When Darius has received the letter, he gives a decree to search (verse 11Then King Darius issued a decree, and search was made in the archives, where the treasures were stored in Babylon.). Then a scroll is found which reveals the truth of the events (verse 22In Ecbatana in the fortress, which is in the province of Media, a scroll was found and there was written in it as follows: “Memorandum—; cf. Est 6:1-21During that night the king could not sleep so he gave an order to bring the book of records, the chronicles, and they were read before the king.2It was found written what Mordecai had reported concerning Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs who were doorkeepers, that they had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus.). Darius is a great liquidator of Cyrus, the founder of the realm. This explains his willingness to act in this way without taking any notice of what Arthahsasta has commanded. By the way, the latter has changed a law that should not be changed (Dan 6:1616Then the king gave orders, and Daniel was brought in and cast into the lions’ den. The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you.”).
What the returned Jews have claimed has been searched and found to be correct (verse 33In the first year of King Cyrus, Cyrus the king issued a decree: ‘[Concerning] the house of God at Jerusalem, let the temple, the place where sacrifices are offered, be rebuilt and let its foundations be retained, its height being 60 cubits and its width 60 cubits;). Details are even given regarding the purpose of the house, the dimensions of the foundation and the materials. The purpose of the house is to offer sacrifices. The “height” of the foundation speaks of the lofty, heavenly character that is known there – far above the level of the world and the thoughts of man. The “breadth” speaks of the fact that every part of the truth must have its place there.
The materials are “huge stones” and “timbers” (verse 44with three layers of huge stones and one layer of timbers. And let the cost be paid from the royal treasury.). They speak of the believers who are on the one hand living stones (1Pet 2:55you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.) and on the other hand a new creation (2Cor 5:1717Therefore if anyone is in Christ, [he is] a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.). Everything must be paid out of the royal treasury, which means that man cannot contribute anything to God’s building. Placing the utensils back in the house of God (verse 55Also let the gold and silver utensils of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took from the temple in Jerusalem and brought to Babylon, be returned and brought to their places in the temple in Jerusalem; and you shall put [them] in the house of God.’) reminds us that it is not enough to know the truth of ‘the house’, but that we must also be utensils of honor ourselves. We must take our place in the house of God, the church, and make ourselves available to Him to do what He made us capable of doing.
What is written in the found scroll is clear. Darius gives a direct order to the people who wrote to him not to bother the Jews anymore and not to stand in their way (verses 6-76“Now [therefore], Tattenai, governor of [the province] beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai and your colleagues, the officials of [the provinces] beyond the River, keep away from there.7Leave this work on the house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its site.). Instead of preventing the building, the enemies are ordered by Darius to help the Jews with the building by providing them with what they need (verse 88Moreover, I issue a decree concerning what you are to do for these elders of Judah in the rebuilding of this house of God: the full cost is to be paid to these people from the royal treasury out of the taxes of [the provinces] beyond the River, and that without delay.). This involves reimbursement of expenses and providing sacrifices (verse 99Whatever is needed, both young bulls, rams, and lambs for a burnt offering to the God of heaven, and wheat, salt, wine and anointing oil, as the priests in Jerusalem request, [it] is to be given to them daily without fail,). Here we see that “out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet” (Jdg 14:14a14So he said to them,
“Out of the eater came something to eat,
And out of the strong came something sweet.”
But they could not tell the riddle in three days.).
Everything that is necessary for our sacrificial service is made fully available to us by God “daily”, i.e. every day. He has it ready for us in His Word. In His Word, the treasure of Christ for God is unfolded to us on every page, so that we may examine it and rejoice in it. For those who are interested in it, immeasurable facilities for worship are available.
Darius appreciates the intercession of this despised company (verse 1010that they may offer acceptable sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons.). He knows that these people are praying and that God hears the prayer of His people. When someone prays or intercedes, it means that such a person knows the value of prayer (cf. Col 4:2-42Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with [an attitude of] thanksgiving;3praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned;4that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.). The first task of the house of God is that it is a house of prayer “on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority” (1Tim 2:1-2a1First of all, then, I urge that entreaties [and] prayers, petitions [and] thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,2for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.; Isa 56:7b7Even those I will bring to My holy mountain
And make them joyful in My house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar;
For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.”
Darius concludes his letter with some penalty provisions for those who violate his decree regarding the building of God’s house. He himself sets a measure of punishment. He determines that whoever turns against God’s house “a timber shall be drawn from his house and he shall be impaled on it and his house shall be made a refuse heap on account of this” (verse 1111And I issued a decree that any man who violates this edict, a timber shall be drawn from his house and he shall be impaled on it and his house shall be made a refuse heap on account of this.). He desires that God let His judgement come to anyone who damages the house in which He has made His Name dwell (verse 1212May the God who has caused His name to dwell there overthrow any king or people who attempts to change [it], so as to destroy this house of God in Jerusalem. I, Darius, have issued [this] decree, let [it] be carried out with all diligence!”). This shows that Darius has known that Jerusalem is the city of the “God Who made His Name dwell there” (cf. Deu 12:5,10-115But you shall seek [the LORD] at the place which the LORD your God will choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come.10When you cross the Jordan and live in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies around [you] so that you live in security,11then it shall come about that the place in which the LORD your God will choose for His name to dwell, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution of your hand, and all your choice votive offerings which you will vow to the LORD.).
When the adversaries have received the message from Darius, they act in “with all diligence, just as King Darius had sent” (verse 1313Then Tattenai, the governor of [the province] beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai and their colleagues carried out [the decree] with all diligence, just as King Darius had sent.). Thus the opposition ends. Under the influence of the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah, the house is completed (verse 1414And the elders of the Jews were successful in building through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they finished building according to the command of the God of Israel and the decree of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.). Only Haggai is called prophet, although Zechariah may just as rightly be called so. However, in this case it is mainly a word for the conscience of the people. That is what the people need and that comes from Haggai.
The work has been stopped until the second year of Darius (Ezra 4:2424Then work on the house of God in Jerusalem ceased, and it was stopped until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.). In the sixth year they are finished with it (verse 1515This temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar; it was the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.). When the foundations have been laid cannot be said with certainty, because we do not know the elapsed time between Cyrus and Darius, but it is estimated to be more than fifteen years earlier.