II Chron. 36:22, 23; Ez. 1:1-11
For many years, God’s prophets had relayed His words to kings and to the common people as well. The prophecies regarding the fall of Israel and Judah had come to pass as had been predicted. Prophecies foretelling the return of God’s people to their homeland that He had provided for them in Canaan began to be fulfilled.
Cyrus, king of Persia overthrew Babylon. That event, including the name of Cyrus had been prophesied two-hundred years earlier by the prophet, Isaiah. Conquering kings would take the citizens of the defeated kingdom into captivity and enslave them. However, Cyrus would allow conquered subjects to remain in their land to continue with their normal lives. That encouraged loyalty to the new king. Remaining captives from other kingdoms would be allowed to return to their previous homeland.
Soon after defeating the Babylonians, Cyrus sent out a proclamation allowing the release of Israel/Judah from their exile and stating that God had commanded him to build Him a house at Jerusalem. With that decree given, all who desired began the move back home.
Nebuchadnezzar had taken the various articles from the temple and had placed them in the temple of his gods. Cyrus sent those items back with Sheshbazzar.