And we came to Jerusalem, and stayed there three days.
8:31-36 Enemies laid wait for the Jews, but God protected them. Even the common perils of journeys, call us to go out with prayer, and to return with praise and thanksgiving. But what shall we render when the Lord has led us safely through the pilgrimage of life, through the gloomy vale of death, out of the reach of all our enemies, into everlasting happiness! Among their sacrifices they had a sin-offering. The atonement sweetens and secures every mercy to us, which will not be truly comfortable, unless sin be taken away, and our peace made with God. Then had the church rest. The expressions here used, direct us to the deliverance of sinners from spiritual bondage, and their pilgrimage to the heavenly Jerusalem, under the care and protection of their God and Saviour.
The Jews with Ezra left Babylon on the first day of the first month Ezra 7:9
. They reached Ahava in nine days, and, having remained there three Ezra 8:15
, quitted it, and resumed their journey on the twelfth. They reached Jerusalem on the first day of the fifth month Ezra 7:9
, four months after the departure from Babylon.
And we came to Jerusalem, and abode there three days. Before they went about any business, delivered what was committed to them for the use of the temple, and the commissions to the king's officers; as it was but proper they should have some rest after such a fatiguing journey. And we came to Jerusalem, and abode there three days.
To these chief priests and Levites Ezra weighed the silver and the gold and the vessels; שׁקל, to weigh, i.e., to deliver by weight. In the Chethiv אשׁקולה the O sound is maintained, and consequently the Keri is pointed -. On the other hand, in Ezra 8:26
the וּ is dropped, and the form pointed with -, though many MSS, followed by J. H. Michaelis, have ו- here also. אל בּית תּרוּמת is in apposition with the before-named objects: the gold, the silver, and the vessels, the offering for the house of our God, which the king, his councillors ... had offered; comp. Ezra 7:15-16
, Ezra 7:19
. In ההרימוּ the article represents the relative pronoun; see on 1 Chronicles 26:28
. הנּמצאים, all Israelites who were found, met with, in Babylon, and were not going with them to Jerusalem; comp. 1 Chronicles 29:17
; 2 Chronicles 5:11
. ידם על, like יד על, Ezra 1:8
, to their hand, i.e., handed over to their keeping. The gifts amounted to: six hundred and fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels one hundred in talents, i.e., one hundred talents in value, one hundred talents of gold, and twenty covered basins of gold (comp. Ezra 1:10
) one thousand dariks in value, and two brazen vessels of fine golden brilliancy, precious as gold. מצהב is an abstract noun, formed from the participle Hophal of צהב, to glitter like gold, and constructed as a feminine. The word, with its adjective, either depends upon נחשׁט, in the stat. construct., or stands in apposition thereto, and is not, as a participle Hophal, used adjectively and combined with נחשׁט, for then the two adjectives מצהב and טובה would not be in different genders. חמוּדות, like חמוּדות כּלי, 2 Chronicles 20:25
31. we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month—Computing from the time of their setting out to the period of their arrival, they occupied about four months on the way. Their health and security were marvellous during so long a journey. The pilgrim-caravans of the present day perform long journeys through the wildest deserts of the East under the protection of a firman from the Porte, and an escort of soldiers. But for a large body, composed as that of Ezra—of some thousands of men, women, and children, unaccustomed to travel, undisciplined to order, and without military strength, and with so large an amount of treasure tempting the cupidity of the marauding, plundering tribes of the desert—to accomplish a journey so long and so arduous in perfect safety, is one of the most astonishing events recorded in history. Nothing but the vigilant care of a superintending Providence could have brought them securely to their destination.
Silver vessels a hundred talents - That is, The weight of all the silver vessels amounted to one hundred talents; not that there were one hundred vessels of silver, each a talent in weight.
Reckoning in round sums, 650 talents of silver at 450 the talent, amount to 292,500 sterling. Silver vessels, 100 talents, amount to 45,000; gold, 100 talents, at 7,000 per talent, amount to 700,000 independently of the 20 basons of gold, amounting to 1000 drachms. Now the golden drachm or daric was worth about 1. 2s., therefore these basons were worth 1100; the whole amounting to 1,038, 600 sterling. But these different weights and coins are variously computed; some making the silver talent only 353 11s. 10 1/2 d., and the talent of gold 5057 15s. 1 1/2 d., calculations which I have elsewhere introduced.
Two vessels of fine copper, precious as gold - What these were we cannot tell. The Syriac translates nechoso corinthio toba, to be vessels of the best Corinthian brass; so called from the brass found after the burning of Corinth by Lucius Mummius, which was brass, copper, gold, and silver, all melted together, as is generally supposed. But it was probably some factitious metal made there, that took the polish and assumed the brightness of gold, and because of its hardness was more durable. There is still a certain factitious metal of this kind, made among the Asiatics. I have seen this metal often made; it is as bright and fine as gold, takes a most exquisite polish, and will scarcely tarnish. I have kept this exposed to every variation of the air, even among old iron, brass, copper, etc., for twenty years together, without being scarcely at all oxidized. It requires much art in the making, but the constituent materials are of small value. Vessels of this metal, because of their lustre and durability for ornamental and domestic uses, are in many respects more valuable than gold itself. The only difficulty is to get at first the true color, which depends on the degree of heat, and the time employed in fusion; but there are, however, proper rules to ascertain them. This metal is widely different from the or molu of France and England, is less expensive, and much more valuable.