Summary: Sermon 11 in the series (Ezra 6) We must refresh ourselves on the background of this chapter. You will remember that in 4:1-5, the locals began the opposition to temple construction. They first tried to cause the children of Israel to compromise. Remember
The Book of Ezra
The Temple Completed!
* 1. What do you think is valuable about studying history?
2. When have you discovered something about the past that has helped you in the present?
• I remember when I learned that no great thing has ever been accomplished without opposition.
• Some inventors were even thought insane.
3. How has your study of Israel’s history helped you in your own Christian walk?
• We have learned that we must stay at the task.
• It is easy to become cold.
• We have learned to obey God, even in the face of opposition.
• We must refresh ourselves on the background of this chapter.
• You will remember that in 4:1-5, the locals began the opposition to temple construction.
• They first tried to cause the children of Israel to compromise.
• Remember, these locals worshiped Jehovah, but only as ONE of their many gods.
• When the Jews would not join with them, then they tried to harass them, both locally and legally.
• This succeeded in stopping the work (4:24).
• Then in chapter 5, Haggai and Zechariah stand to urge the rebuilding to start again.
• This causes Tatnai, the local governor, to send to Darius for advice and counsel in the matter.
• Chapter 6 is the answer to Tatnai’s request, and the resulting actions.
I. The Reply (6:1-12)
A. The Decree of Cyrus (1-5)
1. The Discovery (1-2)
Ezr 6:1-22 Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon. (2) And there was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of the Medes, a roll, and therein was a record thus written:
Decree - This would not be a large public decree, but a private order to his record keepers. You will note that there are extra details in these minutes that were not in the public decree of 1:1-4.
Babylon - Search was made there, but the record was not found there.
Achmetha - Achmetha is another name for the Persian capital of Ecbatana, 300 mi. NE of Babylon in the foothills, where Cyrus and others had their summer homes. (MacArthur) The record is found there because that is where Cyrus spent the summer of 538 B.C. (BKC) The modern name of this town is Hamadan.
A record - Note the importance of proper record keeping. How ironic and wonderful that God’s work was carried on by the discovery of a lost paragraph in a pagan library.
QUOTE: A particular kind of document called a memorandum (Ezra 4:15; Mal. 3:16). Administrative officials often kept these documents of administrative decisions made, or issues remaining to be settled, to retain the details of administrative action for future reference. (MacArthur)
2. The Details (3-5)
a. The Construction (3-4)
(3) In the first year of Cyrus (538 B.C.) the king the same Cyrus the king made a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, Let the house be builded, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid; the height thereof threescore cubits [= 90 feet], and the breadth thereof threescore cubits [=90 feet]; (4) With three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber: and let the expenses be given out of the king’s house:
• The details here given are much greater than those in chapter 1.
• There is a record of: (Not on handout)
1) The Permission
2) The Place
3) The Purpose
4) The Patterns
- for every three courses of stone, a course of timber. Perhaps Waynescoting?
- It is possible that this temple was larger than that of Solomon’s. The text is not clear.
1 Kings 6:2 And the house which king Solomon built for the LORD, the length thereof was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits.
5) The Provision
b. The Contents (5)
(5) And also let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought unto Babylon, be restored, and brought again unto the temple which is at Jerusalem, every one to his place, and place them in the house of God.
ILLUS: Billy Kelly and the Jack Daniel’s barrels. That was God’s wood and God’s iron in that band. The Devil has had them long enough.
• How marvelous is the providence of God, providing for every piece to go back to its proper place, even when the place did not exist!
B. The Decree of Darius (6-12)
1. The Prohibition (6-7)
(6) Now therefore, Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shetharboznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which are beyond the river, be ye far from thence: (7) Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place.