וַיִּגַּע הַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בֶּעָרִים ס וַיֵּאָסְפוּ הָעָם כְּאִישׁ אֶחָד אֶל־יְרוּשָׁלִָם׃ 3:1
Ezra 3:1 When the seventh month was reached and the children of Israel were in the cities, then the people gathered as one individual to Jerusalem.
Remember, the seventh month also includes the day now called Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur, as well as Sukkoth (and others).
וַיָּקָם יֵשׁוּעַ בֶּן־יֹוצָדָק וְאֶחָיו הַכֹּהֲנִים וּזְרֻבָּבֶל בֶּן־שְׁאַלְתִּיאֵל וְאֶחָיו וַיִּבְנוּ אֶת־מִזְבַּח אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל 3:2
לְהַעֲלֹות עָלָיו עֹלֹות כַּכָּתוּב בְּתֹורַת מֹשֶׁה אִישׁ־הָאֱלֹהִים׃
Ezra 3:2 Then Jeshua son of Jozadak rose and his brethren, the priests, with Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and his brethren, and they built an altar of the God of Israel to offer on it burnt offerings as written in the law of Moses, the man of God.
וַיָּכִינוּ הַמִּזְבֵּחַ עַל־מְכֹונֹתָיו כִּי בְּאֵימָה עֲלֵיהֶם מֵעַמֵּי הָאֲרָצֹות (וַיַּעַל) [וַיַּעֲלוּ] עָלָיו עֹלֹות לַיהוָה 3:3
עֹלֹות לַבֹּקֶר וְלָעָרֶב׃
Ezra 3:3 And they set the altar upon its bases, but with the fear on them on account of the peoples of the countries, so they brought up burnt offerings to the Lord on it, burnt offerings for the morning and for the evening.
The word in the parentheses in this verse, translated as so they brought up, is incorrect, as it is in singular form and should be in the plural, its subject being all those mentioned in v. 2. The correction is in the brackets.
וַיַּעֲשׂוּ אֶת־חַג הַסֻּכּוֹת כַּכָּתוּב וְעֹלַת יוֹם בְּיוֹם בְּמִסְפָּר כְּמִשְׁפַּט דְּבַר־יוֹם בְּיוֹמוֹ׃ 3:4
Ezra 3:4 And they observed the feast of Succoth as written, with the burnt offering day after day by number according to the ordinance of its daily occupation.
וְאַחֲרֵיכֵן עֹלַת תָּמִיד וְלֶחֳדָשִׁים וּלְכָל־מוֹעֲדֵי יְהוָה הַמְקֻדָּשִׁים וּלְכֹל מִתְנַדֵּב נְדָבָה לַיהוָה׃ 3:5
Ezra 3:5 Then after this the burnt offering was continual, and for the new moons and for all the appointed seasons sanctified of the Lord, and for everyone volunteering a freewill offering to the Lord.
מִיּוֹם אֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי הֵחֵלּוּ לְהַעֲלוֹת עֹלוֹת לַיהוָה וְהֵיכַל יְהוָה לֹא יֻסָּד׃ 3:6
Ezra 3:6 From the seventh month's first day they began offering burnt offerings to the Lord though the Temple of the Lord had not yet been reestablished.
This verse is translated a bit differently in all but two of the popular bibles. The phrase the Temple of the Lord becomes the foundation of the Temple of the Lord. The words the foundation of are added by others because only the foundation is to be finished at this time (see v. 10). But the Hebrew doesn’t provide these words. In actuality, the translation as shown here is accurate also. After all, even if the foundation had been completed at this point, the burnt offerings on the altar might still be considered premature. Strictly speaking, maybe they should have waited until the Temple was reestablished.
וַיִּתְּנוּ־כֶסֶף לַחֹצְבִים וְלֶחָרָשִׁים וּמַאֲכָל וּמִשְׁתֶּה וָשֶׁמֶן לַצִּדֹנִים וְלַצֹּרִים לְהָבִיא עֲצֵי אֲרָזִים 3:7
מִן־הַלְּבָנוֹן אֶל־יָם יָפוֹא כְּרִשְׁיוֹן כּוֹרֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ־פָּרַס עֲלֵיהֶם׃
Ezra 3:7 And they gave money to the hewers and to the craftsmen, and food and drink and oil to those of Zidon and to those of Tyre to bring the timber of cedars from Lebanon to the seaport of Joppa in accordance with the grant of Cyrus, king of Persia, on their behalf.
