Ezra 5:13
But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon the same king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God.
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5:3-17 While employed in God's work, we are under his special protection; his eye is upon us for good. This should keep us to our duty, and encourage us therein, when difficulties are ever so discouraging. The elders of the Jews gave the Samaritans an account of their proceedings. Let us learn hence, with meekness and fear, to give a reason of the hope that is in us; let us rightly understand, and then readily declare, what we do in God's service, and why we do it. And while in this world, we always shall have to confess, that our sins have provoked the wrath of God. All our sufferings spring from thence, and all our comforts from his unmerited mercy. However the work may seem to be hindered, yet the Lord Jesus Christ is carrying it on, his people are growing unto a holy temple in the Lord, for a habitation of God through the Spirit.Great stones - literally, as in the margin; i. e., stones so large that they were rolled along, not carried. Others translate "polished stones." 13. Cyrus the king … made a decree—The Jews were perfectly warranted according to the principles of the Persian government to proceed with the building in virtue of Cyrus' edict. For everywhere a public decree is considered as remaining in force until it is revoked but the "laws of the Medes and Persians changed not" [Da 6:8, 12, 15]. No text from Poole on this verse. But in the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon,.... That is, the first year he was king of Babylon, having taken it, otherwise he was king of Persia many years before:

the same King Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God; see Ezra 1:1.

But in the {e} first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon the same king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God.

(e) Read Ezr 1:1,2.

13. Cyrus the king of Babylon] Cyrus so called frequently in the Inscriptions: cf. Artaxerxes king of Babylon, Nehemiah 13:6, and Darius king of Assyria, Ezra 6:22.

the same king Cyrus] R.V. Cyrus the king: see on Ezra 1:1-2.Verse 13. - In the first year of Cyrus the king of Babylon. Recent discoveries of contract tablets have shown that at Babylon Cyrus bore the title of "king of Babylon" from the date of his conquest of the city. The same title was passed on to his successors, Cambyses, Darius, etc. Hence we find Artaxerxes Longimanus called "king of Babylon" by Nehemiah (Nehemiah 13:6). In Ezra 5:6-17 follows the letter which the royal officials sent to the king. Ezra 5:6 and Ezra 5:7 form the introduction to this document, and correspond with Ezra 5:8-11 in Ezra 4. Copy of the letter (comp. Ezra 4:11) which Tatnai, etc., sent. The senders of the letter are, besides Tatnai, Shethar-Boznai and his companions the Apharsachites, the same called Ezra 4:9 the Apharsathchites, who perhaps, as a race specially devoted to the Persian king, took a prominent position among the settlers in Syria, and may have formed the royal garrison. After this general announcement of the letter, follows the more precise statement: They sent the matter to him; and in it was written, To King Darius, much peace. פּתגּן here is not command, but matter; see above. כלּא, its totality, is unconnected with, yet dependent on שׁלמא: peace in all things, in every respect. The letter itself begins with a simple representation of the state of affairs (Ezra 5:8): "We went into the province of Judaea, to the house of the great God (for so might Persian officials speak of the God of Israel, after what they had learned from the elders of Judah of the edict of Cyrus), and it is being built with freestone, and timber is laid in the walls; and this work is being diligently carried on, and is prospering under their hands." The placing of wood in the walls refers to building beams into the wall for flooring; for the building was not so far advanced as to make it possible that this should be said of covering the walls with wainscotting. The word אספּרנא here, and Ezra 6:8, Ezra 6:12-13; Ezra 7:17, Ezra 7:21, Ezra 7:26, is of Aryan origin, and is explained by Haug in Ew. Janro. v. p. 154, from the Old-Persian us-parna, to mean: carefully or exactly finished-a meaning which suits all these passages.
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