See Lesson, Post-exile period, dates.
THE LORD MOVED THE HEART OF CYRUS: Cp 2Ch 36:22. There
are a number of occasions when the LORD stirred up individuals -- sometimes for
good, and sometimes for ill: 1Sa 26:19; 1Ki 11:14; 2Ch 21:16; Hag 1:14.
Especially does this seem to be true of rulers: "The king's heart is in the hand
of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases" (Pro 21:1).
Rather than wondering or speculating as to how He does this,
we should appreciate that, in the case of faithful men who listen to His word,
He is willing to work to encourage those who first respond to him. "Come near to
God and he will come near to you" (Jam 4:8).
In this case of Cyrus, specifically, comparison with the book
of Daniel suggests that it was the work of certain angels to move the heart of
Cyrus in the desired direction (Dan 10:12,13).
The decree of Cyrus is in Hebrew -- apparently an erroneous
translation of the original Aramaic decree of Ezr 6: see Ezr 6:2n.
EVERYONE WHOSE HEART GOD HAD MOVED: Let us pray that
God might raise the spirit within us also that we might go forward and do our
bit towards the building of the spiritual temple to which we belong (2Co
SHESHBAZZAR: The prince of Judah. Even as Daniel was
known in Babylon officially as Belteshazzar (Dan 1:7), so Zerubbabel was
probably known as Sheshbazzar. We know that Zerubbabel laid the foundation of
the Temple (Ezr 3:8; 5:2; Zec 4:9); but in an official letter to Darius,
"Sheshbazzar" is said to have done this (Ezr 5:16). Zerubbabel was a grandson of
King Jehoiachin (Jeconiah: 1Ch 3:17-19) and an ancestor of Joseph (Mat 1:12).
The fact that 1Ch 3:19 calls him the son of Pedaiah instead of Shealtiel (Ezr
3:2) suggests that Shealtiel died childless and Pedaiah contracted a levirate
marriage with his brother's widow.