Ezra 3:3
And they set the altar upon his bases; for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD, even burnt offerings morning and evening.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
(3) Upon his bases.—Upon its old site, or its place, discovered among the ruins. Thus was it signified that all the new was to be only a restoration of the old.

For fear was upon them.—Until their offerings went up they did not feel sure of the Divine protection. This was their first act of defiance in the presence of the nations around: near the altar they were strong.

Ezra 3:3. They set the altar upon his bases — That is, in the place where it anciently stood; for fear was upon them, because of the people of those countries — And therefore they made the more haste, lest they should be hindered. Apprehension of dangers should quicken us in our duty. Have we many enemies? We have the more need to have God for our friend, and to keep up our correspondence with him. Some translate the clause, Although fear was upon them; that is, although they were in great fear of their evil neighbours, yet, notwithstanding, they would not desist from restoring the worship of God.

3:1-7 From the proceedings of the Jews on their arrival, let us learn to begin with God, and to do what we can in the worship of God, when we cannot do what we would. They could not at once have a temple, but they would not be without an altar. Fear of danger should stir us to our duty. Have we many enemies? Then it is good to have God our Friend, and to keep up communion with him. Our fears should drive us to our knees. The sacrifices for all these solemnities were a heavy expense for so poor a company; yet besides those expressly appointed, many brought free-will offerings to the Lord. And they made preparation for the building of the temple without delay: whatever God calls us to do, we may depend upon his providence to furnish us with the needful means.Upon his bases - They restored the old altar of burnt-offerings, which stood directly in front of the temple-porch, upon the old foundation. This became apparent on the clearing away of the ruins, and on a careful examination of the site. 3. they set the altar upon his bases—They reared it upon its old foundation, so that it occupied as nearly as possible the site on which it had formerly stood.

they offered burnt offerings … morning and evening—Deeming it their duty to perform the public rites of religion, they did not wait till the temple should be rebuilt and dedicated; but, at the outset, they resumed the daily service prescribed by the law (Ex 29:38, 39; Le 6:9, 11), as well as observed the annual seasons of solemn observance.

No text from Poole on this verse.

And they set the altar upon his bases,.... Which might remain of the old altar; or the meaning is, that it was fixed and settled on the same spot where it stood before:

for fear was upon them, because of the people of those countries; and therefore they hastened to erect an altar, and offer sacrifices to the Lord, in hope that he would appear for them, and help them against their enemies; or rather, as some render the words (q) "though fear was upon them", &c. yet they were not deterred from the work, worship, and service of God:

and they offered burnt offerings unto the Lord, even burnt offerings, morning and evening; the daily sacrifice, as directed to Exodus 29:38.

(q) "quamvis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Patrick.

And they set the altar upon {c} his bases; for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD, even burnt offerings morning and evening.

(c) In the place where Solomon had placed it.

3. upon his bases] R.V. upon its base. Marg. ‘in its place’. (a) There is a difference of reading. The C’thib gives the singular, the K’ri the plural. The word occurs frequently in the plur. (e.g. 2 Kings 16:17; 2 Kings 25:13; Jeremiah 27:19; Jeremiah 52:17; Jeremiah 52:20), it is probable that the singular has been altered into the more familiar plural usage. (b) The meaning of the word is much controverted. On the one hand it is supposed that having cleared away the rubbish and débris the leaders of the people came upon the old foundations or ‘base’ of the former altar and erected the new altar upon the spot. But the translation ‘upon its base’ scarcely admits of such latitude of interpretation; although the sentiment is most suitable.

On the other hand, if to ‘set upon its base’ merely means to erect, the term is unnecessarily ponderous.

The translation of the R.V. margin ‘in its place’ seems to be the best. It is very probable that the word in the verse is identical with that in Ezra 2:68. The altar was set up in the place which it was permanently to occupy.

for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries] R.V. the countries. The condensed language of this clause in the original has occasioned much perplexity. Literally it runs ‘for in fear upon them because of &c.’. (i) Another rendering has been proposed ‘for they (set up the altar) in fear, which came upon them because of the people of the countries’, but this leaves the word ‘for’ unexplained and supposes a very awkward construction.

(ii) The translation of the A.V. and R.V. cuts the grammatical knot contained in the words ‘in fear’ by translating them as the subject. Accepting this translation ‘for fear was upon them &c.’, a further question is raised by the motive of their action. The following answers have been given: (a) they set up the altar hoping to obtain thereby assistance from God, for they were in a state of fear: (b) they set up the altar in haste, for they feared the neighbouring peoples lest their interference at the court of Cyrus should check the work at its outset.

(iii) Quite a different turn to the verse is given by another rendering (? that of Ewald). ‘They set up the altar (and they were able to do so), for there was a fear felt toward them (the Jews) on the part of the people of the country’. This would be a fear such as we read of in Genesis 35:5; Exodus 15:16; Joshua 2:11. It is to be noticed that in the last two passages the same rather unusual word for terror is used as we find in this verse.

