Ezra 3

1 When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled into their towns, the people assembled together in Jerusalem.
2 Jeshua son of Jozadak and his brother priests, along with Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, and his relatives, went to work and built the Altar of the God of Israel to offer Whole-Burnt-Offerings on it as written in The Revelation of Moses the man of God.
3 Even though they were afraid of what their non-Israelite neighbors might do, they went ahead anyway and set up the Altar on its foundations and offered Whole-Burnt-Offerings on it morning and evening.
4 They also celebrated the Festival of Booths as prescribed and the daily Whole-Burnt-Offerings set for each day.
5 And they presented the regular Whole-Burnt-Offerings for Sabbaths, New Moons, and God's Holy Festivals, as well as Freewill-Offerings for God.
6 They began offering Whole-Burnt-Offerings to God from the very first day of the seventh month, even though The Temple of God's foundation had not yet been laid.
7 They gave money to hire masons and carpenters. They gave food, drink, and oil to the Sidonians and Tyrians in exchange for the cedar lumber they had brought by sea from Lebanon to Joppa, a shipment authorized by Cyrus the king of Persia.
8 In the second month of the second year after their arrival at The Temple of God in Jerusalem, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua son of Jozadak, in company with their brother priests and Levites and everyone else who had come back to Jerusalem from captivity, got started. They appointed the Levites twenty years of age and older to direct the rebuilding of The Temple of God.
9 Jeshua and his family joined Kadmiel, Binnui, and Hodaviah, along with the extended family of Henadad - all Levites - to direct the work crew on The Temple of God.
10 When the workers laid the foundation of The Temple of God, the priests in their robes stood up with trumpets, and the Levites, sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise God in the tradition of David king of Israel.
11 They sang antiphonally praise and thanksgiving to God: Yes! God is good! Oh yes - he'll never quit loving Israel!
12 As many were noisily shouting with joy, many of the older priests, Levites, and family heads who had seen the first Temple, when they saw the foundations of this Temple laid, wept loudly for joy.
13 People couldn't distinguish the shouting from the weeping. The sound of their voices reverberated for miles around.

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.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO EZRA 3

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