Ezra 3 begins with a show of unity.
Verse 1 contains the phrase …the people gathered together “as one man to Jerusalem”. This conjures up an image in my head of almost a military formation, stepping in unison. I know it probably wasn’t like that but the image conveys total unity of the people. How awesome that would have been to see!
Verse 2 goes on to name those who began by building the altar to God. Jeshua was a Levite (of the Priesthood) and Zerubbabel of the line of David.
I find it interesting that Jesus (Yeshua) fulfilled all roles. He is our High Priest. He is our King of the line of David. He also sacrificed (Priestly duties) Himself as a substitutionary atonement for our sins.
Verse 3 They set up the altar on its foundation, for they were terrified because of the peoples of the land;
Even through their fear they served the LORD and stayed on course. They turned to the LORD, not away from Him. They also began sacrifices again morning and night.
Verse 5 They celebrated the Feast of Booths which hadn’t been celebrated since Joshua was High Priest before the exile.
The Feast of Booths celebrated God’s faithfulness to Israel during the Exodus. It was fitting to celebrate it again as they were once again living in tents until they could set up homes.
Verse 6 Een before the foundation of the physical temple was laid, the people began service and honor to God. They didn’t wait. They began by restoring their faith and service to God (working on the inside), the outside (temple) would follow later.
Verse 8 Time passed – Year 2 after the exile. The supplies must have been received and the restoration was ready to begin. They didn’t have railroads or trains or semi-trucks like we do today. Sourcing and ordering the best supplies would take time.
Verse 10 The foundation was laid and all the people praised God in worship. Some wept and some shouted in joy and the voices blended in unity and carried far away.
Unlike at Jericho, the shout of the people didn’t destroy anything. This noise was pure emotion.