King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Ezra 1

The proclamation of Cyrus for the rebuilding of the temple. (1-4) The people provide for their return. (5-11)

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The proclamation of Cyrus for the rebuilding of the temple

1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,

2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.

3 Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.

4 And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.

The people provide for their return

5 Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem.

6 And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered.

7 Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods;

8 Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.

9 And this is the number of them: thirty chargers of gold, a thousand chargers of silver, nine and twenty knives,

10 Thirty basons of gold, silver basons of a second sort four hundred and ten, and other vessels a thousand.

11 All the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand and four hundred. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up with them of the captivity that were brought up from Babylon unto Jerusalem.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. In. Heb. “And (C.) or But in,” as 2 Par. xxxvi. 22. H. — Thus the historical works are connected. Spinosa infers, from this book being inserted after Daniel in the Heb. Bible, that the same author wrote both. But the order of the books in the Sept. and Vulg. is far more natural, (C.) and this has often varied in Hebrew, &c. Kennicott. See 2 Par. xxxvi. 23. H. — First. The design was only put in execution the following year. A. 3468. — Cyrus (Heb. coresh, (H.) or Koresch) means “the sun,” according to Ctesias and Plutarch. Josephus (xi. 1.) informs us that this prince became a friend of the Jews, in consequence of having seen the prediction of Isaias (xliv. 28. and xlv. 1.) fulfilled in his own person. He took Babylon, A. 3466, and established the Persian empire, which was subverted by Alexander. C. — he had before ruled over Persia 27 years, and only reigned three as sole monarch at Babylon. T. — The Lord; every good notion, even in infidels, proceeds from him. D. — Cyrus was one of the best and greatest conquerors of antiquity. He was the son of Cambyses, by Mandane, princess of Media. Xenophon informs us that he died in his bed; (H.) and had been lately conquered. T.

Ver. 2. Earth, which had belonged to the king of Babylon. H. — This may be an hyperbole, or allusion to Isai. xlv. 1. M. — The dominions of Cyrus were very extensive, (Xenophon, Cyrop. i. and viii.) reaching from Ethiopia to the Euxine sea, &c. He acknowledges that he received all from the hand of God. Nabuchodonosor makes a similar confession of his supreme dominion; (Dan. ii. 47.) and the potentates of Egypt and of Rome, procured sacrifices to be offered to him. But what advantage did they derive from this sterile knowledge of his divinity? since they did not honour him accordingly, but wished to join his worship with that of idols; though the force of miracles and of reason must have convinced them that there is but one God. C. — House, or temple. Isai. xliv. 28. — Judea. So the Sept. read, but the Heb. has “Juda,” all along. The whole country now began to be know by the former name. H.

Ver. 3. He is the God, is placed within a parenthesis, by the Prot. But the pagans might suppose that God was attached to this city, like their idols; and the temple was not yet begun. H.

Ver. 4. Rest, who do not please to return. The Jews went at different times, and under the different leaders, Zorobabel, Esdras, and Nehemias. Many did not return at all. Cyrus allowed them full liberty. He permits money to be exported, particularly the half sicle, required Ex. xxx. 13, and all voluntary contributions for the temple. Grotius. C. — He also enjoins the prefects of the provinces, (v. 6, and C. iii. 7.) whom Josephus styles “the king’s friends,” to forward this work; and he even designed to perfect it at his own expence. C. vi. 4.

Ver. 8. Gazabar means, “the treasurer.” Heb. Syr. C. Prot. 3 Esd. ii. 19. H. — Son is not in Heb. &c. (M.) and must be omitted. T. — Sassabasar. This was another name for Zorobabel, (Ch.) given by the Chaldees, as they changed the name of Daniel into Baltassar. Euseb. Præp. Evan. xi. 3. T. — But others think that this was the Persian “governor (Junius) of Judea,” (3 Esd.) as one reside at Jerusalem, till the days of Nehemias. 2 Esd. v. 14. It does not appear that Zorobabel was invested with this dignity, before the reign of Darius Hystaspes. Agg. ii. 24. C.

Ver. 9. Knives. Sept. &c. “changes” of garments. C.

Ver. 10. Sort. Sept. and Syr. “double;” yet of less value. C. — As no first sort had been mentioned, and some Latin MSS. read 2410, agreeably to 3 Esd. ii. 12, and the truth, (Hallet) it may be inferred that “thousands were expressed anciently by single letters, with a dot…over them.” Afterwards, when numbers were expressed by words at length, the b being thus reduced to signify “two,” was, of course, written shnim; but this word making nonsense with the following, has been changed into mishnim, a word not very agreeable to the sense here, and which leaves the sum total, now specified in the Heb. text, very deficient for want of the 2000, thus omitted. Kennicott, Dis. ii. — Josephus has, “30 golden cups, 2400 of silver.” H.

Ver. 11. Hundred. Only 2499 are specified. 3 Esd. reads, 5469. Josephus (xi. 1.) differs from all, reading 5210; which shews that the copies have varied, and that the Heb. is incorrect. C. — The use of number letters might cause this confusion. H. Capel. iii. 20. 13.