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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Ezra - Chapter 1

Ezra - Chapter 1

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 1

1. And in the first year of Cyrus, the king of Persia, at the completion of the word of the Lord from the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord aroused the Spirit of Cyrus, the king of Persia, and he issued a proclamation throughout his kingdom, and also in writing, saying:   א. וּבִשְׁנַת אַחַת לְכוֹרֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ פָּרַס לִכְלוֹת דְּבַר יְהֹוָה מִפִּי יִרְמְיָה הֵעִיר יְהֹוָה אֶת רוּחַ כֹּרֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ פָּרַס וַיַּעֲבֶר קוֹל בְּכָל מַלְכוּתוֹ וְגַם בְּמִכְתָּב לֵאמֹר:
And in the first year of Cyrus, the king of Persia: This book is arranged as a continuation of the Book of Daniel, as is explained in Baba Bathra (15a), and the word וּבְשְׁנַת refers back from this [book] to that one, for it is stated in Daniel (9:2): “In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, contemplated the calculations of the number of the years that the word of the Lord had come to Jeremiah the prophet from the destruction of Jerusalem, seventy years.” And so the entire chapter proceeds to relate [the story] of the destruction of the Temple, the time of the Babylonian exile, and his confession, in which he confessed Israel’s sin. The beginning of this book is as follows: After Belshazzar was assassinated, Darius the Mede reigned, as it says (Dan. 6:1): “And Darius the Mede received the kingdom etc.” and after Darius’ death, this Cyrus, the king of Persia, reigned, and in the first year of his reign, the seventy years for the remembrance of the Babylonian exile, [counting] from the day that Jehoiakim was exiled, were completed, as it says (Jer. 29: 10): “At the completion of seventy years of Babylon, I will remember you etc.” When Israel returned from the Babylonian exile to the land of Israel, in that year, in the first year of Cyrus, Israel laid the foundation of the Temple, and the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin slandered them to Cyrus, the king of Persia, and he commanded [them] to curtail the work, no longer to build the edifice of the Temple; and the Israelites were idle, for they did not build the Temple during the entire reign of Cyrus and Ahasuerus, who succeeded him, until the second year of Darius, the son of Ahasuerus, the king of Persia, who was Darius, the son of Esther. And in the second year of his reign, they began building the Temple until the building was completed. And from the first year of Cyrus until the second year of Darius, the son of Ahasuerus the king of Persia, in whose days the Temple was built, were eighteen years, to fulfill what was said (Dan. 9:2): “from the destruction of Jerusalem, seventy years etc.” And now, in the second year of Darius, seventy years had elapsed since the destruction of Jerusalem; [i.e.,] the destruction of the Temple, when Zedekiah was exiled. From the exile of Jehoiakim until the exile of Zedekiah, when the Temple was destroyed, were eighteen years, and now in the first year of Cyrus, the king of Persia, seventy years since the exile of Jehoiakim, when Israel was exiled to Babylon, were completed, and thereby the verse that states (Jer. 29:10): “for at the completion of seventy years of Babylon I will remember you etc.” was fulfilled. And this is the remembrance, that Israel returned to their soil and built the foundation of the building of the Temple, although it was not yet completed. We find that there were fifty- two years from the exile of Zedekiah, when the Temple was destroyed, until the first year of Cyrus, the king of Persia; and eighteen years after the first year of Cyrus, which is the second year of Darius, when Israel commenced to build the edifice, and they completed it. This is proven in Seder Olam (ch. 29), in Tractate Megillah (11b) and in this book, as I explained.  
at the completion of the word of the Lord from the mouth of Jeremiah: at the time that the word of the Holy One, blessed be He, which Jeremiah spoke, was completed, as it says (Jer. 29:10): “for at the completion of seventy years of Babylon etc.”  
the Lord aroused the spirit: the will.  
a proclamation: He proclaimed a proclamation throughout his kingdom.  
and also in writing: And he also sent his letter throughout his kingdom about this matter.  
saying: And so he said to them in his proclamation that he proclaimed and in his epistle that he sent throughout his kingdom.  
