Ezra 3

Rebuilding the Altar

1 When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, the people assembled together as one in Jerusalem.
2 Then Joshua son of Jozadak and his fellow priests and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his associates began to build the altar of the God of Israel to sacrifice burnt offerings on it, in accordance with what is written in the Law of Moses the man of God.
3 Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the LORD, both the morning and evening sacrifices.
4 Then in accordance with what is written, they celebrated the Festival of Tabernacles with the required number of burnt offerings prescribed for each day.
5 After that, they presented the regular burnt offerings, the New Moon sacrifices and the sacrifices for all the appointed sacred festivals of the LORD, as well as those brought as freewill offerings to the LORD.
6 On the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings to the LORD, though the foundation of the LORD’s temple had not yet been laid.

Rebuilding the Temple

7 Then they gave money to the masons and carpenters, and gave food and drink and olive oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre, so that they would bring cedar logs by sea from Lebanon to Joppa, as authorized by Cyrus king of Persia.
8 In the second month of the second year after their arrival at the house of God in Jerusalem, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, Joshua son of Jozadak and the rest of the people (the priests and the Levites and all who had returned from the captivity to Jerusalem) began the work. They appointed Levites twenty years old and older to supervise the building of the house of the LORD.
9 Joshua and his sons and brothers and Kadmiel and his sons (descendants of Hodaviah[a] ) and the sons of Henadad and their sons and brothers—all Levites—joined together in supervising those working on the house of God.
10 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites (the sons of Asaph) with cymbals, took their places to praise the LORD, as prescribed by David king of Israel.
11 With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD: “He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.
12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy.
13 No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. 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 30

  • 1. Nehemiah 7:73; Nehemiah 8:1
  • 2. S Leviticus 23:24
  • 3. S Ezra 2:2; Nehemiah 12:1,8; Haggai 2:2
  • 4. Haggai 1:1; Zechariah 6:11
  • 5. 1 Chronicles 3:17
  • 6. S Exodus 20:24; Deuteronomy 12:5-6
  • 7. Ezra 4:4; Daniel 9:25
  • 8. S Exodus 29:39; Numbers 28:1-8
  • 9. S Exodus 23:16; Numbers 29:12-38; Nehemiah 8:14-18; Zechariah 14:16-19
  • 10. S Nu 28:3,11,14; Colossians 2:16
  • 11. Leviticus 23:1-44; S Numbers 29:39
  • 12. 1 Chronicles 22:15
  • 13. S 1 Chronicles 14:1
  • 14. Isaiah 35:2; Isaiah 60:13
  • 15. S Ezra 1:2-4; Ezra 6:3
  • 16. 1 Kings 6:1
  • 17. Zechariah 4:9
  • 18. S Numbers 4:3; 1 Chronicles 23:24
  • 19. Ezra 2:40
  • 20. Ezra 5:16; Ezra 6:3; Haggai 2:15
  • 21. S Numbers 10:2; S 2 Samuel 6:5; 1 Chronicles 16:6; 2 Chronicles 5:13; Nehemiah 12:35
  • 22. S 1 Chronicles 25:1
  • 23. S 1 Chronicles 6:31
  • 24. Zechariah 6:12
  • 25. 1 Chronicles 16:34,41; S 2 Chronicles 7:3; Psalms 30:5; Psalms 107:1; Psalms 118:1; Psalms 138:8
  • 26. S Joshua 6:5,10; Nehemiah 12:24
  • 27. Haggai 2:18; Zechariah 4:9; Zechariah 8:9
  • 28. Haggai 2:3,9
  • 29. Jeremiah 31:9; Jeremiah 50:4
  • 30. Job 8:21; Job 33:26; Psalms 27:6; Psalms 42:4; Isaiah 16:9; Jeremiah 48:33

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Hebrew "Yehudah," a variant of "Hodaviah"

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

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