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probable, that Cyrus, when he saw in his journey' into Syria so large a country as Judea lying waste and desolate, was moved with a desire to people it, and thought none so proper as its former inhabitants. •'
As soon as Gyrus had issued his decree, we find numbers of Jews assembled; their chief leaders wereZerubbabel the son of Salathiel, the son of Jeholachin king of .Judah, and Jeshua the son of Jozadek the high-priest. Not only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, but remnants of the ten tribes who had been carried away by 'Tiglath-Pileser, Shalmanesar, and Essarfraddon, still re. tained the worship of God; these, therefore, gladly took advantage of Cyrus's decree, for it extended not to JxfDAH only, hut to all the house of'israel.
CONCLUSION OF THE REIGN OP CYRUS THE FOUNDATION OF THE IEMP1E LAID• AT JERUSALEM.
From Ezra, Chap* iii.
And when the seventh month was come, and th« • children of Israel were in the cities, the'people gathered themselves together as one man ttf Jeruaalem.
Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadek, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man. of God.
; And they set the altar upon his bases; (for fear was . upon them because of the people of those, countries:) ind they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the Loltn, even burnt offerings morning and evening.
They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the- daily burat-offerings by number, i' r'- - • :ii . according. according to the custom, as the duty of every day required: • • And afterward offered the continual hurnt-offering, both of the new moons and of all the set feasts of the Lord, that were consecrated; and of every one that willingly offered a 'free-will offering unto the Lord.
From.the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the Lord. But the foundation .of the temple of the Lord was not yet laid.
They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters ; and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Sidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa; according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia.
Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadek, and the remnant of their brethren, the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upwards, to set forward the .work: of the house of the Lord.
Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God : the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites.
And when the builders laid the foundation of the Temple of the Lord, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals to praise the Lord, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.
And they sung together by course, in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord; because; he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever .towards Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Loxd was laid.:p
But many of the priests and Levites, and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men that had seen the first house, fc'hen the'foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud far jayl ':,••'.. •"•
So ihat the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people : for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.
i.,-. . .: .. . tr* of '. '* ."
r - ANNOTATIONS Asd REFLECTIONS. I .;.:.»::•.:.-.'' :.. '.. J '•' It required time to collect materials for the building, and engage workmen ; therefore the first year was employed in these necessary preparations; but early in the .second, the foundation of the temple-was ldid, which was done with great solemnity. It is supposed, that during the time that the Temple was building, a Tabernacle was set up, as in the days of David. K' While the Jews were carrying on the work, the Samaritans, who were planted in several cities of Israel in the room.of the Israelites, whom Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, carried away captive, desired to join with them 'inthe work; but neither the governors nor chiefs of the families of Israel would consent, being apprehensive that they. were no better than idolaters, notwithstanding they professed to worship the God of Israel. This refusal exasperated the Samaritans, who did their utmost to obstruct the work ; and though they could not alter the decree of Cyrus, yet, by bribing his ministers, they, in a great measure, defeated its effect; so that for several veral years the building went on but slowly. These disputes gave rise to that enmity which afterwards sub- . sisted between the Jews and the Samaritans. '.
It is supposed, that on this occasion Daniel gave himself up to prayer, and had some of those wonderful visiand which are found-among his prophecies; and it is thought he died soon after. The character of this good man is fully displayed'in the account of his life; -from whence it appears, that he was universally esteemed and renowned for his amiable disposition; that he devoted his heart to God in his youth, and obtained the blessing of the Lord, who, from a captive, made him a princej and distinguished him with his divine favour to the last.
The Jews having lost a powerful advocate in the Persian court, by the death of Daniel, their enemies took advantage of them, and succeeded in some of their designs against them; but as the people were able to work, and had the assistance of the Zidonians in respect to labour and materials, they proceeded, though not with such expedition as they would have done if the decree of the king of Persia had been allowed to have Its full influence.
. la the seventh year after the" restoration of the Jews their great benefactor Cyrus died, having reigned from his first taking on him the command of the Persian and Median armies, thirty years; from his taking of Babylon, nine years: and from being sole monarch of the East after the death of his uncle Darius, seven years: at the time of his death he was seventy years old. It is said of this prince that, when on his death bed, he called his family and friends about him, and expressed his hope of the immortality of the soul*.
* Rolliti's Autient History.
We 'We hare seen the full completion of the prophecies respecting the Babylonian empire. Let us now read tvhat Daniel particularly foretold respecting the great monarchies which were to. succeed it.
IXTKACTS 3F110M THE BBOPHECY OF DANIEL.
. From Chap. x.
In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.
In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.
And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river which is Hiddekel; then I lift up mine eyes, and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz:
His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet.like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.
And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with.me saw not the vssion; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.
Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned ia me into corruption. and I retained Tjo strength.