It was a big day in Jerusalem. The temple built by Solomon, but destroyed by the Babylonians, was being rebuilt. It was a day of great celebration for the Israelites.
The Jews had suffered for decades because of their disobedience (see 1 Kings 9:6-9). They endured exile and captivity, besiegement and destruction. However, Ezra tells the story of a new day, when the people gathered together to celebrate the laying of the foundation on the second temple.
They celebrated the Lord’s mercy with trumpets and cymbals. They sang and thanked him. They shouted with great shouts to praise his name.
Though many shouted for joy, there were others who “wept with a loud voice” (Ezra 3:12). They wept because they were disappointed. These older saints wept because they remembered the former splendor of the first temple, and the meager foundation of the second was underwhelming.