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CHAPTER 3 Nov.9 
Burnt Offerings Resume
When the seventh month had come and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem. 2Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak stood up with his brothers the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brothers, and built the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God. 3In spite of their fear because of the peoples of the surrounding lands, they set the altar on its base; and they offered burnt offerings on it to Yahweh, even burnt offerings morning and evening. 4They kept the feast of tents, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the ordinance, as the duty of every day required; 5and afterwards the continual burnt offering, the offerings of the new moons, of all the set feasts of Yahweh that were consecrated, and of each one who willingly offered a freewill offering to Yahweh. 6From the first day of the seventh month, they began to offer burnt offerings to Yahweh; but the foundation of Yahweh’s temple was not yet laid. 7They also gave money to the masons, and to the carpenters. They also gave food, drink and oil to the people of Sidon and Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea, to Joppa, according to the grant that they had from Cyrus King of Persia.
The Rebuilding of the Temple Begins
8Now in the second year of their coming to God’s house at Jerusalem, in the second month, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the rest of their brothers the priests and the Levites, and all those who had come out of the captivity to Jerusalem, began the work and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to have the oversight of the work of Yahweh’s house. 9Then Jeshua stood with his sons and his brothers, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, having the oversight of the workmen in God’s house: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brothers the Levites. 10When the builders laid the foundation of Yahweh’s temple, they set the priests in their clothing with trumpets, with the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise Yahweh, according to the directions of David king of Israel. 11They sang to one another in praising and giving thanks to Yahweh: For He is good, for His grace endures forever toward Israel. All the people shouted with a great shout when they praised Yahweh, because the foundation of the house of Yahweh had been laid.
Joy and Weeping
12But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ households, the old men who had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice. Many also shouted aloud for joy, 13so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people; for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard far away.


3:1 As one man- Unity amongst God’s people comes from all being committed to a sacrificial life before God and a genuine desire to hear God’s word and obey it (:2-4).  
3:3 Their fear- The promises of the restoration from Babylon had repeatedly emphasized that they were not to fear nor be dismayed because God would be behind their return- if they were returning to rebuild God’s house and Kingdom rather than seek their own houses and kingdom (Jer. 30:10; Is. 41:10,13,14; 43:1,5; 44:2,8; 51:7; 54:4). This is such strong emphasis that we have to conclude that their fear was because they didn’t allow God’s prophetic word to influence them as they should have done.
3:7 According to the grant that they had from Cyrus King of Persia- Hag. 1:8, a prophecy given 18 years after the decree of Cyrus, orders the people to go up into the hills of Judah and get wood with which to build the temple. And yet we read here that the decree of Cyrus 18 years earlier had resulted in cedar wood being brought from Tyre and Sidon, enough for the temple to be built. Where did that wood go? Is the implication not that the leadership had used it for their own wood ceilinged houses (Hag. 1:4)? It all seems so petty minded. But this is what we are tempted to do, time and again- build up our own house and leave God's house desolate and in a very poor second place.

3:12 The young and old didn’t rejoice together as required by the restoration prophecy of Jer. 31:12-13. Instead the old men wept, perhaps at how small the temple was compared even with Solomon’s, at how Ezekiel’s temple wasn’t being rebuilt; whilst the younger ones rejoiced.