James Comper Gray.

The Biblical museum : a collection of notes, explanatory, homiletic, and illustrative, on the Holy Scriptures, especially designed for the use of ministers, Bible students, and Sunday school teachers (Volume 5) online

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TEE

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THE

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A COLLECTION OF NOTES
EXPLANATORY, HOMILETIC, AND ILLUSTRATIVE,

OK THE

f^olj) ^cripturrs»

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OLD TESTAMENT.
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THE BOOK OF EZRA.



T7i€ High Priests. — Great care was exercised by the Jews in keeping up the
descent of the High Priesthood. The following is a list, taken from Calmet,
of the High Priests of the Hebrews in succession until the return from tho
Captivity :—

From From Scrip. 1 Chron. vi. From

Calmet. Died B.C. 3—16. Josephua.

1 Aar'on .»,»ttt **t •••*•••• 1452 1 Aaron. 1 Aaron.

2 Eleazar 1433 2 Eleazar. 2 Eleazar.

% PlrmeJias 1414 8 Phlnehas. 3 Phinehas.

4 Ah'iezer or I ] 4 Abishua. 4 Abiezer.

eiSr ' [^°''''*'^"^^^ 8Bukki. 6Bukki.

6 Uzzi ) 6 Uzzi. 6 Uzzi.

7 A7i, of the race of Ithamar 1116 7 Zerahiah. 7 Eli.

5 Akittib I. 8 Meraioth. 8 Ahitub.

9 Ahiah lived 1092 9 Amariah. 9 Ahimelech,

10 Ahimelech, or Ahiathar,^\2L\u\)j^dkV\...\0()0 10 Ahitub. 10 Abiathar,

11 Abiathar, Ahimelech, or Abwielech, 11 Zadok I. 11 Zadok.

(under David) 1015

12 Zadoh I. (under Saul, David, and 12 Ahimaaz. 12 Ahimaaz,

Solomon) 1004

13 Ahimaaz (under Rehoboam) 974 13 Azariah. 13 Azariah.

14 Azariah (under Jehoshaphat), pro- 14 Johanan. 14 Joram.

bably Amariah of 2 Chron. xix. 11.. 912 (1 Chron.

vi. 9, 10.)
16 Johanan, perhaps Jehoiada under 15 Azariah. 15 Issus.

Joash, 2 Chron. xxiv. 15 (died
aged 180) 878

16 Azariah, perhaps Zechariah, son of 16 Amariah. 16 Axiora.

Jehoiada, killed 840

17 Amariah, perhaps Azariah, under Uz- 17 Ahitub II. 17 Phideaa,

ziah 783

18 Ahitnb II. » tt„^^^ T^fVor« r.f t„/Io1, 18 Zadok II. 18 Sudeas.

19 Zadok II. ] IJnderJothamof Judah. ^^ shallura. 19 Julus.

20 Uriah, under Ahaz, lived 739 20 Hilkiah. 20 Jotham.

21 tShallum, father of Azariah, and 21 Azariah. 21 Uriah.

grandfather of Hilkiah

22 Azariah in the time of Hezekiah . . ,, 22 Seraiah. 22 Neriah.

23 Hilkiah, under Hezekiah 23 Jehozadak. 23 Odeas.

24 Eliakim, or Joakim, under Manasseh : 24 Joshua. 24 Saldum.

he lived under Josiah to 624, called (Hag. i. 1.)

Hilkiah.

25 Azariah, perhaps Neriah, father of 25 Hilkiah.

Seraiah and of Baruch.

26 Seraiah, the last High Priest before 26 Seraiah.

the Captivity of Babylon, put to
death 590

27 Jehozadak. during the Captivity, from 27 Jehozadalt

590 to 535.

28 Joshva, Jefthna, or Jesvs, the son of 28 Jesus or

Jehozadak, or Josedech, returned Joshua**

from Babylon 536

* See Josephut, Anlt^. lib. t. & 15, lib. z. 0. 11.



IfntrobutfioiT.



