Ezra 6:11
Also I have made a decree, that whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon; and let his house be made a dunghill for this.
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(11) Alter this word seems to mean “violate this command,” since the alteration of a decree was a thing unheard of.

Hanged is literally crucified. Among the Persians crucifixion was generally the nailing of a body to a cross after decapitation; among the Assyrians it was transfixion or impalement. Here the “being set up” refers of course to the man, and not to the beam.

6:1-12 When God's time is come for fulfilling his gracious purposes concerning his church, he will raise up instruments to do it, from whom such good service was not expected. While our thoughts are directed to this event, we are led by Zechariah to fix our regard on a nobler, a spiritual building. The Lord Jesus Christ continues to lay one stone upon another: let us assist the great design. Difficulties delay the progress of this sacred edifice. Yet let not opposition discourage us, for in due season it will be completed to his abundant praise. He shall bring forth the head-stone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.Being set up, let him be hanged thereon - Rather, "let him be lifted up and crucified upon it." Crucifixion was the most common form of capital punishment among the Persians. 11, 12. whosoever shall alter this word—The warning was specially directed against the turbulent and fanatical Samaritans. The extremely favorable purport of this edict was no doubt owing in some measure to the influence of Cyrus, of whom Darius entertained a high admiration, and whose two daughters he had married. But it proceeded still more from the deep impressions made even on the idolatrous people of that country and that age, as to the being and providence of the God of Israel. No text from Poole on this verse.

Also I have made a decree, that whosoever shall alter this word,.... Act contrary to this command, will not obey it, but as much as in him lies changes and revokes it:

let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him, be hanged thereon; that is, let a beam be taken from it, and a gallows or gibbet made of it, and hang him on it:

and let his house be made a dunghill for this; be pulled down, and never rebuilt more; see Gill on Daniel 2:2; see Gill on Daniel 2:9.

Also I have made a decree, that whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon; and let his house be made a dunghill for this.
11. The penalty.

Also I have made a decree] The same words as in Ezra 6:8, Ezra 4:19.

whosoever shall alter] See especially Daniel 6:15. The word ‘alter’ here probably includes infringement of the decree as well as alteration of its terms.

let timber be pulled down] R.V. let a beam be pulled out, more correctly. The beams of the man’s own house should be the instruments of execution.

and being set up, let him be hanged thereon] R.V. let him be lifted up and fastened thereon. The subject of both words is the malefactor. The punishment here referred to is probably that of impalement, to which allusion is frequently made in Assyrian and Persian inscriptions. It may indeed be a form of crucifixion, such as is also implied in Genesis 40:19 and Esther 2:23. The passages in Numbers 25:4; Deuteronomy 21:22-23; Joshua 8:29, where this frightful form of punishment is spoken of, seem to show that among the Israelites the victims were often first executed, and that the corpses were then hung upon a tree till nightfall. The Hebrew and Aramaic word for ‘lift up’ which is used in a perfectly general sense for elevation of any sort, e.g. Psalm 145:14; Psalm 146:8, and Targum of Psalm 93:3, Jeremiah 3:2, was applied technically to execution by impalement or crucifixion, as in the Targum of Esther 7:10. This double meaning of the word may illustrate the Saviour’s word ‘I, if I be lifted up from the earth’ (John 12:32).

and let his house be made a dunghill for this] See 2 Kings 10:27; Daniel 2:5; Daniel 3:29. A repulsive metaphor for shameful overthrow, cf. 1 Kings 14:10; Job 20:7; Zephaniah 1:17.

Verse 11. - Whoever shall alter this word. Rather, "this edict." To alter the terms of a royal decree would in any country be a heinous offence. In Persia, where the monarch was absolute, and where decrees were regarded as "altering not" (Daniel 6:8, 12), it was a crime of the deepest dye. Hence the severity of the punishment threatened. The punishment has been explained as crucifixion, impalement, and "whipping at a post;" but there seems to be no real doubt that crucifixion is intended. Great criminals were almost always crucified by the Persians (see Brisson, 'De Regno Persarum,' 2. pp. 327-329; and comp. 'Behist. Inscr.,' col. 2. par. 14; col. 3. par. 8). Let his house be made a dunghill Some render "be confiscated," but wrongly. The best Hebraists agree with our translators. The practice of concluding important documents with maledictions was common to the Persians, with the Assyrians, Babylonians, and others (see 'Records of the Past,' vol. 1. pp. 53, 105, 126; vol. 5. p. 26; vol. 7. pp. 19, 20, 56; vol. 9. pp. 35, 36, 95, 100 107, etc.).

CHAPTER 6:13-22 Ezra 6:11To inculcate obedience to his command, Darius threatens to punish its transgression with death: "If any one alters this command, let a beam be torn from his house, and let him be fastened hanging thereon." To alter a command means to transgress or abolish it. אע, a piece of wood, a beam. זקיף, raised on high, is in Syriac the usual word for crucified, and is to be so understood here. מחא, to strike, with על, strike upon, fasten to, nail to. This kind of capital punishment was customary among the Assyrians (Diod. Sic. ii. 1), the ancient Persians, and many other nations, but seems to have been executed in different manners among different people. Among the Assyrians it generally consisted in the impalement of the delinquent upon a sharp strong wooden post; comp. Layard, Nineveh and Babylon, p. 355, and Nineveh and its Remains, p. 379, with the illustration fig. 58. According to Herod. iii. 159, Darius impaled as many as 3000 Babylonians after the capture of their city (ἀνεσκολόπισε). Crucifixion proper, however, i.e., nailing to a cross, also occurred among the Persians; it was, however, practised by nailing the body of the criminal to a cross after decapitation; see the passages from Herodotus in Brissonii de regio Persarum princip. l. ii. c. 215. "And let his house be made a dunghill." See remarks on Daniel 2:5 and 2 Kings 10:27.
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