Ezra 5&6: Darius' Decree

During the reconstruction of the Temple, the Israelites face adversity but they don't give up. Eventually Darius I reinstitute the command to rebuild the Temple.

Introduction

During the reconstruction of the Temple, the Israelites face adversity but they don't give up. The Israelites don't immediately stop building the Temple. Instead they continued their work such that the king has to send people to investigate. This is a classic case of the question is your duty to your country or to God. Our duty is first to God. If was the king or president mandates goes against what God has said, we are to follow God. The Jews were fully aware of why they had been taken into captivity so they understood the importance of rebuilding the Temple and sticking to God's plan.
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Darius

When Darius takes over the Persian throne, he discovers the decree Cyrus had given the Jews. This decree not only gave them permission to build the Temple, but called for the king's treasury to fund it. The idea the a Persian king would command the Jews to rebuild the Temple, let alone fund it, used to be doubted by scholars. However evidence has since proven this to be a possibility, as the Persians funded many extra-religious buildings.[1] This proclamation moves Darius to reissue this decree and made it so that the Israelites could rebuild their Temple. From Ezra 4 we see that construction restarted on the Temple during Darius' 2nd year, and in Ezra 6 we are told they completed the Temple in his 6th year. However, since they actually began reconstruction during Cyrus' reign, we can't estimate the length of time they actually spent working the Temple.

Once the Temple was complete, the Israelites had great sacrifices for the dedication and hosted Passover. Now that they had experienced punishment for disobeying God, they were committed to following His law.
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How Big Was It?

Photocredit: Unsplash.com/Rob Bye
The dimensions given of the Temple in Cyrus' decree do not match those of Solomon's Temple. Some people cite this as a contradiction, however, we aren't being told about the old Temple, we're being told about the new Temple. Perhaps they wanted to upgrade the original Temple. It is possible that where they may not have been able to add gold and silver, they could add space. Although we don't think about it much today, land is a vary valuable commodity. It could also be a copyist error. Another important the to remember is that since one king halted the construction and Darius took over the decree, Darius could have changed these Dimensions based on how much he was willing to provide financially.
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References

  1. Holman Bible Publishers. Holman KJV Study Bible, pg. 803-806. 2014

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Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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