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6 Q. In what Manner did they lay the Foundation of the Temple?
A. While the Builders laid the Foundation, the Priefts and the Levites fung and praised the Lord with Trumpets, and other Inftruments, after the Ordinance of David, Ezra iii. 10, 11.
7 Q. What remarkable Occurrences attended the laying of the Foundation of the Temple?
A. While the younger Part of the People shouted for Joy, many of the ancient Fathers wept with a loud Voice, when they remembered how much more glorious the firft Temple was than the second was like to be, ver. 12, 13. and Hag. ii. 3. Here it may be obferved, that though the Foundation
of the fecond Temple ftood on the fame Compass of Ground as the first, yet a Company of poor Exiles, returning from a long Captivity, could not promife or hope for fo glorious a Building as the Temple of Solomon, neither in the Richnels of the Materials, nor in the Magnificence and Curiofity of the Workmanfhip. See Dr Prideaux's Connection, Vol.I. p.143. The Jews alfo generally fuppofe five Things to be wanting in the fecond Temple, after it was finifhed, which did belong to the firft; namely, (1.) The Ark of the Covenant, and the Mercy-feat, which was upon it, with the Cherubs of Gold, together with the Tables of Stone in which the Law was written, which were in the Ark when it was brought into Solomon's Temple, 1 Kings viii. 9. 2 Chron. v. 1c. though one would think they fhould have made an Ark and a Mercy-feat, before which the High Priest should officiate once a Year. Some learned Men fuppofe there was fuch an Ark made, and that Ezra's correct Copy of the Bible was laid up in it and that it is in Imitation of this, that the prefent Jews in all their Synagogues have fuch an Ark or Coffer, wherein they keep the Law. (2.) The Shechinah,or Divine Prefence,in a Cloud ofGlory on the Mercy-feat. (3.) The Urim and Thummim,
whence the Oracle came, or Divine Answers to their Inquiries. (4) The holy Fire upon the Altar, which came from Heaven. (5.) The Spirit of Prophecy. For though Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi lived while the fecond Temple was building, and prophefied after it was built, yet on their Death the prophetic Spirit ceased from among them.
8Q. What was the firft Hindrance they found in the Building of the Temple ?
A. The Samaritans defired to join with them. in their Building, and because the Jews forbid them, they gave them continual Trouble in the Days of Cyrus, Ezra iv. 1-5.
9 Q. What was the fecond Hindrance they met with ?
AWhen Artaxerxes the first came to the Throne of Perfia, thefe People wrote an Accufation against the Jews, that the City of Jerufalem had been rebellious in former Times; whereupon Artaxerxes caused the Work to ceafe till the fecond Year of Darius, ver. 7-24.
Note, This was not Darius, the firft King, and he who took Babylon, and released Daniel from the Lions Den; but another, who reigned several Years after him, and was called Darius Hyltafpes, as the best Authors affert: And this alfo was long before that Darius whom Alexander fubdued, and put an End to the Perfian Kingdom.
Here let it be observed in general, that it is not a very eafy Matter for learned Men to agree exactly in adjufting the Time of all these Events, and the particular Accomplishment of every Prophecy, because there were feveral Kings of the fame Name; as, three or four Artaxerxes's, and three or more Darius's, &c. And there were four Decrees from the Kings of Perfia in favour of the Jews: The first from Cyrus to Zerubbabel, or Shefbazzar, a Prince of Judah, Ezra i. 1-8. The fecond from Darius the Second, to the Enemies of the Jews, to forbid their
Hindrance of the Work, Ezra vi. 1-7. The third from Artaxerxes the Second to Ezra, recorded in Ezra vii. 11. The fourth from the fame Artaxerxes. to Nehemiah, written in Nehem. ii. 1—9.
10 Q. Who perfuaded the Jews to go on with their Work under the Reign of this Darius?
A. The Prophets of God which were with them, encouraged and required them in the Name of the Lord, to go on with the Work of the Temple; for feveral of them were too negligent, and God punished them for it with Scarcity of Corn and Wine, Ezra v. 1, 2. Hag. i. 2-11. Zech. i. 7, &c. and chap. iii, and iv.
IIQ What Encouragement did they meet with from the Perfian Court?