Title. This Bk., with Neheniiah, was by the Jews united in one vol., and
called the First and Second Bk. of Ezra. Time. This Bk. embraces a period
of 71) yrs.. com. with the edict of Cyrus. 536 B.C. Author. Allowed on all
hands that portions of the Bk, are fr. Ezra's pen. The first person used ch. vii.
27. 28, and chaps, viii. and ix. Some {De Wctte) think that the rest of the Bk,
is by another hand. Others a.ssig-nto Ezra the last 4 chaps, (as Ld. A. Hcrvcy)^
but think the first 6 are by a dif . author. Others (as Canon RawUjuson) have
no hesitation in assigning the whole to Ezra (see Spk. Com. iii, 386 — 7). But
the Bk. is clearly divisible into 2 portions, of wh. Ezra is not equally the
author in the same sen.se. The hist, in the first 6 chaps, (fr. 1st yr. of Cyrus,
B.C. .538. to (Jth yr. of Darius Hystaspes. B.C. 516) is div. by 57 yrs. fr. the hist,
of last 4 chaps., wh. belong to 7th and 8th yrs. of Artaxerxes Longimanus (458
— 457 B.C.). Ezra lived in this latter period, and his commission dates 458 B.C.
(vii. 14), whcii he was not less than 30 (he was then a " ready scribe," vii. 6,
and teacher of the law, v. 10) and prob. not more than 50 yrs. of age. His
birth, therefore, falls in the period 508 — i88 B.C. ; and the events of 538—516
B.C. belong to the time of his father or grandfa. Thus he was the sole author
of the second sect. (vii. — x.), and compiler of the first {\. — vi.).

An examination of the work itself indicates a strong probability that docu-
ments were its main source. The decree of Cyrus (i 2 — 4), the letter of
Kehum (iv. 8 — 16), the reply of Artaxerxes (iv. 17 — 22), the letter of Tatnai
(v. 7 — 17). the decree of Darius (vi. 3 — 12), are plainly documents. Copies of
them would necessarily exist in the Persian archives in Ezra's time, and might
probably exist also at Jerusalem. The lists contained in chaps, i. and ii. con-
sisting as they do almost wholly of names and ntmibers, must also, it would
seem, have b.;en derived from documents, since they are far too exact to be
the result of mere inquiry. This conclusion, which it would be naxural to
draw from Ezra alone, is confirmed by a comparison of Ezra ii. with xfehemiah
vii. and E.-ilras v., which contain lists parallel to those in Ezra ii.. but clearly
not drawn from them — lists of which the most reasonable account is, that they
were taken from the same document that the writer of Ezra used, a document
which was illegible in parts, and in others difficult to deci]iher. If this be
allowed, then the documentary portion of the first section of Ezra will amount
to 112 verses out of 157, or to considerably more than two-thirds of the whole ;
and Ezra's outi direct contributions to the narrative will be reduced to 45
verses, or less than three- fourths.



Snnopsb.



(According to Home.)

PAET I.- From the return under
Zerubbabel to rebuild-
ing of tlie Temple.

Sect. I. Edict of Cyrus i., ii.

Sect. 2. Temple loj^ua iii., iv.

Stct. 3. Temple finished v., vL

PART II.- Arrival of Ezra at Jeru-
salem, and reforma-
tion under him.

8t!rt.^. Ezra sets out vii.

Sect. 2. Hi.s rptinue and arrival viii.

Sect. 3. The reformation ix., z.



{Aeeording to Angus.)

PAET I.— The return from captl*
tivity.

(a) Decree of Cyras 1.

(6) Those who returned ii.

(c) The altar and foundation iii.

{</) Samaritan opposition iv.

(e) Haggai und Zechariah, etc v.

(/) Decree of Darios vL

PART II.— Ezra's reformation,

(a) Ezra's commispion vii., viii.

(6) Ezia's lament for national sin ix,

(c> Popular repeutance and reform .......,.x.



8



EZRA.



[Cap. i. 1-a



B.C. dr. 636.

proclama-
tion of Cyrus



« 2 Ch.
22—23.



xxxvl.



♦• The identity of
the termination
of Chron. with
the commenc. of
Ezra shows one
write r." — D r.
Davidson.

