Moreover, I make a decree, what ye shall do to the elders of
these Jews, for the building of this house of God
This must be considered as an additional decree of Darius, which was peculiarly made by him, in which more was granted in favour of the Jews, and as an encouragement to them to go on with the building of the temple; though Josephus F1 says this is no other than a confirmation of the decree of Cyrus; for, according to him, all that is here granted to them, or threatened to others, from hence to the end of ( Ezra 6:10 ) , was contained in the decree:
that of the king's goods, even of the tribute beyond the river;
what was collected out of his dominions on that side the river Euphrates, towards the land of Israel: according to Herodotus F2, this Darius was the first of the kings of Persia that exacted tribute; under Cyrus and Cambyses only presents were brought; but he imposed a tribute, and was therefore called (kaphlov) , an huckster, as Cambyses had the name of lord, and Cyrus that of father: the same writer gives an account of the several nations he received it from, and the particular sums, which in all amounted to 14,560 Euboic talents of gold; among whom are mentioned all Phoenicia and Syria, called Palestine, the tribute of which parts is the tribute beyond the river he referred to: and this king was well disposed to the Jewish nation, temple, and worship, before he was king, if what Josephus F3 says is true, that, while a private man, he vowed to God that, if he should be king, he would send all the sacred vessels that were in Babylon to the temple at Jerusalem: and out of the above tribute it is ordered,
that forthwith expenses be given unto these men, that they be not
from going on with the building, for want of money to buy materials, and pay the workmen.
F1 Antiqu. l. 11. c. 4. sect. 6.
F2 Thalia, sive, l. 3. c. 89-95.
F3 Antiqu. l. 11. c. 3. sect. 1.