4:1 Now when a the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel;
(a) Meaning, the inhabitants of Samaria, whom the
king of Assyria had placed in the place of the ten tribes, (2 Kings
17:24,19:37). They professed God but worshipped idols and therefore were
the greatest enemies to the true servants of God.
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; b
but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel, as king Cyrus
the king of Persia hath commanded us.
(b) For they knew their pretence, that is to
erect idolatry instead of true religion.
4:5 And c
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.
(c) They bribed the governors under the king to
hinder their work, thus they that hinder cannot understand that God would be
4:6 And in the reign of d
Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they [unto him] an accusation
against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
(d) He was also called Artaxerxes which is a
Persian name, some think it was Cambises Cyrus' son, or Darius, as in (Ezra
4:7 And in the days of e
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.
(e) Called Artaxerxes, which signifies in the
Persian tongue an excellent warrior.
4:9 Then [wrote] Rehum the
chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions; the f
Dinaites, the Apharsathchites, the Tarpelites, the Apharsites, the Archevites,
the Babylonians, the Susanchites, the Dehavites, [and] the Elamites,
(f) These were people whom the Assyrians placed
in Samaria instead of the ten tribes.
4:10 And the rest of the nations whom the great and
noble g Asnappar brought over, and set
in the cities of Samaria, and the rest [that are] on this side the h
river, and i at such a time.
(g) Some think it was not Sennacherib, but rather
(h) That is, Euphrates, and he means in respect
to Babel that they dwelt beyond it.
(i) Or Cheeneth, who were a certain people who
envied the Jews.
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 k
custom, and [so] thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings.
(k) Meaning, the gifts that are wont to be given
to kings when they pass by any country.
[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, l Peace, and m
at such a time.
(l) Or Shalom, salvation or greeting.
(m) Or, Cheeth, also called Cheeneth as in (Ezra
Then n 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.
(n) Not altogether for the prophets exhorted them
to continue but they used less diligence because of the troubles.