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And as the feast of unleavened bread was at Persians. And wbatsoever it was that they hand, in the first month, which according to were enjoined to pay to the Jews, by the the Macedonian is called Xanthícus, but ac king's order, out of their tribute, for the saerie cording to us Nisan : all the people run toge- fices, they would not pay it. They had also ther out of the villages to the city, and cele the governors favourable to them, and assisting brated the festival ; having purified themselves them for that purpose. Nor did they spare to with their wives and children, according to hort them, either by themselves, or by others, the law of their country : and they offered the as far as they were able. So the Jews detersacrifice called the passover, on the fourteenth mined to send an ambassage to king Darius, day of the same inonth, and feasted seven in favour of the people of Jerusalem; and in ordays, and spared no expence, but offered der to accuse the Samaritans. The ambassawhole burnt offerings to God, and performed dors were Zorobabel, and four others of the sacrifices of thanksgiving, because God had led rulers. And as soon as the king knew from them again to the land of their fathers, and to the ambassadors the accusations and comthe laws thereto belonging; and had rendered plaints they brought against the Samaritans, the mind of the king of Persia favourable to he gave them an epistle to be carried to the them. So these men offered the largest sa governors and council of Samaria. The concrifices on these accounts, and used great tents of the epistle were these :magnificence in the worship of God; and King Darius to Tanganas, and Sambabas dwelt in Jerusalem; and made use of a form governors of the Samaritans; to Sadraces and of government that was aristocratic, but mix-Bobelo, and the rest of their fellow servants ed with an oligarchy. For the high-priests that are in Samaria: Zorobabel, Ananias, and were at the head of the affairs, until those pos- Mordecai, the ambassadors of the Jews, comterity of the Asmoneans set up regal govern- | plain of you, that you obstruct them in the ment. For before their captivity and the dis- building of the temple, and do not supply solution of their polity, they at first had king- them with the expences that I commanded ly government from Saul and David, for five you to do, for the offering their sacrifices. My hundred and thirty-two years, six months, and will is therefore, that upon reading of this ten days. But before those kings, such rulers epistle, you supply them with whatsoever they governed them as were called judges and mo want for their sacrifices; and that out of the narchs. Under this form of government they | royal treasury of the tributes of Samaria, as continued for more than five hundred years, the priest shall desire ; that they may not leave after the death of Moses and of Joshua their off offering their daily sacrifice, por praying commander. And this is the account I had to to God for me, and the Persians." give of the Jews who had been carried into captivity, but were delivered from it in the
CHAP. V. times of Cyrus and Darius.
* But the Samaritans, being enviously disposed towards the Jews, wrought them many
PON the death of Darius, † the governmischiefs; by reliance on their riches, and by ment devolved upon his son Xerxes, I their pretence that they were allied to the who, as he inherited his father's kingdom, so
OF THE AFFAIRS OF THE JEWS UNDER XERXES, THE SON OF
DARIUS ; ALSO CONCERNING ESDRAS AND NEHEMIAH.
* N. B. This part of the history is entirely wanting in all our other copies, both of Ezra and Esdras.
+ The character which our celebrated connector of the Old and New Testament has given us of this Darius is, That he was a prince of great wisdom, clemency, and justice, and has the honour to be recorded in holy writ, for a favourer of God's people, and a restorer of his temple at Jerusalem, and a promoter of his worship therein. For all this God was pleased to make him his instrument; and with respect to this, I doubt not, it was, that he blessed him with a numerous issue, a long reign,
and great prosperity. For, though he was not so very fortunate in his wars against the Scythians and Grecians, yet every where else he had full success in all his undertakings, and not only restored and fully settled the empire of Cyrus, after it had been much shaken by Cambyses, and the Magian, but also added many large and rich provinces to it, especially those of India, Thrace, Macedon, and the Isles of the Ionian Sea. Prideaux's Connection, anno 486. B.
