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SHORT AND PLAIN
BY THE LATE
RETEREND JOB ORTON; S.T.P.
PUBLISHED FROM THE AUTHOR'S MANUSCRIPTS;
BY ROBERT GENTLEMAN.
FIRST ANERICAN, FROM TAR SECOND LONDON EDEXION,
PRINTED AND SOLD BY SAMUEL ETHERIDGE
The Book of EZRA.
AT the close of the last Book we had an account of the Jews being in
captivity at Babylon; and have no further historical account of them. The behaviour of many of them there was very bad, as apie pears by Ezekiel; yet they were reformed from idolatry, and never, . fell into it again. Their captivity in Babylon was a means of spread. ing the knowledge of God there, as appears from the hislory of Daniel, who, with several others, were promoted to considerable posts in the kingdom ; and this was the dawning of their deliverance. This Book is generally supposed to have been written by Ezra. The latter part undoubledly was ; but, I think, not the former ; for Ezra, as apa pears from chap. vii. 1. did not come to Jerusalem till several years after. The whole Book shows the liberty granted by Cyrus to the Jerus, after seventy years captivity, to return to their own country ; whereupon there returned above forty thousand, most of whom were of the two cribes, but nrany also of the ten. In the prst place they Testore the worship of God: and for that end build the altar of burne offerings : that so they might make daily expiation for their sins, artd intercession for their wants ; and also laid the foundation of the tem. ple ; wherein being opposed by the Samaritans, and slanderously accused to the king of Persia, they are commanded to desist for the firesent ; but afterward, being encouraged by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, they advance in their former work, obtain a ret cominis. sion and authority, and proceed to the finishing of it. After this Ezra is sent by Artaxerxes with a large commission to manage and govern all things for the welfare and interest of the Jews; who was attended by many others, and they carried great treasures along with them, and offerings to the temple. When they were come to Jerusalem, the princes inform Ezra of great abuses both among priests and people, by marrying heathen, idolatrous wives, contrary to the law, which Ezra bewails in firayer 10 God, and reforms.
In this chapter we have the proclamation of Cyrus for the building of
the temple ; the people provide for the return, and Cyrus restores the vessels of the temple to Sheshbazzar. N O W in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the
word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia,