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In the beginning of the fifth year of Darius, the Babylonians revolted from him, on account of his having removed the imperial seat to Shushan; and they resolved to set up a king for themselves, and began to lay in provisions for a war. At length they broke into open rebellion, and were besieged by Darius. Conscious that •hey were not able to meet him in the field, they resolved to maintain themselves during a siege : and, that their provisions might hold out, they came to a desperate resolution to cut off the useless part of the inhabitants ; and, collecting together the women and children they strangled them all, excepting only that each man was allowed to save one of his wives, and a maid servant to do the work of his house. The Israelties had been warned about two years before to flee out of that land that they might be delivered from the plagues which were coming on it; and there is great reason to suppose that they did so. Darius, in about a year and eight months took Bnbylon; and, as soon as he was master of the place, he removed its hundred gates, and beat down its walls, reducing their height from two hundred cubits to thirty, and gave the inhabitants up, for a spoil to the Persians, who had been their servants.
Heimpaled three thousand of themostguilty, and par* doned the rest.
It is to be observed, that the punishment of Babylon kept pace with the restoration of Judah, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah*; and they were subjected to the Persians in the same manner as they had conquered and subjected the Jews. Babylon languished from this time, and at last came to utter desolation,
* Jer. xxv. 12, W, 14.'
THE TEMPLE AT JERUSALEM FINISHED AND DEDICATED.
And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished the temple, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.
And this house was finished on the third day of the month of Adar,which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.
And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy, and offered at the dedication of this house of God an hundred bullocks, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin-offering for all Israel, twelve he goats, according^ to the number of the tribes of Israel.
And they set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God which is at Jerusalem; as it is written in the book of Moses.
For the priests and the Levites were purified together, all of them were pure, and killed the passover for all the children of the captivity, and for their brethren the priests, and for themselves.
And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the Lord God of Israel, did eat.
And the children of the captivity kept the passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month.
And kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days .with joy: for the Lord had made them joyful, and I turned the heart of the king-.of Persia unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of | Cod, the lidty of Israel.' j
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
The Israelites must undoubtedly haw felt great joy at the dedication of the Temple. It was not indeed in. their power to adorn it in so magnificent a manner as Solomon's, nor to celebrate its dedication with such numberless sacrifices; and it wanted advantages which; the first Temple enjoyed particularly the Token of the Divine Presence, the Ark of-the Covenant, the. Urim and TiitiMMiM, and the Holy Fire on the Al-: Tar: but they had.a promise, that the glory. of this Temple should exceed that of Solomon's. It is observable, that. there were twelve he goats offered; from which we may understand, that some of all the tribes returned to Jerusalem,. through. that of Judah being the most 8u* merous, they were denominated from it; and from this time All the people began to be called Jews.
The temple .was twenty years in building: at the dedication of it, the following psalms are supposed to> have been sung. T .
'' * Praise ye the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul'.
While I live-, xvill I praise the Lord: I xeill sing praises u>ito my God while I have any being.
Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in ichom there is no help.
'His breath goeth forth, he returncth to his earth: in thai very day his thoughts perish.
Happy is he that hath the God of Jacobfor his kclfr, ivhose hope is in the Lord his Go»t'
. . ;*r*alm cxby
Which made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever ..' 'Which executeth judgment Jbr the oppressed, which g-iv eth food to the hungry. The Loud luoseth the prisoners:
The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind? the Lord raiseth them that are bowed down: the Lord loveth the righteous.- . < '. .
The Lord preserveth the strangers: Herelieveth the fatherless and widow: but the itay of the wicked he turneth upside down.
The Lord shall reign forever, even thy God, 0 Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the Lord.
-* Praise ye the Lord .' for it is good to sing praises unto our God, for it is pleasant, and praise is comely.
The Lord doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israeli. ', 'A I
He healcth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds, ' . .' . . \v; .''
He telleth the. number of the stars. He calleth them all by their names. .fi
Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite. . \ The Lord lifteth up the meek: He casteth the wicked down to the ground.
Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving: sing praise upon the harp unto our God:
Who icovereth the heaven with clouds. Who preparcth rain for the earth. Who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.
He givetk to the beast his food, and to the young ra* vens which cry.
He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: He taketk not pleasure in the legs of a man.
* Psalm cxlvii.
v . The
The Lord taketk pleasure w them that fear Him, in those that hope in His mercy.
Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.
For He hath strengthened the bars of thy gates: He hath blessed thy children within thee.
He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.
He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: His word runneth very swiftly.
He giveth snow like wool: He scattereth the hoarfrost tike ashes. -.
He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand be' . fore His cold?
He sendeth out his word, and melieth them: He eauseth His wind to blow, and the waters flow. .
He sheweth His word unto Jacob, His statutes, and His judgments unto Israel.
He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for His judgments, they have not kiMwn them. Praise ye the Lord.
. * Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise Him in the heights.
Praise ye Him, all His angels : praise ye Him, all His hosts. ''
Praise ye him, sun and moon ;praise Him, all ye stars of light.
Praise Hint, ye heaven of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.
Let them praise the name of the Lord : for he commanded and they were created.
He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass.
Praise theJ,ORDfrom the earth, ye dragons and all deeps. * Psalm cxl\ iii.