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PERIOD THE EIGHTH.

CHAPTER I.
From the Decree of Cyrus, to the Dedication of the Second

Temple.

SECTION I.

Return of the Jews from their Captivity.

EZRA 11. VER. 5, TO THE END. 5 9 Then rose up

the chief of the fathers of Judah and A.C. 536,

· The book of Ezra derives its name from its author, who was a descendant of Seraiah the high priest, slain by Nebuchadnezzar when he burnt the city and temple of Jerusalem. It is written in Chaldee from the eighth verse of the fourth chapter to the twenty-seventh verse of the seventh chapter ; as this part of the work contains letters and public decrees given in that language; Ezra, as a faithful historian, records them in the very words which were originally used: more particularly, perhaps, as the Jews, from their long continuance in Babylon, were more accustomed to the Chaldee than even to the Hebrew tongue. It is probable, likewise, at this time the Chaldee paraphrases began to be used, for it appears, Nehem. viii. 2, 3. 8. that some could not understand the law, which may signify they had forgotten the Hebrew language during their captivity. It is evident that the author of the book of Ezra was personally present at the transactions mentioned in it, the narrative being in the first person. It also bears upon the face of it every character of natural simplicity, and contains more particulars of time, persons, and places, than could have been introduced by any other individual. That the last four chapters of this book were written by Ezra himself there can be no doubt, as he particularly describes himself in the beginning of the seventh chapter, and likewise frequently introduces himself in the subsequent chapters. The Jews, indeed, ascribe the whole of this book to Ezra, and their opinion is adopted by most Christian commentators. the writer of the first six chapters appears, from chap. v. 4, to have been at Jerusalem in the reign of Darius Hystaspes, and it appears from the beginning of the seventh chapter that Ezra did not go thither until the reign of Araxerxes Longimanus, (a distance of sixty years)—some persons have ascribed the first six chapters to a more ancient author. This, however, does not necessarily follow: and we apprehend it will appear that these chapters were written by Ezra as well as the four last, for possibly Ezra, after having accompanied Zerubbabel in the first return of the captivity, might have been again

But as

gol

* That is,

A.C. 536. Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them

whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of
the Lord which is in Jerusalem.

6 And all they that were about them strengthened their helped them,

hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with
beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was will-
ingly offered.

7 | Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the
house of the LORD, 'which Nebuchadnezzar had brought
forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of

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a 2 Kings xxiv, 13. 2 Chron. Xxxvi. 7.

his gods;

8 Even those did Cyrus king of Persia bring forth by the

hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and numbered them unto • See ch.v. 14. b Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.

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sent up to Babylon to counteract the representations of those who opposed, at the
Persian court, the rebuilding of the city and the temple; and the account of his
departure, given in the seventh chapter, perhaps refers only to his going up
with that commission, and power which he received from Artaxerxes. Bet
whether Ezra were, or were not at Jerusalem at the time when this answer was
made to Tatnai, (chap. iv. 5.) "We said unto them,” he may well be con-
ceived, if not actually present at the time, either as copying a public record of
the transaction, or as relating the speech of his countryman on that occasione
The same method of narration is observable throughout this book ; in the later
part of it (chap. vii. 12—26.) the royal decree is inserted entire, in the Chaldee
dialect ; so, likewise, in the first part, we find the edict of Cyrus, the epistle of
the Samaritans, and the reply, together with part of the fourth chapter

, are
also given in Chaldee. And it is not likely that a short historical compendim,
like the book of Ezra, should be the work of more than one author: nor ought
we to assign it to several authors, unless we had either express declaration or
internal evidence that they were concerned in it; all these evidences are Fante
ing in the book of Ezra.

