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ch. 6:1-12    ch. 6:13-18   

The Decree Of Darius (ch. 6:1 - 12)  

 

In verse 1 we note that Darius issued an order for a search to me made to see if King Cyrus actually issued a decree to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.  They search Babylon , but it appears they could not find the document they were looking for because in verse two we see it was found in Ecbatana which was about  three hundred miles from Babylon.  How it got there, we donít know.

 

Verses 3 to 5 state the decree of Cyrus which meant it was the law of the land that could not be revoked.  This is why there was great emphasis in searching the archives. 

 

In the decree we see that Cyrus did allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem to built the temple, including its altar so Israel could once again worship their God.

 

In verse 4 we even see some of the dimensions of the temple in the decree, but most of all we see that the Persian government helped financially with the building project. Then, verse 5 tells us that the objects of the temple that Nebuchadnezzar took from the Jewish temple must be returned to the temple.  You can see these in chapter 1.

 

Verses 6 and 7 was a decree issued by Darius to Tattenai and his officials.  Darius told them to stay away from Jerusalem and let the Jews rebuild their temple.  Iím sure that Tattenai did not like the response from the king, but he had no choice.  So once again, the Jews had the civil authority to build, but it wasnít without a struggle, which is often the case when doing Godís will.  Many people think that if struggle is involved, it must not be Godís will, but most likely, just the opposite is true.

 

Verse 8 begins the details of Dariusí decree concerning the rebuilding of the temple.  Darius specifically says that the expenses of the men building must be paid from the royal treasury of the territory of Trans-Euphrates.  That would be Tattenaiís area of responsibility.  Iím sure that Tattenai was really not happy with that.  His plan has now back fired on him.

 

The next part of the decree that is found in verse 9 would even be more maddening to Tattenai.  Darius states that the government must provide everything needed for the daily sacrifice, whether animals, grain, oil, or whatever.  It all must be provided on a daily basis without fail.

 

Verse 11 states the punishment for anyone who does not obey this decree.  It states that a beam be pulled from his house and he be ďimpaledĒ, and then his house must be turned into a pile of rubbish.  This is clearly a very strong decree.  He NIV uses the word ďimpaledĒ here.  This means that the been be used as a sword so to speak. The beam is shoved right through the man who disobeyed.  

 

The decree ends by saying that may the name of the Jewís God be great in the land, and may He destroy any other king that would come against the Jews and their temple.  The Jews should have been very happy, and Iím sure they were, but in the long run, it was not the enemy of the Jews that would let the temple fall into decay, it was the Jews themselves.  As in the church today, it seems like our greatest enemy is ourselves.

 

Completion And Dedication Of The Temple (ch. 6:13 - 18)           

 

Verse 13 says that on the 14th day of the first month the Jews declared a Passover, the first of they yearly feasts of Israel.  We must remember that their first month is our western calendarís third month.

 

Verse 20 states that the priests and Levites purified themselves.  This was a ceremonial ritual that was prescribed in the Law of Moses, something which had to be done for the priests to perform their duties during Passover.  The lambs were killed and all the Jews ate the Passover meal together. 

 

Verse 21 says that all those who had separated themselves from the Gentile practices ate the Passover. This separation is important throughout all of the Bible, both the Jews of old and Christians today are to separate themselves from the worldly practices of those who live around them.  Paul says to ďbe separateĒ. (2 Cor. 6:17)  God is not happy with a mixture of worldliness and godliness.  And really, this is partly what salvation is all about - people being taken out of the world and place in the Kingdom of God. 

 

Verse 22 states that this particular Passover was a very joyous occasion because the king assisted them in the rebuilding of the temple of the Lord. Itís clear that there are times and seasons in the economy of the Lord.  In some periods of time God allows secular government to help or make it easy on Godís people.  This has been the case in the western world in times past.  Much of this is due to the Christian influence that has been upon the west, and of course, Godís sovereign choice.  Yet at other times, as is beginning to be the case now, governments have been more hostile to Christians.  This too is for a reason.  It might well be a time of testing or judgment on Godís people. We see this clearly with Israel.  They were being judged by God so Babylon overthrew them and they lost their rights.  Yet once judgment was over, Israel regained civil rights.

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