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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Ezra 4

 

 

Introduction
1The adversaries, being not accepted in the building of the temple with the Jews, endeavour to hinder it.
7Their letter to Artaxerxes.
17The answer and decree of Artaxerxes.
23The building is hindered.

Verse 1
Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel;
the adversaries
These were the Samaritans, the descendants of the various nations with which the kings of Assyria had peopled Israel, when they had carried the original inhabitants captive.
7:9; 1 Kings 5:4,5; 1 Chronicles 22:9,10; Nehemiah 4:1-11; Daniel 9:25; 1 Corinthians 16:9
children of the captivity
Heb. sons of the transportation.
1:11; *marg:; 6:16,19,20; 10:7,16; Daniel 5:13

Verse 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.
Zerubbabel
1:5; 2:2; 3:2,12
Let us
Proverbs 26:23-26; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Galatians 2:4; 2 Timothy 3:8; 2 Peter 2:1,2
we do
2 Kings 17:24,27-33,41
Esarhaddon
Asnappar
2 Kings 19:37
Assur
Genesis 10:11; Psalms 73:8; Isaiah 37:37
Assyria
Hosea 14:3
Asshur

Verse 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.
Ye have nothing
Nehemiah 2:20; John 4:22,23; Acts 8:21; Romans 9:4,5; 3 John 1:9,10
king Cyrus
1:1-3; 6:3-5; 2 Chronicles 36:22,23; Isaiah 44:28; 45:1,4; Matthew 10:16

Verse 4
Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building,
weakened
3:3; Nehemiah 6:9; Isaiah 35:3,4; Jeremiah 38:4
troubled
Nehemiah 4:7,8,11

Verse 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.
hired
Psalms 2:1,2; Nahum 1:11; Acts 24:1-27
Darius
24; 5:5-17; 6:1-18

Verse 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.
A. M. 3475. B.C. 529. Ahasuerus. Heb. Ahashverosh. This was Cambyses, son of Cyrus, who succeeded his father, A.M. 3475, and reigned seven years and five months
wrote
Matthew 27:37; Acts 24:5-9,13; 25:7; Revelation 12:10

Verse 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.
A. M. 3482. B.C. 522. Artaxerxes. This Artaxerxes was one of the Magi, who usurped the throne after the death of Cambyses, for seven months, feigning himself to be Smerdis, brother of Cambyses: he is called Oropoestus by Justin, Smerdis by Herodotus, Mardus by AEschylus, and Sphendatates by Ctesias
Bishlam
or, in peace. companions. Heb. societies.
9,17; 5:6
the Syrian tongue
That is, probably, both the language and character were Syrian or Chaldaic; and therefore, from the 8th verse of this chapter, to ch. 7:27, the original is not Hebrew, but Chaldee, in those parts which consist of letters, decrees, etc., originally written in that language.
2 Kings 18:26; Isaiah 36:11; Daniel 2:4

Verse 8
Rehum the chancellor and Shimshai the scribe wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king in this sort:
scribe
or, secretary.
9; 2 Samuel 8:17; 20:25; 2 Kings 18:18

Verse 9
Then wrote Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions; the Dinaites, the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Susanchites, the Dehavites, and the Elamites,
companions
Chal. societies. the Dinaites.
2 Kings 17:24,30,31
Apharsathchites
5:6; 6:6
Apharsachites
Susanchites.
Esther 1:2; 2:3; Daniel 8:2
Elamites
Genesis 10:22; Isaiah 21:2; Jeremiah 25:25; 49:34; Ezekiel 32:24; Acts 2:9

Verse 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.
And the rest
1; 2 Kings 17:24-41
noble Asnappar
Romans 13:7
at such a time
Chal. Cheeneth.
11,17; 7:12

Verse 12
Be it known unto the king, that the Jews which came up from thee to us are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the walls thereof, and joined the foundations.
rebellious
15,19; 2 Kings 18:20; 24:1; 2 Chronicles 36:13; Jeremiah 52:3; Ezekiel 17:12-21; Luke 23:2-5; Acts 24:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:22; 1 Peter 2:13-15
bad city
Psalms 48:1,2; Isaiah 1:21-23; Luke 13:34
set up
or, finished.
Nehemiah 1:3; Daniel 9:25
joined
Chal. sewed together.

