2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, Yahweh Elohim of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Jan 1852
This Koresh (Cyrus the Persian King), we doubt not, was a representative man. His name, the part he played in the overthrow of the Assyrian and the restoration of the Jews, and the things which the Lord uttered concerning him, are strongly evidential that he was a typical person.
His name Koresh is compounded of the prefix k, pronounced kar, signifying comparison or resemblance, namely, as, as if, like; and the noun yoraish heir. Kah-yoraish "like the heir," contracted into Koresh, because of certain rules in the pointing with which it would be useless to trouble the reader.
It is to be remembered here that about 185 years before the fall of Babylon Yahweh gave the name of LIKE-THE-HEIR to the Persian who overthrew the Assyrian and delivered Israel...
He says concerning him,
'For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name; I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me"-Isa 45:4.
He also says of him,
"He is my Shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure; even saying to Jerusalem, thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid"-Isa 44:28.
Then again he styles him "his Anointed," that is, his Christ-Isa 45:1. Can it be imagined that all these expressions found their full signification in the Persian Conqueror? No, we conclude rather that Yahweh named him Like-the-Heir, because he was to enact a similar part in regard to the first Babylon to that predetermined for Yahweh's Anointed Shepherd, "the Heir"-Matt 21:38; Heb 1:2, in respect to the last. The Persian was therefore officially like him.
11 All the vessels of gold and of silver were five thousand and four hundred. All these did Sheshbazzar bring up with them of the captivity that were brought up from Babylon unto Jerusalem.
The Christadelphian, Sept 1904
The Book of Ezra covers a period of about eighty years.
In ancient times Ezra and Nehemiah formed one book. In the Vulgate they are called Esdras I. and II. It will be seen the opening verses of Ezra correspond with the closing verses of 2 Chron. The verses seem quite in place in both narratives.
Ezra was both a scribe and a priest. He was descended from Hilkiah (2 Chron. 34:14). There were three returns from the captivity: (1) Under Zerubbabel, whose name means scattered in Babylon; (2) under Ezra; (3) under Nehemiah. The land kept its sabbaths for 70 years. Cyrus sent forth heralds far and near. Perhaps Daniel had shown him Isaiah's prophecies.
In glad response to the royal decree, the chief of the fathers assembled those Jews who were minded to return. Many, as in our own day, were not minded to go back.
Zerubbabel is called Sheshbazzar-a Chaldean form of his name; and the Tirshatha (the feared), a title which is also applied to Nehemiah. Zerubbabel was of royal descent. The genealogy of Christ is traced back through him, both by Matthew and Luke. The sacred vessels and utensils were handed over to him-5,400 in number (the smaller things are not specifically mentioned).
The total Jews returning numbered 42,360 men, 7,337 servants and maids, and 200 singers, men and women, in all about 50,000 people. No details of the journey are given. We read next that it was in the seventh month Tisri, the most sacred of the months, that Joshua and Zerubbabel conjointly assembled the returned exiles and set up the altar upon its base (the old foundation still remained), and made the offerings on and from the first day of the month.
Neither the city wall nor the temple was yet rebuilt. It was very praiseworthy on their part. After this the temple plan was marked out and the foundations laid with great ceremony. We can appreciate the feelings of the new generation when they shouted for joy that now at last a house should be built for God. It seemed to promise permanent settlement. On the other hand, when the old generation thought of the past glories of the magnificent Temple of Solomon and its destruction, well might they weep.