Now in the (a) first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the (b) mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the (c) spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and [put it] also in writing, saying,
The Argument - As the Lord is always merciful to his Church, and does not punish them, but so that they should see their own miseries, and be exercised under the cross, that they might contemn the world, and aspire to the heavens: so after he had visited the Jews, and kept them in bondage 70 years in a strange country among infidels and idolaters, he remembered his tender mercies and their infirmities, and therefore for his own sake raised up a deliverer, and moved both the heart of the chief ruler to pity them, and also by him punished those who had kept them in slavery. Nonetheless, lest they should grow into a contempt of God's great benefits, he keeps them still in exercise, and raises domestic enemies, who try as much as they can to hinder their worthy enterprises: yet by the exhortation of the prophet they went forward little by little till their work was finished. The author of this book was Ezra, who was a priest and scribe of the Law, as in (Ezra 7:6). He returned to Jerusalem the sixth year of Darius, who succeeded Cyrus, that is, about fifty years after the first return under Zerubbabel, when the temple was built. He brought with him a great company and much treasure, with letters to the king's officers for all things needed for the temple: and at his coming he fixed that which was amiss, and set things in order.
(a) After he and Darius had won Babylon.
(b) Who promised deliverance to them after 70 years were past, (Jeremiah 25:12).
(c) That is, moved him and gave him heart.
Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me (d) all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which [is] in Judah.
(d) For he was chief monarch and had many nations under his dominion, which this heathen king confesses to have received from the living God.
And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, (e) let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, (f) beside the freewill offering for the house of God that [is] in Jerusalem.
(e) If any through poverty were not able to return, the king's commission was that he should be furnished with all he needed.
(f) Which they themselves should send for the repairing of the temple.
And all (g) 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.
(g) The Babylonians and Chaldeans gave them these presents: thus rather than have the children of God be in need, he would stir the heart of the infidels to help them.
Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto (h) Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.
(h) So the Chaldeans called Zerubbabel who was the chief governor, so that the preeminence still remained in the house of David.
And this [is] the number of them: thirty chargers of gold, a thousand chargers of silver, nine and twenty (i) knives,
(i) Which served to kill the beasts that were offered in sacrifice.
All the vessels of gold and of silver [were] five thousand and four hundred. All [these] did Sheshbazzar bring up (k) with [them of] the captivity that were brought up from Babylon unto Jerusalem.
(k) With the Jews who had been kept captive in Babylon.