Verse 13
Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute, and custom, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings.
if this city
Nehemiah 5:4; Psalms 52:2; 119:69
pay
Chal. give. toll.
7:24; Matthew 9:9; 17:25; Romans 13:6,7
revenue
or, strength.

Verse 14
Now because we have maintenance from the king's palace, and it was not meet for us to see the king's dishonour, therefore have we sent and certified the king;
have maintenance, etc
Chal. are salted with the salt of the palace. Salt is reckoned among the principal necessaries of life, (Ecclus. 39:26 or 31;) hence, by a very natural figure, salt is used for food or maintenance in general. I am well informed, says Mr. Parkhurst, that it is a common expression of the natives in the East Indies, "I eat such a one's salt," meaning, I am fed by him. Salt was also, as it still is, among eastern nations, a symbol of friendship and hospitality; and hence, to eat a man's salt, is to be bound to him by the ties of friendship.
and it was
Ezekiel 33:31; John 12:5,6; 19:12-15

Verse 15
That search may be made in the book of the records of thy fathers: so shalt thou find in the book of the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful unto kings and provinces, and that they have moved sedition within the same of old time: for which cause was this city destroyed.
this city
12; Nehemiah 2:19; 6:6; Esther 3:5-8; Daniel 6:4-13; Acts 17:6,7
moved
Chal. made. within the same. Chal. in the midst thereof. for which.
2 Kings 24:20; 25:1,4; Jeremiah 52:3-34

Verse 16
We certify the king that, if this city be builded again, and the walls thereof set up, by this means thou shalt have no portion on this side the river.
thou shalt have
20; 2 Samuel 8:3; 1 Kings 4:24

Verse 17
Then sent the king an answer unto Rehum the chancellor, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their companions that dwell in Samaria, and unto the rest beyond the river, Peace, and at such a time.
companions
Chal. societies.
7,9
Peace
5:7; 7:12; Luke 10:5; Acts 23:26; Romans 1:7
at such a time
10,11

Verse 19
And I commanded, and search hath been made, and it is found that this city of old time hath made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein.
I commanded
Chal. by me a decree is set. search.
15; 5:17; 6:1,2; Deuteronomy 13:14; Proverbs 25:2
and it is found
2 Kings 18:7; 24:20; Ezekiel 17:13-19
made insurrection
Chal. lifted up itself.

Verse 20
There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem, which have ruled over all countries beyond the river; and toll, tribute, and custom, was paid unto them.
mighty king
1 Kings 4:21,24; 1 Chronicles 18:3; Psalms 72:8
beyond
16; Genesis 15:18; Joshua 1:3,4
toll
1 Chronicles 18:6,13; 19:19; 2 Chronicles 9:14,23,24; 17:11; 26:7,8

Verse 21
Give ye now commandment to cause these men to cease, and that this city be not builded, until another commandment shall be given from me.
Give ye, etc
Chal. Make a decree.

Verse 22
Take heed now that ye fail not to do this: why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?
why should
13; Esther 3:8,9; 7:3,4

Verse 23
Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power.
Rehum
8,9,17
they went up
Proverbs 4:16; Micah 2:1; Romans 3:15
force
Chal. arm.

Verse 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.
So
Nehemiah 6:3,9; Job 20:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:18
Darius
This was Darius Hystaspes, one of the seven princes who slew the usurper Smerdis: he ascended the throne of Persia, A.M. 3483, B.C. 521, and reigned 36 years.
5:5; 6:1; Haggai 1:15

 


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Bibliography Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Ezra 4:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/ezra-4.html.

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