A. The Governors of the Provinces at this Time feeing them renew their Buildings, fent to enquire concerning the Order which Cyrus gave for it: And Darius having found this Order among the Records of Babylon, gave a fresh Command for the Rebuilding of the Houfe of God, Ezra V. 3-17. and chap. vi. 1-14.
12 Q. When was the Temple finished?
A. Through many Delays, arifing partly from the Negligence of the Jews, partly from the Oppofition of their Enemies, it was twenty Years in building: Nor was it finished till the fixth Year of the Reign of Darius, at which Time they dedicated it with many Sacrifices, and kept the Pafsover with Joy, Ezravi. 15—22.
Here it may be worthy of our Observation, that the threatened Destruction of Babylon kept Pace with the promised Restoration and Joy of the Jews. It was Cyrus, who, as General of the Army of Darius the First, took Babylon by Siege, with Blood and Slaughter, who alfo releafed the captive Jews, when he came to be King of Perfia. Then the River was turned in upon the Country round it:
which Isaiah foretold, chap. xiv. 23. And it became a Poffeffion for Bitterns, and Pools of Water and the Sea covered it. Yet Babylon was not then destroyed. But when the Babylonians revolted, in the fifth Year of Darius Hyftafpes, and he befieged them with a vaft Army, their Defolation was very great. They themselves flew almost all their Women and young Children, to make their Provifions hold out. Then the Prophecy of Ifaiah was fulfilled, chap. xlvii. 9. Two Things fhall come to them in one Day, the Lofs of Children, and Widowhood Darius took the City in the End of the fixth Year of his Reign, (at which Time the Jewifh Temple was finished;) he gave them up to the Plunder of his Perfian Army, impaled Three thoufand, who were chief Actors in the Revolt, beat their Walls down from three hundred Cubits high, to fifty Cubits. After this, Babylon languished a while, and at last ended in a perpetual Defolation.
13 Q. What farther Encouragement did the Jews receive from another King Artaxerxes?
A. Artaxerxes, the fecond King of Perfia, gave Ezra the Prieft and Scribe a Letter and Decree, to encourage the Jews yet remaining in Babylon, to go up to Jerufalem and establish the Worship of the true God there, Ezra vii. 11—26.
Note, This fecond Artaxerxes is supposed by Dr Pri
deaux to be Artaxerxes Longimanus, as the Heathen Hiftorian calls him; and to be that fame Ahasuerus who made Efther his Queen, and fo became very friendly to the Jews.
14 Q. How did the King enable them to fulfil this Decree?
A. The King and his Counfellors freely offered much Silver and Gold for this Work, and being fenfible of the Greatnefs and Power of the God of the Jews, whom he calls The God of Heaven, he fought to fecure his Favour for himself and his Family, and pronounced a speedy Sentence of Death,
Banishment, Lofs of Goods, or Imprisonment, on those who should dare to hinder this Building, ver. 15-17, 23, 26.
15 Q. What did Ezra do in his Journey to Jerufalem?
A. He proclaimed a Day of Fafting and Prayer, to feek the Affiftance of God; for he was afhamed to afk the King for Soldiers to be their Guard, becaufe he had told the King of the Power and the Mercy of their God, Ezra viii. 21, 22.
16 Q. What did Ezra do when he came to Jerufalem ?
A. He delivered the Orders of the King to the Governors of the Provinces, and the Gold and Silver to those who had the Care of the Building, and fo promoted the Work, ver. 33-36.
17 Q What Reformation did Ezra work among the People?
A. When he was informed that many of the Jews had mingled themfelves in Marriages with the Heathens, he, together with the more religious Part of the Jews, humbled themselves before God for all their former Iniquities, în an excellent Prayer, and brought them into a Covenant and an Oath to put away their ftrange Wives, Ezra ch. ix, and x. Note, None of the Jews of either Sex might marry with
aGentile of any Nation, unless they were made Profelytes: And even then, they fuppofe the Canaanites of the feven Nations, (Deut. vii.) and the Males among the Moabites and Ammonites, to be excluded for ever; as they interpret Deut. xxiii. 3.
18Q. Did the Jews rebuild theCity of Jerufalem? A. Yes, for the Babylonian Army had broke down the Walls, and burnt the Gates ofit, Neb. i. 3. 19 Q. Whom did God raise up to carry on the rebuilding the City ?