D F1 4:1-6:15. The building. F2 6:16-22. The dedication.
F1 G 4:1,2. Adversaries. Temptation. H 4:3. Obedience to God's word. J 4:4-16. Opposition. Letter to Cyrus. K 4:17-22. King's answer. Success of plot. L 4:23,24-. Work. Cessation. M 4:-24. Duration of cessation. G 5:1. Helpers. (Prophets.) Exhortation. H 5:2. Obedience to God's word. J 5:3-17. Opposition. Letter to Darius. K 6:1-12. The king's answer. L 6:13,14. Work. Recommencement. M 6:15. Date of completion.
1 Now when the adversaries (the Samaritans [v.10]. See 2 Kings 17:24,26) of Judah and Benjamin heard that the sons of the captivity built the temple (the desolations did not end with Ezra 1, though the servitude did. Cp. Jer. 25:11. 2 Chron. 36:21. See special note at the end of 2 Chronicles) to the LORD God (Yahaveh Elohim) of Israel;
2 Then they came to Zerubbabel (see 3:2), and to the heads of the fathers, and said to them, "Let us build with you: for we seek your God (a priest had been sent to these Samaratins [2 Kings 17:28-33]), as you do; and we do sacrifice to Him since the days of Esar-haddon (the son and successor of Senacherib [see 2 king 19:37, and 2 Chron. 33:11]) king of Assyria, which brought us up to this place.
3 But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua (see 3:2), and the rest of the heads of the fathers of Israel, said to them, "You have nothing to do with us to build an house to our God; but we ourselves together will build to the LORD God of Israel (see 1 Kings 12:17), according as king Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us.
J N 4:4,5-. Opponents. Counselors. O -5. Action. To frustrate. N 6-11. Opponents. Writers. O 12-16. Action. Writing.
4 Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the People of Judah, and terrified them from building,
5 And hired counselors against them,
to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus (son of Astyages and Esther) king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius Hystaspis king of Persia.("Darius" is on an appellative [= the maintainer], "Hystaspis" needs to be added to identify him; as Astyages, when called Darius, needs the addition of "the Mede".)
6 And in the reign of Ahasuerus (= the venerable king. An appellative, used here of Cyrus, or retrospectively of Astyages; or, this verse may be retrospective, and should be in parenthesis), in the beginning of his reign, wrote they to him an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.
7 And in the days of Artaxerxes (= the great king. Used here of the Cyrus of v.3. Verses 7-23 may also be retrospective of Neh. 2:20-6:15) wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their colleagues, to Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue. (i.e. in Aramaic characters as well as in the Aramaic language. Cp. Est. 1:22; 8:9, where "writing: is the same word as in this book)
8 Rehum (from here to 6:18 is in Syriac, which was like the French Today. Cp. 2 Kings 18:26. From 6:19-7:11 is Hebrew; and Syriac again from 7:12-27; then Hebrew) the chancellor (the master of judgments or decrees) and Shimshai the scribe (or secretary) wrote a letter against Jerusalem to Artaxerxes the king after this manner:
9 Then wrote Rehum the chancellor, and Shimshai the scribe, and the rest of their companions; the Dinaites (Probably a Persian city), the Apharsathchites (a Medo-Persian tribe), the Tarpelites (probably from east of Elymais), the Apharsites (from the Persian province or city of Shushan, the capital of Elam), the Archevites, the Babylonians, the Susanchites, the Dehavites (= the Dahae of Herodotus), and the Elamites, (from a province of Persia)
10 And the rest of the peoples whom the great and noble Asnapper (= Assur-bani-pal, or Sardanapalus, the only Assyrian king who got into Elam, or held Shushan [now Susa] its capital) brought over, and set in the cities of Samaria, and the rest that are beyond, on the west side the river (regarded from the east side of the Euphrates), and at such a time. (This may refer to the date of the letter.)
11 This is the copy of the letter that they sent to him, even to Artaxerxes the king; "Thy servants the men on this side the river, and at such a time.
O P i 12. Notification. k 13. Hypothesis. "If". Q 14. Concern. Maintenance. Q 15. Advise. Search. P i 16-. Certification. k -16. Hypothesis. "If".
12 Be it known to the king, that the Jews (A slang word. Nehemiah, Hanni, and friends. Occurs 8 times in Ezra. The name by which they were known to the Gentiles, because the majority belonged to Judah) which came up from you to us are come to Jerusalem, building the rebellious and the bad city, and have set up the walls thereof (quite true; for Nehemiah's work had long preceded this. Note that Nehemiah's work was don [7:4] and the houses built, the house of God was still laying waste [Hag. 1:1-4]. The Temple not mentioned here, and joined the foundations.
13 Be it known now to the king, that, if this city be built, and the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute, and custom, and so you shall endanger the revenue of the kings.
14 Now because the salt of the palace is our salt (see Num. 18:19) from the king's palace, and it was not meet for us to see the king's dishonor, therefore have we sent and certified the king;
15 That search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers: so shall you find in the book of the records, and know that this city is a rebellious city, and hurtful to kings and provinces, and that they have moved sedition within the same of old time: for which cause was this city destroyed.
16 We certify the king that,
if this city be built again, and the walls thereof set up, by this means you shall have no portion on this side the river."
K l 17. Mission. m 18. Reception. m 19,20. Verification. l 21,22. Prohibition.
17 Then sent the king an answer (= an order or a decree. See 5:5,11; 6:11. Dan. 3:16; 4:17) to Rehum the chancellor, and to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their companions that dwell in Samaria, and to the rest beyond the river, "Peace, and at such a time.
18 The letter which you sent to us has been plainly read before me.
19 And I made a decree, and search has been made, and it is found that this city of old time has made insurrection against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made therein.
20 There have been mighty kings also over Jerusalem (such as David and Solomon), which have ruled over all countries beyond the river; and toll, tribute, and custom, was paid unto them.
21 Give you now decree to cause these strongmen to cease, and that this city be not built, until another decree shall be given from me.
22 Take heed now that you fail not to do this: why should damage grow to the hurt of the kings?")
23 Now when the copy of king Artaxerxes' letter was read before Rehum, and Shimshai the scribe, and their colleagues, they went up in haste to Jerusalem to the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power.
24 Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem.
So it ceased to the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.