Ezra 1:2 MEANING

Ezra 1:2
Verse 2. - Thus saith Cyrus. Persian inscriptions do not ordinarily commence in this way; but the formula "says Darius the king," "says Xerxes the king" is frequent in them. King of Persia. So the Behistun inscription: "I am Darius, the great king, the king of kings, the king of Persia." The Lord God of heaven, Yehovah Elohey hashshamayim. "God of heaven" seems to have been a usual title of the Supreme Being among the Persians (see below, Ezra 6:9, 10; Ezra 7:12, 23), and perhaps designated Ormuzd in contradistinction to Ahriman, who was lord of the infernal regions. The use of the term "Jehovah," instead of Ormuzd, is remarkable, and was probably limited to the Hebrew transcript of the proclamation. Hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth. An acknowledgment that they have received and hold their royal power from Ormuzd is universal on the part of all the Persian kings who have left inscriptions of any length; but they do not often indulge in such a hyperbole as this of Cyrus. Artaxerxes Ochus, however, calls himself "king of this world" (Rawlinson, 'Cuneiform Inser.,' vol. 1. p. 341). The mention of the "kingdoms of the earth" is appropriate, since Cyrus had not inherited his empire, but built it up by the conquest of a vast number of independent states ('Herod.' 1. passim). His earn feeling that God had in all cases given him the victory harmonizes with the statement of Isaiah in Isaiah 45:1. He hath charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem. The he is emphatic, and is expressed by αὐτὸς in the Septuagint and ipse in the Vulgate. He himself, Jehovah-Elohim, has given it me in charge to build him a house. Most critics rightly explain by referring to Isaiah 44:28, and accepting the statement of Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 11:1) that the passage was shown to Cyrus shortly after his capture of Babylon. He understood the prophecy as a command, and proceeded to obey it. Which is in Judah. The addition of this clause marks strongly the oblivion into which the ruined city had fallen. Apparently, it was necessary, to recall its situation to men's minds by an express mention of the province whereof it had been the capital. Note the repetition of the clause in the next verse.

1:1-4 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.Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia,.... Of whom, and this edict of his, Isaiah prophesied two hundred years before he was born, Isaiah 44:28

the Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; many he had conquered before he took Babylon, and then the whole Babylonian monarchy fell into his hands. Herodotus (l) says, he ruled over all Asia; Xenophon (m) reckons up many nations that were under his government, Medes and Hyrcanians, Syrians, Assyrians, Arabians, Cappadocians, both the Phrygians, Carians, Phoenicians, Babylonians, Bactrians, Indians, Cilicians, Sacae or Scythians, Paphlagonians, Megadinians, and many other nations, the Greeks inhabiting Asia, and the Cyprians, and Egyptians; and elsewhere he says (n), the borders of his kingdom were, to the east the Red sea, to the north the Euxine Pontus, to the west Cyprus and Egypt, and to the south Ethiopia. And the possession of these kingdoms Cyrus ascribes, not to his own martial courage and skill, but to the providence and disposal of the God of heaven, which he seems to have had some notion of:

and he hath charged me to build an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah; in the prophecy of Isaiah, which, according to Josephus (o), he had seen and read, and believed it to be a charge upon him, and a command unto him to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem; however, to give leave for the rebuilding of it, and to encourage to it, and assist in it; an Arabic writer says (p), that Cyrus married a sister of Zerubbabel, and that it was at her request that the Jews had leave to return; which is merely fabulous.

(l) Clio, sive, l. 1. c. 130. So Sallust, Bell. Catalin. p. 2.((m) Cyropaedia, l. 1. in principio. (n) L. 8. c. 48. (o) Antiqu. l. 11. c. 1. sect. 1, 2.((p) Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. Dyn. 5. p. 82.

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