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Having made considerable preparations during the first year* for laying the foundation of the temple, they performed that ceremony in the second year, with great solemnity; the priests and Levites, after the ordinance of David,+ singing together by course, in praising and giving thanks unto Jehovah, because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised Jehovah, because the foundation of the house of Jehovah was laid. I
But there were amongst the assemblage some of the ancient fathers who still remembered the splendour of the former temple; and joyful as they were to see the work of Jehovah now reviving, they could not refrain from exhibiting great
place; and hereon were made the daily offerings of the morning and evening service, and all other offerings, ordinary and extraordinary, which were offered up to God by fire. It had been beaten down and destroyed by the Babylonians at the burning of the temple, and in the same place was it now again restored. Prid. i. 181. ; where see large extracts from Lightfoot, as to its dimensions, use, &c.
* Ezra, iii. 7. “ For the Tyrians and Zidonians, being wholly given to traffic and navigation, did very little addict themselves to the planting of olive-yards or vineyards, or to the tillage of the ground; neither bad they indeed any territory for either; for their gain being very great by sea, they did not set themselves to make any enlargements by land ; but were in a manner pent up within the narrow precincts of the cities in which they dwelt; and, therefore, having very little corn, wine, or oil, of their own, they depended mostly on their neighbours for these provisions ; from whom they had them, either for their money, or by way of barter and exchange, for other commodities which they supplied them with, and they were mostly furnished this way out of the Jews' country; and therefore they readily assisted them with their labour and shipping, to be supplied with these necessaries in exchange for it. So that as it was by their help that Solomon built the first temple, so also was it by their help that the Jews were enabled to build the second." Prid. i. 209, 210. 1 Kings, v. 11. + 1 Chron. xxiii. xxiv.
Ezra, iii. IV. 11.
sorrow, when they saw how far the erection, of which the foundation was now laid, was likely to fall short of the original.*
When the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin, that is, the Samaritans,t heard that the children of the captivity were rebuilding the temple unto Jehovah, the God of Israel, they came to Zerubbabel, saying ; Let us build with you, for we seek your God as ye do: and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esar-haddon, king of Assur, which brought us up hither. But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them; Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto Jehovah, the God of Israel, as king Cyrus, the king of Persia, hath commanded us. I
In consequence of this refusal, or from other motives equally culpable, the people of the land, that is, the same
* Ezra, iii. 12. There were six material and important things, in respect of which the second temple fell short of the glory of the first; viz.
1. The ark of the covenant, with the mercy seat and cherubim. 2. The shechinah, or divine presence 3. Urim and thummim, or the breastplate of twelve precious
stones.. 4. The holy fire. 5. The spirit of prophecy.
6. The holy anointing oil. As to all which, and their specific uses, see Prid. i. 185. 202. Unless, therefore, the Jews admit that Jesus of Nazareth was the true Messiah, the prophecy of Haggai (ii. 9.) has never been fulfilled. See also Gill on the Messiah, p. 41-51.
† Prid. i. 201. | Ezra, iv. 1-3. “ The Jews, who were exclusively the worshippers of the true God, could not admit the Samaritans to assist them in this work; for the Samaritans were not true worshippers, inasmuch as they only worshipped Jehovah, in conmon with the gods of the nations.” Prid, i. 205.
• See Gray's Key, 129. 207.
Samaritans, weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, and hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose by misrepresenting them at the court of Cyrus, during the remainder of the reign of that monarch.*
It was probablyf this state of the Jewish affairs, and the slow progress which, in consequence of the opposition and arts of their enemies, his brethren were able to make in the restoration of their temple and polity, that threw the prophet Daniel into that state of melancholy, to relieve him from which, Jehovah saw fit to console him with a splendid and glorious vision, revealing the succession of the kings of Persia, the empire of the Macedonians, and the conquests of the Romans.
In those days, I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my inouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel ;# then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz; his body also was like the beryl,ş and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision : for the
Ezra, iv. 4, 5. See many curious particulars relating to Cyrus, his character, motives, &c. detailed by Mr. R. Watson in his Biblical and Theological Dictionary, sub hoc voce. “This Cyrus is called God's shepherd by Xenophon, as well as by Isaiah. The prophet says of him: I will make
recious than fine gold, even a man than the golden wedge of Opbir-which makes Xenophon's most excellent history of him very credible.” Whist. Jos. ii. 88. † Prid. i. 206.
Or the Tigris.
men that were with me saw not the vision :* but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore, I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words; and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, o Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel : for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.† But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befal thy people in the latter days; for yet the vision is for many days. And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb. And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips; then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength. For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord ? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me.
Then there came again and touched me one like the appear
ance of a man, and he strengthened me, and said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me. Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia : and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth : and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael, your prince.*
As we hear no more of this eminent prophet, it is probable that he died soon after this last revelation; and we may well suppose that in proportion to the extent of his influencet
* Dan. X. 2–21. xi. xii. Mr. Scott's note upon this passage is
extremely beautiful, and well worthy of attentive perusal. † Daniel was not only a prophet, notwithstanding what the Jews say to the contrary, (Prid. i. 206. My edition of Leslie's Short and Easy Method with the Jews, p. 15. n.) but also excelled in divine wisdom, and in all the arts and sciences, particularly in that of architecture. “ And Josephus tells us of a famous edifice built by him at Susa, in the manner of a castle, (which he saith was remaining to his time) and finished with such wonderful art, that it then seemed as fresh and beautiful as if it had been newly built. Within this edifice, he saith, was the place where the Persian and Parthian kings used to be buried; and that, for the sake of the founder, the keeping of it was committed to one of the Jewish nation even to his time. The copies of Josephus that are now extant do indeed place this building in Ecbatana, in Media ; but St. Jerome, who gives us the same account of it word for word out of Josephus, and professeth so to do, placeth it in Susa, in Persia; which makes it plain that the copy of Josephus which he made use of had it so, and it is most likely to have been the true reading ; for Susa being within the Babylonish empire, the Scripture tells us that Daniel had some times his residence there ; and the common tradition of those paits hath been for many ages past, that Daniel died in that city, which is now called Tuster, and there they shew his monument even to this Cay. And it is to be observed that Josephus calls this building