The prophet Jeremiah warned that Israel would spend 70 years in captivity for its willful and persistent disobedience. At the end of 70 years, however, God raises up Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, who allows not only the Jews, but all of the people taken captive by Assyria and Babylon, to return home and rebuild their cities, temples and infrastructures.
In Ezra we witness the exiles’ return to rebuild the temple. Destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C., the temple is rebuilt and dedicated in 516 B.C. But it is nothing like the fabulous temple Solomon built. In fact, when those who had seen Solomon’s temple see the second temple, they weep at its inadequacy!
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