Decree of Cyrus for the Restoration of the Temple & Ezra

I see that You have a plan and it doesn’t matter how people live in regards to that plan.  You do whatever is necessary to keep the ball rolling, whether it’s for or against the people because Your plan is the righteous and holy matter at hand.

Cyrus the Great
Cyrus The Great Ruled the largest Empire of his day, and is known for granting many freedoms to his subjects. Over the centuries many kings and conquerors have been given the moniker, “The Great,” but some say that the figure who deserved this title the most was Cyrus the Great, the ancient King of Persia.

Even though he was born and ruled more than 2,500 years ago, many modern leaders today still claim Cyrus as their primary inspiration and hero. He was a brilliant military leader, but he is even more revered as a wise and tolerant ruler.

Once Cyrus conquered a nation he allowed those other realms he absorbed to manage themselves and to keep their customs and religions. Cyrus was said to have respected the basic human rights of the common man more than any other ruler of his time.

Beginnings
According to historians, Cyrus was either born in 600 or 575 B.C. He lived in Persia, a location that, today, would be within the country of Iran. His father was Cambyses I, King of Anshan, and his grandfather was Cyrus I, ruler of Anshan before his father.

Cambyses I died in 551 B.C., making Cyrus the Great king in 559 B.C. Cyrus was between 25 and 40 years old.

At the time, Cyrus’ power was divided between a number of other powerful states in the region, with the Median Empire holding a large amount of influence over Anshan. During this time, Cyrus was subservient to the Median King and was required to pay homage to him.

“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,

Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah” (Ezra 1:1-2).

“And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.

Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the Lordwhich is in Jerusalem.

And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered”(Ezra 1:4-6).

Cyrus brought the vessels from the house of the Lord that Nebuchadnezzar had, as well as those that came from Mithredath, the treasurer, and numbered them to Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.  And the amount came out to be 30 charges of gold, 1,000 charges of silver, 29 knives, 30 basons of gold, 410 basons of silver, and 1,000 other different vessels.  All together, the gold and silver came out to be 5,400.

The star attraction in the Port of Sidon in the Sea Castle built by the Crusaders in 1228.
The ruins are in fairly good condition and the stone work is quite wonderful, offering a glimpse into the golden era in architecture of the High Middle Ages.

The castle is built on an island, 80 meters from the shore, on the former site of the temple to MIkart, the Phoenician Hercules.

Sidon makes an early appearance in the Bible, there is a Sidon, the son of Canaan whose city marks the northern frontier of the kingdom of the Canaanites (Gen 10:15-17).

It is to this region, that Elijah flees seeking refuge from the great famine, taking up residence in the home of the famed “widow of Zarephath of Sidon”.

While Jesus’ ministry took place mainly among the Jews of Galilee, the phenomenal public attention in the region was intense, and on one occasion, according to Jn 6:15, the people attempted to “make him king by force,” causing him to withdraw by himself.

At one point, according to Matthew and Mark, Jesus headed for the notoriously pagan “region of Tyre and Sidon” in Phoenicia (modern Lebanon), which borders Galilee to the northwest.

These commercially magnificent cities had been a source of cultural and religious seductiveness since the time of Jezebel (9th century B.C.), the wife of King Ahab of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

The number of captives that Cyrus brought from Babylon was 42,360,  plus 737 of their servants and maids and 200 of them could sing.  There were 736 horses, 245 mules, 435 camels, 6,720 asses, 1,060 drams of gold, 5,000 pounds of silver, and 100 priest garments.

“And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem.

Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God” (Ezra 3:1-2).

From the 1st day of the 7th month, according to written law and customs, they kept the feast of tabernacles, and offered burnt offerings daily.  The foundation of God’s temple hadn’t yet been laid, so they gave their money to the masons and carpenters. 

They gave meat, drink, and oil to Zidon (same as Sidon) and Tyre for cedar trees that came from Lebanon and as far as Joppa.  It was the 2nd year of them coming to Jerusalem that they began to build the Lord’s house.

 “Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites.

And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the Lord, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.

And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.

But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:

Located in Lebanon north of Acre but south of Sidon and Beirut, Tyre was one of the most important of the ancient Phoenities.
Today Tyre contains excavations of ruins dating to Crusader, Byzantine, Arab, Greco-Roman, and earlier eras.

Tyre is also referenced quite a few times in the Bible, somethings as an ally of the israelites and sometimes in the context of condemning the religious or cultural influences which the Phoenicians were exercising over the Israelites.

So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off” (Ezra 3:9-13).

Ezra

Ezra was the leader of a group of Jews returning to Jerusalem from the Babylonian Exile in 458 BC, during the reign of King Artaxerxes.

When Ezra learned that the renewed Jewish community in Judah lacked spiritual direction, he got permission from the king to lead 1,754 exiles to Judah, to give a firm foundation to Mosaic Law there. Ezra convened the people for a public reading of the Law.

One hundred prophecies, explains how Bible prophecies have been fulfilled in history. Click for more information.

Ezra was a descendant from the priestly line of Aaron, and the author of the Old Testament Book of Ezra. The name Ezra means “God helps.”