This book is a continuation of the Jewish history, from the time at which the Chronicles conclude: it begins with a repetition of the two verses which teraninate the book of Chronicles. The first six chapters relate the return of the Jews under Zerubbabel, after their appointed period of captivity; their re-establishment in Judea, and the rebuilding and dedication of the temple in Jerusalem, The last four chapters give an account of the appointment of Ezra to the gorernment of Judea by Artaxerxes Longimanus; his return to his own country from Babylon; the disobedience of the Jews; and the reformation he effected among them. The book of Ezra harmonizes most strictly with the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah, which it materially elucidates, (compare Ezra v. with Hagg. i. 12. and Zech. iv. 4.) It evinces the paternal care of Jehovah over bis chosen people, whose history it relates from the time of the edict issued by Cyrus, to the twentieth year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, a period of about seventy-nine years. Ezra is reported by some traditionary accounts to have died in the 120th year of his age, and to have been buried at Jerusalem; though others say that he died in Persia, and was buried on the banks of the river Samura, where his tomb is shewn.-Gray and Horne in loc.

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9 And this is the number of them: thirty chargers of A.C. 536. gold, a thousand chargers of silver, nine and twenty knives,

10 Thirty basons of gold, silver basons of a second sort four hundred and ten, and other vessels a thousand.

11 All the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand and four hundred 2. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up with them of * the captivity that were brought up from Ba- Heb.the. bylon unto Jerusalen.

transporta tion.

EZRA TI.

68

1 The number that return, of the people, 36 of the priests, 40 of the Levites, 43

of the Nethinims, 55 of Solomon's servants, 61 of the priests which could not
shew their pedigree. 64 The whole number of them, with their substance.
Their oblations.

1 Now these are the children of the province that went & Neh. vii. 6, up out of the captivity, of those which had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away unto Babylon, and came again unto Jerusalem and Judah, every one unto his city;

2 Which came with Zerubbabel: Jeshua, Nehemiah, + Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, 9 Mizpar, Bigvai, tor, Azariak, || Rehum, Baanah. The number of the men of the people 1 Or, Raof Israel :

Or, Mispe. 3 The children of Parosh, two thousand an hundred

#Or, Nehun. seventy and two.

amiah.

reth.

13

? The several events related in this eighth period, are chiefly arranged in the order assigned to them by Prideaux, and sanctioned by the high authorities of Bishop Tomline, Dr. Hales, Dr. Adam Clarke, &c. &c.

Every circumstance which took place at this interesting moment, when the captives were about to return to their own land, seems intended to prove to the Jews the peculiar Providence which had watched over their nation. The conquests of Cyrus had brought about an universal peace; so that no interruption was apprehended by the exiles on their return to Judea. The decree itself, of Cyrus, was obtained in consequence of the high reputation of Daniel, and the perusal of the prophecies of Isaiah, in which he was mentioned by name. The reputation of Daniel had been raised to its present eminence by a series of astonishing events ; which impressed the Heathen nation with awe, and seemed to eradicate from the breasts of the Jews the least remaining tendency to idolatry. And now on the publication of the decree of Cyrus, another prediction of their prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled, Jer. xxvii. 21, 22. “the vessels that remain in the house of the Lord, shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be till the day that I visit them, saith the Lord; then will I bring them up, and re. store them to this place." The Jews, in this instance, must have been clearly convinced that nothing but Divine inspiration could have foreseen an event so improbable, as the preservation of the golden vessels of the temple, from the rapacity and impious sacrilege of the various idolatrous monarchs into whose hands they must have successively fallen : and at last, after the expiration of seventy years, be voluntarily restored to their rightful possessors.

for

d Nch, vii. 11.

4 oft

Neh. vii, 15.

4 lum drea bali

,

4

chila

thed

Neh, vii. 24.

47

1 Or, Gibeon, Neh, vii, 25.

A.C. 536. 4 The children of Shephatiah, three hundred seventy and

two.

5 The children of Arah, seven hundred seventy and five.

6 The children of Pahath-moab, of the children of Jeshua and Joab, two thousand eight hundred and twelve.

7 The children of Elam, a thousand two hundred fifty and four.

8 The children of Zattu, nine hundred forty and five.

9 The children of Zaccai, seven hundred and threescore. * Or, Binnui, 10 The children of * Bani, six hundred forty and two.

