Ezra 3:7
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.
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(7) They gave money.—Their own workmen were paid in money; the Phoenicians, as in Solomon’s days (1 Kings 5; 2 Chronicles 2), were paid in kind. This illustrates and is illustrated by Acts 12:20.

The sea of Joppa.—The Jewish port to which the cedar-trees were sent by sea, and thence thirty-five miles inland to Jerusalem.

The grant.—The authority of Cyrus over Phœnicia seems not to have been doubtful.

Ezra 3:7. Meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon and Tyre — The inhabitants of those towns wanted provisions more than money, as appears by the history of Solomon’s building, 1 Kings 5:10. To bring cedar- trees from Lebanon — Tyre and Zidon now, as of old, furnished them with workmen, and Lebanon with timber, orders for both which they had from Cyrus. What God calls us to we may depend upon his providence to furnish us with.

3:1-7 From the proceedings of the Jews on their arrival, let us learn to begin with God, and to do what we can in the worship of God, when we cannot do what we would. They could not at once have a temple, but they would not be without an altar. Fear of danger should stir us to our duty. Have we many enemies? Then it is good to have God our Friend, and to keep up communion with him. Our fears should drive us to our knees. The sacrifices for all these solemnities were a heavy expense for so poor a company; yet besides those expressly appointed, many brought free-will offerings to the Lord. And they made preparation for the building of the temple without delay: whatever God calls us to do, we may depend upon his providence to furnish us with the needful means.According to the grant - i. e., in accordance with the permission granted them by Cyrus to rebuild their temple Ezra 1:1-4. 7. They gave … meat … drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon—They opened negotiations with the Tyrians for workmen, as well as for timber, on the same terms and with the same views as Solomon had done (1Ki 5:11; 2Ch 2:15, 16). No text from Poole on this verse.

They gave money also to the masons, and to the carpenters,.... To buy stone and timber with for the building of the temple:

and meat and drink and oil unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre; which were more agreeable to them than money, because there was not plenty of such things in their country, as in the land of Israel:

to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa; as they did at the first building of the temple by Solomon; they cut down cedars at Lebanon, which belonged to them, and sent them by sea to Joppa, the nearest seaport to Jerusalem, about forty miles from it: see 2 Chronicles 2:16,

according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia; for Tyre and Zidon being under his dominion as well as Judea, he not only gave leave to the Jews to get cedar wood from Lebanon, but gave orders to the Zidonians and Tyrians to furnish them with it, paying a valuable consideration for it; and so some (a) render the word, "according to the commandment of Cyrus".

(a) "juxta praeceptum", Vatablus; "juxta quod praeceperat", V. L. So Ben Melech.

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.
7. First steps taken towards the Rebuilding of the Temple

the masons] The stone for the Temple was excavated from the hill on which Jerusalem stood.

It is possible that the word rendered ‘masons’ may include the rougher workmen for both stone and wood, i.e. quarrymen and wood cutters, while the word rendered ‘carpenters’ may mean the skilled artificers for working up the wood and stone.

meat] The old English expression for ‘something to eat’. Cf. Luke 24:41, ‘Have ye here any meat?’ (R.V. ‘anything to eat?’).

oil] One of the necessities of life for the inhabitants of a hot country, applied externally: classed here with meat and drink, and apparently also in Psalm 23:5; Psalm 104:15; Micah 6:15.

Solomon hired workmen from Tyre and Sidon and paid them in the same way, when the first Temple was erected. It is noteworthy that whereas 1 Kings 5:11 states that Solomon gave Hiram’s household wheat and oil, we are told in 2 Chronicles 2:10 that he promised to give Hiram’s servants ‘wheat and barley and wine and oil’. On this occasion similar payment in kind was given—a heavy tax upon the resources of the young community—to the Zidonians and Tyrians, engaged in felling trees on Lebanon and floating them to Joppa.

from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa] R.V. from Lebanon to the sea, unto Joppa. The mountain of Lebanon from which cedars were obtained and sent into every country far and near (e.g. 2 Samuel 5:11; 2 Samuel 7:2; 1 Kings 5:6; 1 Chronicles 14:1, &c.). Cf. Jeremiah 22:23, ‘O inhabitant of Lebanon that makest thy nest in the cedars’.

The Tyrian workmen conveyed the trunks of cedar-trees from the hills to the nearest coast and then floated them in enormous rafts as far as Joppa, the nearest seaport to Jerusalem. Compare 2 Chronicles 2:16, ‘And we will cut wood out of Lebanon, as much as thou shalt need: and we will bring it to thee in floats by sea to Joppa (marg. Heb. Japho); and thou shalt carry it to Jerusalem.’

‘To the sea of Joppa’, the A.V. rendering, preferred by some, is most unnatural.