* The Book of
Chron. ends with
hist, of destr. of
temple, and with
recital of edict
for building of
second temple.
The Blc. of Ezra
describes its re-
Btoration." — Bp.
Wordsworth.

b 2 Oh. xxxvi. 22,
23; Jer. xxv.l2,
xxix. 10.

e Da. ii. 37.

d " Many of the
richer Jews pre-
ferred to remain
at Babylon"
(Jos. Ant. xi. 1).
The Book of
Esther gives us
a view of them
and their condi-
tion.

e Rawlinson's
Bamp. Lee,



the people
provide for
the return

a Some of Eph
raim and Ma-
nasseh also re-
turned and
settled at Jerus.
1 Ch. ir. 3.
"One of the
blessings result-
ing fr. the cap.
■was, that the
schism between
Judah and Israel
was healed, and



CHAPTER THE FIRST.

1 — 4. (1) first . . Persia,«i.^. first year after cap. of Babylon,
by . . fulfil/ the 70 yrs. of Jer. date from B.C. 605, when
Nebuchadnezzar took Jerus. Lord . . Persia, men are some-
times doing God's will when they think only of pleasing"
themselves. (2) saith. . . Persia, etc., Cyrus was prob. acq. wiih
the writings of Isa., Jer. and Dan." (3) who . . you, my sub-
jects, of .. people, the Jews, ry. 3—5 include the proclama-
tion. (4) whosoever . . sojourneth,'^ some might have ties fr.
wh. they could not be immediately released.

The decree of Cyrus. — From the circumstances of the case we
learn — I. That with many afflictions, there go a consolation and
a support. II. That we have a striking example of the fulfilment
of prophecy. III. That God, when He has a purpose to per-
form, can easily bring it to pass. IV. This God, who thus fulfilled
His word in this wonderful manner, is our Father. V. That
this faithfulness of God is a caution to the impenitent.

TJie Persian god Orimizd. — Two things are specially remarkable
in this passage, — the strongly marked religious character, very
unusual in heathen documents, and the distinctness with which
it asserts the unity of God, and thence identifies the God of the
Persians with the God of the Jews. Both these points receive
abundant illustration from the Persian cuneiform inscriptions,
in which the recognition of a single supreme god, Ormuzd. and
the clear and constant ascription to him of the direction of all
mundane affairs, are leading features. In all the Persian monu-
ments of any length, the monarch makes the acknowledgment
that " Ormuzd has bestowed on him his empire." Every success
that is gained is "by the grace of Ormuzd." The name of
Ormuzd occurs in almost every other paragraph of the Behistun
inscription. No public monuments, with such a pervading
religious spirit, have ever been discovered among the records
of any heathen nation as those of the Persian kings ; and through
all of them, down to the time of Artaxerxes Ochus, the name
of Ormuzd stands alone and unapproacliable as that of the
Supreme Lord of earth and heaven. The title " Lord of Heaven,"
which runs as a sort of catchword through these Chaldee transla-
tions of the Persian records, is not indeed in the cuneiform monu-
ments distinctly attached to him as an epithet, but the common
formula wherewith inscriptions open sets him forth as " the
great god, Ormuzd, who gave both earth and heaven to man-
kind.' '«

5, 6. (5) chief .. Benjamin, « in whose inheritance the
temp, was situated. (6) besides . . offered, they gave them
due proportion, and a freewill offering beside.

ZervhbahcVs return {vv. 5, fi) — Mentioned by Matt. i. 12. —
Among the ancestors of the Saviour, Zerubbabel has been re-
garded as a type of Him. I. Like him our Saviour vns born in
a strange land. II. Like him, a king in disguise i,or Saviour
dwelt among the people He came to save. III. Like him our
Saviour seeks to gather the faithful together, and lead them
forth into the glorious liberty of the children of God. IV. Like
him our Leader meets and overcomes many difficulties. Learn :—



Cap. 11. 1-13.1



EZRA.



Some questions for us concerning our Leader. (1) Have we re-
cognised His presence ? (2) Have we obeyed His voice ? (3) Are
we following His leadership 1 (4) Do we purpose in all things to
do His bidding 1

The Clir\i>t\ati citizen. — An old English picture represents a
king, with the motto beneath, "I govern all ;" a bishop with this
sentence, " I pray for all ;" a soldier with the inscription, " I
fight for all ;'" and a farmer, who reluctantly draws forth a purse,
and exclaims with rueful countenance, " I pay for all." The
Christian citizen combines in himself the functions of these four.
He is king, prophet, warrior, and labourer. He governs, prays,
and fights for himself, and pays all expenses.

