(1-15) The favourable decree of Darius, and its effect.
Were laid up.—In the original, laid down, in a chamber for the storing of documents and other treasures.
Be ye far from thence.—That is, keep aloof from any kind of interference.
Of the king’s goods.—From the tribute collected to be sent to Persia sums were previously to be deducted.
Appointment here is simply the word: that is, of direction.
Of sweet savours.—The word occurs again only in Daniel 2:46, and there is translated “sweet odours,” meaning incense. The connection of this with the prayer following justifies the same translation here, and, moreover, indicates under what good instruction the decree was drawn up.
Hanged is literally crucified. Among the Persians crucifixion was generally the nailing of a body to a cross after decapitation; among the Assyrians it was transfixion or impalement. Here the “being set up” refers of course to the man, and not to the beam.
Artaxerxes king of Persia.—Evidently the Artaxerxes Longimanus of the sequel, whose contributions and help did so much toward the perfecting of the general design, though the “finishing” here mentioned took place fifty years before his reign. Observe that he alone is called “king of Persia,” which shows that Ezra is writing in his time, and adds his name to the original record. Just as the later Artaxerxes is introduced, so the earlier Cyrus is, in this comprehensive review.
(16) Children of the captivity.—This designation is peculiarly appropriate here, as in Ezra 6:20. “All Israel” soon follows.