Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
ezr 1:1Fulfilled - Nebuchadnezzar carried many of the Jews into captivity in the first year of his reign (the fourth of Jehoiakim). He reigned forty - five years, his son Evil - merodach twenty - three, and his grandson Belshazzar, three years, which make up the seventy years foretold by Jeremiah. First year - Of his reign in Babylon: for he had been king of Persia for many years.
ezr 1:2All, &c. - In those parts of the world; all that vast empire formerly under the Assyrians and Babylonians. The gift of which he ascribes to the great God; by that express prophecy of Isaiah concerning him, Isa 44:28, Isa 45:1, Isa 45:13, so long before he was born; which prophecy the Jews had doubtlessly shewed him, which also carried a great evidence with it, especially to him who was so highly encouraged by it: or by a special illumination which God vouchsafed to him, as he did to Nebuchadnezzar and Darius, and some other Heathen princes.
ezr 1:5Then rose up, &c. - These being a new generation, went out like their father Abraham, from this land of the Chaldees, not knowing whither they went.
ezr 1:6Strengthened their hands - God can, when he pleases, incline the hearts of strangers to be kind to his people; yea, make those strengthen their hands, who formerly weakened them.
ezr 1:8Sheshbazzar - Zerubbabel; the Chaldeans called him Sheshbazzar, that is, Joy in tribulation, but among his own people he was called Zerubbabel, a stranger in Babylon. So he looked upon himself, tho' (Josephus says) he was captain of the life - guard.