As they were building the Temple the “enemy people” that were currently living there said, “We will help”. They were liars. They knew that the Jewish nation would become powerful again so they wanted to keep their thumb on them. Verse 6 -12 is a “recap of the complete history of the rebuilding of the Temple. Here is a list of the Persian kings through Biblical history:
Take a look at the letter that was written to Artaxerxes in verse 12. Basically, the letter said: “If these people build their temple, they will rebel, they will stop paying taxes, and they will rebel against the king and overtake him”. So Artaxerxes researched their history of rebellions against kings in the past and said “You’re right!”
24 Thus the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
For years all construction stopped!
Chapter 5- There is a gap here in time. What does God do in this gap? He sends a Word to them. He sends Haggai and Zechariah to encourage them.
Another letter is written when they began rebuilding, this time to Darius. The letter simply states:
- We asked the Jewish people WHO gave you permission to build this Temple??
- They said- King Cyrus, the king that conquered Babylon… did!
- AND he gave us our Temple belongings back
- AND he gave us money to do this!
(so can we get back to work now because even Haggai and Zechariah are helping us with this construction!)
Chapter 6: Darius researches the claims. He found a scroll in the Province of Media from Cyrus: Here is a scroll of you would like to read it for yourself 😉
Darius writes back- #TrueStory!!
- Let them rebuild the Temple…
- oh, and wait for this..the cost will be paid for by the royal treasure!
- AND the governor, Tatternai…stay away from the project
- Oh and Tatternai..when I said “royal treasure” I meant from your city funds…so give them a blank check!
- Last, “I dare anyone to interfere! I dare you”
Verse 12- I Darius have decreed it. Let it be carried out with diligence.
If you have already read, go back and soak up the beauty of verses 13-22.
18 And they installed the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their groups for the service of God at Jerusalem, according to what is written in the Book of Moses.
I can’t help but to think back to where they started, how far they moved from the Lord, but the Lord NEVER gave up and always promised a restoration. So undeserved! And here we are, all for the purpose of bringing the Messiah to the whole world.
19 On the fourteenth day of the first month, the exiles celebrated the Passover. 20 The priests and Levites had purified themselves and were all ceremonially clean. The Levites slaughtered the Passover lamb for all the exiles, for their relatives the priests and for themselves. 21 So the Israelites who had returned from the exile ate it, together with all who had separated themselves from the unclean practices of their Gentile neighbors in order to seek the Lord, the God of Israel. 22 For seven days they celebrated with joy the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because the Lord had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.
Psalm 137- So let me ask you…if you read this Psalm years ago, would it have been as clear as it now that you have read the Captivity? I will say the ending is rough! Ouch.
1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
2 There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4 How can we sing the songs of the Lord
while in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill.
6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy.
7 Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did
on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,
“tear it down to its foundations!”
8 Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is the one who repays you
according to what you have done to us.
9 Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.
This is an imprecatory Psalm:“to invoke evil upon or curse” one’s enemies.
The psalmist recalls both the disgraces of the Edomites (who looted Jerusalem) and the Babylonians who destroyed their capital city.