Darius had three sons by his first wife, the daughter of Gobrias, all born before his advancement to the
did he inherit his piety towards God, and ho- l, try of the Babylonians, as dedicated to God; nour of him. For he did all things agree- and let all this be carried to Jerusalem for ahly to his father's will relating to divine wor sacrifices. Let it also be lawful for thee and ship; and was exceeding friendly to the Jews. thy brethren to make as many vessels of silNow about this time * a son of Jeshua, whose ver and gold as thou pleasest. Thou shalt name was Joacim, was the high-priest. More- also dedicate those holy vessels which have over there was now in Babylon a righteous been given thee, and as many more as thou man, and one that enjoyed a great reputation hast a mind to make, and shalt take the examong the multitude. He was the principal penses out of the king's treasury. I have priest of the people; and his name was Es moreover written to the treasurers of Syria dras. He was very skilful in the laws of Mo- and Phænicia, that they take care of those af. ses, and well acquainted with King + Xerxes. | fairs that Esdras the priest and reader of the He had determined to go up to Jerusalem, laws of God is sent about. And that God and to take with him some of those Jews that may not be angry with me, or with my chil , were in Babylon ; and he desired that the dren, I grant all that is necessary for sacriking would give him an epistle to the go- | fices to God, according to the law, as far as vernors of Syria, by which they might know a hundred cori of wheat; and I enjoin you who he was. Accordingly, the king wrote the not to lay any treacherous imposition, or any following epistle to those governors :
tributes, upon their priests or Levites, sacred “ Xerxes, king of kings, to Ezra, the priest, singers, porters, sacred servants, or scribes of and the reader of the divine law, greeting. I the temple. And do thou, O Esdras, appoint think it agreeable to that love which I bear | judges according to the wisdom given thee to mankind, to permit those of the Jewish na- of God : and those such as understand the law, tion that are so disposed, as well as those of that they may judge in all Syria and Phathe priests and Levites, that are in our king-nicia : and do thou instruct those also who are dom, to go together to Jerusalem. Accord- | ignorant of it, that if any one of thy countryingly I have given command for that purpose; men trangress the law of God, or that of the and let every one that hath a mind go, ac- | king, he may be punished ; as not transgressing cording as it hath seemed good to me, and it out of ignorance, but as one that knows, but to my seven counsellors, and this in order | boldly despises and contemns it; and such may to their review of the affairs of Judea, to see be punished by death, or by paying fines. Farewhether they be agreeable to the law of God. well.” Let them also take with them those presents When Esdras had received this epistle, he which I and my friends have vowed, with all was very joyful; and began to worship God, that silver and gold that is found in the coun and confessed that he had been the cause of
throne, and four others by Atossa, the daughter of Cy- || him in the kingdom. Whereupon he was nominated to rus, who were all born after it. Of the former Arta. the succession, but not so much for the strength of his basanes was the eldest; of the latter Xerxes: and, as plea, as for the influence which his mother Atossa had oper Darius advanced in years, between these two was the the inclinations of her husband. · Prideaux's Connection, competition for the succession. Artabasanes urged, that,
anno 486. B. as he was the eldest son, according to the custom and * An. 479. usage of all nations, he ought to be preferred before any + That the histories of Ezra or Esdras the scribe, when that was younger. But Xerxes replied to this, That he he came and settled the Jewish commonwealth, after their was the son of Darius by Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus, return from the Babylonish captivity; and of Nehemiah,
who was the first founder of tbe Persian empire; for when he built the walls of Jerusalem, do not belong to Ar' which reason he held it just and reasonable, that the taxerxes, the son, but to Xerxes the father, as Josephus crown of Cyrus should rather come to a descendant of here rightly places them contrary to all our otber copies Cyrus, than 10 one that was not; and to this he added, of Ezra and Nehemiah, is largely proved in my Literal tbat though Artabasanes was the eldest son of Darius, yet Accomplishment of Scripture Prophecies, Supplement he was not the eldest son of a king; that he was born pag. 59–75. As also that. Daniel's famous seventy weeks when be was only a private person, and could therefore take their date, not from the seventh or twentieth of claim no more than to be beir of his private fortunes; but Artaxerxes, as commonly supposed, but from the thàt as to himself, he was the first-born after his father twenty-fifth of Xerxes, is there proved at large, pag. 78 was king, and had therefore the best right to succeed
-91. VOL. 1. (35.)
