zerubbabel Summary and Overview
zerubbabel in Easton's Bible Dictionary
the seed of Babylon, the son of Salathiel or Shealtiel (Hag. 1:1; Zorobabel, Matt. 1:12); called also the son of Pedaiah (1 Chr. 3:17-19), i.e., according to a frequent usage of the word "son;" the grandson or the nephew of Salathiel. He is also known by the Persian name of Sheshbazzar (Ezra 1:8, 11). In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, he led the first band of Jews, numbering 42,360 (Ezra 2:64), exclusive of a large number of servants, who returned from captivity at the close of the seventy years. In the second year after the Return, he erected an altar and laid the foundation of the temple on the ruins of that which had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (3:8-13; ch. 4-6). All through the work he occupied a prominent place, inasmuch as he was a descendant of the royal line of David.
zerubbabel in Smith's Bible Dictionary
(born at Babel, i.e. Babylon), the head of the tribe of Judah at the time of the return from the Babylonish captivity in the first year of Cyrus. The history of Zerabbabel in the Scriptures is as follows: In the first year of Cyrus he was living at Babylon, and was the recognized prince of Judah in the captivity, --what in later times was called "the prince of the captivity," or "the prince." On the issuing of Cyrus' decree he immediately availed himself of it, and placed himself at the head of those of his countrymen "whose spirit God had raised to go up to build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem." It is probable that he was in the king of Babylon's service, both from his having, like Daniel and the three children, received a Chaldee name, Sheshbazzar, and from the fact that he was appointed by the Persian king to the office of governor of Judea. On arriving at Jerusalem, Zerubbabel's great work, which he set about immediately, was the rebuilding of the temple. In the second month of the second year of the return the foundation was laid with all the pomp which could be commanded. The efforts of the Samaritans were successful in putting a stop to the work during the seven remaining years of the reign of Cyrus and through the eight years of Cambyses and Smerdis. Nor does Zerubbabel appear quite blameless for this long delay. The difficulties in the way of building the temple were not such as need have stopped the work and during this long suspension of sixteen years Zerubbabel and the rest of the people had been busy in building costly houses for themselves. But in the second year of Darius, light dawned upon the darkness of the colony from Babylon. In that year --it was the most memorable event in Zerabbabel's life --the spirit of prophecy suddenly blazed up with a most brilliant light among the returned captives. Their words fell like sparks upon tinder. In a moment Zerubbabel roused from his apathy, threw his whole strength into the work. After much opposition [see NEHEMIAH] and many hindrances find delays, the temple was at length finished, in the sixth pear of Darius, and was dedicated with much pomp and rejoicing. [TEMPLE] The only other works of Zerubbabel of which we learn from Scripture are the restoration of the courses of priests and Levites and of the provision for their maintenance, according to the institution of David #Ezr 6:18; Ne 12:47| the registering the returned captives according to their genealogies, #Ne 7:5| and the keeping of a Passover in the seventh year of Darius, with which last event ends all that we know of the life of Zerubbabel, His apocryphal history is told in 1 Esdr. 3-7. The exact parentage of Zerubbabel is a little obscure, from his being always called the son of Shealtiel, #Ezr 3:2,8; 5:2| etc.; #Hag 1:1,12,14| etc., end appearing as such in the genealogies of Christ #Mt 1:12; Lu 3:27| whereas in #1Ch 3:19| he is represented as the son of Pedaiah, Shealtiel or Salathiel's brother, and consequently as Salathiel's nephew. Zerubbabel was the legal successor and heir of Jeconiah's royal estate, the grandson of Neri and the lineal descendant of Nathan the son of David. In the New Testament the name appears in the Greek form of Zorobabel.
zerubbabel in Schaff's Bible Dictionary
ZERUB'BABEL (begotten in Babylon), 1 Chr 3:19, or ZOROB'ABEL, Matt 1:12, was the leader of the first colony of Jews that returned from the captivity in Babylon, Ezr 2:2, and was of the family of David, a son of Salathiel or Shealtiel, Hag 1:1; Matt 1:12, but called a son of Pedaiah, the brother or son of Salathiel, in 1 Chr 3:17-19. To him Cyrus committed the sacred vessels that were returned to Jerusalem. He laid the foundations of the temple, Zech 4:6-10, and was chiefly instrumental in restoring the religious rites of the nation. The advances of the mixed population of Samaria, who wished to participate in the building of the temple, he refused, and their intrigues at the Persian court caused the work to be stopped, but only for a short time; finally, he succeeded in completing the building. Ezr 5:2; Hag 1:12, 2 Kgs 22:14; Gen 2:2, Hab 2:4; Zech 4:6, 1 Kgs 16:10. He was the governor of Judaea. Neh 12:47.
