3.1 seventh month... I didn't notice a begining month. Seventh month of the year or of Cyrus's reign?
3.1 as one man... An interesting expression. It will probably informative to see what the Hebrew is on this.
3.2 Jozadak: Hebrew Strongs #03136: qduwy Yowtsadaq -- Jozadak = "Jehovah is righteous 1) grandson of the high priest Hilkiah; son of the high priest Seraiah; and father of the high priest Joshua; he never attained the office of high priest himself because he was carried captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar
3.2 as it is written... Where?
3.3 fear... I assume the fear of their neighbors not God
3.4 Feast of Booths... background here might help a little
3.5 new moon, appointed feasts, freewilll... Back to the books of the law for these. :o)
3.7 So they gave money ... according to the grant... I assume the money was for the workers and not for the lumber.
3.8 made a beginning... of what?
3.10 sons of Asaph... Asaph -- A Levite; one of the leaders of David's choir (1 Chr. 6:39). Psalms 50 and 73-83 inclusive are attributed to him. He is mentioned along with David as skilled in music, and a “seer” (2 Chr. 29:30). The “sons of Asaph,” mentioned in 1 Chr. 25:1, 2 Chr. 20:14, and Ezra 2:41, were his descendants, or more probably a class of poets or singers who recognized him as their master. http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/asaph.html
3.10 according to the directions of David king of Israel... I can't think of anywhere in the Bible these are given. Should check on this.
3.11 I can find similar passages, but none that this seems to quote.
4.2 Esarhaddon: successor of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:37; Isa. 37:38)
He ascended the throne about B.C. 681. Nothing further is recorded of him in Scripture, except that he settled certain colonists in Samaria (Ezra 4:2). But from the monuments it appears that he was the most powerful of all the Assyrian monarchs. He built many temples and palaces, the most magnificent of which was the southwest palace at Nimrud, which is said to have been in its general design almost the same as Solomon's palace, only much larger (1 Kings 7:1-12).
In December B.C. 681 Sennacherib was murdered by two of his sons, who, after holding Nineveh for forty-two days, were compelled to fly to Erimenas of Ararat, or Armenia. Their brother Esarhaddon, who had been engaged in a campaign against Armenia, led his army against them. They were utterly overthrown in a battle fought April B.C. 680, near Malatiyeh, and in the following month Esarhaddon was crowned at Nineveh. He restored Babylon, conquered Egypt, and received tribute from Manasseh of Judah. He died in October B.C. 668, while on the march to suppress an Egyptian revolt, and was succeeded by his son Assur-bani-pal, whose younger brother was made viceroy of Babylonia. http://www.christiananswers.net/
4.2 sacrificing to Him... Where and how? Was He a god for them or the God?
4.3 This refusal is food for thought.
4.3 commanded us... instead of gave us permission, etc. What is the Hebrew here?
4.5 bribed... This sounds strong. Bribed or hired?
4.5 How long did Cyrus rule?
4.7 written in Aramaic... Why does that matter?
4.8-9 Bishlam, Methredath, Tabeel, Rehum, Shimshai... Who are these guys and are they significant or just filling in details?
4.12 It would be interesting to know the Hebrew word for wicked.
4.13 royal revenue will be impaired... Were things especially tight or was it the general principle of the thing?
4.14 we eat the salt of the palace... It would be interesting to find the cultural etymology of this expression.
4.16 no possession in the province Beyond the River.... What is meant by this. If Jerusalem rebelled, wouldn't they still have the other cities?
4.23 by force and power... Was this physical force or the force of law.
4.24 until the second year of the reign of Darius... Again, a new king brings a change.
5.2 arose... Rise up O men of God, be done with lesser things.
5.3 who decreed... I am puzzled by why Cyrus' decree seemed to be such a mystery.
5.10 asked them their names... It seems odd that they did not know the leaders' name.
6.2 Why was it Echatana, Media?
6.5 which Nebubachadnezzar took out of the temple... Is this recorded as a matter of record or is there some other significance?
6.9 I wonder how ordinary it was for the emperor to pay for temples and temple ceremonies.
6.10 and pray for the life of the king... This is kinda funny.
6.11 Is this hyperbole or did they really do this? I have seen other practices of this era that were this brutal though.
6.14 the Jews built and prospered through the prophesyingg... This is an interesting statement coming right after the decree of Darius and help from the governor, etc...
6.14 by decree of God... What does this mean? Does it mean like God wanted it done, according to what God had planned, or does the decree refer to his power?
6.18 in the book of Moses... Where?
6.21 who had joined them and separated themselves... I wonder who these were.
6.22 Proverbs 21.1