11 The children of Bebai, six hundred twenty and three.

12 The children of Azgad, a thousand two hundred
twenty and two.

13 "The children of Adonikam, six hundred sixty and six.
14 The children of Bigvai, two thousand fifty and six.
15 The children of Adin, four hundred fifty and four.
16 The children of Ater of Hezekiah, ninety and eight

17 The children of Bezai, three hundred twenty and

three, + Or, Haripk, 18 The children of + Jorah an hundred and twelve.

19 The children of Hashum, two hundred twenty and three.

20 The children of Gibbar, ninety and five.

21 The children of Beth-lehem, an hundred twenty and
three.

22 The men of Netophah, fifty and six.
23 The men of Anathoth, an hundred twenty and eight

,
24 The children of g Azmaveth, forty and two.
azmaveth,

25 The children of Kirjath-arim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred forty and three.

26 The children of Ramah and Gaba, six hundred twenty and one.

27 The men of Michmas, an hundred twenty and two.

28 The men of Beth-el and Ai, two hundred twenty and
three.

29 The children of Nebo, fifty and two.
30 The children of Magbish, an hundred fifty and six.

31 The children of the other • Elam, a thousand two
hundred fifty and four,

32 The children of Harim, three hundred and twenty. # Or, Harid, 33 The children of Lod, | Hadid, and Ono, seven hunCopies. dred twenty and five.

34 The children of Jericho, three hundred forty and five.

35 The children of Senaah, three thousand and six hundred and thirty

36 f The priests: the children of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, nine hundred seventy and three.

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Or, Beth.

Neh. vii. 28.

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e See ver, 7.

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g I Chron,
xxiv. 14.
h 1 Chron, ix,
21.
il Chron.

ch, lii. 9.

Neb, vii. 43

37 The children of ? Immer, a thousand fifty and two. A.C.536.

38 The children of h Pashur, a thousand two hundred forty and seven.

39 The children of Harim, a thousand and seventeen.
40 q The Levites : the children of Jeshua and Kadmiel, xxiv. 8.

* Or, Judah, of the children of * Hodaviah, seventy and four.

41 ? The singers: the children of Asaph, an hundred called also twenty and eight.

42 | The children of the porters: the children of Shallum, the children of Ater, the children of Talmon, the children of Akkub, the children of Hatita, the children of Shobai, in all an hundred thirty and nine.

43 | The Nethinims: the children of Ziha, the children of Hasupha, the children of Tabbaoth,

44 The children of Keros, the children of + Siaha, the + Or, Sia. children of Padon,

45 The children of Lebanah, the children of Hagabah, the children of Akkub,

46 The children of Hagab, the children of Shalmai, 1.0r, Sham. the children of Hanan,

47 The children of Giddel, the children of Gahar, the children of Reaiah.

48 The children of Rezin, the children of Nekoda, the children of Gazzam,

49 The children of Uzza, the children of Paseah, the children of Besai,

50 The children of Asnah, the children of Mehunim, the children of & Nephusim,

Or, Nephi51 The children of Bakbuk, the children of Hakupha, the children of Harhur,

52 The children of || Bazluth, the children of Mehida, Kenan Baulia the children of Harsha,

53 The children of Barkos, the children of Sisera, the children of Thamah,

54 The children of Neziah, the children of Hatipha.

55 | The children of Solomon's servants: the children of Sotai, the children of Sophereth, the children of * Peruda, Or, Perida,

56 The children of Jaalah, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel,

57 The children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the children of Pochereth of Zebaim, the children of + Ami. Neh: vaimon

68 All the k Nethinims, and the children of 'Solomon's k Josh. ix. 21, servants, were three hundred ninety and two.

11 Kings ix. 59 And these were they which went up from Tel-melah, 21. Tel-harsa, Cherub, Addán, and Immer: but they could not to Addon shew their father's house, and their $ seed, whether they qOr, pedigree were of Israel :

shesim.

Neh. vii. 57.

27. I Chron. ix. 2.

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