Ezra 1-2 Prophecies by an unknown prophet, Jeremiah and Isaiah Fulfilled

Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” And to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.” ‘ Isaiah 44:38

Cyrus of Persia takes the crumbling Babylonian empire intact. One of his first acts is to reverse the Babylonian policy of deporting conquered people from their homelands. Cyrus issues a decree permitting any Jew who wishes to do so to return to the Promised Land. The decree also permits contributions for rebuilding the Jerusalem temple (1:1-4). God moves many of the captives to return and stimulates all to give generously. Cyrus himself contributes the gold and silver utensils Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the first temple (vv. 5-11).

Ezra then provides a detailed list of those who chose to return: some 42, Jews, who brought along 7,337 servants and singers (2:1-70)

42,350 (2:64)  When the numbers given in chap. 2 are added together, they fall about 12,000 short of this total.  Some believe the 12,000 were women and/or children.  If so, this may account for many marriages to pagan women which took place (cf. Ezra 8-10).

Jeremiah’s prophecy (1:1). Jeremiah 25:1-14 and 29:10 predict that Judah will be held captive in Babylon for 70 years. The first deportation was in 605 B.C.  The 70th year was 536 B.C. The proclamation of Cyrus was issued in his first regnal year, 538 B.C. The little company of Jews did return, and the foundations of the temple were laid in 536 B.C.

The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah (which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), 2  which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying: 3  “From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day, this is the twenty-third year in which the word of the Lord has come to me; and I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, but you have not listened. 4  And the Lord has sent to you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear. 5  They said, ‘Repent now everyone of his evil way and his evil doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord has given to you and your fathers forever and ever. 6  Do not go after other gods to serve them and worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands; and I will not harm you.’ 7  Yet you have not listened to Me,” says the Lord, “that you might provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.

8  “Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Because you have not heard My words, 9  behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ says the Lord, ‘and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, against its inhabitants, and against these nations all around, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, a hissing, and perpetual desolations. 10  Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp. 11  And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12  ‘Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the Lord; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation. 13  So I will bring on that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah has prophesied concerning all the nations. 14  (For many nations and great kings shall be served by them also; and I will repay them according to their deeds and according to the works of their own hands.)’ ”

For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. Jeremiah 29:10

Cyrus (1:1). Two O.T. prophecies name significant individuals hundreds of years before their birth. An unnamed prophet predicted that a descendant of David named Josiah would desecrate an illicit altar dedicated by Jeroboam I. This prediction was made about 930 B.C. and fulfilled in 622 B.C. Isaiah, writing around 700 B.C., identified Cyrus by name:

By the word of the LORD he cried out against the altar: “Altar, altar! This is what the LORD says: ‘A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who make offerings here, and human bones will be burned on you.'” 1 Kings 13:2

Then Josiah looked around, and when he saw the tombs that were there on the hillside, he
had the bones removed from them and burned on the altar to defile it, in
accordance with the word of the LORD proclaimed by the man of God who
foretold these things. 2 Kings 23:16

Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” And to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.” ‘ Isaiah 44:38



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