Pastoral Commentary for Ezra 5:1-6:18
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
After a significant hiatus, God's prophets Haggai and Zechariah stirred up the zeal of God's people and the work of rebuilding the temple began again under the direction of Zerubbabel and Jeshua. Immediately, the Persian governor of the region questioned who authorized their efforts. Significantly, Ezra tells us that "the eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews, and they did not stop them." A letter was addressed to King Darius to see if King Cyrus truly did issue a decree authorizing the rebuilding of the temple. In the letter, the Jews honestly acknowledged their sin that had angered God and led to their captivity. In response to the letter a search was made and a scroll was found that contained a record of the decree of King Cyrus. Not only did King Darius order Tattenai not to interfere with the work of rebuilding the temple, but he even commanded that the expenses of building the temple be fully paid out of the royal treasury, and that everything necessary for the daily sacrifices of the Jews should be provided to them. Anyone interfering with the King's decree was to be executed. Thus, the rebuilding of the temple continued and the temple was completed in 522 B.C. When the temple was finished, a rededication was held with great celebration. Priests were installed and hundreds of sacrifices were offered, being careful to follow everything that was written in the Law of Moses.