Ezra 1

1 In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremy should be fulfilled (so that the word of the Lord through Jeremiah would be fulfilled), the Lord raised (up) the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia; and he published a voice in all his realm, yea, by writing, he sent out his letters, (to be read aloud,) and said,
2 (I,) Cyrus, the king of Persia, saith these things, The Lord God of heaven hath given to me all the realms of [the] earth, and he hath commanded to me, that I should build to him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah (and he hath commanded me, to build a House for him in Jerusalem, which is in Judah).
3 Who is among you of all his people? his God be with him; and go he up into Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build he (again) the house of the Lord God of Israel; he is God, which is in Jerusalem. (Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him; and go he up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and help he to rebuild the House of the Lord God of Israel; he is the God, who is worshipped in Jerusalem/whose city is Jerusalem.)
4 And all other men, that dwell wherever in all places, help him; the men of their place help in silver, and gold, and chattel, and sheep, besides that that they offer willfully to the temple of God, which is in Jerusalem. (And let all the other people, wherever they may live in every place, help him; let people from every place help him with silver, and gold, and chattel/and cattle, and sheep, besides what they offer by free will for the Temple of God, which was, and shall be again, in Jerusalem.)
5 And then [the] princes of the fathers of Judah and of Benjamin rose up, and the priests, and the deacons, and each man whose spirit God raised, for to go up to build (again) the temple of the Lord, that was in Jerusalem. (And then the leaders of the families of the tribes of Judah and of Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, and each man whose spirit God had raised up, rose up to go up to rebuild the Temple of the Lord, that was in Jerusalem.)
6 And all men that were in compass about helped the hands of them (And all the people who were round about helped them), with vessels of silver, and of gold, with their substance, with purtenance of household, and with work beasts, besides, or over, these things which they offered by their (own) free will.
7 And king Cyrus brought forth the vessels of the temple of the Lord (And King Cyrus brought forth the vessels from the Temple of the Lord), which Nebuchadnezzar had taken from Jerusalem, and had set them in the temple of his god.
8 And Cyrus, the king of Persia, brought forth those vessels by the hand of Mithredath, the son of Gizbar; and numbered those to Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah. (And Cyrus, the king of Persia, put Mithredath, the treasurer, in charge of these vessels; and Mithredath listed them for Sheshbazzar, the governor of Judah.)
9 And this is the number of the vessels; golden vials, thirty; silveren vials, a thousand; great knives, nine and twenty; (And this is the number of the vessels; thirty gold basins, one thousand silver basins; twenty-nine other kinds of vessels;)
10 (small) golden basins, thirty; (small) silveren basins, two thousand four hundred and ten; and other vessels, a thousand; (thirty gold bowls; four hundred and ten silver bowls; and a thousand other vessels;)
11 all the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand and four hundred. And Sheshbazzar took all these vessels, with them that went up from the transmigration of Babylon, into Jerusalem. (in all, there were five thousand four hundred gold and silver vessels. And Sheshbazzar took all of these vessels with him, when he, and others of the captivity, left Babylon, and went to Jerusalem.)

Ezra 1 Commentary

Chapter 1

The history of this book is the accomplishment of Jeremiah's prophecy concerning the return of the Jews out of Babylon. From its contents we especially learn, that every good work will meet with opposition from enemies, and be hurt by the misconduct of friends; but that God will make his cause to prevail, notwithstanding all obstacles and adversaries. The restoration of the Jews was an event of the highest consequence, tending to preserve religion in the world, and preparing the way for the appearance of the Great Deliverer, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The proclamation of Cyrus for the rebuilding of the temple. (1-4) The people provide for their return. (5-11)

Verses 1-4 The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus. The hearts of kings are in the hand of the Lord. God governs the world by his influence on the spirits of men; whatever good they do, God stirs up their spirits to do it. It was during the captivity of the Jews, that God principally employed them as the means of calling the attention of the heathen to him. Cyrus took it for granted, that those among the Jews who were able, would offer free-will offerings for the house of God. He would also have them supplied out of his kingdom. Well-wishers to the temple should be well-doers for it.

Verses 5-11 The same God that raised up the spirit of Cyrus to proclaim liberty to the Jews, raised up their spirits to take the benefit. The temptation was to some to stay in Babylon; but some feared not to return, and they were those whose spirits God raised, by his Spirit and grace. Whatever good we do, is owing to the grace of God. Our spirits naturally bow down to this earth and the things of it; if they move upward in any good affections or good actions, it is God who raises them. The calls and offers of the gospel are like the proclamation of Cyrus. Those bound under the power of sin, may be made free by Jesus Christ. Whosoever will, by repentance and faith, return to God, Jesus Christ has opened the way for him, and raises him out of the slavery of sin into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Many that hear this joyful sound, choose to sit still in Babylon, are in love with their sins, and will not venture upon a holy life; but some break through all discouragements, whatever it cost them; they are those whose spirit God has raised above the world and the flesh, whom he has made willing. Thus will the heavenly Canaan be filled, though many perish in Babylon; and the gospel offer will not have been made in vain. The bringing back the Jews from captivity, represents the redemption of sinners by Jesus Christ.

Chapter Summary


This book, in the Vulgate Latin and Arabic versions, is called the "First" Book of Ezra, Nehemiah being reckoned the "second"; but with the Jews both were accounted but one book {a}; in the Syriac version, it is called the Writing or Book of Ezra the Prophet; and this title is given him, both by Jews {b} and Christians {c}; in the Arabic version, it is called the First Book of Ezra the Priest, skilful in the Law; and that he was a priest is clear, since he was the son of Seraiah the high priest, who was slain by Nebuchadnezzar, and the younger brother of Josedech, who succeeded his father as high priest, and uncle to Joshua that succeeded him; and he was also a ready scribe in the law of Moses, see Ezr 7:1,6,10-12. That Ezra was the writer of this book is believed by the Jews {d}, and by the generality of Christians; only Huetius {e} thinks that the six first chapters were written by another hand, but his reasons are not satisfactory; and it has been universally received as canonical by all; it agrees with the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah, and serves to illustrate them; it is of use for the continuation of the sacred history, to point at the fulfilment of prophecies concerning the return of the Jews from captivity, and the rebuilding of the temple; and to give us an account of the state of the church in those times, the troubles and difficulties it met with, and what care was taken to keep the tribes and families distinct, that it might be known from whom the Messiah sprung; this book contains an history of seventy years, according to the calculation of Bishop Usher {f}, from A. M. 3468, to A. M. 3538.

{a} Origen apud Euseb. Hist. Eccl. l. 6. c. 25. Hieron. Opera, tom. 3. Epist. ad Paulin. fol. 6. B. & ad Domnion. & Rogat. fol. 7. G. {b} Seder Olam Zuta, p. 108. {c} Lactant. Institut. l. 4. c. 11. {d} T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 15. 1. {e} Demonstr. Evangel. prop. 4. p. 208, 209. {f} Annal. Vet. Test. p. 146, 193.


This chapter informs us of the proclamation of Cyrus king of Persia, for the Jews to return to their own country, and rebuild their temple, Ezr 1:1-4, and that, upon it, the chief of them rose up for that purpose, whose hands were strengthened and supplied by those about them, Ezr 1:5,6 and particularly by Cyrus, who gave orders that the vessels belonging to the temple should be delivered to them, Ezr 1:7-11.

Ezra 1 Commentaries

Copyright © 2001 by Terence P. Noble. For personal use only.