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Adam Clarke Commentary

Ezra 3


The altar of burnt-offerings is set up, Ezra 3:1 -3. They keep the feast of tabernacles, Ezra 3:4 -6. They make provision for rebuilding the temple; and lay its foundation in the second month of the second year, Ezra 3:7 , Ezra 3:8 . Ceremonies observed in laying the foundation, Ezra 3:9 -11. Some weep aloud, and others shout for joy, Ezra 3:12 -13.

Verse 1

When the seventh month was come - The month Tisri, which answers to the latter part of our September, and beginning of October. It seems that the Israelites had left Babylon about the spring of the year; that on their arrival at Jerusalem they constructed themselves huts and sheds to lodge in among the ruins, in which they must have spent some months. After this they rebuilt the altar of burnt-offerings, and kept the feast of tabernacles, which happened about this time, and continued to offer sacrifices regularly, as if the temple were standing.

Verse 2

Jeshua the son of Jozadak - He was grandson of Seraiah the high priest, who was put to death by Nebuchadnezzar, 2 Kings 25:18 , 2 Kings 25:21 . This Jeshua or Joshua was the first high priest after the captivity.

Verse 3

They set the altar upon his bases - Rebuilt it on the same spot on which it had formerly stood. As it was necessary to keep up the Divine worship during the time they should be employed in re-edifying the temple, they first reared this altar of burnt-offerings; and all this they did, "though fear was upon them," because of the unfriendly disposition of their surrounding neighbors.

Verse 4

They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as it is written - This began on the fifteenth day of the seventh month; but they had begun the regular offerings from the first day of this month, Ezra 3:6 . And these were religiously continued all the time they were building the temple.

Verse 7

They gave money also - They copied the conduct of Solomon while he was building his temple; see 1 Kings 5:11 . He employed the Tyrians, gave them meat and drink, etc.; and this permission they now had from Cyrus.

Verse 8

In the second year - The previous time had been employed in clearing the ground, felling timber, hewing stones, and transporting them to the place, and making other necessary preparations for the commencement of the building.

Verse 10

After the ordinance of David - With psalms which he composed, acting in the manner which he directed.

Verse 12

Wept with a loud voice - They saw that the glory had departed from Israel; in their circumstances it was impossible to build such a house as the first temple was; and had this been even possible, still it would have been greatly inferior, because it wanted the ark of the covenant, the heavenly fire, the mercy-seat, the heavenly manna, Aaron's rod that budded, the Divine shechinah, the spirit of prophecy, and most probably the Urim and Thummim.Many shouted for joy - Finding they were now restored to their own land, and to the worship of their God in his own peculiar city: these, in general, had not seen the original temple; and therefore could not feel affected in that way which the elderly people did.The sight must have been very affecting: a whole people, one part crying aloud with sorrow; the other shouting aloud for joy; and on the same occasion too, in which both sides felt an equal interest! The prophet Haggai comforted them on this occasion by assuring them that the glory of this latter house should exceed that of the former, because the Lord (Jesus Christ) was to come to this temple, and fill it with his glory. See Haggai, Haggai 2:1 -9.

Ezra 3

  1 And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem.
  2 Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God.
  3 And they set the altar upon his bases; for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD, even burnt offerings morning and evening.
  4 They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the custom, as the duty of every day required;
  5 And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the LORD that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the LORD.
  6 From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid.
  7 They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia.
  8 Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the LORD.
  9 Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites.
  10 And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.
  11 And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.
  12 But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:
  13 So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.

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