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.
he 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.