1 Esdras i.
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. In. Hebrew, “And (Calmet) or But in,” as [in] 2 Paralipomenon xxxvi. 22. (Haydock) — Thus the historical works are connected. Spinosa infers, from this book being inserted after Daniel in the Hebrew Bible, that the same author wrote both. But the order of the books in the Septuagint and Vulgate is far more natural, (Calmet) and this has often varied in Hebrew, &c. (Kennicott) See 2 Paralipomenon xxxvi. 23. (Haydock) — First. The design was only put in execution the following year. (The year of the world 3468.) — Cyrus (Hebrew coresh, (Haydock) or Koresch) means “the sun,” according to Ctesias and Plutarch. Josephus ([Antiquities?] xi. 1.) informs us that this prince became a friend of the Jews, in consequence of having seen the prediction of Isaias (xliv. 28., and xlv. 1.) fulfilled in his own person. He took Babylon, the year of the world 3466, and established the Persian empire, which was subverted by Alexander. (Calmet) — He had before ruled over Persia 27 years, and only reigned three as sole monarch at Babylon. (Tirinus) — The Lord; every good notion, even in infidels, proceeds from him. (Du Hamel) — Cyrus was one of the best and greatest conquerors of antiquity. He was the son of Cambyses, by Mandane, princess of Media. Xenophon informs us that he died in his bed; (Haydock) and had been lately conquered. (Tirinus)
Ver. 2. Earth, which had belonged to the king of Babylon. (Haydock) — This may be an hyperbole, or allusion to Isaias xlv. 1. (Menochius) — The dominions of Cyrus were very extensive, (Xenophon, Cyrop. i. and viii.) reaching from Ethiopia to the Euxine sea, &c. He acknowledges that he received all from the hand of God. Nabuchodonosor makes a similar confession of his supreme dominion; (Daniel ii. 47.) and the potentates of Egypt and of Rome, procured sacrifices to be offered to him. But what advantage did they derive from this sterile knowledge of his divinity? since they did not honour him accordingly, but wished to join his worship with that of idols; though the force of miracles and of reason must have convinced them that there is but one God. (Calmet) — House, or temple, Isaias xliv. 28. — Judea. So the Septuagint read, but the Hebrew has “Juda,” all along. The whole country now began to be known by the former name. (Haydock)
Ver. 3. He is the God, is placed within a parenthesis, by the Protestants. But the pagans might suppose that God was attached to this city, like their idols; and the temple was not yet begun. (Haydock)
Ver. 4. Rest, who do not please to return. The Jews went at different times, and under the different leaders, Zorobabel, Esdras, and Nehemias. Many did not return at all. Cyrus allowed them full liberty. He permits money to be exported, particularly the half sicle, required [in] Exodus xxx. 13, and all voluntary contributions for the temple. (Grotius) (Calmet) — He also enjoins the prefects of the provinces, (ver. 6., and chap. iii. 7.) whom Josephus styles “the king’s friends,” to forward the work; and he even designed to perfect it at his own expence, chap. vi. 4.
Ver. 8. Gazabar means, “the treasurer.” (Hebrew; Syriac; Calmet; Protestants; 3 Esdras ii. 10.) (Haydock) — Son is not in Hebrew, &c., (Menochius) and must be omitted. (Tirinus) — Sassabasar. This was another name for Zorobabel, (Challoner) given by the Chaldeans, as they changed the name of Daniel into Baltassar. (Eusebius, Pręp. Evan. xi. 3.) (Tirinus) — But others think that this was the Persian “governor (Junius) of Judea,” (3 Esdras) as one resided at Jerusalem, till the days of Nehemias, 2 Esdras v. 14. It does not appear that Zorobabel was invested with this dignity, before the reign of Darius Hystaspes, Aggeus ii. 24. (Calmet)
Ver. 9. Knives. Septuagint, &c., “changes” of garments. (Calmet)
Ver. 10. Sort. Septuagint and Syriac, “double;” yet of less value. (Calmet) — As no first sort had been mentioned, and some Latin manuscripts read 2410, agreeably to 3 Esdras ii. 12., and the truth, (Hallet) it may be inferred that “thousands were expressed anciently by single letters, with a dot….over them.” Afterwards, when numbers were expressed by words at length, the b being thus reduced to signify “two,” was, of course, written shnim; but this word making nonsense with the following, has been changed into mishnim, a word not very agreeable to the sense here, and which leaves the sum total, now specified in the Hebrew text, very deficient for want of the 2000, thus omitted. (Kennicott, Dis. ii.) — Josephus has, “30 golden cups, 2400 of silver.” (Haydock)
Ver. 11. Hundred. Only 2499 are specified. 3 Esdras reads, 5469. Josephus ([Antiquities?] xi. 1.) differs from all, reading 5210; which shews that the copies have varied, and that the Hebrew is incorrect. (Calmet) — The use of numeral letters might cause this confusion. (Haydock) (Capel. iii. 20, 13.)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Cyrus, king of Persia, releaseth God’s people from their captivity, with licence to return and build the temple in Jerusalem: and restoreth the holy vessels which Nabuchodonosor had taken from thence.
1 In the first year *of Cyrus, king of the Persians, that the word of the Lord, by the mouth of Jeremias, might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of the Persians: and he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and in writing also, saying:
2 Thus saith Cyrus, king of the Persians: The Lord, the God of heaven, hath given to me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he hath charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judea.
3 Who is there among you of all his people? His God be with him. Let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judea, and build the house of the Lord, the God of Israel; he is the God that is in Jerusalem.
4 And let all the rest, in all places, wheresoever they dwell, help him every man from his place, with silver and gold, and goods, and cattle, besides that which they offer freely to the temple of God, which is in Jerusalem.
5 Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Juda and Benjamin, and the priests, and Levites, and every one whose spirit God had raised up, to go up to build the temple of the Lord, which was in Jerusalem.
6 And all they that were round about, helped their hands with vessels of silver, and gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with furniture, besides what they had offered on their own accord.
7 And king Cyrus brought forth the vessels of the temple of the Lord, which Nabuchodonosor had taken from Jerusalem, and had put them in the temple of his god.
8 Now Cyrus, king of Persia, brought them forth by the hand of Mithridates, the son of Gazabar, and numbered them to Sassabasar, the prince of Juda.
9 And this is the number of them: thirty bowls of gold, a thousand bowls of silver, nine and twenty knives, thirty cups of gold,
10 Silver cups of a second sort, four hundred and ten: other vessels, a thousand.
11 All the vessels of gold and silver, five thousand four hundred. All these, Sassabasar brought with them that came up from the captivity of Babylon to Jerusalem.
1: Year of the World 3468, Year before Christ 536.; 2 Paralipomenon xxxvi. 22.; Jeremias xxv. 12. and xxix. 10.; Isaias xliv. 28. and xlv. 1.