the king's great favour to him ; and for the || offerings, twelve bulls, on account of the same reason he gave all the thanks to God. common preservation of the people, ninety. So he read the epistle at Babylon, to those rams, seventy-two lambs, and twelve kids of Jews that were there; but he kept the epistle the goats, for the remission of sins. He also itself, and sent a copy of it to all those of bis delivered the king's epistle to the king's offiown nation, that were in Media. And when
cers, and to the governors of Cælesyria and these Jews had understood what piety the Phænicia. And as they were under a necesking had towards God, and what kindness he sity of doing what was enjoined by him, they had for Esdras, they were all greatly pleased. || honoured our nation, and were assistant to them Nay, many of them took their effects with in all their necessities. them, and came to Babylon; as very desirous Now these things were truly done under the of going down to Jerusalem. But then the conduct of Esdras; and he succeeded in them; entire body of the people of Israel remained because God esteemed him worthy of the sucin that country. Wherefore there are but two cess of his conduct, on account of his rightetribes in Asia and Europe, subject to the Ro
But some time afterward there came mans ; while the ten tribes are beyond Eu some persons to him, and brought an accophrates till now; and are an immense multi- | sation against certain of the multitude, and tude, and not to be estimated by numbers. of the priests and Levites, who had transNow there came a great number of priests, || gressed their settlement and dissolved the Levites, porters, sacred singers, and sacred i laws of their country, by marrying strange servants to Esdras. So he gathered those that wives; and had brought the family of the were in captivity together beyond Euphrates, priests into confusion. These persons desired and stayed there three days, and ordained a him to support the laws, lest God should take fast for them; that they might make their ap a general anger against them all, and reprayers to God for their preservation; that duce them to a calamitous condition again. they might suffer no misfortunes by the way; Hereupon he rent his garment immediately, either from their enemies, or from any other out of his grief, and pulled the hair of his head ill accident. For Esdras had said beforehand and beard, and cast himself upon the ground: that he had told the king how God would because this crime had reached the principal preserve them; and so he had not thought fit men among the people, and considering that to request that he would send horsemen to if he should enjoin them to cast out their conduct them. So when they had finished wives, and the children they had by them, he their prayers, they ved from Euphrates should not be hearkened to, he continued lying on the twelfth day of the first inorth of the upon the ground. However all the better seventh year of the reign of Xerxes, and they sort came running to him ; who also themcame to Jerusalen, on the fifth month of the selves wept, and partook of the grief he was same year. Now Esdras presented the sacred under for what had been done. So Esdras money to the casurers, who were of the fa rose up from the ground, and stretched out his mily of the priests, of silver six hundred and hands towards heaven, and said, that he was fifty talents; vessels of silver one hundred ta- || ashamed to look towards it, because of the sins lents; vessels of gold twenty talents; and ves. which the people bad committed, while they sels of brass, that was * more precious than had cast out of their memories what their gold, twelve talents by weight. For these fathers had undergone on account of their presents had been made by the king, and his wickedness. And he besought God, who had , counsellors, and by all the Israelites that stay- saved a seed and a remnant out of the calaed at Babylon. So when Esdras had de- mity and captivity they had been in, and bad livered these things to the priests he gave to restored them again to Jerusalein, and to God as the appointed sacrifices of whole burnt- 1 their own land, and had obliged the kings of
* Dr. Hudson observes here, that this kind of brass or copper, or rather mixture of gold and brass or copper, was
called Aurichalcum ; and that this was of old esteemed the most precious of all metals.
Persia to have compassion on them, that he were not of their own nation. But that now would also forgive them the sins they had now they would do a thing both pleasing to God committed, which, though they deserved death, and advantageous to themselves, if they would yet was it agreeable to the mercy of God to put those wives away. Accordingly they all remit the punishments due to them.
cried out that they would do so: that however After Esdras bad said this, he left off pray- | the multitude was great, and the season of the ing; and when all those who came to him year was winter, and this work would rewith their wives and children were under la- | quire more than one or two days.
« Let mentation, one whose name was Jechonias, a | their rulers, therefore,” said they, 6 and those principal man in Jerusalem, came to him and that have married strange wives, come hither said, that they had sinned in marrying strange at a proper time while the elders of every wives; and he persuaded him to adjure theni place, that are in common to estimate the all, to cast those wives out, and the children | number of those that have thus married, are born of them, and that those should be punish- to be there also. † Accordingly this was reed who would not obey the law. So Esdras solved on. And they began the inquiry after hearkened to this advice, and made the heads | those that had married strange wives, on the of the priests, and of the Levites, and of the first day of the tenth month; and continued Israelites swear that they would put away | the inquiry till the first day of the next month; those wives and children according to the ad- and found a great many of the posterity of vice of Jechonias. And when he had received
And when he had received Jeshua the high-priest, and of the priests and their oaths, he went in haste out of the tem- || Levites, and Israelites, who had fa greater ple, into the chamber of Johanan, the son of regard to the observance of the law, than to Eliasib : and as he had hitherto tasted nothing their natural affection : and immediately cast at all, for grief, so he abode there that day. | out their wives, and the children which were And when proclamation was made, that all born of them. And in order to appease God, those of the captivity should gather themselves | they offered sacrifices and slew rams, as oblatogether to Jerusalem, and that those that did tions to him. But it does not seem necessary not meet there in two or three days, should to set down the names of these men. So when be banished from the multitude, and that their Esdras had reformed this sin, about the marsubstance should be appropriated to the uses riages of the aforementioned persons, he reof the temple according to the sentence of duced that practice to purity; so that it conthe elders, those that were of the tribes oftinued in that state for the time to come. Judah and Benjamin came together in three Now when they kept. § the feast of taberdays; viz. on the twentieth day of the ninth nacles in the seventh month, and almost all month, which, according to the Hebrews, is the people were come together to it, they called * Tebeth, and according to the Ma went up to the open part of the temple, to the *cedonians, Apelleus. Now as they were sit- | gate that looked eastward, and desired of Esting in the upper room of the temple where dras that the laws of Moses might be read to the elders also were present, but were uneasy them. Accordingly he stood in the midst of because of the cold, Esdras stood up and told | the multitude, and read them from the mornthem they had sinned in marrying wives that ing to noon. Now by hearing the laws read
Jews and Christians; while political views, human pas-
to them, they were instructed to be righteous to the ground: and that the neighbouring namen for the present and for the future. But
But tions did a great deal of mischief to the Jews; as for their past offences they were displeased while in the day-time they overran the counat themselves, and proceeded to shed tears on try, and pillaged it, and in the night did them their account; as considering with themselves, mischief; insomuch that not a few were led that if they had kept the law, they had en away captive out of the country, and out of dured none of those miseries which they had Jerusalem itself: and that the roads were, in experienced. But when Esdras saw them in the day-time, found full of dead men.
