“Now the prophets, Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel who was over them. 2 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to rebuild the house of God that is in Jerusalem, and the prophets of God were with them, supporting them.
Working with these prophets and leaders were more than three thousand Jewish men strong enough to do battle and/or to build the temple. 1 Chronicles 9 lists that Uthai’s lineage totalled 690 men, Benjamites totalled 956 men, gatekeepers totalled 212 men, and there were also 1760 mighty men for the work of the service of the house of God. So, at least 3,618 men were ready to defend the temple building site in Jerusalem, if needed. Work or fight, they would do it.
And yet the Assyrian governor of the province, Tattenai, still insisted that the work must be stopped.
“Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in Babylonia, in the house of the archives where the documents were stored. And in Ecbatana, the capital that is in the providence of Media, a scroll was found on which this was written: A record. In the first year of Cyrus the king, Cyrus the king issued a decree: Concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, LET THE HOUSE BE REBUILT, the place where sacrifices were offered, and LET ITS FOUNDATIONS BE RETAINED. Its height shall be sixty cubits and its breadth sixty cubits, with three layers of great stones and one layer of timber. LET THE COST BE PAID FROM THE ROYAL TREASURY. AND ALSO LET THE GOLD AND SILVER VESSELS OF THE HOUSE OF GOD, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that is in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, BE RESTORED AND BROUGHT BACK TO THE TEMPLE THAT IS IN JERUSALEM, EACH TO ITS PLACE. YOU SHALL PUT THEM IN THE HOUSE OF GOD” (Ezra 6:1-5 ESV).
The governor of their province issued King Darius’ response:
“Now therefore, Tattenai, governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and your associates the governors who are in the province Beyond the River, KEEP AWAY. LET THE WORK ON THIS HOUSE OF GOD ALONE. LET THE GOVERNOR OF THE JEWS AND THE ELDERS OF THE JEWS REBUILD THIS HOUSE OF GOD ON ITS SITE. MOREOVER, I MAKE A DECREE REGARDING WHAT YOU SHALL DO FOR THESE ELDERS OF THE JEWS FOR THE REBUILDING OF THIS HOUSE OF GOD. THE COST IS TO BE PAID TO THESE MEN IN FULL AND WITHOUT DELAY FROM THE ROYAL REVENUE, the tribute of the province from Beyond the River. 9 AND WHATEVER IS NEEDED—bulls, rams, or sheep for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, or oil, as the priests at Jerusalem require—LET THAT BE GIVEN TO THEM DAY BY DAY WITHOUT FAIL,10 that they may offer pleasing sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons.“
[This is a big ask. In short it means: Now that you’ve complained, says the king, I WANT YOU ALL TO PAY FOR ALL OF THIS. You didn’t expect it to go that way, did you? 11 Also I make a decree that if anyone alters this edict, a beam shall be pulled out of his house, and he shall be impaled on it, and his house shall be made a dunghill. Yikes!] 12 May the God who has caused his name to dwell there overthrow any king or people who shall put out a hand to alter this, or to destroy this house of God that is in Jerusalem. I, Darius, make a decree; let it be done with all diligence.” (Ezra 6:6-12 ESV).
Darius is all in. God took care of His people through this king’s edicts. What a faith builder! The Lord provides, and the Lord protects and superintends. What a joyous way to begin!
“13 Then, according to the word sent by Darius the king, Tattenai, the governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and their associates did with all diligence what Darius the king had ordered. 14 And the elders of the Jews built and prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. They finished their building by decree of the God of Israel and by decree of Cyrus and Darius and Artaxerxes king of Persia; 15 and this house was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.” (Ezra 6:13-15 ESV).
The captivity had formally ended in 538 B.C., when the Persian conqueror of Babylonia, Cyrus the Great, gave the Jews permission to return to Palestine. First they built the altar, then they laid a foundation for the temple. What a joyous beginning Zerubbabel the leader and Jeshua the high priest had made. The Lord had proven repeatedly that He will and He does take care of His people. Imagine how all of them must have felt as they continued to learn, to obey the Law, and to live their lives in ways contrary to their forebears, who had embraced paganism, living lives that did not please God.How would you feel if you were one of the Jews rebuilding the temple? Would you feel a solemn responsibility? Would you feel overcome with joy, praising the Lord as you worked? #Faith #OldTestament #bgbg2 Click To Tweet
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