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,
(2Ki 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 purely served.
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
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 Salmanasar.
(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
4:13 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 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.
4:17 [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, l Peace, and m at such a time.
(l) Or Shalom, salvation or greeting.
(m) Or, Cheeth, also called Cheeneth as in (Ezr 4:10).
4:24 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