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As Persian Emperor from 465 to 424 BC, Artaxerxes had control over Jerusalem during the time of the reforms of Ezra and Nehemiah. In the early part of his reign he responded to the complaints of local Palestinians by ordering that work on the rebuilding of Jerusalem cease (Ezra 4:7-23). But his decree made provision for him to reverse his decision at a later date if he so desired (Ezra 4:21).

In the seventh year of his reign, Artaxerxes did, in fact, reverse his decree, when he gave permission to Ezra to carry out reforms in Jerusalem (Ezra 7:7; Ezra 7:11-26). His other significant decision in favour of the Jerusalem Jews came in the twentieth year of his reign, when he appointed Nehemiah governor and gave him full imperial support to rebuild and secure the city (Nehemiah 2:1-8). For further details see EZRA; NEHEMIAH; PERSIA.


Judah was badly corrupted by Canaanite religions when Asa came to the throne (910 BC). He spent the early part of his reign trying to rid Judah of false religion, while at the same time he strengthened the nation’s defences (2 Chronicles 14:1-8).

Strong faith and a strong army enabled Asa to defeat an enemy invader and won him encouraging words from God’s prophet (2 Chronicles 14:9-15; 2 Chronicles 15:1-7). His religious reforms included the removal of the queen mother (one of the chief supporters of the Canaanite religions), the destruction of idols, and the banning of religious prostitutes (1 Kings 15:9-15; 2 Chronicles 15:8-15).

When Baasha, king of Israel, seized a border town and built a fort just north of Jerusalem, Asa paid money to Syria to break its treaty with Israel and attack her. When Israel turned to fight the attacking Syrians, Asa destroyed the offending fort and used the materials to build additional forts for himself (1 Kings 15:16-22). This policy of trusting in foreign nations showed a weakness in Asa’s faith and brought him into conflict with God’s prophet (2 Chronicles 16:7-10). Asa had another serious failure of faith late in his reign when, suffering from a disease in the feet, he looked for healing through pagan sorcerers instead of trusting in God (2 Chronicles 16:12-14).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Artaxerxes'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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