(Ezra 3:12-13) Why are the older men weeping, while the younger are joyful?

This passage shows that this entire event was bittersweet. The older men “who had seen the first temple” are the ones weeping, because they remember what the Temple had looked like back then. This new temple was just an ugly and pitiful version of the original. These men are glad that God has given them a temple, but they are sad that it pales in comparison to the former years. This is a picture of national repentance on behalf of the Jews. Repentance is bittersweet. While you appreciate the grace of God, you also realize the gravity of your sin. This can be a mixture of joy and tears.