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The proclamation of Cyrus, for the release of the Jews, and
building of the temple, ver. 1 - 4.
The return of many of them, ver. 5, 6.
Orders given for restoring the vessels of the temple, ver. 7 - 11.
1: Fulfilled - Nebuchadnezzar carried many of the Jews into
captivity in the first year of his reign (the fourth of Jehoiakim).
He reigned forty - five years, his son Evil - merodach twenty - three, and
his grandson Belshazzar, three years, which make up the seventy years
foretold by Jeremiah. First year - Of his reign in Babylon: for
he had been king of Persia for many years.
2: All, &c. - In those parts of the world; all that vast empire
formerly under the Assyrians and Babylonians. The gift of which he
ascribes to the great God; by that express prophecy of Isaiah concerning
him, (Isa 44:28,45:1,13), so long before he was born; which prophecy
the Jews had doubtlessly shewed him, which also carried a great evidence
with it, especially to him who was so highly encouraged by it: or by a
special illumination which God vouchsafed to him, as he did to
Nebuchadnezzar and Darius, and some other Heathen princes.
5: Then rose up, &c. - These being a new generation, went out like
their father Abraham, from this land of the Chaldees, not knowing
whither they went.
6: Strengthened their hands - God can, when he pleases, incline the
hearts of strangers to be kind to his people; yea, make those strengthen
their hands, who formerly weakened them.
8: Sheshbazzar - Zerubbabel; the Chaldeans called him
Sheshbazzar, that is, Joy in tribulation, but among his own people
he was called Zerubbabel, a stranger in Babylon. So he looked upon
himself, tho' (Josephus says) he was captain of the life - guard.