The Jewish Eye
Sefer Ezra: Part 13 - Daryavesh Knows Who Butters His Bread
“King Daryavesh then issued a decree, and they searched in the library where the archives were in Bavel. And they found in a box in the capital in the land of Madai, and the following was written in it.”
The royal city was originally in Bavel, and the royal archives were stored there, including the letter, which Coresh sent about the Beis Hamikdash. When Achashverosh was king, he moved the royal throne to Shushan, and this letter was then lost. (It’s also possible that Haman destroyed the letter since it was good for the Jews.) It was hashgachas Hashem that this letter was now found in Madai, the current capital.
“In the first year of King Coresh, King Coresh put forth a decree: The House of Hashem should be built in Yerushalayim, a site for the offering of sacrifices, with foundations, its height sixty cubits, and its width sixty cubits.
Hashgachas Hashem is again apparent since the dimensions which Coresh permitted were the exact dimensions with which the builders were instructed by the neviim. The Ibn Ezra comments that the Second Beis Hamikdash was larger than the first, which was twenty cubits wide and thirty cubits high.
“Three rows of marble and one of new wood, and the funding of the building will be from the house of the king. Also, the gold and silver vessels of the House of Hashem –which Nevuchadnetzer took from the Heichel in Yerushalayim and brought to Bavel – should be given over and brought to the Heichel in Yerushalayim, to their place, and should remain in the House of Hashem."
Chazal says that the king required a row of wood to be added to the walls to insure they would be flammable in case of rebellion. Rashi says that the walls of the first Beis Hamikdash were also constructed of three rows of marble and one of wood.
“Now Tatnai, satrap of the Trans-River, Shesar Boznai, and their cohorts, the Apharsechites of the Trans-River, stay far from the site.”
This was the original decree of Coresh, who commanded that the surrounding nations should not deter Bnei Yisrael from building the Beis Hamikdash, and Daryavash added an additional stipulation…
“I decree that your actions with the Jewish elders are sanctioned – to build this House of Hashem; it should be funded from the kingdom, from the Trans-River taxes, and be quickly completed.”
Coresh decreed that the neighbors of Bnei Yisrael must not only refrain from bothering them, but must aid them as well. Coresh decreed that the construction would be funded by the palace, and Daryavash added that it should be funded from the Trans-River taxes immediately, so they shouldn’t be disrupted from their work due to a lack of funding. He also decreed that all expenses needed for korbanos and the avodas Bais Hamikdash should be should be given to them daily according to the instructions of the Kohanim. This specification was also not included in the instructions of Coresh.
“In order that they offer pleasing korbanos to the G-d of Heaven, and pray for the lives of the king and his sons. I decree that anyone who will change anything will have the beams uprooted from his house , and a gallows will be made for him, and his house will be a dunghill.”
Daryavash revealed his ulterior motives in supporting the building of the Bais Hamikdash.
“And the G-d who rests there should destroy any king or people who ruin this House of G-d in Yerushalayim; I, Daryavash have decreed that this take effect speedily.”
Tatnai and his friends were to inform the public of the king’s decree immediately, and the reconstruction of the Bais Hamikdash should also be completed quickly. The call for speediness was the initative of Daryavash alone; it was not part of Coresh’s decree.
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