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.
Chal. made to descend.
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:
or, at Ecbatana, or, in a coffer. ['argaz (zgr))] probably from the Persian [chm] kham, "a house for a summer residence," with a prefix, [a] aleph, and the Chaldee termination [ta] tha, most likely denotes Ecbatana, as the Vulgate and Josephus read, the summer residence of the Persian monarchs. It was situated in a mountainous region at the foot of mount Orontes, or Jasonius, according to Ammianus, on the southern confines of Media and Persia, and according to Pliny, 750 miles from Seleucia the Great, 20 miles from the Caspian passes, 450 miles from Susa, and the same from GazÊ Atropatene, and in lat. 37 degrees 45 min., long. 88 degrees, according to Ptolemy. The building of the city is ascribed to Semiramis by Diodorus, but to Deioces by Eusebius, (in Chron. 1.1,) and Herodotus, who states that it was surrounded by seven walls, strong and ample, built in circles one within another, rising each above each by the height of their respective battlements; each being distinguished by a different colour, the first white, the second black, the third purple, the fourth blue, the fifth orange, the sixth plated with silver, and the seventh with gold. The largest of these was nearly the extent of Athens, i.e., 200 furlongs, according to Dion Chrysostom; but Diodorus Siculus states the circumference of Ecbatana to be 250 furlongs. Within the inner circle stood the king's palace and the royal treasury, so much celebrated for its splendour and riches by Polybius. It is highly probable, as D'Anville and Major Rennel suppose, that the present Hamadan, whose ruins attest its former splendour, occupies the site of Ecbatana. It is situated in Al Gebal, at the foot of the lofty mountain Alwend, about 80 leagues from Ispahan, and also from Bagdad.
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 first year
With three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber: and let the expenses be given out of the king's house:
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.
Now therefore, Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shetharboznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which are beyond the river, be ye far from thence:
Chal. their societies.
be ye far
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.
Let the work
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 expenses be given unto these men, that they be not hindered.
I make a decree
Chal. by me a decree is made. the king's.
Chal. made to cease.
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:
let it be given
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.
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.
Chal. destroyed. his house.
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 Tatnai, governor on this side the river, Shetharboznai, and their companions, according to that which Darius the king had sent, so they did speedily.
so they did
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.
And the elders
Chal. decree. Cyrus.
This was Artaxerxes, the third son and successor of Xerxes, surnamed [Makrocheir] or Longimanus, or in Persian, Ardsheer deeraz dest, "Ardsheer the long-handed;" so called, according to the Greeks, from the extra-ordinary length of his hands, but according to the Easterners, from the extent of his dominions. He ascended the Persian throne, A.M. 3540, B.C. 464, and reigned forty-one years. He is said to have been the most handsome person of his age, and to have been a prince of a very mild and generous disposition.
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.
A. M. 3489. B.C. 515. Adar
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,
children of the captivity
Chal. sons of the transportation.
22 3:11,12 Deuteronomy 12:7 1 Chronicles 15:28 2 Chronicles 7:10 30:23,26 Nehemiah 8:10 12:43 Psalms 122:1 Philippians 4:4 Having set up the worship of God in this dedication, they took care to keep it up, and made the book of Moses their rule, to which they had an eye in this establishment. Though the temple service could not now be performed with so much pomp and plenty as formerly, because of their poverty, yet no doubt it was performed with as much purity and close adherence to the Divine institutions as ever. No beauty is like the beauty of holiness.
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.
a sin offering
Though the tribes of Benjamin and Judah, with the priests and Levites, formed the bulk of the people, yet many from the other tribes had returned with them from captivity.
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.
as it is written
Chal. according to the writing.
And the children of the captivity kept the passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month.
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 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.
Darius, as reigning over the country of Assyria, is here called "the king of Assyria."