OF THE BOOK OF
The Jewish church puts on quite another face, in this book, from what it had appeared with; its state is much better, and more pleasant, than it was of late in Babylon, and yet far inferior to what it had been formerly. The dry bones here live again, but in the form of a servant; the yoke of their captivity is taken off, but the marks of it in their galled necks remain. Kings we hear no more of, the crown is fallen from their heads. Prophets they are blessed with, to direct them in their re-establishment, but, after a while, prophecy ceases among them, till the great Prophet appears, and his fore-runner. The history of this book is the accomplishment of Jeremiah's prophecy concerning the return of the Jews out of Babylon, at the end of 70 years, and a type of the accomplishment of the prophecies of the Apocalypse, concerning the deliverance of the gospel-church out of the New Testament Babylon. Ezra preserved the records of that great revolution, and transmitted them to the church in this book. His name signifies a helper; and so he was to that people. A particular account concerning him we shall meet with, ch. 7. where he himself enters upon the stage of action. The book gives us an account,
I. Of the Jews' return out of their captivity, ch. 1, 2.
II. Of the building of the temple, the opposition it met with, and yet the perfecting of it at last, ch. 3••6.
III. Of Ezra's coming to Jerusalem, ch. 7,8.
IV. Of the good service he did there, in obliging those that had married strange wives, to put them away, ch. 9, 10. This beginning again of the Jewish nation was small, yet its latter end greatly increased.
In this chapter, we have I. The proclamation which Cyrus, king of Persia, issued out for the release of all the Jews that he found captives in Babylon, and the building of their temple in Jerusalem, v. 1..4. II. The return of many, thereupon, v. 5, 6. III. Orders given for the restoring of the vessels of the temple, v. 7..11. And this is the dawning of the day of their deliverance.
1.NOW in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, (that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled,) the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 2. Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah: 3. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and