The Altar Set Up.
1. when the seventh month was come—The
departure of the returning exiles from Babylon took place in the
spring. For some time after their arrival they were occupied in the
necessary work of rearing habitations to themselves amid the ruins of
Jerusalem and its neighborhood. This preliminary work being completed,
they addressed themselves to rebuild the altar of burnt offering. As
the seventh month of the sacred year was at hand—corresponding to
the latter end of our September—when the feast of tabernacles
23:34) fell to be observed,
they resolved to celebrate that religious festival, just as if the
temple had been fully restored.
2. Jeshua—the grandson of Seraiah, the
high priest, put to death by Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah (2Ki 25:18-21). His father, Josedech, had been
carried captive to Babylon, and died there, some time before this.
Zerubbabel—was, according to the order
of nature, son of Pedaiah (1Ch 3:17-19); but having been brought up by
Salathiel, he was called his son.
builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer
burnt offerings thereon—This was of urgent and immediate
necessity, in order, first, to make atonement for their sins; secondly,
to obtain the divine blessing on their preparations for the temple, as
well as animate their feelings of piety and patriotism for the
prosecution of that national work.
3. they set the altar upon his
bases—They reared it upon its old foundation, so that it
occupied as nearly as possible the site on which it had formerly
they offered burnt offerings … morning and
evening—Deeming it their duty to perform the public rites of
religion, they did not wait till the temple should be rebuilt and
dedicated; but, at the outset, they resumed the daily service
prescribed by the law (Ex 29:38, 39; Le 6:9, 11), as well as observed the annual seasons
of solemn observance.
4, 6. They kept also the feast of tabernacles
… From the first day of the seventh month—They revived
at that time the daily oblation, and it was on the fifteenth day of
that month the feast of tabernacles was held.
7. They gave … meat … drink, and oil,
unto them of Zidon—They opened negotiations with the Tyrians
for workmen, as well as for timber, on the same terms and with the same
views as Solomon had done (1Ki 5:11; 2Ch 2:15, 16).
The Foundation of the Temple Laid.
8. appointed the Levites … to set forward
the work—that is, to act as overseers of the workmen, and to
direct and animate the laborers in the various departments.
9. Jeshua with his sons—not the high
priest, but a Levite (Ezr 2:40). To
these, as probably distinguished for their mechanical skill and taste,
the duty of acting as overseers was particularly committed.
12. But many of the priests and Levites and chief
of the fathers … wept with a loud voice—Those painful
emotions were excited by the sad contrast between the prosperous
circumstances in which the foundations of the first temple had been
laid and the desolate, reduced state of the country and city when the
second was begun; between the inferior size and less costliness of the
stones used in the foundations of the second (1Ki 7:9, 10), and the much smaller extent of
the foundation itself, including all the appurtenances of the building
2:3); between the comparative
smallness of their present means and the immense resources of David and
Solomon. Perhaps, however, the chief cause of grief was that the second
temple would be destitute of those things which formed the great and
distinguishing glory of the first; namely, the ark, the shekinah, the
Urim and Thummim, &c. Not that this second temple was not a very
grand and beautiful structure. But no matter how great its material
splendor was, it was inferior in this respect to that of Solomon. Yet
the glory of the second far outshone that of the first temple in
another and more important point of view, namely, the receiving within
its walls the incarnate Saviour (Hag 2:9).
13. the people could not discern the shout of joy
from the noise of the weeping of the people—Among Eastern
people, expressions of sorrow are always very loud and vehement. It is
indicated by wailing, the howl of which is sometimes not easily
distinguishable from joyful acclamations.