וּבַשָּׁנָה הַשֵּׁנִית לְבוֹאָם אֶל־בֵּית הָאֱלֹהִים לִירוּשָׁלִַם בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשֵּׁנִי הֵחֵלּוּ זְרֻבָּבֶל בֶּן־שְׁאַלְתִּיאֵל 3:8
וְיֵשׁוּעַ בֶּן־יוֹצָדָק וּשְׁאָר אֲחֵיהֶם הַכֹּהֲנִים וְהַלְוִיִּם וְכָל־הַבָּאִים מֵהַשְּׁבִי יְרוּשָׁלִַם וַיַּעֲמִידוּ אֶת־הַלְוִיִּם
מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וָמַעְלָה לְנַצֵּחַ עַל־מְלֶאכֶת בֵּית־יְהוָה׃
Ezra 3:8 Then in the second year of their coming to the house of God to Jerusalem, in the second month, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak and the rest of their brethren began, the priests and the Levites and all those coming from the captivity of Jerusalem. And they appointed the Levites from age twenty years and above to watch over the work of the house of the Lord.
Had they celebrated Passover in the first month? They should have, although it’s not mentioned.
וַיַּעֲמֹד יֵשׁוּעַ בָּנָיו וְאֶחָיו קַדְמִיאֵל וּבָנָיו בְּנֵי־יְהוּדָה כְּאֶחָד לְנַצֵּחַ עַל־עֹשֵׂה הַמְּלָאכָה בְּבֵית הָאֱלֹהִים 3:9
בְּנֵי חֵנָדָד בְּנֵיהֶם וַאֲחֵיהֶם הַלְוִיִּם׃
Ezra 3:9 Then Jeshua stood, his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, as one, to watch over the doing of the work in the house of God of the sons of Henadad, their sons and their brethren, the Levites.
וְיִסְּדוּ הַבֹּנִים אֶת־הֵיכַל יְהוָה וַיַּעֲמִידוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים מְלֻבָּשִׁים בַּחֲצֹצְרוֹת וְהַלְוִיִּם בְּנֵי־אָסָף בַּמְצִלְתַּיִם 3:10
לְהַלֵּל אֶת־יְהוָה עַל־יְדֵי דָּוִיד מֶלֶךְ־יִשְׂרָאֵל׃
Ezra 3:10 When the builders of the Temple of the Lord laid the foundation, then the attired priests with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, set up to praise the Lord in accordance with the hands of David, king of Israel.
וַיַּעֲנוּ בְּהַלֵּל וּבְהֹודֹת לַיהוָה כִּי טֹוב כִּי־לְעֹולָם חַסְדֹּו עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל וְכָל־הָעָם הֵרִיעוּ תְרוּעָה גְדֹולָה 3:11
בְהַלֵּל לַיהוָה עַל הוּסַד בֵּית־יְהוָה׃
Ezra 3:11 And they sang with praise and with thanksgiving to the Lord, for He is good, for His faithfulness toward Israel is everlasting, and all the people gave a great shout for joy in praise to the Lord over the reestablishment of the house of the Lord.
וְרַבִּים מֵהַכֹּהֲנִים וְהַלְוִיִּם וְרָאשֵׁי הָאָבֹות הַזְּקֵנִים אֲשֶׁר רָאוּ אֶת־הַבַּיִת הָרִאשֹׁון בְּיָסְדֹו זֶה הַבַּיִת 3:12
בְּעֵינֵיהֶם בֹּכִים בְּקֹול גָּדֹול וְרַבִּים בִּתְרוּעָה בְשִׂמְחָה לְהָרִים קֹול׃
Ezra 3:12 But many among the priests and the Levites and the heads of households, the elders who had seen the first house on its foundation -- that was the house in their eyes -- were weeping with a loud noise, yet were so many lifting a voice in gladness with a shout of joy
וְאֵין הָעָם מַכִּירִים קֹול תְּרוּעַת הַשִּׂמְחָה לְקֹול בְּכִי הָעָם כִּי הָעָם מְרִיעִים תְּרוּעָה גְדֹולָה וְהַקֹּול 3:13
Ezra 3:13 that the people were not comparing the sound of the joyful shout to the sound of the weeping of the people, for the people were raising a shout so loud that the sound was heard even to a distant place.
Why were the old men weeping (v. 12)? In this translation, it seems pretty clear that they were unhappy with the way the foundation looked. Otherwise, they would be shouting for joy as well. The implication here is that the shape of the foundation was different from that of the first Temple. Another possibility presents itself though when we look back at v. 11. There we can see that the shout for joy may have been premature -- the Temple had not yet been reestablished, only the foundation. And that may be why the old men were weeping.
[Return to Ezra Chapters] [Prev.: Ezra 2] [Next: Ezra 4]