Joppa—the modern Jaffa—was included in the tribe of Dan (Joshua 19:46), but was never taken from the Philistines. Famous from the story of Jonah. In the Græco-Syrian period largely occupied by Jews, and included within Jewish territory by Jonathan and Simon, the brothers of Judas the Maccabee (see 1Ma 10:75). Peter at Joppa restored Tabitha (Acts 9:36-43), and was summoned thence by Cornelius (Acts 10:5). Now a small seaport, but of considerable importance. With certain improvements to the harbour it would become an important place. Distance 30 miles from Jerusalem.

according to the grant that they had &c.] The ‘grant’ or permit seems to be the probable rendering of the Hebrew word, which does not occur elsewhere in the Old Testament.

of Cyrus king of Persia] What is the grant referred to? It appears from Herodotus (iii. 34; see Rawlinson’s note on Herod. iii. 19) that Cyrus was not master of Phœnicia, and was not therefore in a position to give a grant to the Jews to obtain cedar from Lebanon. Nor is it probable that the ‘grant’ means royal permission to enter into treaty with the Tyrians and Zidonians.

We must understand the word quite generally. The action of the Jews in procuring wood and stone and hiring workmen was in accordance with the wish of Cyrus, under whose favour they had undertaken the task of rebuilding the Temple.

Verse 7. - They gave money also unto the masons. The exiles had no doubt been employed by the Babylonian monarchs to a large extent in building, as their ancestors had been during their sojourn in Egypt (Exodus 1:2). Consequently, among those who returned there were many masons and carpenters. These were now set to work by Zerubbabel, and received their wages in money. And meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre. The Phoenicians, on the other hand, received their wages in kind. As Phoenicia was a narrow strip of country, and grew but little corn, it had always to depend mainly for its supplies of food on its neighbours, and generally drew the greater part from Palestine (see Acts 12:20). Hiram had furnished materials to Solomon for the first temple on condition of receiving wheat, barley, wine, and oil (2 Chronicles 2:15). Zerubbabel made a similar arrangement at the present time with the Tyrians and Sidonians. To bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa. Having cut the timber in the mountains, the Phoenicians conveyed it to the coast, perhaps sometimes letting it pass down the rivers, and, collecting it on the coast into large rafts or "flotes" (2 Chronicles 2:16), took these by sea to the roadstead of Joppa (Jaffa). Hence it was conveyed by land a distance of thirty-five miles to Jerusalem. Lebanon cedar was in great request in the East, and appears to have been cut and carried off both by the Egyptians and the Assyrians. The forests must in the ancient times have been far more extensive than at present. According to the grant that they had of Cyrus. A special grant of Phoenician timber, made by Cyrus, seems to be intended. Though Cyrus had not conquered Phoenicia ('Herod.,' 3:34), he might regard his conquest of Babylon as involving the submission of what had for some time been a Babylonian dependency.

CHAPTER 3:8-13

§ 3. REBUILDING OF THE TEMPLE AND OPPOSITION MADE TO IT. LAYING OF THE FOUNDATION OF THE TEMPLE AND CEREMONIAL ON THE OCCASION (vers. 8-13). Seven months were occupied with preparations. The winter was past, and the spring had arrived. It was the second month, Zif, the month of "blossom," corresponding to our May - the same month in which Solomon had laid the foundation of the first temple (1 Kings 6:1) - when Zerubbabel judged that the time had come for commencing the foundation of the second. The correspondence of the month was no doubt intentional, like the correspondence of the foundations of the altar (ver. 3), and was to mark that all was to be as before, that nothing was to be wantonly changed. Zerubbabel and Jeshua presided; but to Zerubbabel is assigned the chief part in the work. "The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house" are the words of God himself to Zechariah (Zechariah 4:9). It was arranged that the work should commence with a religious ceremonial, natural piety here suggesting what was not recorded of the "first house," though it may have occurred and not have been put on record. The ceremonial consisted chiefly of praise, and was accompanied with sacred music, according to the pattern set by David and Solomon in their sacred processions and ceremonies (1 Chronicles 15:19, 24; 1 Chronicles 16:5; 2 Chronicles 5:12, etc.). Their special parts in it were assigned beforehand to the priests, the Levites, and the people. Ezra 3:7Preparations were also made for the rebuilding of the temple; money was given to hewers of wood and to masons, and meat and drink (i.e., corn and wine) and oil to the Sidonians and Tyrians (i.e., the Phoenicians; comp. 1 Chronicles 22:4), to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa (i.e., to the coast of Joppa), as was formerly done by Solomon, 1 Kings 5:6., 2 Chronicles 2:7. כּרשׁיון, according to the grant of Cyrus to them, i.e., according to the permission given them by Cyrus, sc. to rebuild the temple. For nothing is said of any special grant from Cyrus with respect to wood for building. רשׁיון is in the O.T. ἁπ. λεγ.; in Chaldee and rabbinical Hebrew, רשׁא and רשׁי mean facultatem habere; and רשׁוּ power, permission.
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