Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, by John Nelson Darby, [1857-62], at sacred-texts.com
All this shews us that, in ceasing to build the temple, Israel was in fault. It appears from Haggai (Ezr 2:15) that they had made no progress at all. The terror with which the adversaries had inspired the Jews had stopped them. They had no excuse for this, since even the king's commandment was on their side. That which they lacked was faith in God. We have seen that, when there was faith they dared to build, although there was a decree against it. The effect of this faith is to give rise to a decree in their favour, and that even through the intervention of their adversaries. It is good to trust in God. Blessed be His gracious name! Under the influence of the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah the house was finished (Ezr 6:15).
Jehovah's great grace in this was a real occasion for joy. The priests are set in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, according to the law of Moses, and we find more faithfulness than in the best days of the kings (compare Ezr 6:20 with Ch2 29:34). But we hear nothing of the ordinances of David, and a still greater deficiency is seen in their celebration of the feast of dedication. They kept the passover-a proof that the redemption of the people could be remembered in the land. Happy privilege of the restored remnant! Many also had joined them, separating themselves from the filthiness of the heathen of the land. Jehovah had given them cause for joy; but fire no longer came down from heaven to testify divine acceptance of the sacrifice offered for the dedication of the house. This was indeed a negative difference, but one of deep significance. And even that which formed the subject of their joy betrayed their condition. "Jehovah had turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel." It was great kindness and touching grace on His part. But what a change!