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The inveterate Samaritans, perceiving that the house of God was likely to be rebuilt notwithstanding all their machinations, and having excited the suspicions of Tatnai, the Persian governor of the province;* that officer, with Shetharboznai, who was probably the prefect of Samaria under him, † and their companions, came to the Jews; and Tatnai inquiring who had commanded them to build that house, and to make up those walls; and also, the names of the elders, they replied, We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and build the house that was builded these many years ago, which a great king of Israel builded, and set up. But after that our fathers had provoked the God of Heaven unto wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon. But in the first year of Cyrus, the king of Babylon, the same king Cyrus made a decree to build this house of God. And the vessels also of gold, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem, and brought them into the temple of Babylon, those did Cyrus, the king, take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered unto one, whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor; and said unto him, Take these vessels, go, carry them into the temple that is in Jerusalem, and let the house of God be builded in his place. Then came the same Sheshbazzar, and laid the foundation of the house of God, which is in Jerusalem; and since that time, even until now, hath it been building, and yet it is not finished.

The eye of their God being upon the elders of the Jews, so that their enemies could not cause them to cease,|| Tatnai impressed with the simple account they gave, and probably

* Prid. 1.229.

+ Prid. i. 229.
Ezra, v. 3, 4. 9, 10. § Ezra, v. 11-16. || Ezra, v. 5.

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out of respect for the memory of Cyrus; instead of proceeding of his own authority to put a stop to their labours, thought it best to write an account of the whole affair to Darius, his sovereign. “ Be it known unto the king, that we went into the province of Judah, to the house of the great God, which is builded with stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goeth fast on, and prospereth in their hands; and then relating the inquiries he had made, and their answers, he adds; Now therefore, if it seem good to the king, let there be search made in the king's treasure house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus, the king, to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter."*

Darius having received this letter, ordered a search to be made for the decree of Cyrus among the records at Babylon; but not being, as is supposed, found in that city, he directed the search to be pursued at Achmetha,+ or Ecbatana, the capital of Media, where it was found, and where Cyrus, therefore, probably was when he pronounced the decree.

Upon this discovery, Darius immediately directed an edict to Tatnai, Shethar-boznai, and his companions, the A phassachites,ll to let the work of this house of God alone; “Let the governor of the Jews, and the elders of the Jews, build this house of God in his place. Moreover, I make a decree what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king's goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expenses be given unto these men, that they be not hindered. And that which they have need of, both young bullocks, and rams, and lambs, for the burnt offerings of the God of Heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil,

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• Ezra, v. 5–17. + Ezra, vi. 2. # Wells, i. 101. Prid. i. 50. 61. 218. 231. " A summer palace of

the kings of Persia, in India." A. CLARKE. $ Scott in loco. Prid. i. 231. || See post in the reign of Hoshea.

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se Jehovah. I will sing praises unto my God while I "e any being. Put not your trust in princes, nor in the 1 of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth th, he returneth to his earth, in that very day his thoughts 'rish. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, hose hope is in Jehovah, his God: who made heaven, and ‘rth, the sea, and all that therein is: who keepeth truth I ever: who executeth judgment for the oppressed: who iveth food to the hungry. Jehovah looseth the prisoners : Fehovah openeth the eyes of the blind: Jehovah raiseth them *hat are bowed down : Jehovah loveth the righteous : Jehovah preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow; but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down. Jehovah shall reign for ever, even thy God, o Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye Jehovah.

Praise ye Jehovah: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely. Jehovah doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel. He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up

their wounds. He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. Great is Jehovah, and of great power : his understanding is infinite. Jehovah lifțeth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground. Sing unto Jehovah with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp, unto our God: who covereth the heaven with clouds ; who prepareth rain for the earth ; who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains. He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry. He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. Jehovah taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. Praise Jehovah, 0 Jerusalem; praise thy God, o Zion. For he hath strengthened the bars of lo gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee. Her peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the fin

wheat. He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth, his word runneth very swiftly. He giveth snow like wool : he scattereth the hoar frost like ashes. He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold? He sendeth out his word, and melteth them : he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow. He sheweth his word unto Jacob; his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye Jehovah. Praise

ye

Jehovah. Praise ye Jehovah from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels : praise ye him, all his hosts. Praise ye him, sun and moon : praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of Jehovah: for he commanded, and they were created. He hath also established them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass. Praise Jehovah from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word: mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars : beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl : kings of the earth, and all people : princes, and all judges of the earth : both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: let them praise the name of Jehovah: for his name alone is excellent: his glory is above the earth and heaven. He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye Jehovah.*

The temple being thus rebuilt, and the Jewish polity in a measure restored, the captives who remained in Babylon

* Ps.cxlvi. cxlvii. cxlviii. “In the Septuagint version these psalms are styled the Psalms of Haggai and Zechariah, as if they had been composed by them for this occasion; and this no doubt was from some ancient tradition." Prid, i. 239.

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