Ezra 6:1-11

EZRA 6:1

Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon.


Then Darius had decreed that a search was to be made for the decree of Cyrus to have the temple in Jerusalem rebuilt.  The house of rolls was the place where they kept all the decrees and must have been in the temple of Babylon.  It was a place of central storage for treasure and archives of the rule of the kings.

EZRA 6:2

And there was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of the Medes, a roll, and therein was a record thus written:


Achmetha was a city in Media which was the summer residence of the kings, they dwelt in Shushan in the winter.  They found a book which Cyrus had made and probably took with him when he went there and it stayed there.


EZRA 6:3

In the first year of Cyrus the king the same Cyrus the king made a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, Let the house be builded, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid; the height thereof threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof threescore cubits;


The record they found contained the following information.  In the first year when Cyrus had become king of Babylon, he issued a decree concerning the building of the house of God in Jerusalem.  They were to build the temple on the place where Solomon’s temple was previously built.  They were to make a strong foundation for the temple and not to do a shoddy job but were to build it strong the first time.  The height of it was to be sixty cubits which was ninety feet and the breadth which was the measurement from side to side was also sixty cubits which was ninety feet.  This temple was to be built a little bigger than the temple of Solomon.  The height of Solomon’s temple was thirty cubits which was forty five feet but the breadth was the same size.  And the house which king Solomon built for the LORD, the length thereof was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits. (1 Kings 6:2)  A cubit was approximately eighteen inches.


EZRA 6:4

With three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber: and let the expences be given out of the king's house:


The three rows of great stones referred to three stories of chambers as those which were attached to Solomon’s temple and on top of these was placed an additional story of wood.  The last part of the decree in this verse was that the king would pay for the structure but it seems the Jews had built the temple at their own expense as they might not wanted pagan money to build the temple.


EZRA 6:5

And also let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought unto Babylon, be restored, and brought again unto the temple which is at Jerusalem, every one to his place, and place them in the house of God.


Then after the temple was built, then Cyrus ordered that all the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar had taken to Babylon were to be restored to the temple for the work.  They were all to be placed in their proper locations according to the plan which God gave Moses.  These vessels were given to Zerubbabel as Cyrus returned them for the temple.


EZRA 6:6

Now therefore, Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shethar-boznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which are beyond the river, be ye far from thence:


Now Darius responds to the letter sent to him by Tatnai and Shethar-boznai and the Apharsachites.  These are the rulers on this side of the Euphrates.  The king is commanding them to remain far from Jerusalem and not to even think about hindering the work of the rebuilding of the temple.  They were to do nothing which would cause the ceasing of the work on the temple.


EZRA 6:7

Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place.


Then king Darius decreed that there is to be nothing done to the Jews to cause them to stop the building of the temple.  The governor, that is Zerubbabel, and the elders of Judah were to have free course in building the temple and no one was to do anything to attempt to stop the work.  The king wanted to make sure that none of the Persian officials would interfere with the progress.


EZRA 6:8

Moreover I make a decree what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king's goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expences be given unto these men, that they be not hindered.


Then king Darius extended the decree of Cyrus by authorizing the Persian officials to give of the king’s goods which was funds even if they took it out of the tribute which was being collected from that part of the empire and was to be given to the Jews for expenses which they may incur beyond what they were able to collect from the people. Darius did not want the work of the temple to be hindered for the reason if they were short of funds to buy the materials they needed to complete the temple.


EZRA 6:9

And that which they have need of, both young bullocks, and rams, and lambs, for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the appointment of the priests which are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail:


Then in addition to the funds they would need, Darius also decreed that they were to be given bulls, rams, and lambs for the purpose of sacrificing burnt offerings unto the God of Heaven.  Then they were also to be given wheat, salt, wine and oil for the purpose of preparing certain offerings unto the LORD.  And when any will offer a meat offering unto the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon: (Leviticus 2:1)  It was to be given to them each day without any interruption for those sacrifices.


EZRA 6:10

That they may offer sacrifices of sweet savours unto the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons.


King Darius wanted the priests to continue to offer sacrifices of sweet savours which would be sweet aroma unto the God of Heaven.  And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. (Genesis 8:21)  Then within the temple ministry, Darius had desired that they would pray for him and his sons.  History records that some of his sons had died and he was requesting prayer for the preservation of the ones still living.


EZRA 6:11

Also I have made a decree, that whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon; and let his house be made a dunghill for this.


The king was so serious about this that he also decreed that anyone who alters the words of his decree that timber was to be taken from their house and made into a gallows and they were to be hung on it and the rest of their house and property would be destroyed.