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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

Ezra 3

III.

(1-13) The altar set up, and the feasts established.

Verse 1

(1) The seventh month was come.—Rather, approached. Tisri, answering to our September, was the most solemn month of the year, including the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles, afterwards distinguished as “the feast” pre-eminently.

As one man.—Not all, but with one consent.

Verse 2

(2) Builded the altar.—Only as the beginning of their work. The Temple was, as it were, built around the altar, as the centre of all.

Moses the man of God.—Like David, Nehemiah 12:24; Nehemiah 12:36.

Verse 3

(3) Upon his bases.—Upon its old site, or its place, discovered among the ruins. Thus was it signified that all the new was to be only a restoration of the old.

For fear was upon them.—Until their offerings went up they did not feel sure of the Divine protection. This was their first act of defiance in the presence of the nations around: near the altar they were strong.

Verse 4

(4) According to the custom—It is necessary here to read Deuteronomy 16:0, Leviticus 23:0, Numbers 29:0 The intention obviously is to lay stress on the provision made for an entire renewal of the Mosaic economy of service, as appears in the next verse.

Verse 5

(5) Both of the new moons.And of the new moons. The whole verse is general and anticipatory. The new moons, the three feasts, and the constant presentation of freewill offerings, added to the daily sacrifice, made up the essentials of ritual; all being, like the arrangements in the Book of Leviticus, fixed before the Temple was built, and afterwards observed.

Verse 6

(6) From the first day.—The notes of time demand notice. The altar was raised before the month came; from the first until the fifteenth, when the Feast of Tabernacles began, the daily sacrifice was offered. The whole verse recapitulates, and its latter part is the transition to what follows.

Verse 7

(7) They gave money.—Their own workmen were paid in money; the Phoenicians, as in Solomon’s days (1 Kings 5:0; 2 Chronicles 2:0; 2 Chronicles 2:0), were paid in kind. This illustrates and is illustrated by Acts 12:20.

The sea of Joppa.—The Jewish port to which the cedar-trees were sent by sea, and thence thirty-five miles inland to Jerusalem.

The grant.—The authority of Cyrus over Phœnicia seems not to have been doubtful.

Verse 8

(8) In the second year.—The second year of Cyrus, B.C. 537, was their second year in the holy place.

In the second month.—Zif, chosen apparently because it was the same month in which Solomon laid the first foundation (1 Kings 6:0).

Appointed the Levites, from twenty years.—Their appointment to superintend, and their specified age, are in strict harmony with the original ordinances of David (1 Chronicles 23:0).

Verse 9

(9) TogetherAs one man. Jeshua and Kadmiel, both of the stock of Judah, or Hodaviah (Ezra 2:40), or Hodevah (Nehemiah 7:43), were the two heads of Levitical families; and their fewness is compensated by their unanimity and vigour. Henadad is not mentioned in Ezra 2:40, though it is a Levitical name in Nehemiah. Why omitted there, or why inserted here, it is not possible to determine.

Verse 10

(10) After the ordinance of David, king of Israel.—All goes back to earlier times. As the first offerings on the altar were according to what was “written in the law of Moses, the man of God,” so the musical ceremonial of this foundation is according to the precedent of David (see 1 Chronicles 6:0, 1 Chronicles 16:25). The trumpets belonged to the priests, the cymbals to the Levites, in the ancient ordinances of worship.

Verse 11

(11) They sang together.—They answered each other in chorus, or antiphonally.

Shouted.—As afterwards in religious acclamation.

Verse 12

(12) But many of the priests and Levites . . . wept with a loud voice.—This most affecting scene requires the comment of Haggai 2:0 and Zeeh. 4. The first house was destroyed in B.C. 588, fifty years before. The weeping of the ancients was not occasioned by any comparison as to size and grandeur, unless indeed they marked the smallness of their foundation stones. They thought chiefly of the great desolation as measured by the past; the younger peoplc thought of the new future.

Verse 13

(13) The noise was heard afar off.—The people also mingled in the weeping, which was with shrill cries. The rejoicing and the sorrow were blended, and the common sound was heard from far. All here has the stamp of truth.

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Ezra 3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ebc/ezra-3.html. 1905.