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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Children of the captivity.—This designation is peculiarly appropriate here, as in Ezra 6:20. “All Israel” soon follows.Ezra 6:16. The children of Israel — Probably some out of each of the twelve tribes; the priests and Levites, &c., kept the dedication of the house of God with joy — When it was built, being designed only for sacred uses, “they now showed by an example how it should be used,” which, says Bishop Patrick, is the proper and simple sense of dedicating. They entered upon it with solemnity, and probably with a public declaration of the separating it from common uses, and the surrendering it to the honour of God, to be employed in his service.
16. the children of Israel … kept the dedication … with joy—The ceremonial was gone through with demonstrations of the liveliest joy. The aged who had wept at the laying of the foundation [Ezr 3:12] were most, if not all of them, now dead; and all rejoiced at the completion of this national undertaking.
the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity; those of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin: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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)16. the children of Israel] Cf. the application of the term ‘Israel’ in Ezra 2:70, Ezra 3:1. In its special religious significance, its use here is appropriate to the sacredness of the event, in which the people were engaged, while it tends to clear the Jewish community from the charge of exclusiveness towards their own brethren. ‘The priests and Levites and the rest of the children of the Captivity’. Under these heads, the Israelites would be grouped at such a festival, cf. Ezra 6:20. Children of the Captivity’. See on Ezra 1:11, Ezra 2:1. Cf. Ezra 6:19.
dedication] Called in the Greek Encænia (ἐγκαίνια, LXX.), and in Hebrew ‘Khanukah’, the same word which gives its name to the Feast of the Dedication, founded to commemorate the purification of the Temple after the pollution of Antiochus Epiphanes (164), cf. John 10:22. That festival was kept for eight days (cf. 1Ma 4:60) and began on 25th of Chislev (the 9th month).
with joy] Some have suggested in connexion with this joyous occasion that the Psalms 145-148, called in the LXX. Psalm of Haggai and Zechariah, may have been composed at this period. But proof is wanting.Verse 16. - The children of Israel. Again the writer is careful to present the returned exiles to us as "Israel," and not merely "Judah" (comp. 2:70; 3:1, 10, 11; 4:3; 5:1). This is especially fitting when he is about to explain why the number of the he-goats offered was twelve (see the next verse). Kept the dedication of this house of God. The primary dedication seems to be glanced at in the words, "the dedication of this house," an expression repeated in the next verse. It is one of the great objects of Ezra to link the present with the past, the new temple with the old, the restored religion with that of former times. Daniel 2:46) are sacrifices agreeable to God, ניחוחין ריח (Leviticus 1:9, Leviticus 1:13, and elsewhere), i.e., sacrifices pleasing to God. Cyrus had commanded the rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem, because he acknowledged the God of Israel to be the God of heaven, who had given him the kingdoms of the earth (Ezra 1:2). Darius was treading in his footsteps by also owning the God of the Jews as the God of heaven, and desiring that the blessing of this God might rest upon himself and his dynasty. Such an acknowledgment it was possible for the Persian kings to make without a renunciation of their polytheism. They could honour Jahve as a mighty, nay, as the mightiest God of heaven, without being unfaithful to the gods of their fathers; while the Jews could also, in the interest of their own welfare, pray and offer sacrifices in the temple of the Lord for the life of the king to whom God had caused them to be subject (comp. Jeremiah 29:7). Accordingly we find that in after times sacrifices were regularly offered for the king on appointed days: comp. 1 Macc. 7:33, 12:11; 2 Macc. 3:35, 13:23; Joseph. Antiq. xii. 2. 5, and elsewhere.
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