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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

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Commentary on The First Book of Esdras

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2.1–15 : The ascendancy and decree of Cyrus;

parallel to Ezra 1.1–11 .

1 :

First year: 539 B.C.E.

3 :

The Lord of Israel: Ezra 1.2 has “The LORD the God of the heavens,” a title perhaps more agreeable to the Persian rulers; see 2 Chr. 36.23 and Ezra 5.11–12 .

10 :

The temple of his idols is pointedly monotheistic; compare Ezra 1.7 , which has “in the temple of his gods.”

12, 15 :

Sanabassar is Sheshbazzar in Ezra 1.8 .

13–15 :

The inventory here is probably more accurate than the parallel in Ezra 1.9–11 . The total here, 5,469, is correct, not the figure 5,400 in Ezra, though a miscellaneous category, “other vessels,” is mentioned there.

2.16–30 : Opposition to rebuilding the temple and the walls;

parallel to Ezra 4.7, 11–24 . The account is somewhat confusing. Verse 1 mentions Cyrus (died 529 B.C.E.) and v. 30 , Darius I (521–486 B.C.E.); Cambyses (529–521 B.C.E.) is omitted. Artaxerxes (v. 16 ) reigned in 464–424 B.C.E. The section seems misplaced, perhaps belonging originally between the end of Ezra and the beginning of Nehemiah.

16 :

Beeltethmus: the translator here mistook a title (“high commissioner,” Ezra 4.9 ) for a personal name.

17 :

These people ruled over the area which included Judea; the area, from Persian perspective, is called “Beyond-Euphrates” (Ezra 4.10 ).

18 :

The temple is not mentioned in Ezra 4.14; 4.24 , however, speaks of the cessation of building it. Many scholars believe that the mention of the temple here, in v. 30 , and in Ezra 4.24 are late insertions, occasioned by the mention of sacred vessels (v. 10 ). The opposition at this time was to rebuilding the walls.

25 :

Beeltethmus: see v. 16 n.

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