- Darius's answer, verse 1-7.
- His decree, verse 8-12.
- The temple is finished, verse 13-15.
- The dedication of it, verse 16-18.
- The passover kept, verse 19-22.
A decree - To search the rolls in Babylon, where search was first made; but not finding the edict there, they searched in Achmetha, or Ecbatana, and found it.
Achmetha - The royal city of the Medes and Persians.
Cubits - Those proportions differ from those of Solomon's temple, which was but thirty cubits high, only the porch was a hundred and twenty cubits high, and but twenty cubits in breadth. Either therefore Solomon's cubits were sacred cubits, which were larger than the other, and these but common cubits. Or, the sixty cubits of height are meant only for the porch. And the word rendered breadth, may be rendered the extension or the length of it; it being improbable that the king should give orders about the breadth, and none about the length of it.
Destroy - Tho' this temple was at length most justly destroyed by the righteous hand of God, yet perhaps the Romans, who were the instruments of that destruction, felt the effects of this curse. For that empire sensibly declined ever after, 'till it was wholly destroyed.
Through the prophesying - This is a seasonable intimation that this great and unexpected success was not to be ascribed to chance, or to the kindness or good humour of Darius, but unto God only, who by his prophets had required and encouraged them to proceed in the work, and by his mighty power disposed Darius's heart to such kind and noble purposes.
Children of Israel - Probably some out of each of the twelve tribes.
Joyful - He had given them both cause to rejoice, and hearts to rejoice. God is the fountain whence all the streams of true joy flow. Of Assyria - Of the king of Persia, who was now king of Assyria also, here so called emphatically, to note the great power and goodness of God in turning the hearts of these great monarchs, whose predecessors had been the chief persecutors and oppressors of God's people.