2. "So said Cyrus, the king of Persia, 'All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of the heavens delivered to me, and He commanded me to build Him a House in Jerusalem, which is in Judea.   ב. כֹּה אָמַר כֹּרֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ פָּרַס כֹּל מַמְלְכוֹת הָאָרֶץ נָתַן לִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי הַשָּׁמָיִם וְהוּא פָקַד עָלַי לִבְנוֹת לוֹ בַיִת בִּירוּשָׁלִַם אֲשֶׁר בִּיהוּדָה:
So said Cyrus, the king of Persia… delivered to me: that I am the king and ruler over all the kingdoms.  
and He commanded me: He commanded me through Isaiah the prophet to build for Him the Temple in Jerusalem, as it says in the Book of Isaiah (44:28): “Who says to Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, and all My desire he shall fulfill,’ and to say to Jerusalem, ‘It shall be built, and the Temple shall be founded.’” (ibid. 45:1): “So said the Lord to His anointed one, to Cyrus, whose right hand I held….” And this prophecy was already stated by lsaiah.  
in Jerusalem, which is in Judea: whch is in the province of Judea.  
3. Who is among you of all His people, may his God be with him, and he may ascend to Jerusalem, which is in Judea, and let him build the House of the Lord, God of Israel; He is the God Who is in Jerusalem.   ג. מִי בָכֶם מִכָּל עַמּוֹ יְהִי אֱלֹהָיו עִמּוֹ וְיַעַל לִירוּשָׁלִַם אֲשֶׁר בִּיהוּדָה וְיִבֶן אֶת בֵּית יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הוּא הָאֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר בִּירוּשָׁלִָם:
Who is among you: So did he announce and write to all the kingdoms, “Who is among you of all His people,” [i.e., of the people] of the Holy One, blessed be He, may the Holy One, blessed be He, be at his assistance, and let him ascend to build His house that is in Jerusalem.  
4. And whoever remains from all the places where he sojourns, the people of his place shall help him with silver and with gold and with possessions and with cattle, with the donation to the House of God, which is in Jerusalem.'   ד. וְכָל הַנִּשְׁאָר מִכָּל הַמְּקֹמוֹת אֲשֶׁר הוּא גָר שָׁם יְנַשְּׂאוּהוּ אַנְשֵׁי מְקֹמוֹ בְּכֶסֶף וּבְזָהָב וּבִרְכוּשׁ וּבִבְהֵמָה עִם הַנְּדָבָה לְבֵית הָאֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר בִּירוּשָׁלִָם:
And whoever remains: and every Jew who remains in his place, who cannot ascend because he has no money.  
shall help him: I command the people of his place to provide him and help him with silver, gold, possessions and cattle, in order that he be able to ascend to Jerusalem with the donation that the people of his place will donate for the building of the Temple, for also among the nations there were some who contributed donations to the building of the Temple.  
to the House of God, which is in Jerusalem: From “So said Cyrus” until here is the proclamation and the message of the written epistle.  
5. And the heads of the families of Judah and Benjamin and the priests and the Levites arose, with all whom God inspired to ascend to build the House of the Lord, which is in Jerusalem.   ה. וַיָּקוּמוּ רָאשֵׁי הָאָבוֹת לִיהוּדָה וּבִנְיָמִן וְהַכֹּהֲנִים וְהַלְוִיִּם לְכֹל הֵעִיר הָאֱלֹהִים אֶת רוּחוֹ לַעֲלוֹת לִבְנוֹת אֶת בֵּית יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר בִּירוּשָׁלִָם:
of Judah and Benjamin: the heads of the families of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.  
all whom… inspired: They ascended to Jerusalem to build the Temple with all those whom God inspired to ascend and to build the Temple.  
