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December 24

Ezra 6; Revelation 16:2-21

Thought from Today's Old Testament Passage:

[Ezra 6:1-12] From all this we learn, (1.) That the heart of kings is in the hand of God, and he turns it which way whosoever he pleases; what they are he makes them to be, for he is King of kings. (2.) That when God's time has come for the accomplishing of his gracious purposes concerning his church he will raise up instruments to promote them from whom such good service was not expected. The earth sometimes helps the woman (Rev. 12:16), and those are made use of for the defense of religion who have little religion themselves. (3.) That what is intended for the prejudice of the church has often, by the overruling providence of God, been made serviceable to it, Phil. 1:12. The enemies of the Jews, in appealing to Darius, hoped to get an order to suppress them, but, instead of that, they got an order to supply them. Thus out of the eater comes forth meat. The apocryphal Esdras (or Ezra), Book 1 ch. 3 and 4, gives another account of this decree in favour of the Jews, that Darius had vowed that if ever he came to the kingdom he would build the temple at Jerusalem, and that Zerubbabel, who was one of his attendants (whereas it is plain here that he was now at Jerusalem), for making an ingenious discourse before him on that subject (Great is the truth and will prevail), was told to ask what recompense he would, and asked only for this order, in pursuance of the king's vow.

Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Bible (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.

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