King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Ezra 6

The decree for completing the temple. (1-12) The temple is finished. (13-22)

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The decree for completing the temple

1 Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon.

2 And there was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of the Medes, a roll, and therein was a record thus written:

3 In the first year of Cyrus the king the same Cyrus the king made a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, Let the house be builded, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid; the height thereof threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof threescore cubits;

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:

5 And also let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought unto Babylon, be restored, and brought again unto the temple which is at Jerusalem, every one to his place, and place them in the house of God.

6 Now therefore, Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shetharboznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which are beyond the river, be ye far from thence:

7 Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place.

8 Moreover I make a decree what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king’s goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expenses be given unto these men, that they be not hindered.

9 And that which they have need of, both young bullocks, and rams, and lambs, for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the appointment of the priests which are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail:

10 That they may offer sacrifices of sweet savours unto the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons.

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.

12 And the God that hath caused his name to dwell there destroy all kings and people, that shall put to their hand to alter and to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem. I Darius have made a decree; let it be done with speed.

The temple is finished

13 Then Tatnai, governor on this side the river, Shetharboznai, and their companions, according to that which Darius the king had sent, so they did speedily.

14 And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.

15 And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.

16 And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy.

17 And offered at the dedication of this house of God an hundred bullocks, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve he goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.

18 And they set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem; as it is written in the book of Moses.

19 And the children of the captivity kept the passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month.

20 For the priests and the Levites were purified together, all of them were pure, and killed the passover for all the children of the captivity, and for their brethren the priests, and for themselves.

21 And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the LORD God of Israel, did eat,

22 And kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for the LORD had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Library. Prot. “house of the rolls, where the treasures were,” &c. — Babylon. In the city, the search was fruitless: (Vatab.) but in the kingdom, the record was discovered. M.

Ver. 2. Ecbatana. Chal. achmetha, signifies “a jug, or chest.” C. — “They found in the chest of the palace, under the inscription of Media.” Munster. Pagnin. — “And a roll was found (some add, in Amatha) in the city, in a chest, (or tower; Barei) and this memorial was written in it.” (Sept.) Prot. style the place, “Achmetha.” H. — Arab. “Athana.” Syr. “Ahmathane.” The memoirs of Cyrus had probably been conveyed to Ecbatana, which was built by Dejoces, the first king of the Medes, and greatly enlarged by his successor, Phraortes. C. — Province. Media now only formed a province of the empire. T.

Ver. 3. And…foundations is not found in Sept. Syr. and Arab. but it is in Chald. The temple was thus of larger dimensions than that of Solomon, which was only 30 cubits high, and 20 broad inside. 3 K. vi. 2. The Rabbins assign 100 for each, (Tr. Middot. iv. 6.) speaking perhaps of the temple rebuilt by Herod, with still greater magnificence. Josephus allows 100 in height, and 60 in breadth. But the Scripture only speaks of 54 cubits breadeth, and 99 in length including the adjoining edifices. C. — Breadth, from the front to the end of the holy of holies, which we should call the length. T. — This temple was lower than Solomon’s by one half, (2 Par. iii. 4. M.) unless those 120 cubits refer only to a tower. H.

Ver. 4. Unpolished, to correspond with the polished stones and cedar employed by Solomon. 3 K. vi. 36. M. — Prot. “great stones.” See C. v. 8. — Charges. It appears that the Jews furnished money and meat to pay for the wood. C. i. 4. and iii. 7. Some annual sum might be assigned by Cyrus, either for the building, or for the daily holocausts. C.

Ver. 5. Placed formerly, before the destruction of the temple. Prot. “and place them in the house of God.”

Ver. 8. Hindered. Thus Darius trod in the footsteps, or perhaps exceeded the liberality of Cyrus. H.

Ver. 9. Complaint. Prot. “without fail,” (H.) or “delay.” Mont. C.

Ver. 11. Nailed. Prot. “hanged.” Sept. “covered with wounds, or fastened on it.” H. — Some think that the criminal was to be scourged. De Dieu. — “Let him be hanged on the wood, which shall stand upright, after his house shall have been demolished.” Vatable. — Such was the custom of the Persians. Grot. — Aman perished on the gallows, which he had erected in his own house for Mardocheus. Est. vii. 9. — Confiscated. Prot. “be made a dunghill for this.” H. Syr. &c. — We find some examples of such a treatment. 4 K. x. 27. Dan. iii. 5, and ix. 6. The effects of those who were condemned to die, in Persia, were generally confiscated. Est.iii. 13. and viii. 11. and ix. 14.

Ver. 14. Artaxerxes, one of the seven who overturned the power of the magi; (Usher, A. 3483) or rather the king of Persia, who lived some time after this, and was very favourable to the Jews. He sent Esdras (A. 3537) and Nehemias (A. 3550) with great powers into the country. C.

Ver. 15. Adar, corresponding with our Feb. and March. M. — In the latter month they celebrated the Passover, v. 19. — Darius. Hence twenty years had elapsed from the first foundation. They might continue to embellish the temple other twenty-seven years, as the Jews assert; (Jo. ii. 20,) unless they speak of the repairs made by Herod, (Baronius. T.) or exaggerate, (Grot.) being under a mistake. Salien, A. 3537.

Ver. 17. Goats, which had not left off sucking. M. Numb. vii. 87. — Israel. The Sam. Chronicles assert that the tribes returned, as the prophets had foretold, and the sacred history seems to suppose: (C.) which may be true of many, (H.) though the greatest part remained in captivity. C.

Ver. 18. Moses. Num. iii. 8. David had perfected the plan, 1 Par. xxiii. &c. H.

Ver. 19. And. Here the author resumes the Heb. language. C. — Captivity, from which they were released, v. 17. H.

Ver. 20. One man, with zeal and unanimity; so that a second Phase was not to be celebrated. 2 Par. xxx. 3.

Ver. 21. To them, becoming proselytes, and receiving circumcision. Ex. xii. 48.

Ver. 22. Assyria. The successors of Cyrus now ruled over those countries, (C.) which had belonged to the most potent Assyrian and Chaldean monarchs; and therefore the titles are given to them indiscriminately. T.