Ezra 1:5
(5-11) Immediate result of the decree.

(5) With all them whose spirit God had raised.--Namely, all is the more exact rendering. The same influence that prompted the decree of Cyrus was necessary to overcome the inertness of the captives: many preferred to remain in Babylon.--The people were enumerated as tribes, families, and fathers' houses; the second and third orders of classification are not here distinguished from each other.

(6) Precious things.--The Hebrew equivalent is a rare word, which, when it occurs, is connected only with the precious metals.

Willingly offered.--Although it is not so said, the people of Cyrus were "stirred up" like himself: how much he gave, and how much he valued the worship of the Temple, we shall hereafter see.

(7) His gods.--Rather, his god. Merodach, to wit, whom he called "his lord" (Daniel 1:2). From 2Kings 25:13-17 it appears that much had been taken away which Cyrus had not been able to find.

(8) Mithredath.--"Dedicated to Mithra," the sun god of the Persians, whose worship among the Vedic Indians had thus early reached Persia.

Sheshbazzar.--The Chaldee name of Zerubbabel, whose title, however, as Prince of Judah is given him from the Hebrew side. He was the legal heir of Jehoiachin, being the son of Pedaiah (1Chronicles 3:19), who possibly married the widow of Salathiel or Shealtiel. And the title "Prince of Judah," or "Prince of the captivity," was specially given to him in common with a very few others.

(9) Chargers and knives.--Rare words in the original, perhaps on the whole best rendered as here.

(10) Of a second sort.--Of inferior quality.

(11) Five thousand and four hundred.--The total of the several sums should be in round numbers, such as are frequently used, two thousand and five hundred. Obviously, therefore, the writer, whom we must needs suppose to have his own previous numbers before him, here includes vessels not before enumerated as chargers and basons.

Bring up.--They were not, as sometimes said, the freewill offering of Cyrus. Sheshbazzar brought these rich vessels "with them of the captivity," and they were sent as already belonging to God, who vindicated by His judgment on Babylon their desecration at the feast of Belshazzar.

Verse 5. - Then rose up the chief of the fathers. The "chief of the fathers" are the hereditary heads of the families recognized as distinct and separate (see Ezra 2:3-19).

1:5-11 The same God that raised up the spirit of Cyrus to proclaim liberty to the Jews, raised up their spirits to take the benefit. The temptation was to some to stay in Babylon; but some feared not to return, and they were those whose spirits God raised, by his Spirit and grace. Whatever good we do, is owing to the grace of God. Our spirits naturally bow down to this earth and the things of it; if they move upward in any good affections or good actions, it is God who raises them. The calls and offers of the gospel are like the proclamation of Cyrus. Those bound under the power of sin, may be made free by Jesus Christ. Whosoever will, by repentance and faith, return to God, Jesus Christ has opened the way for him, and raises him out of the slavery of sin into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Many that hear this joyful sound, choose to sit still in Babylon, are in love with their sins, and will not venture upon a holy life; but some break through all discouragements, whatever it cost them; they are those whose spirit God has raised above the world and the flesh, whom he has made willing. Thus will the heavenly Canaan be filled, though many perish in Babylon; and the gospel offer will not have been made in vain. The bringing back the Jews from captivity, represents the redemption of sinners by Jesus Christ.Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin,.... Princes of these tribes, and heads of families in them, and of some other tribes too, though chiefly of these, as appears from 1 Chronicles 9:3,

and the priests and the Levites: whose presence was necessary both to direct in the building of the temple, and to animate to it, and to set the vessels in their proper places; and particularly to assist in the setting up of the altar, and to offer sacrifices on it, which was the first thing done when come to Jerusalem, Ezra 3:2

with all them whose spirit God raised to go up, to build the house of the Lord, which is in Jerusalem; God, who "works" in men "both to will and to do", wrought powerfully by his Spirit on their hearts, inclined their minds, and made them willing to go up, and set about this work; and such a divine, powerful, and efficacious operation upon them, was necessary to engage them in it, since the embarrassments, difficulties, discouragements, and objections, were many: some of them were well settled, and had contracted a pleasing acquaintance with many of their neighbours, and indeed to most of them it was their native place; and as for Judea and Jerusalem, they knew nothing of but what their fathers had told them; the way to it unknown, long, and dangerous, at least fatiguing and troublesome to their wives and children; and Judea and Jerusalem desolate and in ruins, and in the hands of enemies, from whom they had reason to expect trouble.

Ezra 1:4
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