Here: this disposition, he bade them go home, and upon Nehemiah shed tears, out of commisenot weep; for that it was a festival, and that ration of the calamities of his countrymen ;-and they ought not to weep thereon; for that looking up to heaven, he said, “ How long, it was not Jawful so to do. * He exhorted | O Lord, wilt thou overlook our nation, while them rather to proceed immediately to feașt-it suffers so great miseries; and while we are ing, and to do what was agreeable to a day made the prey and the spoil of all men ?" . of joy, but let their repentance and sorrow for || And while he stayed at the gate, and lamenttheir former sins be a security, and a guard to ed thus, one told him that the king was going them, that they fall no more into the like of- | to sit down to supper. fences. So
So upon Esdras's exhortations, they | and went as he was, without washing himself, began to feast; and when they had so done to minister to the king in his office of cupfor eight days in their tabernacles, they de- | bearer. But as the king was very pleasant parted to their own homes : singing hymns after supper, and more cheerful than usual, he to God, and returning thanks to Esdras, for cast his eyes on Nehemiah, and seeing him his reformation of what corruptions had been look sad, be asked him why he was sad ? introduced into their settlement. So it came Whereupon he prayed to God, to give him to pass, that after he had obtained this repu- favour, and afford him the power of persuading tation among the people, he died an old man ; | by his words, and said :-“How can I, :O and was buried in a magnificent manner at king, appear otherwise than thus, and 'not be Jerusalemi. About the same time it happened in trouble, while I hear that the walls.of Jealso, that Joacim, the high-priest died; and rusalem, the city where are the sepulchres of nay his son Eliasib succeeded in the high-priest- fathers, are thrown down to the ground, and hood.
that its gates are consumed by fire. But do Now † there was one of those Jews that had thou grant me the favour to go and build its been carried captive, who was cup-bearer to wall, and to finish the buildings of the temking Xerxes. His name was Nehemiah. As ple.” §
As ple.” Ş Accordingly the king gave him, a this man was walking before Susa, the metro signal, that he freely granted him what he polis of the Persians, he heard some strangers asked; and told him, that he should carry an ihat were entering the city, after a long jour- epistle to the governors, that they might payo ney, speaking to one another in the Hebrew bim due bonour, and afford him whatever as. tongue. So he went to them and asked them, sistance he wanted, and as he pleased. “Leave whence they came? and when their answer off thy sorrow then,” said the king, “ and be was that they came from Judea, he began to cheerful in the performance of thy office hereinquire of them again, in what state the mul- | after.” So Nehemiah worshipped God, and titude was ? and in what condition Jerusalem | gave the king thanks for his promise ; and was? They replied, that they were in a bad cleared up his sad and cloudy countenance, state; † for that their walls were thrown down by the pleasure he had from the king's pro
* This rule of Ezra's, not to fast on a festival day, governor, and before Nehemiah came with his commisis quoted in the Apostolical Constitutions as obtaining sion to build the walls of Jerusalem. Nor is that at all among Christians also, V. 20.
disagreeable to these histories in Josephus: since Ezra t An. 462.
came on the seventh, and Nehemiah not till the twentyThis miserable condition of the Jews, and the capi- fifth of Xerxes; at the interval of eighteen years. tal, must have been after the death of Ezra, their former § Nehemiah ii, 1–5.