7 — 11. (7) which . . Jerusalem," when he pillaged the
temp, put . . God, esp. in the temple of Bel.** (8) Mithre-
dath {given by Mithras), i.e. genius of the sun, wh. was object of
Persian worship.'" Sheshbazzar,** i.e. Zerubbabel. (9) chargers,
basins to receive blood of victims, knives, sacrificial knives.
(10) basons, with lids. (11) all . . hundred, or 2,901 of var.
kinds not specified above.

The evil of forsaking/ God. — If you put your finger in the fire,
the evil is not the pain suffered, but the destruction of the finger.
The pain is a good ; it evinces the continuance of life in the
finger, resisting the fire that destroys it, and warning you to
withdraw it. The evil is complete when the calcined bone lies
insensible consuming in the fire. So the evil of sin is not the
Buffering which it causes, but the bosom pleasure which it gives.
The suffering from sin is so far good as it shows the continuance
of moral sensibility. The evil is when the heart is happy — in-
sensible in the fire.'



CHAPTER TEE SECOND.

1—6. (1) these . . province,* i.e. of Judah. (2) Zerub
babel, putative grandson of Jeconiah. His name = bom at
Babel. Jeshua, or Joshva. Nehemiah, not the Nehemiah
of the next bk. Mordecai, not Esther's relative. (3, 4) Farosh
. . Shephatiah, how carefully the family records were kept
during the capy. (5) Arah . . five, Neh. gives 652. (6)
Pahath-moab . . twelve, 2,818 in Neh.

A rjond citizen. — He who undertakes an occupation of great
toil and great danger for the purpose of serving, defending, and
protecting his country, is a most valuable and respectable mem-
ber of society : and if he conducts himself with valour, fidelity,
and humanity, and amidst the horrors of war cultivates the
gentle manners of peace, and the virtues of a devout and holy
life, he most amply deserves, and will assuredly receive, the
esteem, the admiration, and the applause of his grateful country;
and, what is of still greater importance, the approbation of his
God.*

7 — 13. (10) Bani, or Binnui.'* (13) six . . six, note the
number.

'I he pojver of the Chvrch. — A thousand grains of powder, or a
thousand barrels, if you please, scattered a grain in a place and
fired at intervals, would bum it is true, but would produce no



B.O. cir. 636.

the temple al
Jerus. bee. the
com. centre of
unity to those
who had boea
formerly sepa-
rated as rivals
and enemies, bnd
they were all
joined together
in the com. nam©
of Jews." — Bp,
Wordsworth,



the temple

vessels

restored

a 2 Ki. xxiv. 13^
XXV. 14; Jer.
xxvii. 16, xxviiL
6, lii. 18.

b Da. i. 2.

e The word Cy-
rus =« sun.

diii. 2, 8, v. 14,
16; Mat. L 12;
Lu. ill. 27.

V. 9. J. Cockram,
" The Knives,"
On Peculiar Text^
108.

eHarria.



the number
of the people
that return
a Both Ezra and
Neh. give a sum
total of 42,360
men, and 7,337
men servants
and maid ser-
vants. Ezra's list
was flr^t made
B.C. 536, but not
inserted in the
record till he got
hi<> commissioa
from Artaxerxes,
B.C. 458. Nehe-
miah's list dates
fr. B.C. 536, and
was found by
bim at Jerus. ah.
B.C. 433.
6 Bp. Porteotu.



a Neh. vii. 10.

"Every Christian

is bom great be*

I cause he is bom



10



EZRA.



[Cap. II. 14—30.



B.C. cir. 536.

for heaven." —
Massillon.

c W. E. Board-
man.

a Ne. vii. 24.
b Dr. Guthrie.



"As in Noah's
ark there were
the clean and the
unclean, raven
and dovf, leo-
pard and kid,
the cruel lion
with the gentle
lamb; so in the
Church of Christ
on earth you will
find the same di-
versities and dif-
ferences of
human charac-
ter."— Z>r. Guth-
rie.



c Teachers' Treas.



a Neh, vii. 25.

b Mic. V. 2.

e Neh. viL 28.

