Ezra 3

Listen to Ezra 3

Rebuilding the Altar

1 1When the seventh month came, and the children of Israel were in the towns, the people gathered as one man to Jerusalem.
2 Then arose Jeshua the son of Jozadak, with his fellow priests, and 2Zerubbabel the son of 3Shealtiel with his kinsmen, and they built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, 4as it is written in the Law of Moses the 5man of God.
3 They set the altar in its place, 6for fear was on them because of the peoples of the lands, and 7they offered burnt offerings on it to the LORD, burnt offerings morning and evening.
4 8And they kept the Feast of Booths, 9as it is written, 10and offered the daily burnt offerings by number according to the rule, as each day required,
5 and after that the regular burnt 11offerings, the offerings at the new moon 12and at all the appointed feasts of the LORD, and the offerings of everyone who made a freewill offering to the LORD.
6 From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the LORD. But the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid.
7 So they gave money to the masons and the carpenters, 13and food, drink, and oil to the Sidonians and the Tyrians 14to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa, 15according to the grant that they had from Cyrus king of Persia.

Rebuilding the Temple

8 Now in the second year after their coming to the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, 16Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and 17Jeshua the son of Jozadak made a beginning, together with the rest of their kinsmen, the priests and the Levites and all who had come to Jerusalem from the captivity. They 18appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to 19supervise the work of the house of the LORD.
9 And 20Jeshua with his sons and his brothers, and Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together 21supervised the workmen in the house of God, along with the 22sons of Henadad and the Levites, their sons and brothers.
10 And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests in their vestments came forward with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the LORD, 23according to the directions of David king of Israel.
11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD, 24"For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel."And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.
12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers' houses, 25old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy,
13 so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people's weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away.

Ezra 3 Commentary

Chapter 3

The altar and festivals. (1-7) The foundations of the temple laid. (8-13)

Verses 1-7 From the proceedings of the Jews on their arrival, let us learn to begin with God, and to do what we can in the worship of God, when we cannot do what we would. They could not at once have a temple, but they would not be without an altar. Fear of danger should stir us to our duty. Have we many enemies? Then it is good to have God our Friend, and to keep up communion with him. Our fears should drive us to our knees. The sacrifices for all these solemnities were a heavy expense for so poor a company; yet besides those expressly appointed, many brought free-will offerings to the Lord. And they made preparation for the building of the temple without delay: whatever God calls us to do, we may depend upon his providence to furnish us with the needful means.

Verses 8-13 There was a remarkable mixture of affections upon laying the foundation of the temple. Those that only knew the misery of having no temple at all, praised the Lord with shouts of joy. To them, even this foundation seemed great. We ought to be thankful for the beginnings of mercy, though it be not yet perfect. But those who remembered the glory of the first temple, and considered how far inferior this was likely to be, wept with a loud voice. There was reason for it, and if they bewailed the sin that was the cause of this melancholy change, they did well. Yet it was wrong to cast a damp upon the common joys. They despised the day of small things, and were unthankful for the good they enjoyed. Let not the remembrance of former afflictions drown the sense of present mercies.

Cross References 25

  • 1. Nehemiah 7:73; Nehemiah 8:1
  • 2. Matthew 1:12; Luke 3:27
  • 3. 1 Chronicles 3:17; Matthew 1:12; Luke 3:27
  • 4. Deuteronomy 12:5, 6
  • 5. See Deuteronomy 33:1
  • 6. [Ezra 4:4]
  • 7. Exodus 29:38; Numbers 28:3, 4
  • 8. Zechariah 14:16; See Nehemiah 8:14-17
  • 9. Exodus 23:16; Leviticus 23:34
  • 10. See Numbers 29:12-38
  • 11. See Numbers 28:11-15
  • 12. Numbers 29:39
  • 13. 1 Kings 5:6, 9; 2 Chronicles 2:10
  • 14. 2 Chronicles 2:16
  • 15. Ezra 1:3, 4; Ezra 6:3
  • 16. Ezra 2:2; Ezra 4:3
  • 17. Ezra 2:2; Ezra 4:3
  • 18. 1 Chronicles 23:24
  • 19. 1 Chronicles 23:4
  • 20. [See ver. 8 above]
  • 21. [See ver. 8 above]
  • 22. Nehemiah 10:9, 10
  • 23. 1 Chronicles 6:31; 1 Chronicles 16:4-6; 1 Chronicles 25:1, 2
  • 24. See 1 Chronicles 16:34, 41
  • 25. Haggai 2:3

Chapter Summary


This chapter relates how that the people of Israel returned from captivity, gathered to Jerusalem, and set up the altar, where sacrifices were offered, Ezr 3:1-3, and kept the feast of tabernacles, and offered the sacrifices of that, besides the daily sacrifice, and of other festivals; and contributed to the workmen that prepared for the building of the temple, Ezr 3:4-7 and began it by laying the foundation of it; which to some was matter of joy, to others of grief, on different accounts, Ezr 3:8-13.

Ezra 3 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.