zerubbabel in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
("dispersed to Babylon".) Head of Judah in the Jews' return in the first year of Cyrus. Son of Shealtiel (Salathiel) (Ezra 3:2; Ezra 3:8; Ezra 5:2; Haggai 1:1; Haggai 1:12; Matthew 1:12; Luke 3:27); but in 1 Chronicles 3:19 "son of Pedaiah," Shealtiel's brother. "Son" probably means next heir, the direct line failing; by the Levirate law Shealtiel's widow would marry her brother-in-law Pedaiah, who would raise seed to his brother Shealtiel (Deuteronomy 25:5-10; Matthew 22:24-28). Matthew deduces his line from Jechonias and Solomon, Luke deduces it through Neri and Nathan, because Zerubbabel was the legal successor and heir of Jeconiah's royalty and at the same time the grandson of Neri and lineal descendant of Nathan the son of David. At Babylon he bore the Babylonian or Persian name Shesh-bazzar, being governor or tirshatha there (Nehemiah 8:9; Nehemiah 10:1; Ezra 1:8-11; Ezra 5:14-16; Nehemiah 7:65). His name Zerubbabel occurs in Ezra 2:2; Ezra 3:2; "prince (nasi') of Judah," Ezra 1:8. Sheshbazzar laid the foundation of the temple (Ezra 5:16), answering to Zerubbabel (Zechariah 4:9); "governor of Judah" (Haggai 1:1; Haggai 1:14; Haggai 2:2). To him Cyrus, by the hand of Mithredath the treasurer, had committed the precious vessels of the temple to bring to Jerusalem; at the same time he, Zerubbabel, with the chief of the fathers, the priests, and the Levites whose spirit God had raised, led back from Babylon the first caravan, consisting of 42,360 besides servants, etc. All they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, with beasts, and with precious things willingly offered. The chief of the fathers also, when they came to the house of God at Jerusalem, offered freely for it after their ability (Ezra 2:68-69). He and Jeshua in the seventh month (wherein they kept the feast of tabernacles less formal than the celebration, Nehemiah 8), first built the altar of burnt offering, the nucleus and central point of the temple. In the second year of their coming, in the second month, having by Cyrus' decree timber, (including cedars from Lebanon brought by sea to Joppa,) and stone for the building, and money for the builders (Ezra 6:4), they laid the temple foundations with sounding of trumpets by the priests, and of cymbals by the Levites, and mingled shouts of joy and of noise of weeping in remembrance of the past (Ezra 3:7-13). They used the same psalm of praise, "because Jehovah is good, for His mercy endureth forever toward Israel" (Psalm 136:1; 2 Chronicles 5:13; 1 Chronicles 16:7-34), as David had delivered to Asaph for public liturgy, and as Solomon had used at the dedication of His temple; making use also probably of the same style of instrument, to some extent affected by their Babylonian and Assyrian experience. Soon after the work was interrupted by the opposition of the Cuthaean settlers or Samaritans. They had wished to join in building the temple, as sacrificing unto the same God as the Jews; but Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the chief fathers said, "ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God, but we ourselves together will build," etc. So by hired counselors, in the third year of Cyrus, and by a letter influencing Artaxerxes, they caused the work to cease until the second year of Darius, i.e. for 16 years (Ezra 4:24), namely, the seven remaining years of Cyrus, eight years including Cambyses (Ahasuerus) and Smerdis (Artaxerxes) joint reigns, and one year of Darius. Haggai and Zechariah roused the Jews from the apathy as to God's house which had crept over them while they were keen about building and ceiling their own houses (Haggai 1:4). Haggai drew their attention to the tokens of God's displeasure manifested in the adversity which attended all their undertakings and the drought affecting their crops (Haggai 1:5-11). "Jehovah hereby stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel (Haggai 1:14-15) and of Joshua, so that they rose up, came, and did work in the house of Jehovah of hosts, their God, in the 24th day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king," "and with them were the prophets of God helping them" (Ezra 5:1-2). They made this bold venture even before Darius had made any decree revoking Smerdis' prohibition. Tatnai, governor on this side the river, and Shethar Boznai and their companions interrogated them, "who hath commanded you to build this house? ... what are the names of the men that make this building?" and reported their answer to Darius, and requested that search should be made at Babylon for the alleged decree of Cyrus in their favor. The decree was found at Achmetha ((See ECBATANA), a delicate proof of Scripture accuracy, that being Cyrus' court residence; and Darius decreed anew the building of the temple with three rows of great stones and a row of new timber at the king's expense, and the restoration of the golden and silver vessels, and the supply of young bullocks, rams, and lambs for burnt offerings, and wheat, salt, wine, and oil, that they might offer sacrifices of sweet savours unto the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and of his sons. So the house was completed four years after its recommencement, in the third day of the month Adar, the sixth year of Darius (Ezra 6:15). This successful issue was mainly under God due to the prophets who strengthened the hands of Zerubbabel and Jeshua. "They prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo." Compare Haggai 2:4-9; Haggai 2:21-23; Zechariah 4:6-10, directly addressed to Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel also restored the courses of the priests and Levites, and appointed for them, the singers, and the porters, maintenance (Ezra 6:18; Nehemiah 12:47). Moreover he registered by genealogies the returning Jews (Nehemiah 7:5-7). The last public act of this great man, whose name marks a leading epoch in Jewish history, was his causing the returned children of the captivity to keep the Passover with joy, for the Lord had made them joyful (Ezra 6:22). The priestly power after the time of Zerubbabel overshadowed the royal line of David, notwithstanding the previous prominence of the latter in the person of Zerubbabel. Finally Messiah combined both in Himself the Antitype (Zechariah 3:7-10; Zechariah 6:13).