The Decree to Rebuild and Restore Jerusalem – Bible Research Tools
aniel’s prophecy mentioned this decree:
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment (also, decree, or word) to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” — Dan 9:25 KJV
The Decree of Cyrus
Some speculate that prophecy by Daniel was referring to the decree of Cyrus; but his decree was an order to rebuild the Temple, and not the city or wall:
“Thus said Cyrus king of the Persians, The Lord God of heaven has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has given me a charge to build him a house in Jerusalem that is in Judea. Who is there among you of all his people? for his God shall be with him, and he shall go up to Jerusalem that is in Judea, and let him build the house of the God of Israel: he is the God that is in Jerusalem.” — Ezr 1:2-3 LXX
Temple Work Ceased Under Artaxerxes
Although there was no mention in the decree of Cyrus to rebuild the city or city wall, the Jews attempted to rebuild them anyway, but were later stopped from all building in the days of (the first) Artaxerxes (Ezra 4:21ff).
“This is the copy of the letter that they sent unto him, even unto Artaxerxes the king; Thy servants the men on this side the river, and at such a time. Be it known unto the king, that the Jews which came up from thee to us are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the walls thereof, and joined the foundations. Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute, and custom, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings . . . Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power. Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.” — Ezr 4:11-13, 23-24 KJV
Temple Building Resumed and Completed Under Darius
As mentioned in the previous passage, the work on the temple was allowed to continue (and be completed) during the reign of Darius:
“Now therefore, if it seem good to the king, let there be search made in the king’s treasure house, which is there at Babylon, whether it be so, that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.” — Ezr 5:17 KJV
“Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon. And there was found at Achmetha, in the palace that is in the province of the Medes, a roll, and therein was a record thus written . . . Now therefore, Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shetharboznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which are beyond the river, be ye far from thence: Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place.” — Ezr 6:1-2, 6-7 KJV
“And this house (of God) was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.” — Ezr 6:15 KJV
Rebuilding of Jerusalem and City Wall Under Artaxerses
But it was during the later reign of (the second) Artaxerxes that the rebuilding of the wall and the city were authorized:
“Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah . . . This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him . . . And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.” — Ezr 7:1,6,8 KJV
“Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the Lord, and of his statutes to Israel. Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time. I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee . . . And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily,” — Ezr 7:11-13,21 KJV
Ezra seemed to interpret that to mean, “rebuild the wall and the city”:
“For we are slaves, yet in our servitude the Lord our God has not deserted us; and he has extended favour to us in the sight of the kings of the Persians, to give us a quickening, that they should raise up the house of our God, and restore the desolate places of it, and to give us a fence in Juda and Jerusalem.” — Ezr 9:9 LXX
“For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.” — Ezr 9:9 KJV
Completion of Wall Under Nehemiah
The wall was completed later during the days of Nehemiah, after some “troublous times”:
“That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.” — Neh 1:2-3 KJV
“So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.” — Neh 6:15 KJV
“And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel.” — Neh 8:1 KJV
Back to Daniel’s Prophecy
Daniel’s prophecy seems to indicate it took 49 years to rebuild the wall and the city:
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment (also decree, or word) to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.” — Dan 9:25 KJV
That prophecy also indicates the anointing of Christ occurred at the beginning of the 70th week, or the completion of 483rd year.
Counting backwards from the approximate date of the anointing of Christ, about 26-28 AD, would make the year of the decree about 455-457 BC. The scripture states the decree was issued in the seventh year of Artaxerxes (Ezra 7:7-8), which fits the historically accepted timeline of the reign of Artaxerxes, who came to power about 465 BC.
The Decree of Artaxerxes, about 457 BC, is the one mentioned in Daniel 9:25.
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