About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Chapter - Chapter 6
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
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
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
Verses 6 and 7 was a
decree issued by Darius to Tattenai and his officials.
Darius told them to stay away from
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.
Verse 13 says that on the
14th day of the first month the Jews declared a Passover, the
first of they yearly feasts of
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
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