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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Ezra 4

 

 

Verses 1-24

Ezra 4:2 Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither.

Ezra 4:2 — "Esarhaddon king of Assur" - Comments- Esarhaddon, king of Assur, was king of Assyria from 681to 669 B.C. following the death of his father Sennacherib. 35] PTW says this Assyrian name means "Ashur hath given a brother."

35] R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson"s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "Esarhaddon."

Ezra 4:3 But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us.

Ezra 4:3 — "ye have nothing to do with us" - Comments- The heathen today have no part in the kingdom of God nor in building the house of God today. Note:

2 Corinthians 6:16, "And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."

Ezra 4:5 And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Ezra 4:5 — "all the days of Cyrus king of Persia" - Comments- Cyrus king of Persia reigned over Babylon from 559 to 530 B.C. 36]

36] R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson"s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "Cyrus."

Ezra 4:5 — "even until the reign of Darius king of Persia" - Comments- Darius the Great reigned from 522to 485 B.C. 37]

37] R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson"s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "Darius."

Ezra 4:6 And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they unto him an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.

Ezra 4:6"And in the reign of Ahasuerus" - Comments- There were at least two kings by this name in the Scriptures. Ahasuerus, king of Persia and husband of Queen Esther , reigned from 485 to 464 B.C. The other individual by this name was "a king of the Medes and father of Darius ( Daniel 9:1)." 38]

38] R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson"s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "Ahasuerus."

Daniel 9:1, "In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;"

Ezra 4:7 And in the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue.

Ezra 4:7 — "And in the days of Artaxerxes" - Comments- Artaxerxes reigned from 465 to 424 B.C. (ISBE) 39]

39] R. Dick Wilson, "Artaxerxes," in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

Ezra 4:6-7Comments - The Persistence of Israel's Adversaries- These adversaries of the Jews ( Ezra 4:1) did not give up until they saw results. This was persistence.

Ezra 4:10 And the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Asnappar brought over, and set in the cities of Samaria, and the rest that are on this side the river, and at such a time.

Ezra 4:10 — "And the rest of the nations whom the great and noble Asnappar brought over" - Comments- Asnapper, or Ashurbanipal, was the last of the great kings of the Assyrian empire, who reigned from 668 to 626 B.C. 40]

40] R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson"s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "Ashurbanipal."

Ezra 4:18 The letter which ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me.

Ezra 4:18Word Study on "plainly" - Gesenius says the Hebrew word "plainly" ( פְּרַשׁ) (H 6568) means, "distinctly, accurately, word for word."

Comments- F. F. Bruce believes the word "plainly" used in Ezra 4:18 and Nehemiah 8:8 indicates the practice of the Law being read aloud in Hebrew, followed by an oral interpretation in Aramaic. He says the Hebrew word ( פְּרַשׁ) (H 6568) is equivalent to the Aramaic "mepharash," meaning "with an interpretation." Since Aramaic was the official language used in diplomatic intercourse and documents in the Persian Empire, the word "mepharash" was generally used to denote the procedure of reading the document also in the local vernacular language. Therefore, Ezra 4:18 and Nehemiah 8:8 imply that an Aramaic interpretation followed the oral reading of the Hebrew Scriptures. This was needed because many of the Jews returning from the Captivity no longer understood spoken Hebrew. 41]

41] F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1963), 53.

Nehemiah 8:8, "So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading."

Some modern translations support this idea.

NET, "The letter you sent has been translated and read to me."

NIV, "The letter you sent us has been read and translated in my presence."

NLT, "The letter you sent has been translated and read to me."

YLT, "The letter that ye sent unto us, explained, hath been read before me."

Ezra 4:24 Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Ezra 4:24 — "unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia" - Comments- Darius the Great reigned from 522to 485 B.C. 42]

42] R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson"s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "Darius."

 


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These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Ezra 4:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/ezra-4.html. 2013.

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