(iv) Supposing that there has been a corruption of the text, it has been suggested that some important words have fallen out and that we should read ‘And the people of the countries gathered themselves together against them, and they (the Jews) set up the altar in its place, for in a moment of terror at them did they set it up’. (Ryssel.)

(v) The suggestion is here made that a very slight alteration—the omission of one letter (the preposition = ‘because of’)—will supply a good sense and remove the grammatical difficulty, i.e. ‘for the people of the countries were a terror to them’. The accidental repetition of this one letter has probably given rise to the whole difficulty. The meaning of the verse then will be ‘they set up the altar, for their neighbours were a source of terror to them,’ and the erection of the altar gave them religious confidence, it constituted a national rallying point; it was a beginning, and the success of the first movement might be decisive.

the people of those countries] R.V. the people of the countries. It is to be regretted that the R.V. has not here rendered this phrase (’ammê ha-arâçoth) by ‘the peoples of the lands’ as in Ezra 9:1-2; Ezra 9:11. It here apparently means the inhabitants of the border countries. See note on Ezra 6:21.

burnt offerings morning and evening] The daily sacrifice morning and evening as described in Exodus 29:38; Numbers 28:3-8. Cf. Nehemiah 10:38.

Verse 3. - They set the altar upon his bases. They built the new altar upon the foundations of the old one, making it exactly conform to them. This was done, no doubt, to indicate that the religion which the exiles brought back from Babylon was in every respect identical with that which they had possessed before they were carried thither. Many moderns hold the contrary; but it has not yet been proved that the sojourn at Babylon modified the religious ideas of the Jews in any important particular. For fear was upon them. Or, "though fear was upon them." Notwithstanding their fear of the surrounding nations, they set up the altar. We must remember that their neighbours were not Persians, but descendants of various idolatrous nations - Hamathites, Babylonians, Susianians, Elamites, Cuthaeans, etc. - bitterly opposed to anything like a pure spiritual religion (see 2 Kings 17:24; Ezra 4:9, 10). Though the exiles had permission from Cyrus to raise up not only their altar, but their temple, it was not at all certain that his nominal subjects would passively submit. It was as if a modern Turkish Sultan should decree the erection of a Christian altar and a grand Christian cathedral at Kerbela or Bussorah, towards the verge of his empire. There would be great danger in acting on such a decree. Burnt offerings morning and evening. So the law required (see Exodus 29:38, 39; Numbers 28:3, 4). CELEBRATION OF THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES (ver. 4). Emboldened by their successful restoration of the altar of burnt sacrifice, Zerubbabel and Jeshua allowed the people to gather themselves together and celebrate the autumnal festival, though they can scarcely have made it on this occasion a "feast of ingathering." Ezra 3:3They reared the altar על־מכונתו, upon its (former) place; not, upon its bases. The feminine מכונה has here a like signification with the masculine form מכון, Ezra 2:68, and מכוּנה, Zechariah 5:11. The Keri מכונתיו is an incorrect revision. "For fear was upon them, because of the people of those countries." The ב prefixed to אימה is the so-called ב essentiae, expressing the being in a condition; properly, a being in fear had come or lay upon them. Comp. on ב essentiae, Ewald, 217, f, and 299, b, though in 295, f, he seeks to interpret this passage differently. The "people of those countries" are the people dwelling in the neighbourhood of the new community; comp. Ezra 9:1; Ezra 10:2. The notion is: They erected the altar and restored the worship of Jahve, for the purpose of securing the divine protection, because fear of the surrounding heathen population had fallen upon them. J. H. Mich. had already a correct notion of the verse when he wrote: ut ita periculi metus eos ad Dei opem quaerendam impulerit.

(Note: Bertheau, on the contrary, cannot understand the meaning of this sentence, and endeavours, by an alteration of the text after 1 Esdras, to make it signify that some of the people of the countries came with the purpose of obstructing the building of the altar, but that the Israelites were able to effect the erection because a fear of God came upon the neighbouring nations, and rendered them incapable of hostile interference.)

Comp. the similar case in 2 Kings 17:25., when the heathen colonists settled in the deserted cities of Samaria entreated the king of Assyria to send them a priest to teach them the manner of worshipping the God of the land, that thus they might be protected from the lions which infested it. The Chethiv ויאל must be taken impersonally: "one (they) offered;" but is perhaps only an error of transcription, and should be read ויּעלוּ. On the morning and evening sacrifices, see on Exodus 28:38., Numbers 28:3.

Ezra 3:3 Interlinear
Ezra 3:3 Parallel Texts

Ezra 3:3 NIV
Ezra 3:3 NLT
Ezra 3:3 ESV
Ezra 3:3 NASB
Ezra 3:3 KJV

Ezra 3:3 Bible Apps
Ezra 3:3 Parallel
Ezra 3:3 Biblia Paralela
Ezra 3:3 Chinese Bible
Ezra 3:3 French Bible
Ezra 3:3 German Bible

Bible Hub

Ezra 3:2
Top of Page
Top of Page