• This is the state
of the Church
militant: she is
like the ark float-
ing upon the
v?aters, like a lily
growing among
thorns, like the
bush wh ich
burned with flre,
and was not con-
sumed ; so the
city of God is al-
ways besieged,
but never ruin-
e d." — Henry
Smith.
d J. Bate.

a Neh. vii. 33.

" Do you ask,
* "Why not do
away with the
Church, if its
members make
80 many mis-
takes?' Would
you take away
the lighthousj
because careless
mariners,
ILrougb HrroQg



concussion. Placed together, however, in effective position, they
would lift up a mountain and cast it into the sea. Even so the
whole Church, filled with faith, and fired by the Holy One who
gave the tongues of fire on the day of Pentecost, will remove
every mountain, fill up every valley, cast up the way of the Lo;d,
and usher in the jubilee of redemption. «

14—18. (18) Jorah, or IIana7i.<^

Latent j^ower in tlie C7iurch.—ltis impossible to over-ostlmate,
or rather to estimate, power that lies latent in our churches. We
talk of the power that was latent in steam — latent till "VVatt
evoked its spirit from the waters, and set the giant to turn the
iron arms of machinery. We talk of the power that was latent
in the skies till science climbed their heights, and, seizing the
spirit of the thunder, chained it to our surface — abolishing dis-
tance, outstripping the wings of time, and flashing our thoughts
across rolling seas to distant continen ts. Yet what are these to
the moral power that lies asleep in the congregations of our
country and of the Christian world 1* — The right persuasion. —
In terrible agony a soldier lay down in the hospital. A visitor
asked him, " What Church are you of ? " '* Of the Church of
Christ," he replied. " I mean of wh at persuasion are you ?" then
inquired the visitor. *' Persuasion ? " said the dying man, as his
eyes looked heavenward, beaming with love to the Saviour, — " I
am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor princi-
palities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor
height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to sepa-
rate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus. "«

19—24. (20) Gibbar, Gibeon.« (21) an . . three, one of

the smaller companies : but the Messiah came hence.^ (24)
Azmaveth, or Betlmzmaveth.'^

Divisions in the Church. — There are divisions in the great king-
dom of creation : divisions between the lands and waters : divisions
between islands and continents ; divisions between continents and
continents ; divisions between vegetation and minerals ; divisions
in birds, fishes, creeping things, animals of all kinds ; divisions
among men ; and yet there are great principles, laws, and opera-
tions which unite them together, as the one harmonious work-
manship of Almighty wisdom and power. So it is in the Church
of Christ. There are divisions in regard to discipline, forms of
worship, creeds of belief, means of grace, modes of working,
names of distinction, places of abode, &c. ; but beneath these,
and of mors importance, there run grand laws and elements
which bind together the Church of Christ in one glorious body,
of which He is the Head.*^

25—30. (29) Called " the other Kebo,"« i.e. not of N. beyond
Jordan in tr. of Reuben, but of that N. called Nob bef. the capy.

Diversity in the Church. — As he that entereth into a fair and
goodly goidsmith-shop, richly furnished with precious pearls and
costly jewels of all sorts, ought not to mistake those costly trea-
sures because he seeth among them a b^ack furnace, dusty coals,
and sundry instruments of base metal (for these must be had to
make those jewels); so in the Church of God, where are innume-
rable men of diverse gifts and qualities, if a man see there some
things which he dislikes, he ought not therefore to pick a quarrel
with the Church, or to neglect his own duty on this account,—



Cap. 11. Sl-39.1



EZRA.



