Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled…
Here are four things which claim our attention.
I. THE REGARD OF GOD FOR HIS WORD. "Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled," etc. (Jeremiah 29:10; Numbers 23:19). "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away." "The Word of the Lord endureth for ever." "He abideth faithful; He cannot deny Himself." We have in this —
1. An assurance that the prophecies and promises of His Word will be fulfilled. "As the architect progressively executes every part of the plan which he has delineated, till the whole design is completed, so God in His providence performs in due order all the prophecies of His Word: a great proportion of His great scheme has already been accomplished, and revolving ages will hasten the performance of all the rest in the appointed periods."
2. An encouragement to trust in Him. "Whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be set on high" (Psalm 22:4, 5; Psalm 18:2).
II. THE MERCY OF GOD TO HIS PEOPLE. This mercy is seen —
1. In the design and effect of the captivity. "Thus the Divine word of chastisement," says Schultz, "ever goes hand in hand with His word of salvation."
2. In the release from captivity.
(1) As to its time.
(2) As to its meaning.It was an assurance of the Divine forgiveness of their sins. Their release was also the commencement of many and great blessings. "What a fulness of salvation after the night of misfortune — the entire extent of Messianic redemption."
III. THE INFLUENCE OF GOD UPON THE SPIRIT OF MAN. "The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia."
1. The nature of this influence. "This does not mean," says Schultz, "that Cyrus was influenced in the same way as were the prophets, upon whom, with their greater susceptibility, the Spirit of the Lord came; but yet an influence in consequence of which Cyrus made the will of God his own will, and executed it in the things under consideration. God gave him the resolution and the desire to execute His intention." All the good in human life is the result of Divine influence.
2. The subject of this influence: Cyrus king of Persia. "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water; He turneth it whithersoever He will." He is now using the powers of the world to promote the interests of His cause.
3. The design of this influence. "The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, that he made a proclamation," etc. In all the inspirations and impressions He imparts to man, His aim is to save and bless him, and to make him an agent in blessing others.
IV. THE SUITABLE RESPONSE OF MAN TO THE INFLUENCE OF GOD. "Cyrus made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom," etc.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
WEB: Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of Yahweh by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, Yahweh stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and [put it] also in writing, saying,