6. And all those around them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with possessions, with cattle, and with precious things, besides all that was donated.   ו. וְכָל סְבִיבֹתֵיהֶם חִזְּקוּ בִידֵיהֶם בִּכְלֵי כֶסֶף בַּזָּהָב בָּרְכוּשׁ וּבַבְּהֵמָה וּבַמִּגְדָּנוֹת לְבַד עַל כָּל הִתְנַדֵּב:
And all those around them: And all the nations who were Israel’s neighbors assisted and strengthened the hands of the Jews with gold and silver and all these gifts in order that they be able to ascend to Jerusalem.  
besides all that was donated: All this the neighbors of the Jews did, besides what they [the Jews] themselves donated for the building of the Temple.  
7. And King Cyrus took out all the vessels of the House of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of Jerusalem and had placed them in the temple of his god.   ז. וְהַמֶּלֶךְ כּוֹרֶשׁ הוֹצִיא אֶת כְּלֵי בֵית יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר הוֹצִיא נְבוּכַדְנֶצַּר מִירוּשָׁלִַם וַיִּתְּנֵם בְּבֵית אֱלֹהָיו:
and had placed them in the temple of his god: that Nebuchadnezzar had placed in the temple of his pagan deity.  
8. Now Cyrus, the king of Persia, took them out by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, and he counted them out to Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah.   ח. וַיּוֹצִיאֵם כּוֹרֶשׁ מֶלֶךְ פָּרַס עַל יַד מִתְרְדָת הַגִּזְבָּר וַיִּסְפְּרֵם לְשֵׁשְׁבַּצַּר הַנָּשִׂיא לִיהוּדָה:
by the hand of Mithderath the treasurer: such was the name of Cyrus’s treasurer, and Cyrus commanded [him] to take them out.  
and he counted them out: This treasurer counted them and delivered them to Sheshbazzar, so that he would carry them and transport them to Jerusalem. Our Rabbis said: “Sheshbazzar is identical with Daniel, and why was he called Sheshbazzar? Because he endured six troubles (שֵּׁשּׁ צָרוֹת).”  
the prince of Judah: He is the prince of the tribe of Judah.  
9. And these are their number: thirty basins of gold, a thousand basins of silver, twenty-nine knives,   ט. וְאֵלֶּה מִסְפָּרָם אֲגַרְטְלֵי זָהָב שְׁלֹשִׁים אֲגַרְטְלֵי כֶסֶף אָלֶף מַחֲלָפִים תִּשְׁעָה וְעֶשְׂרִים:
their number: of the vessels of the House of the Lord.  
basins: Heb. אֲגַרְטְלֵי. They are kinds of vessels.  
knives: Heb. מַחֲלָפִים. They are knives, and this expression refers to the chamber of the knives (בֵּית הַחֲלִיפוֹת). Because they would deposit the knives therein, it was called the chamber of the depository of the knives (לִשְּׁכַּת בֵּית הַחֲלִיפוֹת).  
10. Thirty bowls of gold, secondary silver bowls four hundred and ten, a thousand other vessels.   י. כְּפוֹרֵי זָהָב שְׁלֹשִׁים כְּפוֹרֵי כֶסֶף מִשְׁנִים אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת וַעֲשָׂרָה כֵּלִים אֲחֵרִים אָלֶף:
bowls: Heb. כְּפוֹרֵי, bowls, and they were called כְּפוֹרֵי from an expression of wiping, like (Bava Mezia 24b): “who wiped (דְּכָפַר) his hands on his neighbor’s cloak,” because the one who would receive the blood in a bowl would wipe the squirtings of the blood that splattered on his hand on the rim of the bowl.  
secondary: Heb. מִשְּׁנִים, secondary ones, other vessels of another kind.  
11. All the vessels of silver and gold were five thousand, four hundred; Sheshbazzar brought up everything when the exiles were brought up from Babylon to Jerusalem.   יא. כָּל כֵּלִים לַזָּהָב וְלַכֶּסֶף חֲמֵשֶׁת אֲלָפִים וְאַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת הַכֹּל הֶעֱלָה שֵׁשְׁבַּצַּר עִם הֵעָלוֹת הַגּוֹלָה מִבָּבֶל לִירוּשָׁלִָם:
All the vessels: Now he totals the sum of those counted and those who were not counted all into one number, but the important ones he counts.  
when the exiles were brought up: Heb. הֵעָלוֹת, [a passive] expression.  
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