Ezra 6:12-22

EZRA 6:12

And the God that hath caused his name to dwell there destroy all kings and people, that shall put to their hand to alter and to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem. I Darius have made a decree; let it be done with speed.


Then Darius makes a general statement concerning anyone including kings and people that if anyone of those attempts to alter his decree or to attempt to destroy the house of God when it was being built or finished, that the God of Heaven would destroy them and their efforts to hinder the building of the temple.  Darius made that decree and had it put into immediate effect so no one would make any attempt to cause hurt to the house of God.


EZRA 6:13

Then Tatnai, governor on this side the river, Shethar-boznai, and their companions, according to that which Darius the king had sent, so they did speedily.


Then Tatnai and Shethar-boznai and all those with them had read the letter and its consequences for those who would try anything that would hinder the work on the temple.  They put the king’s decree into effect immediately.  I guess the part about taking the timber from their house and hanging them on it caused them to act hastily.


EZRA 6:14

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 it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.


Without any hindrance or enemies, the work on the temple continued to prosper according to the divine prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah.  They continued to build the temple until they finished it according to the commandment of God.  It was also done in accordance with the commandments of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, the kings of Persia.  It shows that even pagan kings are under the authority of God and that he can direct them whichever way he needs according to his plans.


EZRA 6:15

And this house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.


Adar was the last month of the Jewish Calendar and corresponds to our February into March.  It was four years after the decree from Darius went forth.


EZRA 6:16

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,


Then there were some of the ten tribes of Israel which returned, and the priests, Levites, and the children of the captivity which would have been the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.  They all partook in the dedication of the house of God with great joy because now they were once again able to partake in the feasts and offerings which they couldn’t for the past seventy years.


EZRA 6:17

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.


Then it was like the dedication of Solomon’s temple where they had dedicated it with many sacrifices.  They offered two hundred bulls, two hundred rams which were sheep, and four hundred lambs.  Then because some of the people of the ten tribes returned to Jerusalem with the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, they offered twelve male goats, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel for a sin offering.


EZRA 6:18

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.


Then for the normal service in the temple, they set the priests in their divisions or sections which was their duties and service.  Then the Levites were placed in their courses which was their divisions or sections for the work in the temple at Jerusalem according to the way it was prescribed in the writings of Moses.  Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him. (Numbers 3:6) 


EZRA 6:19

And the children of the captivity kept the passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month.


Then the returnees from Babylon had kept the passover for the first time in seventy years in the first month which was Nisan.  This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. (Exodus 12:2)


EZRA 6:20

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.


So all the priests and Levites were purified together as one man and now all of them were now pure which made them eligible to begin the work of the temple.  They now killed the passover which was the paschal lamb for all the children of the captivity who returned from Babylon.  It was done also for the other priests and themselves.  And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. (Exodus 12:6)  They were more ready and qualified to serve than in the days of Hezekiah.


EZRA 6:21

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,


All those who returned from Babylon and had separated themselves in both mind and body from the filthiness of the heathen which would have been their false religions, idols, and all the pagan feasts which accompanied them.  Those who have completely renounced false religions were now allowed to eat of the Lord’s passover.


EZRA 6:22

And kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for the LORD had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.


The feast of Unleavened Bread followed the Passover the next day and lasted for seven days.  The LORD had implanted in them real joy since they now had the temple and they would be able to return to life under the authority of the LORD.  The LORD had turned the king of Assyria to their favor.  Darius Artaxerxes was also king of Assyria and that is who is in view here.  He gave the returnees favor and helped them build the house of God by his decrees which sparked fear in those who wanted to stop it.  He helped strengthen their hands as they worked to build the house of the God of Israel.