Ezra 5 — Rebuilding Begins Again, Tattenai’s Letter
Ezra 6:1-12 — The Decree of Darius
Ezra 6:13-22 — The Temple Dedicated and Passover Celebrated
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One Reply to “Jul 12 — Ezra 5-6”
Haggai and Zechariah are introduced at the beginning of today’s reading. We’ll read Haggai in a few weeks, both chapters in this short book. Zechariah isn’t on the reading list, but its fourteen short chapters compliment Haggai in rebuking and exhorting the Jews to finish the work of the temple.
Zerubbabel and Joshua “set to work to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem” (Ezra 5:2) in response to the Lord’s word through Haggai to rebuild the temple “and they were not stopped until a report could go to Darius and his written reply” (5:5) received to see if indeed King Cyrus “did in fact issue a decree to rebuild this house of God in Jerusalem” (5:17). This was a time of political turmoil in Persia, so the local officials were really just trying to cover their tracks. Darius discovers the scrolls and directs the governing officials to “stay away from there” (6:6); further, “Their expenses are to be fully paid out of the royal treasury…” (6:8). With the backing of the reigning king, “they finished building the temple according to the command of the God of Israel and the decrees of Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, kings of Persia” (6:14).
It’s great to see how God will use governing authorities for his purpose. Haggai and Zechariah were there to keep the people motivated for the work was difficult. As we’ll read in Nehemiah shortly, the surrounding people were not exactly happy about this work either. Zechariah encourages them through “the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6). Such a great verse of encouragement, one I that offers hope in difficult times. God’s will is interwoven in this story through those who honor him and those who don’t know him at all.