11



Character the evidrnce of nTigwri. — Let me but once paint a
glowing picture like the Madonna ; would you criticise it by
going beliind it to see what the canvas was made of, or by
examining the pigments, and inq uiring how they were com-
pounded ? There is the result — a painting, which stands at the
head of faces in the whole history of art. There is one process
by which you can meet reasoning and sceptical tendencies that
cannot be gainsaid, namely, produce in another man a character
which represents God among men, in human form again, with
His power to love, with His self-denying, self-sacrificing love,
with His gentleness, His purity. His grace and beauty ; set forth
that character and say, '' There is the evidence of religion." If
you bring me an apple large and beauteous, and then undertake
to persuade me by any argument that it is impossible that such a
fruit should have grown in such a clime, I answer that no ship
has touched this shore ; here is the apple, there is the tree ;
there are others like it hanging on the tree, and this apple has
grown upon this tree. You say it is impossible ; that tree
cannot grow here ; the season is too short, the climate is too cold |
for such fruit. But, after all, is not a tree full of apples better I
than any and all physiological arguments on the face of the !
eai-th 1 I do not care what botanists may say. Show me the j
tree with the apples on it. and I will take the tree as an argu- j
ment against them all. Show me a man whose character lifts i
him above commen men ; whose head shines like a lighthouse
(no matter how he is built at the bottom) ; show me a man that
carries in him the power of a Divine life (and no man can ;
mistake what that power is when he sees it) — he is an epitome of
Christianity, and I place him as an argument against the intel-
lectual philosophies of any and every man.*

31—35. (31) Elam, see v. 7. (33) Hadid, or Harid.*
Good people in every ehnreh. — There is not a height on the
loftiest Apennine on which there is not some blossom which the
winter frost has not nipped, some floweret which the hurricane
has not blasted. There is no desert without an oasis. And so
there is not a church or a communion under heaven in the bosom
of which there are not here and there some witnesses that God
has not utterly forsaken it.*

36—39. (36) the priests, exactly as in Neh.a Jeshua,
head of ninth course.^ (37) Immer, sixteenth course.^ (38)
Pashur.'' (39) Harim,« third course.
DutU'S of a bishop. —

You should, my lord, be like the robes you wear,
Pure as the dye, and. like that revered shape,
Nurse thoughts as full of honour, zeal, and purity ;
You should be the hour-dial, and direct
The king with constant motion ; be ever beating,
Like to clock-hammers on his iron heart.
To make it sound clear ; and to feel remorse,
You should unlock his soul, awake his dead conscience,
Which, like a drowsy sentinel, gives leave
For sin's vast army to beleaguer him :
His ruin will be ask'd for at your hands./
The ministry of the Church. — What men are officially appointed
!• do they often do from mere habit or a sense of duty. Accord-



B.C. fir. 5;5fi.

ohservatii n'. run
tbeir thips lii^jh
aud dry upon
the shore?
Wculd you jiut
out the lamp in
\our houf-e be-
cause nioth^ ftnd
millers burn
their wings in it?
What would the
children do?'^^
//. W. beecher.



b Catcdray.



" In all societies
it is advisable
to aesociafe, if
possible, with the
highest; not that
the highe.^t are
always the best,
but be ause. if
disgusted there,
we can at any
time descend ;
but if we bt gio
with the lowest^
to ascend is im-
poss i blft "-C'o/^on.

c H. W. Beecher.



a So it is givea
in some copies.



6 Dr. Cumming.



the priests

a vii. 39 — 42.
" These coinci-
dences show
with what accu-
racy the UHmes
and nums. of the
priest."? were
reckoned ." — Dp.
Wordsirorth.

61 Cb. xxiv.U.
c 1 Ch. xxiv. 14.
d Jer. XX. 1 , xxi.
1 ; 1 Ch. is. 12.



« 1 Ch xxiv. 8.

/ Roxriey.

"The distant vfT-
lage clock struck
uiiduight, iiua>



12



EZRA.



[Cap. 11. 40-4a



B.C. dr. 536.

gling, as it were,
with the ever-
pealing tone of
ancient Eternit}'.
The liniOs of
my buried ones
touched c Id on
my soul; I walk-
ed silently
through little
hamlets, and
close by
their onter
churchya rds,
where crumbled
up cas t coffin-
boards were
glimmering,
while the once
bright eyes that
had lain in them



Online LibraryJames Comper GrayThe Biblical museum : a collection of notes, explanatory, homiletic, and illustrative, on the Holy Scriptures, especially designed for the use of ministers, Bible students, and Sunday school teachers (Volume 5) → online text (page 1 of 67)