There was 50 years of silence between the dedication of the second temple, in March, 515 B.C., and Ezra’s arrival at Jerusalem, in August, 457 B.C.
On August 4, 457 B.C. Ezra the scribe went up to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of God.
In 457 B.C. a decree from Artaxerxes was sent to all the treasurers in the region beyond the river. Whatever Ezra, the priest, the scribe of the Law of the God of heaven may need, it was to be delivered to him. He expected 100 talents of silver, 100 kors of wheat, 100 baths of oil, 100 baths of wine, and salt without limit. Whatever God commanded was to be done diligently for the house of God.
Ezra left for Jerusalem with about 1800 men and their families, 38 priests, and 220 Temple servants. They camped for three days at the river. Ezra acclaimed a fast at the river Ahava, that they might afflict themselves, that they might again obtain the favor of God so that they could win the battle over their enemies. After the fast the people started on the four-month journey to Jerusalem.
When Ezra arrived at Jerusalem he had 650 talents of silver, silver utensils worth 100 talents, gold talents and 20 gold bowls, worth 1000 darics [less than 20 pounds of gold], and two utensils of shiny bronze, precious as gold. This was in addition to all the silver, wheat, wine, oil, and salt from beyond the river. Ezra used all this stuff to repair the house of God.
In the first year of Cyrus, the king of Persia, a decree was made concerning the house of God at Jerusalem. He said “Let the house be builded, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid; the height thereof threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof threescore cubits; With three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber: and let the expenses be give out of the king’s house” (Ezra 6:3-4).
On December 8, 457 B.C., the Jewish people and leaders were called to assemble over an issue. It had been pointed out that the Israelite people and especially the priests and leaders had co-mingled with heathen people of other countries. This served to dilute the commitment to God, and confused the tribal divisions. There was such a multitude that came, they could not fit into the city and spilled out the gate, gathering around the wall. This was such a crisis that the rain did not stop them from coming, but instead added to the trembling and sorrow of the moment. The whole Jewish people in the land repented and chose to handle things as God would have things done, except for a couple of the leaders. This was a day of great revival in Israel.
Ezra 10:9-12. Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together unto Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month; and all the people sat in the street of the house of God, trembling because of this matter, and for the great rain. And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, Ye have transgressed, and have taken strange wives, to increase the trespass of Israel. Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do his pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives. Then all the congregation answered and said with a loud voice, As thou hast said, so must we do.
When the foundation was laid there was a great celebration. There were priests blowing trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, playing the cymbals. They chanted psalms of praise and the people raised their voices in cries of joy and sounds of weeping. When the people of the neighboring towns heard the noise they came and asked to be part of it. They were not allowed to help because Cyrus gave only the repairmen permission to build.
When the Temple was finished the Levites kept the dedication of the house of God with joy. At the dedication of the house of God there was offered 100 bullocks, 200 rams, and 400 lambs. For a sin offering for all Israel, twelve he goats were offered, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.
Biblical Horizons : RR: Rite Reasons Newsletter No. 32 http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/biblicalhorizons//rr/rr032.htm
Bethel Evangelical Free Church – Digging Deeper http://www.bethelfc.com/dd/archives/2000/20001126.html
WOW - The Big Picture 8/27 – Crosswalk.com Devotionals Channel
Charles F. Pfeiffer, Old Testament History, pages 472 – 480
Pfeiffer, C. F. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary: Old Testament. Chicago: Moody Press, 1962. Ezr 10:9.
Map: Norris, D. T. Logos Deluxe Map Set. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997 c1995.