׂראל in Nehemiah, after the enumeration of those divisions, has a rather heavy effect.
(Note: In 1 Esdr. 5:46, this verse, freely carrying out the texts of Ezra and Nehemiah, with regard also to Nehemiah 12:27-30, runs thus: "And so dwelt the priests, and the Levites, and the people, in Jerusalem and in the country, the singers also and the porters, and all Israel in their villages.")
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