Ezra 6:4
With three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber: and let the expenses be given out of the king's house:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.The word translated "row" occurs only in this passage. Some regard it as a "course," and suppose that after every three courses of stone there followed a course of timber. Others understand three "storeys" of stone, with a fourth "storey" of woodwork on the summit (compare 1 Kings 6:5-6). Others consider that Cyrus intended to limit the thickness of the walls, which were not to exceed a breadth of three rows of stone, with an inner wooden wainscotting.

Let the expenses be given out of the king's house - i. e., "out of the Persian revenue," a portion of the decree which was probably not observed during the later years of Cyrus and during the reign of Cambyses, and hence the burthen fell upon the Jews themselves Ezra 2:68-69.

2. Achmetha—long supposed to be the capital of Greater Media (the Ecbatana of classical, the Hamadan of modern times), [is] at the foot of the Elwund range of hills, where, for its coolness and salubrity, Cyrus and his successors on the Persian throne established their summer residence. There was another city, however, of this name, the Ecbatana of Atropatene, and the most ancient capital of northern Media, and recently identified by Colonel Rawlinson in the remarkable ruins of Takht-i-Soleiman. Yet as everything tends to show the attachment of Cyrus to his native city, the Atropatenian Ecbatana, rather than to the stronger capital of Greater Media, Colonel Rawlinson is inclined to think that he deposited there, in his fortress, the famous decree relating to the Jews, along with the other records and treasures of his empire [Nineveh and Persepolis]. With three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber; as Solomon’s temple was built, 1 Kings 6:36; whereof Darius was informed by some of the Jews, who also desired that it might be done in this manner. With three rows of great stones,.... Which Jarchi interprets of the walls of it, and these stones of marble; and so Ben Melech:

and a row of new timber; of cedar wood upon the rows of stone, see 1 Kings 6:36 or for the lining and wainscoting the walls:

and let the expenses be given out of the king's house; treasury, or exchequer; but it does not appear that this part of the decree was observed, at least hitherto; but the Jews built at their own expense, and perhaps did not exactly observe the directions given as to the dimensions of the house.

With three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber: and let the expenses be given out of the king's house:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. a row of new timber] R.V. marg. ‘According to the Sept. one row of timber.’ It has been much disputed what ‘the three rows of great stones and the row of timber’ can mean. (1) Some explain by three storeys of stones surmounted by one of wood, the elevation of the Temple. (2) Others by ‘three layers of stone followed by one of wood’, the material of the walls. (3) Others by ‘three courses of stone backed by a wainscote of wood’, the thickness of the walls. (4) But in all probability the verse should be explained by reference to 1 Kings 6:36, where ‘three rows of hewn stone and a row of cedar beams’ are the construction of the walls of the inner court.

expences] R.V. expenses.

out of the king’s house] i.e. from the royal revenue. To be defrayed probably from the purse of the ‘Abhar Nahara’ satrapy. This payment had obviously ceased, or its existence would have been known to Tattenai and the other officials. During the disturbances which took place at the close of Cyrus’s reign, the officers of the provincial treasury probably found it convenient to stop this annual contribution. The voluntary subscriptions mentioned in Ezra 2:68-69 would therefore have been rendered necessary. Some have suspected that this part of the decree was never really carried out.Verse 4. - With three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber. The Septuagint interpreter understood by this that the new temple was to be four storeys high, three storeys being built of stone, and one of timber. The two wings of the temple of Solomon were undoubtedly three storeys high (1 Kings 6:6). But it is perhaps doubtful whether the word nidbak ever means "storey." Most commentators suppose three courses of stone, and then a course of timber, repeated from foundation to summit; but there is no known example of such a mode of building. The expences were to be given out of the king's house, defrayed, i.e., out of the royal revenue; but either this intention of Cyrus was not carried out, or it was understood to apply only to the materials. Large sums were subscribed by the Jews themselves towards the building (Ezra 2:69), and large payments were made by them to the persons employed upon the work (Ezra 3:7). Take these vessels, go forth, place them in the temple. For אלּה the Keri reads אל, according to 1 Chronicles 20:8. אחת is imperat. Aphel of נחת. The three imperatives succeed each other without any copula in this rapid form of expression. The last sentence, "and let the house of God be built in its place," i.e., be rebuilt in its former place, gives the reason for the command to deposit the vessels in the temple at Jerusalem, i.e., in the house of God, which is to be rebuilt in its former place.
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